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A new heat flux model for the Antarctic Peninsula incorporating variable crustal radiogenic heat production


Burton-Johnson, A and Halpin, JA and Whittaker, J and Graham, F and Watson, S, A new heat flux model for the Antarctic Peninsula incorporating variable crustal radiogenic heat production, TACtical Workshop: Taking the Temperature of the Antarctic Continent Abstract book, 21-23 March, Hobart, Tasmania (2018) [Conference Extract]

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We present findings recently published in GRL (Burton-Johnson et al., 2017) on the variability of Antarctic sub-glacial heat flux and the impact from upper crustal geology. A new method reveals that the upper crust contributes up to 70% of the Antarctic Peninsula’s subglacial heat flux, and that heat flux values are more variable at smaller spatial resolutions than geophysical methods can resolve. Results indicate a higher heat flux on the east and south of the Peninsula (mean 81 mWm-2) where silicic rocks predominate, than on the west and north (mean 67 mWm-2) where volcanic arc and quartzose sediments are dominant. Whilst the data supports the contribution of heat producing element-enriched granitic rocks to high heat flux values, sedimentary rocks can be comparable dependent on their provenance and petrography. Models of subglacial heat flux must utilize a heterogeneous upper crust with variable radioactive heat production if they are to accurately predict basal conditions of the ice sheet. Our new methodology and dataset facilitate improved numerical model simulations of ice sheet dynamics. The most significant challenge faced remains accurate determination of crustal structure, particularly the depths of the heat producing element-enriched sedimentary basins and the sub-glacial geology away from exposed outcrops. Continuing research (particularly detailed geophysical interpretation) will better constrain these unknowns and the effect of upper crustal geology on the Antarctic ice sheet.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:Antarctica, geothermal heat flux, West Antarctic Peninsula, radiogenic heat production
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Geology
Research Field:Geology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Effects of climate change on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Halpin, JA (Dr Jacqueline Halpin)
UTAS Author:Whittaker, J (Associate Professor Jo Whittaker)
UTAS Author:Graham, F (Dr Felicity McCormack)
UTAS Author:Watson, S (Ms Sally Watson)
ID Code:126741
Year Published:2018
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2018-06-21
Last Modified:2018-06-26

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