Volume 5 Number 3
  • E-ISSN: 1365-2478



In this paper an attempt has been made to evaluate the possibilities of determining subsurface features from temperature measurements made at shallow depths. The temperatures at the observation depth used are subject to seasonable variations. The amount of this variation differs, and these differences have been attributed to structural features. Local differences in temperature are also caused by surface factors such as the thermal conductivity of the soil, the vegetation and the micro‐climate. The differences in temperature due to surface factors are so great that the variation in heat flow caused by differing thermal conductivities of the rocks at depth cannot be detected at the surface. It is not possible therefore to use this method to determine the position of subsurface structures such as domes, anticlines or horsts.

It is also shown that concentrations of radioactive elements in the rocks do not provide any measurable heating.

The method has been successfully applied to the problem of finding fissures, cracks and similar features provided that convective heat transport from depth to the surface has taken place along these features. In order to compute the area through which a given amount of water at a given depth must pass to give a specific temperature increase a model has been considered. From the shape of the temperature anomaly above a fissure carrying such heated water, the places at which the rising water enters the groundwater stream can be seen immediately. It is possible to estimate the amount of rising water by computing the amount of heat energy transferred to the surface.

The method is particularly suitable for determining the position of steam deposits in regions of recent vulcanicity. In such a region a location, hitherto unknown, was found where steam rising from depth condenses beneath the surface.

The area and form of the anomaly indicate the extent in depth of this steam bearing zone. By means of observations made at the individual points, it was also possible to compute approximately the energy being released at the surface. This value can give an indication of the extent to which the steam deposits regenerate themselves.

Finally it has been shown that percolating canal water can be detected thermally near the canal banks. Such anomalies are dependent on the season.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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