Antarctic Geothermal Heat Flow, Crustal Conductivity and Heat Production Inferred From Seismological Data

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James Alexander Nicholas Hazzard , Fred D. Richards


Geothermal heat flow is a key parameter in governing ice dynamics, via its influence on basal melt and sliding, englacial rheology, and erosion. It is expected to exhibit significant lateral variability across Antarctica. Despite this, surface heat flow derived from Earth's interior remains one of the most poorly constrained parameters controlling ice-sheet evolution. To obtain a continent-wide map of Antarctic heat supply at regional-scale resolution, we estimate upper mantle thermomechanical structure directly from V_S. Until now, direct inferences of Antarctic heat supply have assumed constant crustal composition. Here, we explore a range of crustal conductivity and radiogenic heat production values by fitting thermodynamically self-consistent geotherms to their seismically inferred counterparts. Independent estimates of crustal conductivity derived from V_P are integrated to break an observed trade-off between crustal parameters, allowing us to infer Antarctic geothermal heat flow and its associated uncertainty.



Earth Sciences, Geophysics and Seismology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


geothermal heat flow, thermomechanical structure, Mantle Structure, seismological data, crustal conductivity, radiogenic heat production, anelasticity, viscoelasticity, inverse methods


Published: 2023-09-15 02:03

Last Updated: 2024-03-18 06:24

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International