13 Jun 2023
 | 13 Jun 2023

Multiple phase rifting and subsequent inversion in the West Netherlands Basin: implications for geothermal reservoir characterization

Annelotte Weert, Kei Ogata, Francesco Vinci, Coen Leo, Giovanni Bertotti, Jerome Amory, and Stefano Tavani

Abstract. The tectonic evolution of rift basins can strongly influence the petrophysical properties of its sedimentary infills at various scales and, therefore, influence the characteristics of present resources. Understanding the tectonic evolution of a rift basin is therefore decisive, as it can have consequences for the parameters that influence the planning of geothermal doublets. In this framework, this study gives a detailed interpretation of the syn- and post-rift episodes in the West Netherlands Basin, since Jurassic times. Despite multiple studies on the geotectonic setting of the West Netherlands Basin, a detailed understanding of its syn- and post-rift phases in the context of geothermal exploration is still fundamentally lacking. With a renewed interpretation of a seismic 3D cube, covering a large portion of the onshore section of the basin, we identified two important Jurassic rifting episodes and one Cretaceous inversion event. Rifting caused compartmentalisation of the main producing geothermal target in the area; the Late Jurassic Nieuwerkerk Formation. Yet, the central portions of the half-grabens show good potential for geothermal exploration. Subsequent inversion could have caused local breaching of the aquifer, forming a potential risk. Therefore, only non to moderately inverted areas should be considered for geothermal exploration. This study provides a better understanding of the multi-phase rifting history in the West Netherlands Basin, providing important constraints on the reservoir-seal integrity and with that, the amount of heat that can be safely produced from a geothermal reservoir rock. Aiming to contribute to the energy transition, this study provides an integrated picture of the West Netherlands Basin and shows how a basin’s geological history can affect its geothermal resources.

Annelotte Weert et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1126', Anonymous Referee #1, 17 Jul 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Annelotte Weert, 17 Aug 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1126', Conor O'Sullivan, 03 Aug 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Annelotte Weert, 17 Aug 2023
  • EC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1126', Patricia Cadenas Martínez, 05 Sep 2023
    • AC3: 'Reply on EC1', Annelotte Weert, 06 Sep 2023

Annelotte Weert et al.

Annelotte Weert et al.


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Short summary
On the road to a sustainable planet, geothermal energy is considered as one of the main substitutes when it comes to heating. The geological history of an area can have a major influence on the application of these geothermal systems, as demonstrated in the West Netherlands Basin. Here, multiple episodes of rifting and subsequent inversion have influenced the distribution of the reservoir rocks, thus influencing the locations where geothermal energy can be applied.