As part of the 2020 SCAR Online OSC, the SCAR-SERCE Sub-Group on Geothermal Heat Flow (GHF) held an online side meeting to discuss progress and challenges encountered since the 2019 meeting at the International Symposium of Antarctic Earth Sciences.
The 26 attendees discussed various aspects of GHF research, and presented many exciting new and upcoming studies. Opening with updates on the recent SCAR-SERCE White Paper on GHF and a summary of the previous meeting, the group looked to the future and how GHF research fits within the proposed "INSTANT" SCAR Scientific Research Programme, and the new Lithosphere of East Antarctica component of the International Lithosphere Program. Diverse recently published and upcoming models of Antarctic GHF were presented by their authors. This includes models using seismic data, machine learning and multivariate analyses, thermal isostasy, microwave emissivity, and satellite magnetic data, and constraints from an upcoming geochemical database.
Most of the meeting was devoted to discussing the similarities and differences between the existing models, and how best to integrate them. Key points included: 1) That the apparent agreement in East Antarctica may be misleading, particularly due to poor heat production constraints; 2) That the large differences in the West Antarctic Rift System reflect a fundamental debate as to how much Cenozoic rifting took place, and hence whether the region is warm or not (for which geological constraints on the timing and scale of rifting are required); 3) That crustal heat production remains the greatest uncertainty in most models; and 4) That topography can have a large effect on GHF, and different aspects of this effect must be considered.
Alex Burton-Johnson (British Antarctic Survey) and Ricarda Dziadek (Alfred Wegener Institute)