Heat flow on the western flank of the East Pacific Rise at 21oN.

K. Becker, R. P. Von Herzen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We report 48 new heat flow measurements on the W flank of the E Pacific Rise at 21oN. The stations were taken in 1-30m of sediment on 0.4-1.4Ma old crust. The low average measured value of = or >173mW m2 (including 12 tilted minimum values) is about 1/3 the mean heat flow predicted for crust of this age range by cooling plate theory. This may be partly due to a bias of measurement locations in sediment ponds. Nevertheless, 4km running averages of measured heat flows, projected normally to the axis, display an oscillatory trend suggestive of cellular hydrothermal circulation in the basement. We sampled no more than one cycle of the apparent heat flow modulation, which is of approx 15km wavelength and approx 20mW/m2 amplitude. This variation appears to be uncorrelated with the topographic variation of approx 10km wavelength. Assuming that the porosity sensitive electromagnetic results of Young and Cox (1981) reflect a permeability distribution that restricts the depth of circulation to approx 1.4km, average temperatures of circulation may be approx 50-69oC. Deeper, higher-temperature circulation is allowable if a more uniform permeability-depth distribution holds.-Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1057-1066
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberB2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1983
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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