The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre

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Hydrothermal Modelling in the Perth Basin

3D model of part of the Perth basin showing temperature and flow fields

Perth is uniquely situated over underground formations that are suitable for geothermal solutions to recover sustainable energy for commercial and domestic use. The pinpointing of zones where hot water is encountered close to the surface is vital for cost effective and efficient exploitation of these resources.

The image shows a 3D representation (Perth profile scaled to provide context) of the underground water temperature and flow fields in a part of the Perth Basin, extending from the Darling Fault in the east, to the coast in the west. The surface shows the base of a geological unit in which groundwater flows, colour-coded with temperature. The grey streamlines indicate fluid flow (faster with lighter colours).

The heat flow from the earth leads to a convective fluid flow in this system – similar to the flow of fluids in a pot of hot water, where hot fluids are transported up and cold fluids down in convection cells. This image shows how geological structures control fluid movements, an aspect that is of great practical importance as the up-flowing hot fluids are a primary target for geothermal exploration.

To understand the complex flow within the basin, we run computationally demanding simulations using the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre’s resources and analyse the results using Pawsey’s visualisation capabilities.

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