University Of Tasmania

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Combining upper crust and lithosphere contributions to heat flow models

Geothermal heat supplied to the base of Antarctic ice sheets, and the spatial variation of supplied heat, is an important input model parameter in ice sheet models. Continental models of heat flow (usually referred to in the cryosphere research community as heat flux density, abbreviated to heat flux) may be generated using seismic wavespeed tomography maps or by inference from other geophysical observables. Upper crustal models, however, are generated directly from measuring the heat production of dominant or particularly radiogenic lithologies. In this contribution, we combine upper crust and lithosphere contributions to heat flow models with a focus on East Antarctica, including the continental interior which is covered by ice of several kilometres thickness. We review alternative approaches to combining low resolution information on the deeper lithosphere with broad spatial coverage, and high resolution information with very limited spatial coverage relating to the upper crustal. Providing effective estimates of the heat supplied by the upper crust is an important research goal due to the significance of small pockets of elevated heat flow on ice sheet models. Our model for East Antarctica represents a step towards future probabilistic approaches to solid Earth constraints for ice sheet models.


Publication title

POLAR2018 Open Science Conference Abstract Proceedings




School of Natural Sciences

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Event Venue

Davos, Switzerland

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Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Effects of climate change on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments (excl. social impacts); Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences

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    University Of Tasmania