The increasing global demand for energy and the imminent need to reduce carbon emissions in our planet has led mankind to find new solutions. Some in the energy industry have taken special interest in geothermal reservoirs, a resource with the potential to provide large amounts of renewable energy. Meanwhile, the storage of carbon dioxide in underground geological formations presents a fantastic opportunity to discard CO2 and mitigate global warming. This study links efforts from academic institutions, industry energy operators, industrial partners and research institutes to answer fundamental scientific questions that can help us understand the subsurface and generate better exploitation practices.

We examine the geology of reservoirs used for geothermal energy extraction and carbon dioxide capture. We use a combination of field geology, photogrammetry, mineral analysis and experimental rock mechanics to understand fracture networks and fluid flow paths of two geologically diverse reservoirs in Europe: 1) the Hengill geothermal system in south-west Iceland, and 2) the Carnmenellis granite geothermal system in Cornwall (UK). These results aim to provide experimental data to refine numerical models predicting fluid flow and contribute to the quantification of the associated risks of exploiting the subsurface.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Einarsson, P.
    [2008] Plate Boundaries, Rifts and Transforms in Iceland. Jokull, 58, 35–58.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Gunnarson, G. and Mortensen, A.
    [2016] Dealing with intense production density: Challenges in understanding and operating the Hellisheiði Geothermal Field, SW-Iceland. Proceedings, 41st Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering Stanford University, Stanford, California, February 22–24, 2016.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. HardarsonB.S., Einarsson, G.M, Franzson, H. and Gunnlaugsson, E.
    [2009] Volcano-tectonic-geothermal interaction at the Hengill triple junction, SW Iceland. GRC Transacions, 33, p. 49–55.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Healy, D., Rizzo, R., Cornwell, D., Farrell, N., Watkins, H., Timms, N., Gomez-Rivas, E. and Smith, M.
    [2016] FracPaQ: A MATLAB™ toolbox for the quantification of fracture patterns. Journal of Structural Geology. 95. 10.1016/j.jsg.2016.12.003.
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsg.2016.12.003 [Google Scholar]
  5. Leveridge, B.E, Holder, M.T and Day, G.A
    [1984] Thrust nappe tectonics in the Devonian of south Cornwall and the western English Channel. In: Hutton, D.H.W. and Sanderson, D.J (Eds), Variscan tectonics of the North Atlantic region. Special Publication of the Geological Society, London, 14, 103–112.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Leveridge, B.E, Holder, M.T and Goode, A.J.J.
    [1990] Geology of the country around Falmouth. Memoir of the British Geological Survey, 352 (England and Wales).
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Oelkers, E.H, Gislason, S. R., Matter, J.
    [2008] Mineral Carbonation of CO2. Elements; 4 (5): 333–337.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Pine, R. J. and LedinghamP.
    [1983] In situ hydraulic parameters for the Carnmenellis granite hot dry rock geothermal energy research reservoir. SPE 12020. In SPE 58th Arm. Tech. Conf. and Exhibition, San Francisco (October).
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Rattey, P.R and Sanderson, D.J
    [1984] The structure of SW Cornwall and its bearing on the emplacement of the Lizard Complex. Journal of the Geological Society, London, 141, 87–95.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Richards, H.G, Savage, D. and Andrews, J.N
    [1992] Granite-water reactions in an experimental hot dry rock geothermal reservoir, Rosemanowes test site, Cornwall, U.KApplied Geochemistry, 7 (3), 193–222.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Shail, R.K and Wilkinson, J.J
    [1994] Late to post-Variscan extensional tectonics in south Cornwall. Proceedings of the Ussher Society, 8, 262–270.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error