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

A new method for modelling heat flux shows 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 HPE-enriched granitic rocks to high heat flux values, sedimentary rocks can be of comparative importance 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.


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Authors: Burton-Johnson, A. ORCIDORCID record for A. Burton-Johnson, Halpin, J.A., Whittaker, J.M., Graham, F.S., Watson, S.J.

On this site: Alex Burton-Johnson
16 June, 2017
Geophysical Research Letters / 44
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