Kirk Nazum and Travis Kelsay

Geology students investigate geothermal energy potential

Kirk Nuzum and Travis Kelsay are both Master's Degree students in the Computational Hydrology Group, working with Professor Jerry Fairley of the Department of Geological Sciences. Both displayed posters of recent research projects the 2011 COS Student Research Expo.

Nuzum is a first year student at UI and his poster involves a project done this past summer while at the National Geothermal Academy (through the University of Nevada, Reno). Nuzum and a classmate at the academy became interested in investigating geothermal potential in their home state of Florida. As Nuzum explains, geothermal potential is much more rare on the east coast than in the more geologically active western states. Yet through examining data mostly from oil exploration wells, Nuzum and his colleague located a small area in the Florida panhandle with potentially viable temperature elevation.

Nuzum became interested in geothermal energy while working in industry after earning his bachelor's degree in Geology from the University of Miami. In his researching of potential graduate schools, he learned of Dr. Fairley's work and applied to Idaho because he liked what he saw.

Kelsay is now in the second year of his graduate program. His project grew out of work from a Department of Energy grant to investigate geothermal potential in the Rio Grande Rift. The project involved geostatistical analysis of data from existing wells within a quarter-million square kilometer region of the rift area.