Energy and Material Flow in the Upper Rhine Graben

Michele Jungmann, Thermalwasser, Oberrheingraben
Großer Sprudel in Bad Nauheim
Michele Jungmann, Thermalwasser, Oberrheingraben
Thermal spring Chaudefontaine in the Vosges (left) & in Baden-Baden (right)

Within the project "Energy and Material Flow in the Upper Rhine Graben (EMURG): a systemic approach to describe the hydrothermal regime in graben structures", funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG, project number: 435358664), the complete hydrothermal system of the Upper Rhine Graben will be investigated by means of geochemical and mineralogical analyses. Chemical analyses of various geothermal fluids from geothermal power plants and thermal baths have revealed high concentrations of elements critical to raw materials, e.g. lithium, but also of elements harmful to health, e.g. arsenic. Due to the importance of lithium for the advancing digitalization, electromobility or the use of renewable energies, the geothermal fluids of the Upper Rhine Graben could serve as a raw material source. In order to develop a better understanding of the origin of these elements, the reservoir rocks, geothermal fluids and precipitates of different aquifers will be studied and compared with the paleofluids of the hydrothermal ore deposits of the Black Forest and the Vosges.

A holistic view is necessary, since both systems have been studied so far only independently and on a very small scale. Furthermore, only little is known about the trace element composition of the different fluids. From the data obtained, geochemical parameters will be developed.