Correlation between seafloor heat flow and basement relief: observational and numerical examples and implications for upper crustal permeability

A. T. Fisher, K. Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Scopus citations


There is a strong positive correlation between bathymetric and well-navigated heat flow data from the Galapagos Mounds hydrothermal area and the east flank of the Juan de Fuca Ridge. A similar correlation is apparent at DSDP/ODP Site 504. The implications of this correlation are tested with a hydrogeological model of the shallow crust that contains significant permeability mainly within a few thin layers in the upper few hundred meters of basement. These simulations are compared directly to others in which the same bulk permeability is represented more homogeneously within the upper crust. A model with thin permeable zones and subtle relief beneath a flat seafloor can explain the variations in seafloor heat flow observed as one part of the Juan du Fuca Ridge east flank, as can a model with a flat seafloor and basement top but relief within the most permeable zone. Some form of permeability anisotropy appears to be required in order to achieve efficient lateral heat transport within the upper volcanic crust so as to produce the common seafloor heat flow-basement relief correlation. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12,641-12,657
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberB7
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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