Why study geothermal heat flow in the
heat flow is obtained as the geothermal gradient multiplied with
the thermal conductivity of the rock in the same depth interval.
By studying how heat flow varies geographically, researchers can
make inference on the geologic history, the earth's structure,
and migration of fluid (water, oil, and gas) through rocks.
In the Gulf of Mexico, like in many other oil-producing
sedimentary basins, geothermal heat is the energy that
drives the chemical reactions of transforming organic matters in
sediment into petroleum. The geothermal regime
also influences the formation of byproducts such as hydrogen
sulfide gas. In addition, knowledge of heat flow
helps researchers in studying the tectonic processes that
created the Gulf in the Triassic through Jurassic time.
Nagihara, S., and K. O. Jones, 2005,
Geothermal heat flow in the northeast margin of the Gulf of Mexico:
Amer. Assoc. Petrol. Geol. Bull., v. 89, p. 821-831.
Nagihara, S., and M. A. Smith, 2005,
Geothermal gradient and temperature of hydrogen sulfide-bearing
reservoirs in the continental shelf off Alabama: Amer. Assoc. Petrol.
Geol. Bull. v. 89, p. 1451-1458.
2003, Three-dimensional inverse modeling of refractive heat flow anomaly
associated with salt diapirism: American Association of Petroleum
Geologists Bulletin, v. 87, p. 1207-1222.
Nagihara, S., J. M. Brooks, B. B. Bernard, N. Summer, G. Cole, and T.
Lewis, 2002, Application of marine heat flow data important in
oil, gas exploration: Oil & Gas Journal, v. 100.27, p. 43-49.
Nagihara, S., J. G. Sclater,
J. D. Phillips, E. W. Behrens, T. Lewis, L. A. Lawver, Y.
Nakamura, J. Garcia-Abdeslem, and A. E. Maxwell, 1996, Heat flow
in the western abyssal plain of the Gulf of Mexico: Implications
for thermal evolution of the old oceanic lithosphere: J. Geophys.
Res., v. 101, p. 2895-2913.
Nagihara, S., J.G. Sclater, L.M. Beckley, E.W. Behrens, and L.A.
Lawver, 1992, High heat flow anomalies over salt structures on
the Texas continental slope, Gulf of Mexico: Geophys. Res. Let.,
v. 19, p. 1687-1690.