Is the Long Valley Caldera Hot-Cold Water Boundary Secure?

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 31 October 2018


Is the Long Valley Caldera's Hot-Cold Water Boundary Secure?

Is former Olympian a bully or savior in geothermal fight?
E&ENews, October 29, 2018.


Not Contained?
“Hayes, a charismatic former Olympian, says data show the deep geothermal reservoirs used for energy production are not completely contained. They are already contaminating the town's shallower groundwater aquifers, he says, and the problem could get worse when the plant expands production.”

“...that's what Pat Hayes, the area's water manager, wants you to think.”

“The problem for Hayes, though, is it's unclear how much validity there is to those claims.”

“His critics note that Hayes has secured few victories. Courts have strongly rejected his claims, siding with regulators who reviewed the relevant scientific data, as well as a robust groundwater monitoring plan they've put in place.”

“Judge Stan Eller concluded that "available evidence" indicates the groundwater and geothermal systems are separate.”

“Ormat has proposed a memorandum of understanding, and to help pay for the second monitoring well, which Hayes now says the district will pay for. Ormat even offered the district its own monitoring data, as long as the district agreed to sign a nondisclosure agreement. Hayes refused.”

"Pat Hayes is not willing to give up with his fight until Ormat goes away."


Bottom Line

We just published the USGS volcano-status warning, which puts the Long Valley Caldera at number 18, the last of the volcanoes classified as, “Very High Threat,” volcanoes.

This leads me to believe both these operations, extracting drinking water for Mammoth Lakes and hot water for electricity, are both on short leashes, with both having a high potential for going haywire when the next series of strong quakes inevitably wrack Long Valley.

So, to answer the question, "Is the Long Valley Caldera's Hot-Cold Water Boundary Secure?," I'd have to say, No, not when that thing gets shaking...which it's going to do, at some point in time...




The Geology Section

2018 USGS National Volcanic Threat UPDATE



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