A Geothermal Heat Flux Map of Antarctica Empirically Constrained by Seismic Structure

Weisen Shen, Douglas A. Wiens, Andrew J. Lloyd, Andrew A. Nyblade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


The geothermal heat flux (GHF) is an important boundary condition for modeling the movement of the Antarctic ice sheet but is difficult to measure systematically at a continental scale. Earlier GHF maps suffer from low resolution and possibly biased assumptions in tectonism and crustal heat generation, resulting in significant uncertainty. We present a new GHF map for Antarctica constructed by empirically relating the upper mantle structure to known GHF in the continental United States. The new map, compared with previously seismologically determined one, has improved resolution and lower uncertainties. New features in this map include high GHF in the southern Transantarctic Mountains where warmer uppermost mantle is introduced by lithospheric removal and in the Thwaites Glacier region. Additionally, a modest GHF in the central West Antarctic Rift system near the Siple Coast and an absence of large-scale regions with GHF greater than 90 mW/m2 are found.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020GL086955
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 28 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'A Geothermal Heat Flux Map of Antarctica Empirically Constrained by Seismic Structure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this