Analysis of steady-state heat transfer through mid-crustal vertical cracks with upward throughflow in hydrothermal systems

Chongbin Zhao, B. E. Hobbs, H. B. Mühlhaus, A. Ord, Ge Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We conduct a theoretical analysis of steady-state heat transfer problems through mid-crustal vertical cracks with upward throughflow in hydrothermal systems. In particular, we derive analytical solutions for both the far field and near field of the system. In order to investigate the contribution of the forced advection to the total temperature of the system, two concepts, namely the critical Peclet number and the critical permeability of the system, have been presented and discussed in this paper. The analytical solution for the field of the system indicates that if the pore-fluid pressure gradient in the crust is lithostatic, the critical permeability of the system can be used to determine whether or not the contribution of the forced advection to the total temperature of the system is negligible. Otherwise, the critical Peclet number should be used. For a crust of moderate thickness, the critical permeability is of the order of magnitude of 10-20 m2, under which heat conduction is the overwhelming mechanism to transfer heat energy, even though the pore-fluid pressure gradient in the crust is lithostatic. Furthermore, the lower bound analytical solution for the near field of the system demonstrates that the permeable vertical cracks in the middle crust can efficiently transfer heat energy from the lower crust to the upper crust of the Earth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1477-1491
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
Volume26
Issue number14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes

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