Because fractures and faults are commonly the primary pathway for deeply circulating
hydrothermal fluids, structural studies are critical to assessing geothermal
systems and selecting drilling targets for geothermal wells. Important tools for structural
analysis include detailed geologic mapping, kinematic analysis of faults, and estimations
of stress orientations. Structural assessments are especially useful for evaluating
geothermal fields in the Great Basin of the western USA, where regional
extension and transtension combine with high heat flow to generate abundant geothermal
activity in regions having little recent volcanic activity.