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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 04 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 04 Mar 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Geothermal flux beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet derived from measured temperature profiles in deep boreholes

Pavel Talalay1, Yazhou Li1, Laurent Augustin2, Gary Clow3,4, Jialin Hong1, Eric Lefebvre5, Alexey Markov1, Hideaki Motoyama6, and Catherine Ritz5 Pavel Talalay et al.
  • 1Polar Research Center, Jilin University, 130021 Changchun, China
  • 2Division Technique de l’INSU, CNRS, 83507 La Seyne sur Mer, France
  • 3Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center,U.S. Geological Survey, Lakewood, Colorado, USA
  • 4Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 5Université Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IRD, IGE, 38000 Grenoble, France
  • 6National Institute of Polar Research, Tokyo, Japan

Abstract. The temperature at the Antarctic ice sheet bed and the temperature gradient in subglacial rocks have been directly measured only a few times, although extensive thermodynamic modelling has been used to estimate geothermal heat flux under ice sheet. During the last five decades, deep ice-core drilling projects at six sites – Byrd, WAIS Divide, Dome C, Kohnen, Dome F, and Vostok – have succeeded in reaching to, or nearly to, the bed in inland locations in Antarctica. When temperature profiles in these boreholes and heat flow model are combined with estimations of vertical velocity, the heat flow at ice sheet base is translated to a geothermal heat flux of 117.8 ± 3.3 mW m−2 at Byrd, 67.3 ± 8.6 mW m−2 at Dome C, 79.0 ± 5.0 mW m−2 at Dome F, and −3.3 ± 5.6 mW m−2 at Vostok, close to predicted values. However, estimations at Kohnen and WAIS Divide gave flux of 161.5 ± 10.2 mW m−2 and 251.3 ± 24.1 mW m−2, respectively, far higher than that predicted by existing heat flow models. The question arises as to whether this high heat flow represents regional values, or if the Kohnen and WAIS Divide boreholes were drilled over local hot spots.

Pavel Talalay et al.

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Pavel Talalay et al.

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