Tibet boasts many huge geothermal reserves and resource exploitation potential. However, as the geothermal resource is relatively scattered, it is hard to be exploited. The scope of work includes assessments of geothermal and ground water storage capacity, and the amount of exploitable heat and water and the fluid quality are evaluated in separate geothermal districts (fields) on the basis of the former investigation on geothermal wells, springs and geothermal field. Considering the low degree of general survey in Tibet and less information available, the amount of geothermal water in Tibet is calculated by natural heat flux method (SPA). The exploited amount of geothermal fluid (SPA) in Tibet mountainous area is 7.65 × 107 m3/a, and the exploitable geothermal resources (SPA) are 1700.77 × 1013 J/a, equivalent to 51.1 × 104 T of standard coal. A single interception of natural heat flow (SPA) shows that there is a huge potential for the development and utilization of geothermal resources in Tibet mountainous areas. Hot dry rock resources evaluation is conducted as well. Statistics show that this region’s base temperature is greater than 150 °C, and 19 zones are found with surface thermal fluid above boiling point. It is calculated that the thermal reserve 3–5 km below amounts to 145,367.93 × 1015 J, equivalent to 49.68 × 108 tons of standard coal. In south Tibet, the currently developed and utilized geothermal resources are mainly from Yangbajing thermal field. Early exploited amount of shallow geothermal resources amounts to 1512 t/h. Other geothermal active areas are basically unexploited. In middle Tibet, the geothermal active zones are still in natural forms without any exploitation. The total amount of geothermal liquid resources in north Tibet is 8.3 × 104 m3/a. East Tibet area’s geothermal resources are basically unexploited. The total amount of geothermal liquid resources is 3.77 × 105 m3/a. According to the results of geothermal resources evaluation in each area of Tibet, most geothermal active zones are in their natural state and not utilized, and are exploitation zones with high potential, especially in south and east Tibet uplifted zones.
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This study was supported by grants from, geothermal evaluation and regionalization of China Geological Survey (Grant No. 12120113077300) and geothermal current status and regionalization of China Geological Survey (1212010818081). One of the authors was partially supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for central public research institutes (YK201501 and YK201611).
This article is part of a Topical Collection in Environmental Earth Sciences on ‘‘Subsurface Energy Storage II’’, guest edited by Zhonghe Pang, Yanlong Kong, Haibing Shao, and Olaf Kolditz.
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Wang, S., Lu, C., Nan, D. et al. Geothermal resources in Tibet of China: current status and prospective development. Environ Earth Sci 76, 239 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-017-6464-5
- Geothermal resources
- Current status