Temperature measurements through permafrost in the oil field at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, combined with laboratory measurements of the thermal conductivity of drill cutting permit an evaluation of in situ thermal properties and an understanding of the general factors that control the geothermal regime. A sharp contrast in temperatire gradient at c600m represents a contrast in thermal conductivity caused by the downward change from interstitial ice to interstitial water at the base of permafrost under near steady state conditions. These results yield a heat flow of c1.3HFU, which is similar to other values on the Alaskan Arctic Coast: the anomalously deep permafrost is a result of the anomalously high conductivity of the siliceous ice-rich sediments. With confirmation of the permafrost configuration by offshore drilling, heat conduction models can yield reliable new information on the chronology of arctic shoreline. -from Authors
Additional publication details
Permafrost, heat flow, and the geothermal regime at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.