Approximately 100 heat flow measurements in the San Andreas fault zone indicate 1) there is no evidence for local frictional heating of the main fault trace at any latitude over a 1000-km length from Cape Mendocino to San Bernardino, 2) average heat flow is high (ca.2 HFU, ca.80 mW m-2) throughout the 550-km segment of the Coast Ranges that encloses the San Andreas fault zone in central California; this broad anomaly falls off rapidly toward the Great Valley to the east, and over a 200-km distance toward the Mendocino Triple Junction to the northwest. As others have pointed out, a local conductive heat flow anomaly would be detectable unless the frictional resistance allocated to heat production on the main trace were less than 100 bars. Frictional work allocated to surface energy of new fractures is probably unimportant, and hydrologic convection is not likely to invalidate the conduction assumption, since the heat discharge by thermal springs near the fault is negligible. -Authors
Additional publication details
Heat flow and energetics of the San Andreas fault zone.