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Left: The Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plant in ÃŽingvellir, Iceland (Foto: Gretar Ãvarsson, 2006; via wikimedia)
Right: Well-log based prediction of rock thermal conductivity (Fuchs & Förster, 2013)

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Deep 3D thermal modelling for the city of Berlin (Germany)

Author: Sippel, J.; Fuchs, S., Mauro, C., Kastner, O., Huenges, E.; Scheck-Wenderoth, M. (2013)

Journal: Environmental Earth Sciences - Volume 70, Issue 8, pages 3545-3566

ISSN: 1866-6280

DOI: 10.1007/s12665-013-2679-2

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This study predicts the subsurface temperature distribution of Germany’ s capital Berlin. For this purpose, a data-based lithosphere-scale 3D structural model is developed incorporating 21 individual geological units. This model shows a horizontal grid resolution of (500 × 500) m and provides the geometric base for two different approaches of 3D thermal simulations: (1) calculations of the steady-state purely conductive thermal field and (2) simulations of coupled fluid flow and heat transport. The results point out fundamentally different structural and thermal configurations for potential geothermal target units. The top of the Triassic Middle Buntsandstein strongly varies in depth (159−2,470 m below sea level) and predicted temperatures (15−95 °C), mostly because of the complex geometry of the underlying Permian Zechstein salt. The top of the sub-salt Sedimentary Rotliegend is rather flat (2,890−3,785 m below sea level) and reveals temperatures of 85−139 °C. The predicted 70 °C-isotherm is located at depths of about 1,500−2,200 m, cutting the Middle Buntsandstein over large parts of Berlin. The 110 °C-isotherm at 2,900−3,700 m depth widely crosscuts the Sedimentary Rotliegend. Groundwater flow results in subsurface cooling the extent of which is strongly controlled by the geometry and the distribution of the Tertiary Rupelian Clay. The cooling effect is strongest where this clay-rich aquitard is thinnest or missing, thus facilitating deep-reaching forced convective flow. The differences between the purely conductive and coupled models highlight the need for investigations of the complex interrelation of flow- and thermal fields to properly predict temperatures in sedimentary systems.