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Heat flow in Southern Australia and connections with East Antarctica


Pollett, A and Hasterok, D and Raimondo, T and Halpin, JA and Hand, M and Bendall, B and McLaren, S, Heat flow in Southern Australia and connections with East Antarctica, Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 20, (11) pp. 5352-5370. ISSN 1525-2027 (2019) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

2019. American Geophysical Union.

DOI: doi:10.1029/2019GC008418


Viscosity and melt generation at the base of ice sheets are critically dependent upon heat flow. Yet subglacial heat flow is poorly constrained due to the logistical challenges of obtaining boreholes that intersect the bedrock beneath thick ice cover. Currently, continental estimates of Antarctic heat flow are derived from geophysical methods that provide ambiguous constraints of crustal heat sources, despite their demonstrated importance for accurate predictions of future ice sheet behavior. This study pursues an alternative approach by using heat flow measurements from rock units in the Coompana Province of southern Australia, which represent the geological counterparts of those beneath Wilkes Land in East Antarctica. We present nine new surface heat flow estimates from this previously uncharacterized region, ranging from 40 to 70 mW/m2 with an average of 57 3 mW/m2. These values compare favorably to recent geophysically derived estimates of 5075 mW/m2 for the Totten Glacier catchment of East Antarctica, and to the single in situ measurement of 75 mW/m2 from the Law Dome deep ice borehole. However, they are appreciably lower than the range of 56120 mW/m2 (83 13 mW/m2 average) for the abnormally enriched Proterozoic terranes of the Central Australian Heat Flow Province. This study provides the first regional heat flow map of geological provinces formerly contiguous with East Antarctica through the application of continent‐scale heat flow data sets tied to a Jurassic plate tectonic reconstruction for Gondwana. Our approach reveals several discrepancies with current heat flow models derived from geophysical methods and provides a more robust analysis of subglacial heat flow using this plate tectonic synthesis as a proxy for East Antarctica.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:heat flow, Antarctica, South Australia, ice sheets, Coompana Province, East Antarctica, Wilkes Land
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Geophysics
Research Field:Geothermics and radiometrics
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences
UTAS Author:Halpin, JA (Dr Jacqueline Halpin)
ID Code:136078
Year Published:2019
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP180104074)
Web of Science® Times Cited:10
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2019-11-29
Last Modified:2020-03-16
Downloads:20 View Download Statistics

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