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Solid Earth An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2017-86
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
29 Aug 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Solid Earth (SE).
Variability of geothermal gradient across two differently aged continental volcanic passive margins: The Southwest African and the Norwegian margins
Ershad Gholamrezaie1,2, Magdalena Scheck-Wenderoth2,3, Judith Sippel2, and Manfred R. Strecker1 1Institute of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany
2Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Postdam, Germany
3Faculty of Georesources and Material Engineering, RWTH Aachen, Aachen, Germany
Abstract. The aim of this study is to investigate the shallow thermal field differences for two differently aged passive continental margins by analyzing regional variations in geothermal gradient and exploring the controlling factors for these variations. Hence, we analyzed two previously published 3D conductive and lithospheric-scale thermal models of the Southwest African and the Norwegian passive margins. These 3D models differentiate various sedimentary, crustal and mantle units and integrate different geophysical data such as seismic observations and the gravity field. We extracted the temperature-depth distributions in 1 km intervals down to 6 km below the upper thermal boundary condition. The geothermal gradient was then calculated for these intervals between the upper thermal boundary condition and the respective depth levels (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 km below the upper thermal boundary condition). According to our results, the geothermal gradient decreases with increasing depth and shows varying lateral trends and values for these two different margins. We compare the 3D geological structural models and the geothermal gradient variations for both thermal models and show how radiogenic heat production, sediment insulating effect, and thermal LAB depth influence the shallow thermal field pattern. The results indicate an ongoing process of oceanic mantle cooling at the young Norwegian margin compared with the old SW African passive margin that seems to be thermally equilibrated at the present-day.

Citation: Gholamrezaie, E., Scheck-Wenderoth, M., Sippel, J., and Strecker, M. R.: Variability of geothermal gradient across two differently aged continental volcanic passive margins: The Southwest African and the Norwegian margins, Solid Earth Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2017-86, in review, 2017.
Ershad Gholamrezaie et al.
Ershad Gholamrezaie et al.
Ershad Gholamrezaie et al.

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Short summary
We examined thermal gradient as an index of the thermal field in the Atlantic. While the thermal anomaly in the South Atlantic should be equilibrated, the thermal disturbance in the North Atlantic obviously causes thermal effects at present-day. Characteristics of the lithosphere ultimately determine the thermal field. The thermal gradient non-linearly decreases with depth and vary significantly both laterally and with time, which has implications for methods of thermal history reconstruction.
We examined thermal gradient as an index of the thermal field in the Atlantic. While the thermal...
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