The Galapagos Spreading Centre at 86o W: a detailed geothermal field study.

Journal of Geophysical Research
By: , and 


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We report here measurements of the heat flow field of the Galapagos Spreading Center on crust of age less than 1.0 m.y. The 443 measurements in an area of about 570 km2 reveal the general planform of the geothermal flux and permit the first truly areal estimate of the near-axis conductive heat flux. The intrusion process and associated hydrothermal circulation dominate the surface heat flow pattern, with circulation apparently continuing beyong the limits of our survey. The areal average of the conductive heat flux is 7.1+-0.8 HFU (295+-33 m W/m2), about one-third the heat flux predicted by plate models. The remaining heat is apparently removed by venting of hydrothermal waters at the spreading axis and through basalt outcrops and hydrothermal mounds off axis. The pattern of surface heat flux is lineated parallel to the axis and the strongly lineated topography. Sharp lateral gradients in the heat flow, greater than 10 HFU/km near escarpments and commonly expressed as high heat flow at the tops of the scarps and lower heat flow in the valleys, may indicate a local concentration of the circulation by surface fault systems and/or variable sediment thickness. -Authors

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The Galapagos Spreading Centre at 86o W: a detailed geothermal field study.
Series title Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume 86
Issue B2
Year Published 1981
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Geophysical Research
First page 979
Last page 986
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