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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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Article

Calculation of thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity and specific heat capacity of sedimentary rocks using petrophysical well logs

Author: Fuchs, S., , Balling, N., Förster, A. (2015)

Journal: Geophysical Journal International - Volume 203, Issue 3, pages 1977-2000

ISSN: 1365-246X

DOI: 10.1093/gji/ggv403

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In this study, equations are developed that predict for synthetic sedimentary rocks (clastics, carbonates and evapourates) thermal properties comprising thermal conductivity, specific heat capacity and thermal diffusivity. The rock groups are composed of mineral assemblages with variable contents of 15 major rock-forming minerals and porosities of 0−30 per cent. Petrophysical properties and their well-logging-tool-characteristic readings were assigned to these rock-forming minerals and to pore-filling fluids. Relationships are explored between each thermal property and other petrophysical properties (density, sonic interval transit time, hydrogen index, volume fraction of shale and photoelectric absorption index) using multivariate statistics. The application of these relations allows computing continuous borehole profiles for each rock thermal property. The uncertainties in the prediction of each property vary depending on the selected well-log combination. Best prediction is in the range of 2−8 per cent for the specific heat capacity, of 5−10 per cent for the thermal conductivity, and of 8−15 for the thermal diffusivity, respectively. Well-log derived thermal conductivity is validated by laboratory data measured on cores from deep boreholes of the Danish Basin, the North German Basin, and the Molasse Basin. Additional validation of thermal conductivity was performed by comparing predicted and measured temperature logs. The maximum deviation between these logs is <3 °C. The thermal-conductivity calculation allowed an evaluation of the depth range in which the palaeoclimatic effect on the subsurface temperature field can be observed in the North German Basin. This effect reduces the surface heat-flow density by 25 mW/m2.