Newsflash #2: GEMex1st Progress Meeting of the European consortium The European GEMex consortium met on 23-24 March 2017 at TNO in Utrecht, The Netherlands, for its first progress meeting since the kick-off in Morelia, Mexico, last November. Seventy-five colleagues representing the 24 consortium partners spent two intensive days in Utrecht to discuss, evaluate, plan and agree on work plans, fieldwork campaigns and dissemination actions.

We also welcomed two colleagues from the Mexican GEMex consortium and two colleagues from the Mexican Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) (see the picture: Colleagues from Mexican consortium attended the 1st General Assembly in Utrecht (NED)). The latter has been awarded with the grants for the development of the two target geothermal sites of the GEMex project: Los Humeros and Acoculco.

During the meeting in Utrecht, the scientists reported the first project activities, planned geological, geochemical and geophysical surveys and discussed further activities. Ernst Huenges (GFZ) presented results from a first workshop on ‘Corrosion, Erosion and Scaling’, held in the Los Humeros, Mexico, geothermal field in early March 2017. Domenico Liotta (University of Bari, Italy) reported from the first field trip to Mexico, which was dedicated to structural geology in the exhumed geothermal systems close to the sites under investigation in the GEMex project.

Finally, the meeting was dedicated to the planning of several surveys on the sites in Mexico: Over 70 seismic stations are available for a passive seismic experiment, the data of which will be used to better constrain the reservoir architecture and fracture distribution at the two test sites. Other geophysical measurements such as gravimetric and magnetotelluric surveys are planned. Soil gas emissions, from CO2, H2S and CH4 to radon (222Rn) and thoron (220Rn) will be recorded while capturing soil temperature at the same time to derive a better correlation with active faults in the subsurface. Active faults in the Los Humeros complex will be mapped and monitored and further rock samples will be acquired for paleomagnetism and isotopic studies. All of these surveys will start in the course of 2017 and will be supported by complementary investigations during the 36-months lifetime of the project.

The meeting and the months before showed that there are a number of intercultural, scientific and administrative challenges usually coming along with projects of the size of GEMex. It’s good to see however, that the consortium members are professionally approaching and solving these challenges in many multi- and bilateral sparring sessions. As a result, project activities are now becoming more concrete and shaped - the real scientific work can be started in the coming weeks and months.

Synergies between the Mexican and the European experience proved once again very helpful during the meeting. The cooperation is advancing and becoming a close partnership. The next progress meeting and General Assembly of both the European and Mexican GEMex consortia will be held in Akureyri, Iceland, 2-3 October 2017.