ESTIMATION OF HEAT SOURCES IN PLANETARY CRUSTS FROM ISOTHERM DEPTH, SURFACE HEAT FLOW, AND CRUSTAL THICKNESS


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Abstract

The depth to an isotherm provides clues on the intensity of heat sources within a planetary crust. In this work, we show that the depth to an isotherm and crustal thickness can be jointly used to give an approximate estimation of the fraction of the surface heat flow that is being originated from the crust of a terrestrial planet. Relationships between crustal heat generation rate and crustal thickness, and surface and mantle heat flow variations on a planet were also explored. The proposed methodology may serve to improve present descriptions of the crustal temperature-depth profiles of terrestrial planets, and may also provide information on chemical and thermal evolution.

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