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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Conceptual model of the Tatun geothermal system, Taiwan


The Tatun geothermal system, located in northern Taiwan, is hosted by the Plio-Pleistocene Tatun volcanic group, consisting dominantly of andesitic lavas, domes and pyroclastic flows. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, geologic mapping, geochemical sampling, geophysical surveys, and the drilling of numerous exploration and temperature gradient wells were conducted at Tatun under the leadership of the Mineral Research and Service Organization (MRSO), the predecessor to the geothermal group at the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). Deep (1–2 km) wells encountered commercial temperatures (200–300 °C) in the Matsao area, but these initial exploration efforts were discouraged by the presence of very acidic (pH < 3.5) and highly corrosive fluids. Numerous geoscience studies conducted over the past 15 years at Tatun have shown that the central portion of the system is dominated by corrosive volcanic fluids, as evidenced by abundant SO2 as well as HCl. More reduced gases are encountered on the flanks of the system, suggesting that water-rock interaction may have at least partly neutralized the volcanic-derived fluids on the margins of this geothermal system.

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