A Study of Geothermal Monitoring

Ever since the inception of our newsletters, Silicon Audio has taken you on a journey through our past, sharing the captivating old projects we’ve worked on. However, today, we’re breaking the pattern to shine a spotlight on a current ongoing project, providing an exclusive glimpse into Silicon Audio’s present activities.  

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, working in collaboration with the Department of Energy, has many research projects that encompass geothermal monitoring. Silicon Audio’s sensors are utilized in multiple studies. One study took place at the Cascadia borehole and three of our sensors were grouted in a vertical array. The idea was to test the efficacy of a small array in comparison to colocated geophones and nearby broadband sensors as a comprehensive seismic monitoring tool. For over the past four years, our sensors have functioned without incident at the site due to our high sensitivity, low noise floor, and a passband from hundreds of seconds to 1.5 kHz.

Silicon Audio is currently gearing up to dispatch additional sensors to Lawrence-Berkeley. Among them, two will be going to the Newberry Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) site, while seven will be heading to other new TBD projects. Designed to withstand demanding downhole environments, these specialized sensors are coated with epoxy and grease to enhance their waterproof capabilities. Each sensor cable is equipped with a Kevlar lift, allowing you to pick the sensor up from its wire that’s permanently attached. The sensor housing is crafted from waterproof stainless steel, ensuring durability in challenging conditions. 

The first image depicted above highlights a challenge encountered during the testing phase: the height of the sensors. As a work around, the sensors were placed in cinderblocks filled with sand to maintain stability and orientation. The other pictures illustrate the Silicon Audio team preparing these sensors for shipment. Stay tuned for new updates regarding these geothermal experiments.