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Research Article |

Implication of Epithermal Mineralization as Proxy for Geothermal Energy Potentiality in Puga, Ladakh UT, India

The present study area, Puga, is located along the inflexion point of Indian and Asian plates comprising of zone of anatectic melting, where thermal activity is attributed to the extensive igneous activity during Upper Cretaceous to late Tertiary age. The area is characterized by geysers, past fumaroles, steaming grounds and mud pools with vast spread of sulfur, carbonates and borax deposits with surface temperature of hot springs of 84°C, which is the boiling point of water at ~ 4500 m above mean sea level. It is the only known geothermal system where rare alkali enrichment in thermal fluids follows the sequence: Cs > Li > Rb. Our study shows for the first-time evidence of lithium containing mica mineral, polylithionite, in the thermal spring deposits. The characteristic Na-Cl composition of thermal waters points to recurrent interactions between high-temperature fluids and the crystalline or volcanic rocks in the ancient reservoir beneath, unequivocally suggesting prevailing partial equilibration conditions with rock-forming minerals in thermal waters. The study also shows occurrence of epithermal minerals like jarosite, thenardite, alunite, tincalconite in the hot spring deposits with reservoir temperature estimated from multiple ion exchange geothermometers of ~250°C. Calculations show that meteoric water circulates at a minimum depth of approximately 1.5 km where it assimilates solutes through magmatic convection and emerge as hot springs. High heat flow and Cs-enrichment in thermal fluids are indications of cooling acid magma chamber at a significant depth which influences heat influx and the formation of epithermal minerals. Therefore, this study presents a state-of-art approach demonstrating that the presence of hydrothermal minerals within surface hot spring deposits can act as a promising indicator for identifying shallow high-temperature zones in the reservoir.

Hot Springs, Epithermal Minerals, Polylithionite, Geothermometers, Circulation Depth

APA Style

Dutta, A., Mishra, P., Thapliyal, A. P., Sakhare, V. V., Singh, P. K., et al. (2024). Implication of Epithermal Mineralization as Proxy for Geothermal Energy Potentiality in Puga, Ladakh UT, India. Earth Sciences, 13(1), 8-13.

ACS Style

Dutta, A.; Mishra, P.; Thapliyal, A. P.; Sakhare, V. V.; Singh, P. K., et al. Implication of Epithermal Mineralization as Proxy for Geothermal Energy Potentiality in Puga, Ladakh UT, India. Earth Sci. 2024, 13(1), 8-13. doi: 10.11648/earth.20241301.12

AMA Style

Dutta A, Mishra P, Thapliyal AP, Sakhare VV, Singh PK, et al. Implication of Epithermal Mineralization as Proxy for Geothermal Energy Potentiality in Puga, Ladakh UT, India. Earth Sci. 2024;13(1):8-13. doi: 10.11648/earth.20241301.12

Copyright © 2024 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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