Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

W.D. Gosnold Jr.


Heat flow measurements may require correction for both recent warming and post-glacial warming signals. Warming during the last century can be detected in borehole temperature profiles. Both climate warming signals during the past century and post-glacial warming signals during the past 10 millennia are greatest near the surface and diminish with depth.

Both atmospheric data and borehole temperature data show that recent warming varies systematically with latitude along a north-south transect in the United States. The systematic increase with latitude from +0.7 oC at 41.6oN to +2.3 oC at 49oN during the last century is consistent with the prediction that global warming due to increasing amount of CO2 in the atmosphere varies with latitude.

A systematic increase of heat flow with depth is predicted to result from the post glacial warming signal in the upper 2km. A modeled depth dependent correction of post glacial warming indicated that the thermal gradient may be underestimated by 27% in some areas, thereby implying that some heat flow values in the United States may be up to 27% higher depending on the depth of the temperature gradient measurement. Averaging the corrected heat flow values shows that the average heat flow is 58 mW m-2, 78 mW m-2 and 51 mW m-2 for the whole conterminous United States, Western and Eastern United States respectively.

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Geology Commons