Geological and hydrochemical controls on water chemistry and stable isotopes of hot springs in the Three Parallel Rivers Region, southeast Tibetan Plateau: The genesis of geothermal waters

Peng He, Huairen Zhang, Sihong Li, Xiaofeng Zhou, Xiaocheng Zhou, Miao He, Jiao Tian, Yongxian Zhang, Zhongliang Wu, Tianhua Chen, Yunhe Liu, Ala Aldahan, Yi Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Three Parallel Rivers Region (TPRR) is a tectonically active area in the middle segment of the Sanjiang Tethys Orogen, southeast Tibetan Plateau, characterized by many hot springs. This area is up-and-coming for producing geothermal energy, a CO2-free energy source, which will help China in reducing the effects of climate change. We report here the results of 37 geothermal springs that have been sampled to investigate the physical and chemical characteristics of the thermal water and evolution patterns. These springs are drained along three major N-S faults zones (the Lujiang Fault, the Lancangjiang Fault and the Jinshajiang-Red River Fault) to the interior of the Lanping Basin. Five hydrochemical water facies were recognized with Na-HCO3 being the primary type. Fluorine and boron that are produced through water-rock interactions are commonly enriched in these waters, and their concentrations are further controlled by secondary hydrochemical processes during water migration. The water's stable isotopes (δ18O and δD) suggest the meteoric origin of all thermal waters in the TPRR. The estimated reservoir temperatures range between 61 °C and 118 °C with the relatively hot reservoirs (> 100 °C) generally developed in major shear zones. These results indicate variable water circulation depth exceeding 3000 m, implying that the large-scale shearing displacement plays a vital role in heat acquisition. Conductive cooling and possible mixing of the thermal water with near-surface cold water occurred as the thermal water ascended along the fault systems and was ejected along the outlets of the springs. This study adds insights into hydrogeochemical constrains on evolution of water solutes over a large-scale hydrological cycle in the TPRR.

Original languageEnglish
Article number167648
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume906
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2024

Keywords

  • Aqueous geochemistry
  • Geothermal springs
  • Isotope
  • Southeast Tibetan Plateau
  • Three Parallel Rivers Region

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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