Heat flow and lithospheric thermal regime in the Northeast German Basin
New values of surface heat flow are reported for 13 deep borehole locations in the Northeast German Basin (NEGB) ranging from 68 to 91 mW m− 2 with a mean of 77 ± 3 mW m− 2. The values are derived from continuous temperature logs, measured thermal conductivity, and log-derived radiogenic heat production. The heat-flow values are supposed free of effects from surface palaeoclimatic temperature variations, from regional as well as local fluid flow and from thermal refraction in the vicinity of salt structures and thus represent unperturbed crustal heat flow. Two-D numerical lithospheric thermal models are developed for a 500 km section along the DEKORP-BASIN 9601 deep seismic line across the basin with a north-eastward extension across the Tornquist Zone. A detailed conceptual model of crustal structure and composition, thermal conductivity, and heat production distribution is developed. Different boundary conditions for the thickness of thermal lithosphere were used to fit surface heat flow. The best fit is achieved with a thickness of thermal lithosphere of about 75 km beneath the NEGB. This estimate is corroborated by seismological studies and somewhat less than typical for stabilized Phanerozoic lithosphere. Modelled Moho temperatures in the basin are about 800 °C; heat flow from the mantle is about 35 to 40 mW m− 2. In the southernmost part of the section, beneath the Harz Mountains, higher Moho temperatures up to 900 to 1000 °C are shown. While the relatively high level of surface heat flow in the NEGB obviously is of longer wave length and related to lithosphere thickness, changes in crustal structure and composition are responsible for short-wave-length anomalies.