pure and applied geophysics

, Volume 117, Issue 1, pp 227–241

The linear relation between temperatures based on the silica content of groundwater and regional heat flow: A new heat flow map of the United States

  • Chandler A. Swanberg
  • Paul Morgan
Exploration, Characterisation and Exploitation of Geothermal Resources

DOI: 10.1007/BF00879749

Cite this article as:
Swanberg, C.A. & Morgan, P. PAGEOPH (1978) 117: 227. doi:10.1007/BF00879749


Application of the silica geothermometer to over 70,000 non-thermal groundwaters from the United States has shown that there is a correlation between the average silica geotemperatures for a region (T SiO2 in °C) and the known regional heat flow (q in mW m−2) of the form:
$$TSiO_2 = mq + b$$

wherem andb are constants determined to be 0.67°C m2 mW−1 and 13.2°C respectively. The physical significance of ‘b’ is the mean annual air temperature. The slope ‘m’ is related to the minimum average depth to which the groundwaters may circulate. This minimum depth is estimated to be between 1.4 and 2.0 km depending on the rock type. A preliminary heat flow map based on equation (1) is presented using theT SiO2 for new estimates of regional heat flow where conventional data are lacking. Anomalously high localT SiO2 values indicate potential geothermal areas.

Key words

Silica geothermometer Regional heat flow Geothermal energy Ground water circulation United States 

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chandler A. Swanberg
  • Paul Morgan
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Earth Sciences and PhysicsNew Mexico State UniversityLas CrucesUSA

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