Mines students conduct Pagosa Springs geothermal study

The town of Pagosa Springs, Colo., depends on geothermal resources for tourism as well as a source of renewable energy -- a recent study by Colorado School of Mines’ geophysics students will aid officials there in further developing the region’s geothermal industry.

Earlier this summer, a group from Mines, along with students from Imperial College London and RMIT (Melbourne, Australia), studied the Pagosa Springs geothermal system as part of summer field session.

“Pagosa Springs was suggested as an attractive possibility for field camp because that community had tapped its natural hot springs not only for recreation but also to provide heat for the downtown businesses,” said Terry Young, head of Mines’ Department of Geophysics.

The students characterized the local geology, conducted geophysical surveys and then analyzed their results. In early June they presented their findings, explaining the basics of geophysics and what they discovered about Pagosa Springs’ geothermal structure.

“When we contacted Pagosa Springs about conducting our field camp in their vicinity, Phil Starks, geothermal supervisor for the town, encouraged us to come and emphasized the value we could bring to the community by helping them understand their geothermal system,” Young said.

Young said the community welcomed the Mines group and they plan to return for additional field study next summer.

For photos and more information regarding geophysics field camp, see the Department of Geophysics website.