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The preliminary heat flow map of Europe and some of its tectonic and geophysical implications

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Abstract

The heat flow map of Europe was derived from 2605 existing observations, which for this purpose were supplemented by numerous results of deep borehole temperatures, gradients and local heat flow patterns. In areas without data the heat flow field was extrapolated on the basis of the regional tectonic structure and the observed correlation of heat flow and the age of the last tectono-thermal event. The heat flow pattern as obtained in the map may be described by two components: (i) regional part and (ii) local part of the measured surface geothermal activity. The regional part of the heat flow field in Europe is dominated on the whole by a general ‘north-east to south-west’ increase of the geothermal activity, which is an obvious consequence of the tectonic evolution, the major heat flow provinces corresponding thus to the principal tectonic units. The geothermal fine structure (local part) superimposing the former is mainly controlled by local tectonics, especially by the distribution of the deep reaching fracture zones and by the hydrogeological parameters. The correlation between the heat flow pattern and the crustal structure allows some preliminary geophysical implications: (a) areas of the increased seismicity may be connected with the zones of high horizontal temperature gradient, (b) increased surface heat flow may be generally observed in the zones of weakened crustal thickness, (c) there are considerable regional variations in the calculated temperature on the Moho-discontinuity, as well as in the upper mantle heat flow contribution.

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Čermák, V., Hurtig, E. The preliminary heat flow map of Europe and some of its tectonic and geophysical implications. PAGEOPH 117, 92–103 (1978). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00879737

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Key Words

  • Heat flow-age relationship
  • Mantle heat flow
  • Crustal temperature
  • Convective heat transfer