Satellite Magnetics Suggest a Complex Geothermal Heat Flux Pattern beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet

Mick Emil Kolster*, Arne Døssing, Shfaqat Abbas Khan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Geothermal heat flow is key to unraveling several large-scale geophysical systems, including the inner workings of the Greenlandic ice sheet, and by extension, the possibility of understanding the past and prior global climate. Similarly, it could provide insight into the paleo-trace of the Icelandic mantle plume, which in turn is integral in answering long-standing questions on the origin of mountains in western and eastern Greenland and in Norway. This study documents the results from an intra-scientific field approach, which combines geological, petrophysical, and satellite magnetic field data in a nonlinear probabilistic inversion. These results include Curie depths with associated uncertainties and Geothermal Heat Flux estimates. While baselines remain challenging to evaluate due to the strong nonlinearity of the problem posed, stress testing reveals a high robustness of the predicted spatial variations, which largely disagree with the classic straightforward northwest–southeast or east–west plume trace across Greenland. Instead, our results indicate a complex heat flux pattern, including a localized region with anomalously heightened heat flux near the origin of the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1379
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number5
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Geothermal heat flux
  • Greenland
  • Icelandic plume trace
  • Northeast Greenland Ice Stream
  • Probabilistic inversion
  • Satellite magnetic data


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