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Soil geochemical survey for geothermal exploration, La Palma

June, July, August, September
Number of positions available per month: 3


Water and gas sampling of natural discharges are the most common types of survey over known geothermal areas. However, where discharge features are few and where the extent of the field is not known, soil and soil-gas surveys can prove useful. These surveys can identify permeable regions in a field and possible upflow or boiling zones. They can also delineate the margins of a geothermal system, and therefore often complement geophysical surveys particularly when interpretation of geophysical data is difficult (eg. due to topographic effects).

The three selected undergraduate students for this programme will collaborate with field and lab work related to a soil geochemistry survey for geothermal exploration at Cumbre Vieja volcano, La Palma, Canary Islands. The field and lab work will take place in a daily basis at La Palma Island.

During this programme students will learn how to:

  • perform in-situ soil CO2 efflux measurements
  • perform in-situ soil gas Rn activity measurements
  • collect soil gas samples for chemical and isotopic analysis
  • apply statistical-graphical analysis on the diffuse CO2 degassing survey data
  • perform chemical analysis of the collected soil gas samples by means of micro-chromatography (microGC) and quadrupole mass spectrometry (QMS)
  • collect and prepare soil samples for volatile analysis

Students on this programme will be transferred to La Palma for the whole month by GeoTenerife after their introductory weekend lectures and tour in Tenerife. They will be transferred back to Tenerife at the end for the farewell BBQ and graduation.