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Thread: Newberry Caldera Activity

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    Newberry Caldera Activity

    The USGS in August, after assessing the threats of various volcano's, began installing 8 new monitoring stations at Newberry Caldera. These 8 new Stations will be equipped with both GPS and seismographs, connected by Radio/Internet real time monitoring. This will make Newberry Volcano the most monitored volcano in the Pacific NW, and the third most monitored Volcano in the US after Kilauea and Yellowstone.

    This is not a response to any recent volcanic activity, but due to a FEMA/USGS assessment that indicates Newberry is a high threat volcano, that may produce lava flows or pyroclastic flows that could potentially damage Bend Oregon, which holds a population of over 200,000.

    Historically Newberry has occasionally produced eruptions with lava flows as large as the state of Rhode Island, the last one of these about 75,000 year ago.

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    Project to Pour Water Into Volcano to Make Power
    Geothermal energy developers plan to pump 24 million gallons of water into the side of a dormant volcano in Central Oregon this summer to demonstrate new technology they hope will give a boost to a green energy sector that has yet to live up to its promise.
    the federal government, Google and other investors are interested enough to bet $43 million on the Oregon project. They are helping AltaRock Energy, Inc. of Seattle and Davenport Newberry Holdings LLC of Stamford, Conn., demonstrate whether the next level in geothermal power development can work on the flanks of Newberrry Volcano, located about 20 miles south of Bend, Ore.
    I'll bet this has much to do with those 8 new monitoring stations. Wonder why they chose a "high threat" volcano for the injection tests?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squink View Post
    Project to Pour Water Into Volcano to Make Power I'll bet this has much to do with those 8 new monitoring stations. Wonder why they chose a "high threat" volcano for the injection tests?
    hmmmmmm, it has a history of obsidian flows, and basaltic and rhyolitic lavas, which means high silica content. High silica content and water tend to mean explosive events. So, it's a dormant volcano. Doesn't sprinkling water on a dormant huan cause it to wake up? Yeah, good idea.

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    Davenport Newberry Holdings of Conn? I guess they couldn't get much farther away...

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    Of course, Bend also has the Three Sisters to its west to worry about, as well.

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    Squink:

    The siemographs are unrelated to planned geothermal plant. The main reson for the reassement of Newberry is that Bend Oregon has grown from about 25,000 in the 1980's to 200,000. Thats what now makes it a high risk volcano in that if it does ever erupt, it has an unmanageable population around it to move out of danger.

    Newberry was chosen as it is an active geothermal region, due to it being hotspot related, similar to yellowstone. However it isn't a part of a national park that prevents such a plant from being built. It's part of BLM land which means while it's generally protected (similar laws to national parks), that certain uses can be granted. You can make gold claims, homestead claims, energy claims on BLM land that you can't on National Park land.

    What Isn't being mentioned that any claim on such BLM land, requires the claminant to make $100 dollars a year per arce of improments per year. Improvments can be as simple as clearing out dead wood to prevent fires, to digging of nature trails, and maintaining the required 35 trees per building absent acre. Even if they buy the land from BLM, it's still surrounded by BLM acerage and they have to comply with BLM stricutures, as BLM has a repossession/Iminent Domain clause in all thier land sales contract.

    The BLM actualy likes to give out claims on it's land as they then have to spend less tax payers dollars maintaining them, because it becomes the claimants resposibility, and cost. The only thing the claimant gets, is free seedlings from BLM tree farms, if they happen to want to plant more trees.

    In case you are wondering my Dad used to be the BLM District manager for Oregon, so thats how I learned all this. And Yes that means you could make a gold claim on 1/2 acre of BLM land, and get roughtly 20 seedlings a year free from the BLM tree frams, that you then plant elsewhere. Infact if you do that and tell BLM, they may look at the acreage you are planting and give you more free trees if they deems it's of value. As long as that 1/2 acre has the right number of trees, you can do anything with the free seedlings alotments you want.

    Many a good christmas tree farm in Oregon started via this nice little trick. The BLM allows this because for every sucessfull X-mas tree farm, four others fail and those trees go wild. Which suits the BLM right down to thier toes. As far as BLM is concerned, the more tree's the merrier.


    For Tensor:

    If it wasn't for Yellowstones National Park status, they'd have had geothermal plants there years ago. Infact a few test wells were dug, but they were met with almost as much public protest as nuclear plants do. Thats why Newberry is the next best location, it's still a hot spot volcano, but there won't be an outcry over a few power plants on BLM land.

    It's unknown what water injection of the quantity they are talking about into a volcanicly active region will do, so there is no real reason not to proceed with it. They never know what will really happen until they do it atleast once. If it does set off Newberry, well, it would of eventualy erupt someday anyway, so why not give it a try? If it turns out to be a problem atleast they would then know.

    Personally i think the removal of all that heat for power might have opposite effects, in that it cools the magma chambers, and maybe shuts down the system altogher. So the hotspot then has to break out somewhere else.

    Like migrating to the three sisters area and making that go boom prematurely...
    Last edited by dgavin; 2012-Jan-17 at 04:37 AM.

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    Oh and technically Newberry is Inactive, not Dormant. Mt. Jefferson in Oregon is considered the only Dormant volcano, as there hasn't been activity there in over 50K years. All the other volcanoes are simply inactive. Even Mt. Tabor, a cinder cone mountain in the middle of Portland, Oregon isn't considered dormant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dgavin View Post
    For Tensor:

    If it wasn't for Yellowstones National Park status, they'd have had geothermal plants there years ago. Infact a few test wells were dug, but they were met with almost as much public protest as nuclear plants do. Thats why Newberry is the next best location, it's still a hot spot volcano, but there won't be an outcry over a few power plants on BLM land.

    It's unknown what water injection of the quantity they are talking about into a volcanicly active region will do, so there is no real reason not to proceed with it. They never know what will really happen until they do it atleast once. If it does set off Newberry, well, it would of eventualy erupt someday anyway, so why not give it a try? If it turns out to be a problem atleast they would then know.
    I just don't know. We know that a combination of water and high viscosity magma tends to produce an explosive event. So, while I like the idea of trying to get hydrothermal to work (I've lived in Iceland and have seen how well it can work), pumping water into a high silica content magma area just doesn't strike me as a good idea. Also, in Iceland, they aren't injecting water into areas where is hasn't been. This is introducing water where is hasn't been.


    Quote Originally Posted by dgavin View Post
    Personally i think the removal of all that heat for power might have opposite effects, in that it cools the magma chambers, and maybe shuts down the system altogher.
    Yeah, not sure how well it would do that. I'm not going to say to stop it, just an uneasy feeling about it.


    Quote Originally Posted by dgavin View Post
    So the hotspot then has to break out somewhere else. Like migrating to the three sisters area and making that go boom prematurely...
    Ooooohhhhhh, I bet the people of Bend would just love that.

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    From USGS:

    During August 2011, scientists and volunteers from the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO) installed eight new real-time seismic and deformation (GPS) volcano monitoring stations around Newberry Volcano. By November 2011, scientists had linked all sites into a telemetry system that sends real-time field data to the USGS-CVO in Vancouver and the University of Washington Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) in Seattle. With several months of careful study of background seismicity and deformation levels, the new Newberry Volcano monitoring network is now fully operational.



    Over the last several months scientists at USGS-CVO and PNSN have been studying data from these new stations. They now have an adequate baseline understanding of activity at Newberry Volcano against which to compare future signs of unrest. Scientists have identified several small earthquakes in the vicinity of Newberry that would not have been detected without the network upgrade, including seismic signatures that are interpreted to be fracturing of lake ice within Newberry Volcano's caldera. The eight new GPS receivers indicate that the volcano is not deforming at present.

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    The wind/snow storm that blew through Oregon yesterday and lasy night, was not only picked up on Newberry's Seismographs, but also registered as far away as the Pine Mountain Seismographs, some 15 miles distance. (PMTN station is broadband station and does not norammly pick up wind storms)

    It appears there is more weather related activity going on at both location this afternoon as well.

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    Yeah; we have snow, though a glance out my window shows that it seems to have melted since the last time I looked out the window.
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    Still very windy, I've found Historical wind/weater data site (NOAA) that includes Bend Area, and the recorded wind/gusts per half hour logs, match exactly with the webicorders.

    So in the future i'll be able to better report on non wind/storm related events as long as NOAA keeps historal data for that area.

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    There was a micro quake, registering 1.5 Magnitude about 12:43am on the 26th, at 0 km depth, directly in the middle of Paulina lake, inside of Newberry Caldera.

    The Webicorders did not show this event well, but it's location and depth indicate soemthing hydrologic related.

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    Another Microquake on sunday, 0.6 Mag 1.3 KM depth, below the SW flack of Newberry Caldera.

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    Three microquakes in the early morning hours today on the western flank of Newberry, .9, 1.0 and 1.0 magnitudes

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    A .8 mag micro quake at Newberry on the 7th. Can't even see this event on the webicorders, it's so small.

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    I just want to mention that we visited the Newberry Caldera a week or so ago. I'd not have known it existed if it wasn't for this thread! Very interesting place. We drove up the gravel road to the high point on the crater rim. Awesome view from up there; it would have been better if not for all the smoke/haze from the fires. There was a volunteer up there telling folks about it as well as participating in a ham radio contest from his car. He said it helps to be at 8000 feet! We even had an American Marten run across the road in front of us on the way down. Never seen one of those before.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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    During May, just after the campgrounds open is may favorite time to visit, lots of snow still inside the crater, but almost no campers, there is also almost no staff there.

    Glad to hear you enjoyed your visit. Did you get a chance to visit the Lava Cast Forest area as well nearby the mountain?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dgavin View Post
    During May, just after the campgrounds open is may favorite time to visit, lots of snow still inside the crater, but almost no campers, there is also almost no staff there.

    Glad to hear you enjoyed your visit. Did you get a chance to visit the Lava Cast Forest area as well nearby the mountain?
    Nope, it was a bit off the main road and we were stopping off on the way from one place to another. It sounds interesting.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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    There was a rather strong avalanche or rock slide on the NW caldera rim, on the 22'nd, that registered 1.4 magnitude. Thats fairly strong for an avalanche or rock slide.

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    Let the fracking begin!

    Hydroshearing achieved!
    Yesterday, we got both pumps running at full capability and brought the well head pressure up to 1800 psi. Shortly afterwards, two microseismic events with magnitudes close to zero occurred near the bottom of the bore hole.
    Nice new general overview of the Newberry geothermal project:
    Volcano power plan gets U.S. go-ahead
    The included video is a little propagandic, but does include a description of how they intend to open fracture fields at multiple depths from a single well.

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    15 microsiesmic events total in the last week, all from the NewberryEGS project that Squink mentioned.

    However this well isn't usign Fracking, or the chimicals asscociated with causign rock to fracture. Instead, this is injecting water at depth, to cause exsiting faults to open up. It looks like they are saying Zone 1 injection is complete, and they'll be injecting diverter now, to force the water in next round to follow deeper (and Hotter) pathways. It also appears they have gotten a saturation in zone 1, out to 1km from the bore hole.

    It loosk like this part of the process will proceed rapidly, as the diverter material used, Degrades fast (4 weeks) as the temperature warms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dgavin View Post
    However this well isn't usign Fracking, or the chimicals asscociated with causign rock to fracture. Instead, this is injecting water at depth, to cause exsiting faults to open up.
    AKA, hydraulic fracturing. I'm using the term in the general sense. As they mention in the video, they are injecting some peculiar gel* in with water, so as to temporarily seal the newly opened channels.
    Oddly, they claim the stuff is "biodegradable" over time, at depth. I expect they actually mean 'thermally degraded', or 'sparingly soluble', or some such, as the bacterial population at the bottom of a km deep hole in solidified lava is likely to be very low.



    ---
    *A chemical, if you will.

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    7 more microquakes from the hydroshearing last week. Thier blog hasn't been updated but It's safe to assume that its related to zone 2 injection activity.

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    Windstorms have had the webicorder seismographs completely saturated for the last two days. Strong wings averaging 12mph with gusts upto 60mph.

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    More Hydroshearign quakes, these will probably be going on for some time.

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    Hydroshearing quakes continue (typically less then .5 Magnitude), however this morning 6am PST there was a 2.1 magnitude quake followed by a 2.4 at 9:45 am. These two larger quakes are at depth's and in the range of the hydroshearing injection, so I'm going to say that they are related (after affects) to the hydrothermal drill operations at Newberry.

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    A few updates, the two larger events of >2 magnitude were confirmend by USGS as related to the hydroshearing. So got it right for a change.

    There is a small micro swarm of quakes (6 quakes so far all 1.2 or less magnitude) that appear unrelated to the drilling, as they are 5km's to the north, going on the last few days. Nothing odd here as these quakes are in a field of about 35 inactive cinder cones. Its possible there is -some- minor relation to the hydroshearing drilling, but it's not likely, as the hydroshearing injection is only pushing out 1km from the drill site, and currently they are not injecting, but drilling deeper again to the next injection site.

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    Work continues:
    Early this year, AltaRock advanced control of the process further. It injected recycled plastic into fractured rock at the Newberry site, sealing off separated reservoirs, and continued fracking them individually.

    EGS, if proven safe, would turn the earth’s deep heat into productive geothermal power even in the absence of the kind of water reservoir adjacent to the heat source that makes a conventional hydrothermal well viable.

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    Newberry Caldera now has the distiction of being the best monitored volcano in the USA.

    14 siesmographs in the direct vicinity, with 3 others near by in the bend/bachlor area, and even more in the sisters volcanic area and south on HWY 97.

    Why so much monitoring? It is the top most dangerous volcano in Oregon, in that it is close to Bend with a population of a quarter million and has a history of an occasional VEI 7 level eruption (St. Helens was a VEI 5, Yellowstone super eruptions were VEI 8)

    But more importantly, it is the first volcanic region where hydrothermal power drilling is being done -where- they planned ahead by getting siesmic equipment down first.

    So no need to hide and build volcano fall out shelters. They are watching to see what, if any, effects the drilling will have in an active volcanic region.

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