In the Central Puna, the most advanced geothermal project in development stage is the Tuzgle-Tocomar geothermal system (e.g. Coira, 1995; Sainato and Pomposiello, 1997; Giordano et al., 2013, Norini et al., 2014). Recently investigations (Filipovich et al., 2016, 2017a, 2017b, 2018; Giordano et al., 2016; Ahumada et al. 2017, 2019; Chiodi et al., 2019a), reveal the existence of two independent geothermal systems for the previously defined Tuzgle-Tocomar geothermal system.

The Tocomar Geothermal System is located in the Central Puna (Central Andes, NW Argentina), related to the 0.57 Ma Tocomar volcanic center, emplaced in a small extensional basin linked to the active NW-SE trans-Andean tectonic lineament (Calama-Olacapato- El Toro fault system).

  • A high voltage power line (345 kV) connecting Chile and Argentina runs parallel to the COT aside the main Salta-Antofagasta road, securing and easy connection for electric power generation from middle to high enthalpy fluid.
  • Many mining prospects existing in the area would also provide for future local customers along with the nearby towns of San Antonio de Los Cobres and Olacapato.
  • “Puna Solar” Photovoltaic Project (100 MW)
  • Numerous companies and researchers surveyed the area during the 1970s and 1980s (Aquater, 1980; Hidroproyectos et al., 1984; CREGEN, 1988; Coira and Kay, 1993; Ferreti and Alonso, 1993; Coira, 1995; Sainato and Pomposiello, 1997).
  • Giordano et al. (2013) propose the ascent of hydrothermal fluids through a fracture system within Ordovician basement due to the presence of anisotropies (secondary permeability), and the generation of small secondary reservoir within the Pirgua subgroup, sealed by a pyroclastic cover associated to the Tocomar volcanism.