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Clay minerals related to the circulation of geothermal fluids in boreholes at Rittershoffen (Alsace, France)

Abstract : Two geothermal wells, GRT-1 and GRT-2, were drilled into the granite at Rittershoffen (Alsace, France) in the Upper Rhine Graben to exploit geothermal resources at the sediment-basement interface. Brine circulation occurs in a permeable fracture network and leads to hydrothermal alteration of the host rocks. The goal of the study was to characterize the petrography and mineralogy of the altered rocks with respect to the permeable fracture zones in the granitic basement. As clay minerals are highly reactive to hydrothermal alteration, they can be used as indicators of present-day and paleo-circulation systems. Special attention has been paid to the textural, structural and chemical properties of these minerals. The fine-grained clay fraction (< 5 μm) was analyzed around the originally permeable fracture zones to observe the crystal structure of clay minerals using X-ray diffraction. Chemical microanalysis of the clay minerals was performed using scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. The occurrences of mixed layers illite-smectite (~ 10% smectite) provide a promising guide for identifying the fracture zones that control the present-day circulation of geothermal fluids in the Rittershoffen wells. However, multistage paleo-circulation systems could lead to an abundance of heterogeneous and fine-grained illitic minerals that could plug the fracture system. The permeability of fracture zones in the GRT-1 well was likely reduced because of an intense illitization, and the well was stimulated. The occurrence of chlorite in the permeable fracture zones of GRT-2 is indicative of less intense illitization, and the natural permeability is much higher in GRT-2 than in GRT-1.
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Soumis le : vendredi 16 février 2018 - 13:35:22
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2018 Vidal et al JVGR mergedSI...
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Jeanne Vidal, Patricia Patrier, Albert Genter, Daniel Beaufort, Chrystel Dezayes, et al.. Clay minerals related to the circulation of geothermal fluids in boreholes at Rittershoffen (Alsace, France). Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, Elsevier, 2018, 349, pp.192 - 204. ⟨10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2017.10.019⟩. ⟨hal-01679630⟩



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