Earth Sciences

Submit a Manuscript

Publishing with us to make your research visible to the widest possible audience.

Propose a Special Issue

Building a community of authors and readers to discuss the latest research and develop new ideas.

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. https://doi.org/10.11648/earth.20241301.12

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 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

1. Chandrasekharam, D., Alam, M. A., Minissale, A. Geothermal resource potential of Himachal Pradesh, India. International Geothermal Conference, Reykjavik. 2003, 15–20.
2. Low, U., Absar, A., Duraiswami, R., Karim, A. Geochemical and geophysical evaluation of hot springs in southern parts of West Coast Geothermal Province, Maharashtra, India. Journal of Indian Geophysical Union. 2022, 26(6), 478−490.
3. Craig, J., Absar, A., Bhat, G., Cadel, G., Hafiz, M., Hakhoo, N., Kashkari, R., Moore, J., Ricchiuto, T. E., Thurow, J., Thusu, B. Hot springs and the geothermal energy potential of Jammu & Kashmir State, NW Himalaya, India. Earth-Science Reviews. 2013, 126, 156-177. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earscirev.2013.05.004.
4. Dutta, A., Gupta, R. K. Geochemistry and utilization of water from thermal springs of Tawang and West Kameng Districts, Arunachal Pradesh. Journal of Geological Society of India. 2022, 98, 237–244. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12594-022-1964-7.
5. Absar, A., Dutta, A., Sakhare, V. V., Mishra, P., Ravi, Thapliyal, A. P. Genetic Aspects of the Puga Geothermal System, District Leh, Ladakh, in the Light of Geological, Geophysical and Geochemical Characteristics. Gondwana Geological Society Special Publication. 2023, 2, 7–13.
6. Mishra, P., Absar, A., Dutta, A., Sakhare, V. V., Shankar, U., Thapliyal, A. P., Saini, P., Singh, P. K., Bagchi, J. Hot springs of Demchok, Ladakh, India. Current Science. 2023, 124(9), 1104−1107. doi: 10.18520/cs/v124/i9/1104-1107.
7. Harinarayana, T., Azeez, K. A., Naganjaneyulu, K., Manoj, C., Veeraswamy, K., Murthy, D. N., Rao, S. P. E. Magnetotelluric studies in Puga valley geothermal field, NW Himalaya, Jammu and Kashmir, India. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. 2004, 138(3-4), 405-424. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2004.07.011.
8. Dutta, A., Mishra, P., Absar, A., Malviya, V. P., Singh, P. K., Srivastava, A., Ray, B., Kumar, A., Nitnaware, N. V. Tracing hydrothermal mineral thenardite in geysers/hot springs of Northwestern Himalayan belt, Ladakh Geothermal Province, India by hydrogeochemistry, fluid-mineral equilibria and isotopic studies. Geochemistry. 2023, 8(2), 125973. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemer.2023.125973.
9. Thussu, J. L., Das, R. N., Absar, A., Vasudavan, A. Well head measurements on geothermal wells in Puga valley. Geological Survey of India Unpublished Report. 1976.
10. Jangi, B. L., Bajaj, A. K. Report on the geothermal exploration in Puga valley, Ladakh District, Jammu and Kashmir. Geological Survey of India Unpublished Report. 1992.
11. Shanker, R., Absar, A., Srivastava, G. C., Pandey, S. N. Source and significance of anomalously high cesium in geothermal fluid at Puga, Ladakh, India. 21st New Zealand Geothermal Workshop. 1999.
12. Shanker, R., Absar, A., Srivastava, G. C., Bajpai, I. P. A case study of Puga geothermal system, India. 21st New Zealand Geothermal Workshop. 1999.
13. Dutta, A., Singh, R. J., Debnath, S., Mishra, P., Gupta, R. K., Singh, P. K., Ray, B. Extricating hydrogeochemical evolution of geothermal fluids of an unexplored section in North-Eastern Himalayas, Arunachal geothermal province, India. Solid Earth Sciences. 2023, 8, 222–240. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sesci.2023.07.002.
14. Shanker, R., Padhi, R. N., Arora, C. L., Prakash, G., Thussu, J. L., Dua, K. J. S. Geothermal exploration of the Puga and Chumathang geothermal fields, Ladakh, India. 2nd Proceedings on United Nations Symposium for Development and Use of Geothermal Resources. 1976, 1, 245–258.
15. Virdi, N. S., Thakur, V. C., Kumar, S. Blueschist facies metamorphism from the Indus suture zone of Ladakh and its significance. Himalayan Geology. 1977, 7, 479–482.
16. Mathur, K. N., Absar, A., Agarwal, R. K., Khan, M. A., Srivastava, G. C. Cesium and Hg-Sb Mineralization in Puga Geothermal System, Ladakh, J&K, India. Geothermal Resources Council. 2004, 28, 489-493.
17. Absar, A. Report on Puga-Chumathang Geothermal Exploration Project. Geological Survey of India Unpublished Report. Field Season 1980-81. 1981.
18. Azeez, K. A., Harinarayana, T. Magnetotelluric evidence of potential geothermal resource in Puga, Ladakh, NW Himalaya. Current Science. 2007, 323–329. https://www.jstor.org/stable/24099462.
19. APHA (American Public Health Association). Standard methods for the examination of water and waste water, 6th ed. APHA, Washington, DC. 1985.
20. Dutta, A., Absar, A., Mishra, P., Banerjee, S., Saini, P., Sakhare, V. V., Srivastava, A., Thapliyal, A. P., Ray, B. Deciphering Hydrochemistry and Fluid-Mineral Equilibria from Characteristic Low-Enthalpy Geothermal Waters of Himalaya and Eastern India. Journal of Geosciences Research. 2023, 8(2), 164−169. doi: https://doi.org/10.56153/g19088-023-0157-37.
21. Zhou, X., Jin, X., Liang, S., Shen, Y., Zhang, H. Special topics on groundwater sciences. 2nd Edn. Geological Publishing House, Beijing (in Chinese). 2017.
22. Fournier, R. O., Truesdell, A. H. An empirical Na-K-Ca geothermometer for natural waters. Geochimica et Cosmochimica acta. 1973, 37(5), 1255-1275. https://doi.org/10.1016/0016-7037(73)90060-4.
23. Giggenbach, W. F. Graphical techniques for the evaluation of water/rock equilibration conditions by use of Na, K, Mg and Ca contents of discharge waters. In: Proceedings of 8th New Zealand Geothermal Workshop. 1986, 37–44.
24. Dutta, A., Thapliyal, A. P., Singh, P. K., Rohilla, S., Gupta, R. K. Geological setup and physicochemical characteristics of Munger Groups of thermal springs along Munger–Saharsa Ridge Fault, Bihar, India: A conceptual hydrogeochemical model. Journal of Earth System Science. 2023, 132(1), 12. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12040-022-02023-8.
25. Chatterjee, S., Dutta, A., Gupta, R. K., Sinha, U. K. Genesis, evolution, speciation and fluid-mineral equilibrium study of an unexplored geothermal area in Northeast Himalaya, India. Geothermics. 2022, 105, 102483. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geothermics.2022.102483.
26. Arora, B. R., Gahalaut, V. K., Kumar, N. Structural control on along-strike variation in the seismicity of the northwest Himalaya. Journal of Asian Earth Science. 2012, 57, 15-24. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jseaes.2012.06.001.