Sampling and analysis of geothermal fluids

Stefán Arnórsson*, J. Ö Bjarnason, N. Giroud, I. Gunnarsson, A. Stefánsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)


Sampling of geothermal fluids presents some problems not encountered when sampling surface and nonthermal ground waters. Specific collection techniques are required to obtain representative samples because of the elevated temperature and boiling of these fluids, the effect of exposing them to the atmosphere and cooling of the samples. Sample treatment during collection depends on the analytical method to be used. When sampling wet-steam wells, both the liquid and the vapour fractions should be collected at the same fluid separation pressure. When sampling fumarole steam, maximum information is obtained if the total discharge is collected into a single container without separating the gas and the steam condensate fractions. Silica polymerization affects the solution pH. The only way to obtain reliable pH measurement of a water sample supersaturated with respect to amorphous silica is to measure it on site, before the onset of polymerization. This paper provides an outline of the geothermal sampling techniques and analytical methods currently in use in Iceland. Sampling of hot-water and wet-steam wells is described, as is sampling of hot springs, fumaroles and gas bubbling through hot-spring waters. Detailed procedures are given for the analysis of total carbonate carbon and total sulphide sulphur in geothermal water and steam condensate samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-216
Number of pages14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006

Other keywords

  • Analysis
  • Fumaroles
  • Geothermal fluid
  • Hot springs
  • Sampling
  • Wet-steam wells


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