Geothermal Exploration ‘Takes Flight’ with FTG

Geothermal energy is a hot topic in the energy space. However, locating geothermal energy requires complex surveys. There are many options, but innovative companies are taking to the skies.

Discussing how these surveys work with FTG (Full Tensor Gradiometry), Bell Geospace Lead Geophysicist Alan Morgan joined host Hilary Kennedy on the company’s podcast. Morgan is an expert in gradiometry exploration and data acquisition.

First, Morgan explained how FTG works. “FTG detects density contrasts. By flying FTG surveys, what we are doing is detecting faults and constraining the “cup” that holds the heated fluids’’.The difference with FTG compared to standard gravity surveys is that it measures the rate of change of gravity in all directions. “FTG offers a 3D measurement,” Morgan added. Essentially this is a better resolution image and provides more details on the shape, depth, size… etc

Using FTG for gradiometry exploration and data acquisition supports seismic, especially in the near subsurface– up to 500m where seismic data is difficult to constrain.  Additionally, FTG is routinely utilized to perform quantitative 2D modelling along seismic profiles to evaluate sedimentary density as a function of porosity.

Morgan shared several specific surveys that had anomalies. Anomalies are something he’s always interested in digging into, and, on occasion, he’s able to go to the location.

There were anomalies in one survey in Indonesia, which, upon investigation, related to weathering and sand texture differences. Being on-site helped him collect the most accurate data to answer the questions.

Morgan also spoke about silica and geothermal activity. “Silica is an indicator that there is excess heat in the system. In south Texas, some wells record over 60° Celsius water temperatures. There is potential to take advantage of these temperatures.”

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