Impact of considering the effects of latent heat on caldera-hosted hydrothermal systems
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To investigate the thennal effects of latent heat in hydrothennal settings, an extension was made to the existing finite-element numerical modelling software, Aquarius. The latent heat algorithm was validated using a series of column models, which analysed the effects of penneability (flow rate), thennal gradient, and position along the two-phase curve (pressure). Increasing the flow rate and pressure increases displacement of the liquid-steam boundary from an initial position detennined without accounting for latent heat while increasing the thennal gradient decreases that displacement. Application to a regional scale model of a caldera-hosted hydrothennal system based on a representative suite of calderas (e.g., Yellowstone, Creede, Valles Grande) led to oscillations in the model solution. Oscillations can be reduced or eliminated by mesh refinement, which requires greater computation effort. Results indicate that latent heat should be accounted for to accurately model phase change conditions in hydrothennal settings.