Gamma-ray spectrometry in the field: Radioactive heat production in the Central Slovakian Volcanic Zone

Harley, T. L., Westaway, R. and McCay, A. T. (2017) Gamma-ray spectrometry in the field: Radioactive heat production in the Central Slovakian Volcanic Zone. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 338, pp. 1-24. (doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2017.03.009)

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Abstract

We report 62 sets of measurements from central-southern Slovakia, obtained using a modern portable gamma-ray spectrometer, which reveal the radioactive heat production in intrusive and extrusive igneous rocks of the Late Cenozoic Central Slovakian Volcanic Zone. Sites in granodiorite of the Štiavnica pluton are thus shown to have heat production in the range ~ 2.2–4.9 μW m− 3, this variability being primarily a reflection of variations in content of the trace element uranium. Sites in dioritic parts of this pluton have a lower, but overlapping, range of values, ~ 2.1–4.4 μW m− 3. Sites that have been interpreted in adjoining minor dioritic intrusions of similar age have heat production in the range ~ 1.4–3.3 μW m− 3. The main Štiavnica pluton has zoned composition, with potassium and uranium content and radioactive heat production typically increasing inward from its margins, reflecting variations observed in other granodioritic plutons elsewhere. It is indeed possible that the adjoining dioritic rocks, hitherto assigned to other minor intrusions of similar age, located around the periphery of the Štiavnica pluton, in reality provide further evidence for zonation of the same pluton. The vicinity of this pluton is associated with surface heat flow ~ 40 mW m− 2 above the regional background. On the basis of our heat production measurements, we thus infer that the pluton has a substantial vertical extent, our preferred estimate for the scale depth for its downward decrease in radioactive heat production being ~ 8 km. Nonetheless, this pluton lacks any significant negative Bouguer gravity anomaly. We attribute this to the effect of the surrounding volcanic caldera, filled with relatively low-density lavas, ‘masking’ the pluton's own gravity anomaly. We envisage that emplacement occurred when the pluton was much hotter, and thus of lower density, than at present, its continued uplift, evident from the local geomorphology, being the isostatic consequence of localized erosion. The heat production in this intrusion evidently plays a significant role, hitherto unrecognized, in the regional geothermics.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mccay, Mr Alistair and Westaway, Dr Robert and Harley, Mr Thomas
Authors: Harley, T. L., Westaway, R., and McCay, A. T.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0377-0273
ISSN (Online):0377-0273
Published Online:09 March 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V.
First Published:First published in Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 338:1-24
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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