Constraints on Heat Flow in Antarctica based on Thermomechanical Models of the Tectonic Evolution

Audrey Huerta1

1Central Washington University, Ellensburg, United States

Results from thermomechanical models of tectonic systems can be used to constrain the magnitude and spatial variability of geothermal heat flux across continents. In the case of the Antarctic Continent, the unique geologic evolution provides stringent constraints on the past and current thermal structures of East and West Antarctica. For example, previous results of models simulating the Mesozoic to Cenozoic tectonic evolution of the West Antarctic Rift System show that the geometry and evolution of rifting is a direct consequence of the initial and evolving thermal structure of the lithosphere. Thus, this suite of successful simulations can be used to constraint the spatially and temporally varying contributions of mantle and crustal heat sources to the surface geothermal heat flux.

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