MSc presentation by Diego Badilla

29 August 2019

Diego Alberto Badilla Elizondo, MSc Fellow in Geophysics at University of Iceland will give a presentation on his MSc project on Wednesday 4 September, 2019 at 15:00 at University of Iceland, Askja building, room 120.

The title of the project is:

The Borinquen Geothermal Area, Costa Rica: 1D and 3D inversion of resistivity data Geological/Geothermal interpretation

Diego's supervisors:

Gylfi Páll Hersir, Geophysicist at ISOR
Ásdís Benediktsdóttir, Geophysicist at ISOR
Halldór Geirsson, Associate Professor at University of Iceland

The external examiner will be Ragna Karlsdóttir, engineer at ISOR.

Everyone's welcome to attend.


This work consists of modelling and interpretation of resistivity data from the Borinquen Geothermal Area in Costa Rica through 1D joint inversion of Time Domain Electromagnetics (TDEM) and magnetotellurics (MT) data and 3D inversion of static shift corrected MT data. A comparison of the results with gravity, geochemistry, geological investigation and well log data is done.

A total of 97 co-located MT/TDEM sounding pairs were used to carry out the 1D resistivity inversion. Resistivity cross sections and depth slices were created based on the 1D and 3D inversion results to compare both approaches. The subsurface resistivity structure shows a clear image of the main elements associated with the different stages of alteration mineralogy present in a typical high temperature geothermal system in a volcanic environment. On top, a high resistivity zone is seen, reflecting unaltered rocks. Then, a shallow lying conductive layer is found reflecting smectite alteration mineralogy. Below the low resistivity cap, a high resistivity core is found, reflecting chlorite-epidote alteration. Good correlation is observed between the subsurface resistivity structure and the alteration mineralogy revealed in borehole cuttings.

Based on this work, the north and northeast boundary of the Cañas Dulces Caldera is proposed. It is suggested here that Borinquen and Las Pailas Geothermal Areas are mostly controlled by the north and northeast boundaries of the inferred Cañas Dulces and San Vicente Caldera structures and other secondary tectonic structures or fractures are associated with this activity. A new constraint to the Cañas Dulces Caldera is suggested here by slightly modifying some of the previously proposed boundaries and by suggesting the missing boundaries to the north.

The results are important for a better understanding of the geothermal system and the geological setting which is most important for ICE (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, Costa Rican Electricity Company) in developing future geothermal projects in the country.