Using California as a test region, we have examined the feasibility of using Curie-isotherm depths, estimated from magnetic anomalies, as a proxy for lithospheric thermal structure. Our method follows previous studies by dividing a regional aeromagnetic database into overlapping subregions and analyzing the power-density spectrum of each subregion, but we have improved on previous studies in two important ways: We increase subregion dimensions in a stepwise manner until long-wavelength anomalies are appropriately sampled, and each subregion spectrum determined from the magnetic anomalies is manually fit with a theoretical expression that directly yields the depth to the bottom of the magnetic layer. Using this method, we have obtained Curie-isotherm depths for California that show a general inverse correlation with measured heat flow, as expected. The Coast Ranges of California are characterized by high heat flow (80-85 mW/m2) and shallow Curie depths (20-30 km), whereas the Great Valley has low heat flow (less than 50 mW/m2) and deeper Curie depths (30-45 km). ?? 2006 Society of Exploration Geophysicists.
Additional publication details
Testing the use of aeromagnetic data for the determination of Curie depth in California