Tracking of geological structures and detection of hydrothermal intrusion by geo-electrical methods in the highlands of Bolivia

Etzar Gómez, Emil Svensson, Torleif Dahlin, Gerhard Barmen, Jan Erik Rosberg

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review


Oruro city in the Bolivian highlands depends solely on groundwater to supply domestic consumption and irrigation. The top porous aquifer currently exploited is not fully understood in aspects like geometry, hydrogeological properties and interaction with other aquifers in the region. Recent studies detected traces of fractures in the bedrock beneath the porous aquifer; these geological structures seem to be part of a fractured aquifer in contact with thermal sources. The present study aims to fill the gap between those recently detected fractures and the well-mapped fault system to the east of the study area and identify hydrothermal flows by using geo-electrical methods like Electrical Resistivity Tomography and Transient Electromagnetic soundings. Thirteen tomographic lines, placed transversely to the direction of three main faults, were meant to identify prolongations of those structures by tracking distinctive low resistivity in sectors where saline water saturates the subsoil. This type of water is also present in some hot springs near Capachos, where hydrothermal flows discharge under artesian conditions. Two of the investigated faults seem extending to the northwest, in agreement with the expected linkage towards the recently detected fractures. These two faults appear to reach a volcanic formation since the hydrothermal flows, going mainly upwards, align with their strikes. The remaining fault seems not to be connected to any hydrothermal source. The study presents new information, data and interpretations intending to improve the knowledge about the geological structures in a sensitive part of the local aquifer system.

Sidor (från-till)214-226
Antal sidor13
TidskriftJournal of South American Earth Sciences
StatusPublished - 2019

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Geologi

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