Spatial data analysis for exploration of regional scale geothermal resources

Majid Kiavarz Moghaddam, Younes Noorollahi, Farhad Samadzadegan, Mohammad Ali Sharifi, Ryuichi Itoi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Defining a comprehensive conceptual model of the resources sought is one of the most important steps in geothermal potential mapping. In this study, Fry analysis as a spatial distribution method and 5% well existence, distance distribution, weights of evidence (WofE), and evidential belief function (EBFs) methods as spatial association methods were applied comparatively to known geothermal occurrences, and to publicly-available regional-scale geoscience data in Akita and Iwate provinces within the Tohoku volcanic arc, in northern Japan. Fry analysis and rose diagrams revealed similar directional patterns of geothermal wells and volcanoes, NNW-, NNE-, NE-trending faults, hotsprings and fumaroles. Among the spatial association methods, WofE defined a conceptual model correspondent with the real world situations, approved with the aid of expert opinion. The results of the spatial association analyses quantitatively indicated that the known geothermal occurrences are strongly spatially-associated with geological features such as volcanoes, craters, NNW-, NNE-, NE-direction faults and geochemical features such as hotsprings, hydrothermal alteration zones and fumaroles. Geophysical data contains temperature gradients over 100°C/km and heat flow over 100mW/m2. In general, geochemical and geophysical data were better evidence layers than geological data for exploring geothermal resources. The spatial analyses of the case study area suggested that quantitative knowledge from hydrothermal geothermal resources was significantly useful for further exploration and for geothermal potential mapping in the case study region. The results can also be extended to the regions with nearly similar characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-83
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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