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Data Series 823

Prepared in cooperation with the New Hampshire Geological Survey

Geophysical Logging of Bedrock Wells for Geothermal Gradient Characterization in New Hampshire, 2013

By James R. Degnan, Gregory Barker, Neil Olson, and Leland Wilder

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (1.51 MB)Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the New Hampshire Geological Survey, measured the fluid temperature of groundwater and other geophysical properties in 10 bedrock wells in the State of New Hampshire in order to characterize geothermal gradients in bedrock. The wells selected for the study were deep (five ranging from 375 to 900 feet and five deeper than 900 feet) and 6 had low water yields, which correspond to low groundwater flow from fractures. This combination of depth and low water yield reduced the potential for flow-induced temperature changes that would mask the natural geothermal gradient in the bedrock. All the wells included in this study are privately owned, and permission to use the wells was obtained from landowners before geophysical logs were acquired for this study. National Institute of Standards and Technology thermistor readings were used to adjust the factory calibrated geophysical log data. A geometric correction to the gradient measurements was also necessary due to borehole deviation from vertical.

Maximum groundwater temperatures at the bottom of the logs ranged from 11.2 to 15.4 degrees Celsius. Geothermal gradients were generally higher than those typically reported for other water wells in the United States. Some of the high gradients were associated with high natural gamma emissions. Groundwater flow was discernible in 4 of the 10 wells studied but only obscured the part of the geothermal gradient signal where groundwater actually flowed into, out of, or through the well. Temperature gradients varied by mapped bedrock type but can also vary by localized differences in mineralogy or rock type within the wells.

First posted March 4, 2014

For additional information, contact:
Office Chief, New England Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
New Hampshire-Vermont Office
331 Commerce Way, Suite 2
Pembroke, NH 03275
(603) 226–7800

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Suggested citation:

Degnan, J.R., Barker, Gregory, Olson, Neil, and Wilder, Leland, 2014, Geophysical logging of bedrock wells for geothermal gradient characterization in New Hampshire, 2013: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 823, 19 p., at

ISSN 2327-638X (online)





Temperature and Other Borehole Logs


References Cited

Figures 2–11

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