Saturday, January 31, 2015

Geothermal heat

January 9-19, 2015

Jack Greenberg, marine technician, with geothermal probe
We want to find out how much geothermal heat is being produced in the large rift system which stretches West Antarctica.  The measurement we take here is close enough to the grounding zone to be indicative of the heat flow there, where the ice is in contact with the sediments.  It is important to figure out how much geothermal heat is available to melt the ice sheet from the base.

The geothermal probe we use was built to the specifications of Andy Fisher, a professor at UCSC on the project.  It has a lance at the base with three very precise temperature sensors and lots of weight at the top to help it penetrate the sediments.  Now that we have the temperature gradient in the mud, I will measure the thermal conductivity of the sediments in the lab using samples we collected.  This is all we need to calculate the geothermal heat flux.  From the temperature gradient we have so far, it looks like the geothermal heat flux will be high!

We were happy to find that all three sensors were measured in the mud.
This will help us get a very accurate measurement of the temperature gradient in the mud.

We collect every bit of sediment we can get!
Jack Greenberg, Slawek Tulaczyk, Sarah Neuhaus and me

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