This project seeks to explore the use of fiber optic sensing, particularly distributed acoustic sensing (DAS), to seismically characterize geothermal systems at the basin scale in California’s Imperial Valley. We are utilizing fibers that are part of the existing telecom network (“dark fiber”) to record DAS data near the Brawley geothermal system intend to build subsurface models using ambient seismic noise. We will also use the same DAS network to record local and regional seismicity associated with both tectonic processes and geothermal operations. Lastly, we will attempt to use two related methods, distributed temperature sensing (DTS) and distributed strain sensing (DSS), to map deformation and heat flow associated with these systems. We hope to leverage this combination of new technology and existing infrastructure to improve our understanding of hidden geothermal systems in the western US.
For more information, visit Rice University’s Imperial Valley Dark Fiber Project webpage.