Ranking the geothermal potential of radiothermal granites in Scotland: are any others as hot as the Cairngorms?

McCay, A. T. and Younger, P. L. (2017) Ranking the geothermal potential of radiothermal granites in Scotland: are any others as hot as the Cairngorms? Scottish Journal of Geology, 53, pp. 1-11. (doi:10.1144/sjg2016-008)

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Abstract

Prior investigations concur that the granite plutons in Scotland which are most likely to prove favourable for geothermal exploration are the Ballater, Bennachie, Cairngorm and Mount Battock plutons, all of which have heat production values greater than 5 μW m−3. This heat production arises from the significant concentrations of potassium, uranium and thorium in some granite plutons. A new field-based gamma-ray spectrometric survey targeted plutons that were poorly surveyed in the past or near areas of high heat demand. This survey identifies several other plutons (Ben Rhinnes, Cheviot, Hill of Fare, Lochnagar and Monadhliath) with heat production rates between 3 and 5 μW m−3 that could well have geothermal gradients sufficient for direct heat use rather than higher temperatures required for electricity generation. The Criffel and Cheviot plutons are examples of Scottish granites that have concentric compositional zonation and some zones have significantly higher (up to 20%) heat production rates than others in the same plutons. However, the relatively small surface areas of individual high heat-production zones mean that it is unlikely to be worthwhile specifically targeting them.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mccay, Mr Alistair and Younger, Professor Paul
Authors: McCay, A. T., and Younger, P. L.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:Scottish Journal of Geology
Publisher:Geological Society Publishing House
ISSN:0036-9276
ISSN (Online):2041-4951
Published Online:23 February 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Scottish Journal of Geology 53:1-11
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher
Data DOI:10.5525/gla.researchdata.302

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