Arctic heat flow, do we have a North Pole thermal anomaly?
The Earth is cooling. It is losing heat that is/was formed by the radioactive decay of isotopes, as well as from the heat that was formed during planetary accretion. Heat flow thus underpins all aspects of Earth’s evolution and processes including mantle convection and plate tectonics. Heat flow measurements are useful in that they provide a snapshot into the thermal state at a given location. Steady state surface heat flow (whether that be from the seafloor or on land) varies around the world, and depends on a number of factors including the tectonic setting.
Globally, heat flow measurements are sparse – but this is particularly true of the Arctic Ocean. In a new article, CEED's Grace Shephard and co-workers present new heat flow measurements from 15 distinct sites in the Central Arctic Ocean, and compare the results in the context of existing measurements. They have new measurements from the Amerasia Basin (Marvin Spur, Alpha Ridge), the Lomonosov Ridge (crest and foot) and Eurasia Basin (Yermak Plateau and Amundsen Basin). The possibility of a “North Pole thermal anomaly” sounds pretty interesting — the researchers explore surface and deeper mantle evidence, or the lack thereof, for such a feature and its relation to the heat flow measurements.
You can read more in Grace`s blog article here
- and the scientfic paper here