NPGS Monthly Meeting—Thursday, November 7

Speaker: Rick Zehner
Topic: Travelogue and Early-Stage Geothermal Exploration in Papua New Guinea
Nevada Petroleum and Geothermal Society
November 2019 NPGS Meeting
Nov. 7, 2019, 06:30 PM to 09:30 PM
Location: Tamarack Junction

Abstract: Papua New Guinea (PNG) is located off the beaten track to the north of Australia and just south of the equator. Eight million people spread over a tropical archipelago speak over 800 different languages, along with German and Australian colonial influences. The country is resource-rich but lacks enough power generation for speedy development.

Geologically, the area is a mishmash of continental and oceanic plates grinding together, having some of the highest subduction rates on the planet. This has created an environment friendly for magma generation, volcanoes, and geothermal systems. Its one existing 65 MW geothermal power plant is located on Lihir Island and serves to power an epithermal gold mine.

The Provincial Government of Madang commissioned the authors to conduct a geothermal reconnaissance of Karkar Island, an active stratovolcano located in the Bismark Sea, and having no known geothermal system. How we planned and implemented this survey (satellite thermal IR, shallow temperature survey, etc.), and the resulting successes and failures of the project will be discussed.

Since our shallow temperature equipment was already at PNG, we were asked at the last minute to implement a survey at the known geothermal system at Rabaul, the former provincial capital of East New Britain. Rabaul lies at the north end of an active caldera that hosts Tavurvur Volcano, whose 1997 eruption buried half the town in over a meter of ash. However, the geothermal system associated with Tavurvur is robust and is located only about 4 km from the main substation. Geothermometry and shallow temperature data from the Rabaul geothermal system will be presented.

The talk will hopefully stitch together some of the cultural and geologic aspects of PNG, using photos and some of the early-stage data that we collected.

Bio: Rick Zehner is an experienced exploration geologist with a strong background in generative and project work in both the geothermal and precious metal industries. He has conducted exploration, mapping, site assessments, due diligence, rotary and core drilling, and other development activities in the western U.S., Alaska, Yukon, Indonesia, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, and Serbia. Proficient in GIS and database management. He has worked in federal and state geologic agencies, universities, major mining companies, small startups, and is currently an independent consultant. Rick is a Certified Professional Geologist, and has MSHA open-pit certification.

Cocktails, wine and beer will be served starting at 6:30 pm, and dinner is served at 7:15 pm.

The bar will be sponsored by Di Drill Survey Services.

Click here to register online and reserve your seat.

Leave a Reply