Geothermal models of the crust and uppermost mantle of the Fennoscandian Shield in South Norway and the Danish Embayment

Main Article Content

N.P. Balling


A narrow heat flow transition zone between the Fennoscandian Shield and the North Sea Basin has been investigated along a profile from the Precambrian of South Norway to the Danish Embayment in North Jylland. Along this profile the surface heat flow varies from about 42 mWm-2 (measured) in South Norway to 60–70 mWm-2 (estimated) in Denmark. Geothermal, seismic, gravity and other geophysical and geological data have formed the basis for construction of heat production and thermal conductivity models in the depth interval 0–50 km. The related steady-state temperatures and heat flow distributions are calculated by a numerical solution of the heat conduction equation in two dimensions. Three models are presented, a preferred model and two others which yield temperatures assumed to be close to the lowest and highest possible values. The preferred model gives temperatures of about 350 °C at the crust-mantle boundary in the Shield and approximately 700 °C beneath the Danish Embayment. These differences are associated with considerable variations in the heat flow from the mantle. In the main model variations from 16-17 mWm-2 in the shield region to about 40 mWm-2 in the Danish Embayment have been found. Some geophysical and petrological implications are discussed. In the sedimentary basin partial melting in the lower crust and at shallow depth in the uppermost mantle seems to be likely.

Google Scholar           ARK:



Article Details

How to Cite
Balling, N. (1976). Geothermal models of the crust and uppermost mantle of the Fennoscandian Shield in South Norway and the Danish Embayment. Journal of Geophysics, 42(1), 237-256. Retrieved from


Arie. K. (1968) Reflexionsseismische Messungen im Skagerrak. J. Geophys. 34:223-226

Barth, T.F.W., Dons, J.A. (1960) Precambrian of Southern Norway. In: Holtedal, O. (Ed.) Geology of Norway, Norges geol. Unders. 208:6-67

Birch, F., Clark, H. (1940) The thermal conductivity of rocks and its dependence upon temperature and composition. Am. J. Sci. 238, 529-558 and 613-635

Bridgman, P.W. (1924) Thermal conductivity and compressibility of several rocks under high pressures. Am. J. Sci. Ser. 5(7):81-102

Buntebarth, G. (1973) Modellberechnungen zur Temperatur-Tiefen-Yerteilung im Bereich der Alpcn und des Alpenvorlandes. J. Geophys. 39:97-107

Casten, U., Hirschleber, H. (1971) Seismic measurements in Jutland 1969. J. Geophys. 37:47-69

Čermak, Y. (1975) Temperature-depth profiles in Czechoslovakia and some adjacent areas derived from heat-flow measurements, deep seismic sounding and other geophysical data. Tectonophysics 26:103-119

Čermak, V., Jessop, A.M. (1971) Heat flow, heat generation and crustal temperature in the Kapuskasing area of the Canadian Shield. Tectonophysics 11:287-303

Clark, S.P. (1957) Radiative transfer in the Earth's mantle. Trans. Am. Geophys. Union 38:931-938

Clark, S.P. (1969) Heat conductivity in the mantle. In: Hart, P.J. (Ed.) The Earth's crust and upper mantle, Am. Geophys. Un. Geophys. Mon. 13:622-626

Evans, T.R., Coleman, N.C. (1974) North Sea geothermal gradients. Nature 247:28-30

Falkum, T. (1966) Structural and petrological investigations of the Precambrian metamorphic and igneous charnockite and migmatite complex in the Flekkefjord area. Southern Norway. Norges geol. Unders. 242:19-25

Falkum. T. (1972) On large-scale tectonic structures in the Agder-Rogaland region, Southern Norway. Norsk geol. Tidsskr. 52:371-376

Fujisawa. H., Fujii, N., Mizutani. H., Kanamori. H., Akimoto, S. (1968) Thermal diffusivity of Mg2SiO4, Fe2SiO4, and NaCl at high pressures and temperatures. J. Geophys. Res. 73:4727-4733

Fukao, Y. (1969) On the radiative heat transfer and the thermal conductivity in the upper mantle. Bull. Earthquake Res. Inst. 47:549-569

Fukao, Y., Mizutani, H., Uyeda. S. (1968) Optical absorption spectra at high temperatures and radiative thermal conductivity of olivines. Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors l:57-62

Green, T.H. (1967) An experimental investigation of sub-solidus assemblages formed at high pressure in high-alumina basalt, kyanit eclogite and grosspydite compositions. Contr. Mineral. Petrol. 16:

Green, D.H. (1973) Contrasted melting relations in a pyrolite upper mantle under mid-oceanic ridge. stable crust and island arc environments. In: Wyllie, P.J. (Ed.) Experimental petrology and global tectonics, Tectonophysics 17:285-297

Green, D.H., Ringwood, A.E. (1967) An experimental investigation of the gabbro to eclogite transformation and its petrological applications. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 31:767-833

Green, D.H., Ringwood, A.E. (1972) A comparison of recent experimental data on the gab bro-garnet granulite-eclogite transition. J. Geol. 80:277-288

Gregersen, S. (1971) The Trans-Scandinavian seismic profile of 1969, profile section 4-5. In: Vogel, A. (Ed.) Deep seismic sounding in Northern Europe, Swedish Nat. Sci. Res. Council, 92-95

Haenel, R. (1971) Heat flow measurements and a first heat flow map of Germany. J. Geophys. 37:975-992

Hacncl. R., Gronlie, G., Heier, K.S. (1974) Terrestrial heat flow determinations from lakes in Southern Norway. Norsk. geol. Tidsskr. 54:423-428

Heier, K.S., Adams, J.A.S. (1965) Concentration of radioactive elements in deep crustal material. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 29:53-61

llirschleber, H., Hjelme, J., SellevolL M.A. (1966) A refraction profile through the Northern Jutland. Geodret. Inst. Medd. Kobenhavn 41:35

Horai. K., Simmons, G. (1969) Thermal conductivity of rock-forming minerals. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 6:359-368

Hurtig, E., Brugger, H. (1970) Warmeleitfahigkeitsmessungen unter einaxialem Druck. Tectonophysics 10:67-77

Ito, K., Kennedy. G.C. (1970) The fine structure of the basalt-eclogite transition. Mineral. Soc. Am. Spec. Paper 3:77-83

Ito, K., Kennedy, G.C. (1971) An experimental study of the basalt-garnet granulite-eclogite transition. In: Haecock, J.G. (Ed.) The structure and physical properties of the Earth's crust, Am. Geophys. Un. Geophys. Mon. 14:303-314

Kanestrom, R., Haugland, K. (1971) Crustal structure in southeastern Norway from seismic refraction measurements. Scientific Report No. 5. Seismological Observatory, University of Bergen. Norway, 72 p.

Kappelmeyer, O., Haenel, R. (1974) Geothermics with Special Reference to Application. Geoexpl. Monogr. Ser. I, No. 4:238

Kawada, K. (1964) Variation of the thermal conductivity of rocks. part I. Bull. Earthquake Res. Inst. 42:631-647

Kawada, K. (1966) Variation of the thermal conductivity of rocks. part 2. Bull. Earthquake Res. Inst. 44:1071-1091

Kennedy, G.C., Ito. K. (1972) Comments on: "A comparison of recent experimental data on the gabbrogarnet granulite-eclogite transition". J. Geol. 80:289-292

Killeen, P.G., Heier. K.S. (1974) Radioelement variation in the Levang granite-gneiss, Bambie region, South Norway. Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 48:171-177

Killeen, P.G., Heier, K.S. (1975a) A uranium and thorium enriched province of the Fennoscandian shield in Southern Norway. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 39:1515-1524

Killeen, P.G., Heier. K.S. (1975b) Radioelement distribution and heat production in Precambrian granitic rocks, Southern Norway. Skr. Norske Videnskaps-Akad. I. Mat.-Naturv. kl. 35:32

Lachenbruch, A.H. (1970) Crustal temperature and heat production: Implications of the linear heat-flow relation. J. Geophys. Res. 75:3291-3300

Lambert, L.B., Heier, K.S. (1967) The vertical distribution of uranium, thorium and potassium in the continental crust. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 31:377-390

Larsen, G. (1966) Rhaetic-Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous Sediments in the Danish Embayment. Dan marks geol. Unders. II, 91

Larsen, O. (1971) K/Ar age determinations from the Precambrian of Denmark. Dan marks geol. Unders. II. 97:37

Larsen. O. (1972) Kalium/Argon datering af prover fra danskc dybdeboringer. Dansk geol. Foren. Arsskrift for 1971:9I-94

Madsen, L. (1975) Approximate geothermal gradients in Denmark and the Danish North Sea sector. Danmarks geol. Unders. Arbog 1974:5-16

Majorowicz, J.A. (1973) Heat flow data from Poland. Nat. Phys. Sci. 241:16-17

Masse. R.P. (1975) Baltic Shield crustal velocity distribution. Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am. 65:885-897

Parasnis, D.S. (1975) Temperature phenomena and heat flow estimates in two Precambrian ore-bearing areas in North Sweden. Geophys. J. 43:531-554

Puranen, M., Jarvimaki, P., Hamalainen, U., Lehtinen, S. (1968) Terrestrial heat flow in Finland. Geoexploration 6:151-162

Rasmussen, L.B. (1972) Oversigt over dybdeboringerne pa dansk landomrade 1965-68. Dansk geol. Foren .. Arsskrift for 1971:41-48

Rasmussen, L.B. (1974) Some geological results from the first five Danish exploration wells in the North Sea. Geol. Surv. Denmark III Ser. 42:46

Ringwood. A.E. (1969) Composition and evolution of the upper mantle. In: Hart, P.J. (Ed.) The Earth's crust and upper mantle, Am. Geophys. Un. Geophys. Mon. 13:1-17

Roy. R.F., Blackwell, D.D., Birch, F. (1968) Heat generation of plutonic rocks and continental heat flow provinces. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 5:1-12

Roy. R.F., Blackwell, D.D., Decker, E.R. (1972) Continental heat flow. In: Robertson, E.C. (Ed.) Nature of the solid Earth, pp. 506-543. McGraw-Hill, New York

Schatz, J.F., Simmons, G. (1972) Thermal conductivity of Earth materials at high temperatures. J. Geophys. Res. 77:6966-6983

Sellevoll, M.A. (1973) Mohorovičić discontinuity beneath Fenneoscandia and adjacent parts of the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea. In: Mueller, S. (Ed.) The structure of the Earth's crust, based on seismic data, Tectonophysics 20:359-366

Sellevoll, M.A., Aalstad, I. (1971) Magnetic measurements and seismic profiling in the Skagerrak. Marine Geophys. Res. 1:284-302

Sellevoll, M.A., Warrick, R.E. (1971) Refraction study of the crustal structure in Southern Norway. Bull. Seism. Soc. Am. 61:457-471

Shaw, D.M. (1967) Uranium, thorium and potassium in the Canadian Precambrian shield and possible mantle compositions. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 31:1111-1113

Smithson, S.B. (1965) The nature of the "granitic" layer of the crust in the southern Norwegian Precambrian. Norsk geol. Tidsskr. 45:113-133

Smithson, S.B., Decker, E.R. (1974) A continental crustal model and its geothermal implications. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 22:215-225

Sorgenfrei, T. (1969) Geological perspectives in the North Sea area. Bull. geol. Soc. Denmark 19:160-196

Sorgenfrei, T., Buch, A. (1964) Deep tests in Denmark 1935-1959. Dan marks geol. Unders. Ill, 36:146

Swanberg, C.A. (1972) Vertical distribution of heat generation in the Idaho batholith. J. Geophys. Res. 77:2508-2513

Swanberg, C.A., Chessman, M.D., Simmons, G., Smithson, S.B., Grnnlie, G., Heier, K.S. (1974) Heat-flowheat-generation studies in Norway. Tectonophysics 23:31-48

Walsh, J.B., Decker, E.R. (1966) Effect of pressure and saturating fluid on the thermal conductivity of compact rock. J. Geophys. Res. 71:3053-3061

Weigel, W., Hjelme, J., Sellevoll, M.A. (1970) A refraction profile through the Skagerrak from Northern Jutland to Southern Norway. Geodret. Inst. Medd. K0benhavn 45:27

Wenk, H.-R., Wenk, E. (1969) Physical constants of alpine rocks (density, porosity, specific heat, thermal diffusivity and conductivity). Schweiz. Min. Petr. Mitt. 49:343-357

Wesierska, M. (1973) A study of terrestrial heat flux density in Poland. Publ. Inst. Geoph. Pol. Ac. Sci. 60:135-144

Winkler, H.G.F. (1974) Petrogenesis of Metamorphic Rocks. 3rd ed., 320 p. Springer, Berlin-Heidelberg-New York