3D numerical modelling of the steady-state thermal regime constrained by surface heat flow data: a Monte Carlo approach

Monday, 15 December 2014
Ben Mather, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia, Louis Noel Moresi, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia and Alexander R Cruden, Monash University, Clayton, VIC, Australia
Uncertainty of the lithospheric thermal regime greatly increases with depth. Measurements of temperature gradient and crustal rheology are concentrated in the upper crust, whereas the majority of the lithospheric measurements are approximated using empirical depth-dependent functions. We have applied a Monte Carlo approach to test the variation of crustal heat flow with temperature-dependent conductivity and the redistribution of heat-producing elements. The dense population of precision heat flow data in Victoria, Southeast Australia offers the ideal environment to test the variation of heat flow. A stochastically consistent anomalous zone of impossibly high Moho temperatures in the 3D model (> 900°C) correlates well with a zone of low teleseismic velocity and high electrical conductivity. This indicates that transient heat transfer has perturbed the thermal gradient and therefore a steady-state approach to 3D modelling is inappropriate in this zone. A spatial correlation between recent intraplate volcanic eruption points (< 5 Ma) and elevated Moho temperatures is a potential origin for additional latent heat in the crust.