New heat flow data from the immediate vicinity of the Kola super-deep borehole: Vertical variation in heat flow confirmed and attributed to advection

D. Mottaghy, R. Schellschmidt, Y. A. Popov, C. Clauser, I. T. Kukkonen, G. Nover, S. Milanovsky, R. A. Romushkevich

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42 Citations (Scopus)


We present new heat flow values and other geothermal data in the upper crystalline crust in the immediate vicinity of the 12.4-km deep Kola super-deep borehole, NW Russia. Our results show a systematic vertical increase in geothermal gradient and heat flow density as deep as we could measure (1.6 km). Our results confirm earlier results on vertical heat flow trends of in the uppermost part of the Kola super-deep hole, and imply that the thermal regime is not in steady-state conductive conditions. In an area of 3-km × 5-km measurements were performed in 1-2-km deep boreholes surrounding the Kola super-deep hole and on core samples from these holes. Temperature logs are available from 36 holes. Core data exists from 23 boreholes with a total length of 11.5 km at a vertical resolution of 10 m. We carried out a very detailed study on thermal conductivity with regard to anisotropy, inhomogeneity and temperature dependence. Tensor components of thermal conductivity were determined on 1375 core samples from 21 boreholes in 3400 measurements. Additionally, we measured specific heat capacity, heat generation rate, density, porosity, and permeability on selected subsets of core samples. Heat flow from 19 boreholes varies between 31 and 45 mW m-2 with an average value of 38 mW m-2. In most boreholes the vertical heat flow profiles show a considerable variation with depth. This is consistent with observations in the upper part of the Kola super-deep borehole. We conclude that this variation is not caused by technical operations but reflects a natural process. It is considered to be due to a combination of advective, structural and paleoclimatic effects. Preliminary 3-D numerical modeling of heat and flow in the study area provides an indication of relative contributions of each of these factors: advective heat transfer turns out to have a major influence on the vertical variation of heat flow, although transient changes in surface temperature may also cause a significant variation. Heterogeneity of the rocks in the study area is less important.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-142
Number of pages24
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Heat flow
  • Kola super-deep borehole
  • Numerical modeling
  • Petrophysical properties
  • Temperature gradient


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