For thousands of years, humankind has been digging wells and finding many different resources below the Earth’s surface. We have been discovering gold and other minerals, digging deep down until we hit pay dirt.
What we have also been doing, and this we must do in order to survive, is digging for water. We have been digging wells that give us that life-giving water ever since we began walking upright, but what we are beginning to know more about, year after year, is how to go down deeper and how to look in unlikely places for the resources we need to survive.
Geothermal imaging is a technology that is making it possible for us to not only look for resources that we need but also to answer key economic questions about resource development. Among the many processes of geothermal imaging is one that involves a conceptual model of the subsurface. Geothermal camera technology and downhole video camera equipment are two of the elements that can be involved in creating a model of what the specific section of Earth is like.
Along with the surface geology, the subsurface is brought to the conceptual model that is created to identify specific drilling targets. Because of geothermal imaging, the model of the surface and subsurface can be so precise that drilling and excavating can be done with minimal disturbance to the overall environment.
The exploration for geothermal resources requires deep sounding tools that are very robust in terrains that can be deep and dangerous. What geothermal imaging can do is provide insight and identify structural controls on fluid migration. This means that geothermal imaging helps us to locate where water is underground.
More importantly, it helps us identify where that water is heading and how it all naturally flows underground. When we know this, we have a better idea about how to find the best places to drill for wells. After all, we don’t just want a well for a short period of time, we want a well that is constantly being fed by water sources.
A well inspection camera is a device that reaches down into the Earth and can go much further down that the naked eye. A deep well camera is extremely useful when exploring for water. It can be put down where people cannot go. However, geothermal imaging is helpful even before this process of using a camera takes place.
Exploratory drilling that is just based on surface geology alone can be extremely risky. It can also be potentially dangerous. Geothermal imaging reveals areas where subsurface structures might prohibit further drilling and lead to an unsuccessful attempt to dig a well or finish another type of project.
Ever since we have been shuffling along, trying to find water to keep us alive, humankind has been trying to find better and more effective ways to dig into the subsurface of the Earth. When it comes to this, it is most effective to put together a conceptual model using geothermal imaging.
In time, we might just be able to scan the surface with a smartphone the way the crew of the Starship Enterprise has been doing for over 50 years on our television sets. But, until then, we are doing pretty well on our own.