The University of Idaho's Idaho Geological Survey recently drilled new wells in southeastern Idaho to provide the most accurate assessment of high-temperature geothermal energy potential in the region. Workers successfully completed installation of three wells in the Blackfoot-Gem Valley volcanic field of southeastern Idaho during the fourth quarter of 2012. The wells were drilled within an 18-mile radius of China Hat, a 60,000-year-old region of volcanic rock near Soda Springs, Idaho. The wells allow researchers to precisely measure heat coming out of the Earth, which will help them better understand Idaho's geologic framework, in addition to offering insight into the region's geothermal energy potential.
A key part of the drilling project's success has been the ongoing geothermal data compilation effort for the National Geothermal Data System project. The availability of such data allowed researchers to formulate hypotheses on the Blackfoot-Gem Valley volcanic field's geothermal potential that will be tested with the data acquired from the newly drilled wells. Data from the project are now available on the National Geothermal Data System website and will be available in expanded format during summer 2013 on the Idaho Geological Survey website. Read the full University of Idaho story: Idaho Geological Survey and U-Idaho Explore Geothermal Energy.