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  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution  (1)
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    Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution February 1981
    Description: The equatorial Pacific heat flow low, a major oceanic geothermal anomaly centered on the equatorial sediment bulge, was investigated using deeply penetrating heat flow probes (6-11 meters penetration) within three detailed surveys (400 km2) and along over 10,000 km of continuous seismic profiles (CSP). Previous heat flow measurements in this region defined a broad region characterized by a heat flux well below 1 HFU. We report 98 new measurements collected during cruises PLEIADES 3 and KNORR 73-4 that verify the anomalous nature of the heat flux and also define non-linear temperature gradients (concave down). Temperature field disturbances due to perturbations of a purely conductive heat transport regime are incapable of suitably explaining either of these observations . A simple model incorporating heat transport by both conduction and fluid convection through the sediments fits the observations. A volume flux of (hydrothermal) fluid in the range of 10-6 to 10-5 cm3/sec/cm2 (0.1 liter/yr/cm2) is required. The sense of the flow for all measurements exhibiting non-linear gradients is upward out of the sediment column; no evidence for the recharging of the system was observed. Investigation of a well-defined boundary of the low zone at 4°N and 114°W showed a transition from low and variable heat flow to values compatible with thermal models that correlated with a change in the nature of the basement from rough to smooth. A few outcrops occur in the area of rough basement, but otherwise the region is well-sedimented (greater than 200 meters). Measurements within a detailed survey centered at this transition showed a dramatic increase in heat flow from 1.21 HFU to values greater than 3 HFU over a horizontal distance of 10km. A similar transition from non-linear to linear temperature gradients was not observed as nearly every measurement was non-linear. Heat flow measurements located in well-sedimented, outcrop-free areas (A environments) were associated with linear gradients and a heat flux greater than 1 HFU, however, several of these values were well below the theoretical heat flow for the appropriate age crust. Values measured in environments other than A exhibited variable heat flow and non-linear gradients. The average value of measurements located in A environments within the equatorial Pacific heat flow low was 1.37±0.27 HFU. The previously reported average was 0.92±0.48 HFU based on several measurements from L-DGO cruise VEMA 24-3. The average heat flow measured at a survey located outside the low heat flow zone on crust of 55 ±5 m.a. was 1.76 ±0.30 HFU which is in good agreement with the theoretical value of 1.60. The measurements in this survey were not located in A environments suggesting that crustal convection has ceased or is greatly attenuated within crust of this age. Error analysis of the geothermal data reduction using the convective/conductive heat transport model suggests that the volume flux parameter is sensitive to temperature measurement errors greater than a few millidegrees. Volume fluxes less than 10-7 cm/sec are difficult to distinguish from the purely conductive case assuming instrumental accuracies of 0.001°C. Resolution of the volume flux deteriorates as heat flow decreases and is poor for values less than 0.5 HFU. A detailed survey located within the low zone confirmed previous measurements of low heat flow, however, due to the low value of heat flow (about 0.5 HFU) the small-scale variability could not be clearly defined.
    Keywords: Geothermal resources ; Heat budget ; Ocean circulation ; Ocean bottom ; Marine geophysics ; Pleides (Ship) Cruise 3 ; Knorr (Ship : 1970-) Cruise KN73-4
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Thesis
    Format: application/pdf
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