NSS 75th Anniversary Convention

Fish Lake Valley

Coordinates:   37.9931, -117.9848
Water temperature:   80.96°F
PDF report:   Fish_Lake_Valley_1.pdf


In 1970, an oil exploration well drilled in northern Fish Springs Valley reported a bottom-hole temperature of 159°C at a depth of 2,775 m (Garside and Schilling, 1979). This well (Nevada Oil and Minerals V.R.S. No. 1 Well; SW¼ SW¼ NE¼ Sec. 16, T1S, R36E) in northern Fish Lake Valley encountered hot water during drilling. A temperature log of the well shows a steady temperature increase from 101°C at 457 m to 123°C at 2,775 m. However, the bottom-hole temperature reported in the electric log was 159°C (Nevada Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, unpub. data). Water flows from the well to soaking and swimming pools, which have temperatures of about 40°C (Williams, 1996). The tops of the major lithologic units in the well are listed below:

valley fill
1,524 m
1,882 m
1,935 m
2,004 m
2,015 m
metasedimentary(?) rocks
2,475 m
2,530 m
metavolcanic(?) rocks
2560 m
2,621 m
metavolcanic rocks

In addition to the Nevada Oil and Minerals well, several other springs and water wells in Fish Lake Valley have higher than normal temperatures. Gap Spring, an unnamed spring about 2.4 km northeast of Gap Spring, Fish Spring, and Sand Spring have temperatures of 22.8-27.2°C and small discharges. At Gap Spring, a small spot of a few square meters at the spring outlet is slightly radioactive. The running water has the highest radioactivity, suggesting that the water may contain radon (Garside, 1973). Four water wells in the northern part of Fish Lake Valley have water temperatures of 23.3-25°C. Gap spring and several other springs in the area were visited in July 2005. Three samples were collected, including one from a well filling a swimming pool. The county developed the area for recreational use, including construction of camp sites. Several other springs could not be sampled in July (e.g., those south and southwest of the pool) because they had gone dry.

Exploration in the area by Steam Reserve Co. (a division of Amex Exploration) in the mid 1980s found >200°C fluids at a depth of 2,485 m (The Geyser, 1984), and temperatures as high as 157°C at 135 m were reported by Edmiston and Benoit (1984). Temperature-gradient well data has defined an area of thermal water over an area of 25 km2 or more centered on the NW¼ of T1S, R35E and the adjacent part of T1N, R36E. A large-diameter well drilled in Sec. 11, T1S, R35E, in 1984 has been described as a discovery well and a power plant was proposed in adjacent Sec. 14 (NBMG files). Tertiary sedimentary rocks are reported to depths of about 1,000 m; below that, fractured lower Cambrian phyllite and sandstone (Harkless Formation) are found (NBMG files). Extensive geologic, geophysical, and geochemical data sets are available in the private sector. Drilling includes 30 shallow temperature-gradient drill holes, five stratigraphic tests as deep as 1,200 m, and five large-diameter wells to as deep as 3,078 m (Alex Schriener, written commun., 2002). A small fumarole is reported from Sec. 6, T1S, R35E (GeothermEx, 2004), and middle Pleistocene sinter, opal-cemented sands, and siliceous root casts are reported from center, S½ Sec. 17, T1S, R36E (Reheis and others, 1993, p. 959-961).

Water Chemistry:
Measurements   Composition
milligrams per liter
Sample date:
Sodium (Na):
Potassium (K):
Lab-test pH:
Calcium (Ca):
Total dissolved solids:
Magnesium (Mg):
Iron (Fe):
Strontium (Sr):
Lithium (Li):
Boron (B):
Silica (SiO2):
Bicarbonate (HCO3):
Sulfate (SO4):
Chloride (Cl):
Fluoride (F):

Additional Resources

Data for this listing was provided by the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology.

Although these data have been processed successfully on the computer system at the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, no warranty expressed or implied is made regarding the accuracy or utility of the data on any system or for general or scientific purposes, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty. This disclaimer applies both to individual use of the data and aggregate use with other data. It is strongly recommended that these data be directly acquired from the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology. It is also strongly recommended that careful attention be paid to the contents of the metadata file associated with the data. The Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology shall not be held liable for improper use of the data described and/or contained herein. By using this data you hereby agree to these conditions.