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Type: Journal article
Title: The hot southern continent: heat flow and heat production in Australian Proterozoic terranes
Author: McLaren, S.
Sandiford, M.
Hand, M.
Neumann, N.
Wyborn, L.
Bastrakova, I.
Citation: Geological Society of Australia, Special Publication, 2003; 372:151-161
Publisher: Geological Society of Australia
Issue Date: 2003
ISSN: 0072-1085
Statement of
S. McLaren, M. Sandiford, M. Hand, N. Neumann, L. Wyborn and I. Bastrakova
Abstract: Available surface heat-flow measurements from Australian Proterozoic terranes (83 ± 18 mWm−2) are significantly higher than the global Proterozoic average of ∼50 mWm−2. Seismic evidence for the presence of relatively cool mantle together with the lack of evidence for neotectonic processes normally associated with thermal transients suggests that anomalous heat flow must reflect crustal radiogenic sources (U, Th and K). This is supported by a compilation of more than 6000 analyses from 455 individual granites, granitic gneisses and felsic volcanics which shows that the present-day average heat production of these rock types is 4.6 µWm−3 when normalised by area of outcrop (over more than 100 000 km2) ; roughly twice that of ‘average’ granite. At the time of this felsic magmatism (ca 1850–1500 Ma) heat production rates were some 25–30% greater than the present day such that the total complement of U, Th and K in many parts of the Australian Proterozoic crust may have contributed as much as 60–85 mWm−2 to the surface heat flow, or 2 to 3 times the present-day continental average. This extraordinary enrichment has played a key role in the tectonothermal evolution of the Australian Proterozoic crust, and has important implications for our understanding of the thermal budget of ancient continental crust.
Keywords: continental crust; heat budget; heat flow; Proterozoic; terranes
Rights: Copyright status unknown
RMID: 0020071630
DOI: 10.1130/0-8137-2372-8.157
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Appears in Collections:Australian School of Petroleum publications
Environment Institute publications

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