13 Sep 2021

13 Sep 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Greenland Geothermal Heat Flow Database and Map (Version 1)

William Colgan1, Agnes Wansing2, Kenneth Mankoff1, Mareen Lösing2, John Hopper1, Keith Louden3, Jörg Ebbing2, Flemming G. Christiansen1, Thomas Ingeman-Nielsen4, Lillemor Claesson Liljedahl5, Joseph A. MacGregor6, Árni Hjartarson7, Stefan Bernstein1, Nanna B. Karlsson1, Sven Fuchs8, Juha Hartikainen9, Johan Liakka9, Robert Fausto1, Dorthe Dahl-Jensen10, Anders Bjørk11, Jens-Ove Naslund9, Finn Mørk1, Yasmina Martos12, Niels Balling13, Thomas Funck1, Kristian K. Kjeldsen1, Dorthe Petersen14, Ulrik Gregersen1, Gregers Dam1, Tove Nielsen1, Abbas Khan15, and Anja Løkkegaard1 William Colgan et al.
  • 1Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Copenhagen, DENMARK
  • 2Institute of Geosciences, Kiel University, Kiel, GERMANY
  • 3Dalhousie University, Halifax, CANADA
  • 4Department of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, DENMARK
  • 5DHI Sverige, Stockholm, SWEDEN
  • 6Cryospheric Sciences Lab, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, USA
  • 7Icelandic Geosurvey, Reykjavik, ICELAND
  • 8Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, GERMANY
  • 9Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company, Stockholm, SWEDEN
  • 10Center for Earth Observation Science, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, CANADA
  • 11Department of Geography, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, DENMARK
  • 12Planetary and Magnetospheres Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, USA
  • 13Department of Geoscience, Aarhus University, Aarhus, DENMARK
  • 14Asiaq – Greenland Survey, Nuuk, GREENLAND
  • 15National Space Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, DENMARK

Abstract. We compile, analyse and map all available geothermal heat flow measurements collected in and around Greenland into a new database of 419 sites and generate an accompanying spatial map. This database includes 290 sites previously reported by the International Heat Flow Commission (IHFC), for which we now standardize measurement and metadata quality. This database also includes 129 new sites, which have not been previously reported by the IHFC. These new sites consist of 88 offshore measurements and 41 onshore measurements, of which 24 are subglacial. We employ machine learning to synthesize these in situ measurements into a gridded geothermal heat flow model that is consistent across both continental and marine areas in and around Greenland. This model has a native horizontal resolution of 55 km. In comparison to five existing Greenland geothermal heat flow models, our model has the lowest mean geothermal heat flow for Greenland onshore areas (44 mW m–2). Our model’s most distinctive spatial feature is pronounced low geothermal heat flow (< 40 mW m–2) across the North Atlantic Craton of southern Greenland. Crucially, our model does not show an area of elevated heat flow that might be interpreted as remnant from the Icelandic Plume track. Finally, we discuss the substantial influence of paleoclimatic and other corrections on geothermal heat flow measurements in Greenland. The in-situ measurement database and gridded heat flow model, as well as other supporting materials, are freely available from the GEUS DataVerse (; Colgan and Wansing, 2021).

William Colgan et al.

Status: open (extended)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Review of Colgan and others, "Greenland Geothermal Heat Flow Database and Map (Version 1)" [essd-2021-290]', Anonymous Referee #1, 28 Oct 2021 reply
  • CC1: 'Comment on essd-2021-290', Mads Huuse, 22 Nov 2021 reply

William Colgan et al.

Data sets

Greenland Geothermal Heat Flow Database and Map William Colgan and Agnes Wansing

William Colgan et al.


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Short summary
We assemble all available geothermal heat flow measurements collected in and around Greenland into a new database. We use this database of point measurements, in combination with other geophysical datasets, to model geothermal heat flow in and around Greenland. Our geothermal heat flow model is generally cooler than previous models of Greenland, especially in South Greenland. It does not suggest any high geothermal heat flows resulting from Icelandic plume activity over 50 million years ago.