EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Global thermal spring distribution and relationship to endogenous and exogenous factors

Giancarlo Tamburello1, Giovanni Chiodini1, Giancarlo Ciotoli2,3, Monia Procesi3, Dmitri Rouwet1, and Laura Sandri1
Giancarlo Tamburello et al.
  • 1Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Bologna, Italy
  • 2Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Geologia Ambientale e Geoingegneria, Rome, Italy
  • 3Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Rome, Italy

In the last decades, the enormous potential for direct geothermal heat from aquifers attracted special attention, particularly toward those thermal springs indicating areas in which exploitation of geothermal energy might be economically feasible for indirect uses such as electrical power production. The availability of geochemical data besides the location of thermal spring areas assumes particular importance, especially in the first stages of a geothermal exploration program. In this work, we present a digitised format of the literature review of Gerald Ashley Waring on the geothermal springs of the world. This unprecedented dataset contains geographical coordinates (from georeferentiation) of ~6,000 geothermal spring areas, including complementary data such as temperatures, flow rates, total dissolved solids content (TDS, expressed in ppm), and quantitative chemical analysis of major elements (only for a few hundred sites). Using temperature and flow rate, we derive the heat discharged from 1483 thermal spring areas (between ~10-5 and ~103 MW, with a median value of ~0.5 MW and ~8300 MW in total). We complement this information with geological data sets currently available in the literature and analyse them using statistical and geospatial tools and a supervised machine-learning algorithm. We show that terrestrial heat flow, topography, volcanism, and extensional tectonic play a key role in the occurrence of thermal waters around the globe. These results can also be beneficial to address the geothermal interest towards specific and less studied areas and significantly drive the first steps of the geothermal surveys and detailed investigations. Finally, this data set in electronic format will be beneficial for future research on the spatial distribution of thermalism at a small scale and the variation of temperature and flow rate of several thermal springs in the last decades in certain regions.

How to cite: Tamburello, G., Chiodini, G., Ciotoli, G., Procesi, M., Rouwet, D., and Sandri, L.: Global thermal spring distribution and relationship to endogenous and exogenous factors, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-13900,, 2023.