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Three-dimensional temperature model of the Great Basin, USA

April 8, 2024

As part of the periodic update of the geothermal energy assessments for the USA (e.g., last update by Williams and others, 2008), a new three-dimensional temperature map has been constructed for the Great Basin, USA. Williams and DeAngelo (2011) identified uncertainty in estimates of conductive heat flow near land surface as the largest contributor to uncertainty in previously published temperature maps. The new temperature maps incorporate new conductive heat flow estimates developed by DeAngelo and others (2023). Predicted temperatures at depth are compared with representative measurements (for conductively dominated conditions), showing good agreement under relatively simple uniform conditions. Inputs included radiogenic heat production for all layers of 1.89 μW/m3, effective bulk thermal conductivity of 2.7 W/m/°C for all rocks underlying sedimentary basins, and a previously published (Williams and DeAngelo, 2011) empirically driven estimate of increasing thermal conductivity with depth in sedimentary sequences. The resulting three-dimensional temperature model is presented in this USGS data release.

DeAngelo, J., Burns, E.R., Lindsey, C.R., and Mordensky, S.P., 2023, Detrending Great Basin elevation to identify structural patterns for identifying geothermal favorability, Geothermal Rising Conference Transactions, 47, Reno, Nevada, October 1-5, 2023.
Williams, C. F., and DeAngelo, J., 2011, Evaluation of Approaches and Associated Uncertainties in the Estimation of Temperatures in the Upper Crust of the Western United States: GRC Transactions, Vol. 35.

Publication Year 2024
Title Three-dimensional temperature model of the Great Basin, USA
DOI 10.5066/P149FR54
Authors Erick Burns, Jacob DeAngelo, Colin F Williams
Product Type Data Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center