Earth Science Frontiers ›› 2020, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (1): 10-16.DOI: 10.13745/j.esf.2020.1.2

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Discussion on the mechanism of deep geothermal energy transmission

LUO Wenxing,SUN Guoqiang,ZHOU Yang,LIU Demin,CHEN Qi   

  1. 1. Changjiang Survey, Planning, Design and Research Co., Ltd., Wuhan 430010, China
    2. Three Gorges Geotechnical Consultants Co., Ltd.(Wuhan), Wuhan 430074, China
    3. China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), Wuhan 430074, China
  • Received:2019-04-21 Revised:2019-09-28 Online:2020-01-20 Published:2020-01-20


Based on deductive testing of previous mechanistic models of geothermal energy generation, we deduced the dynamic process of “internal heat transfer from the deep to the shallow surface of the earth”. We also discussed the mechanism of deep geothermal energy transmission from a few basic laws (first principles) through deductive reasoning. From a physical perspective, geothermal energy is essentially the result of thermal energy transfer from the Earth’s interior to the shallow crust. According to the first principle, the possible transmission process can be inferred by deductive method. The first principle of deep thermal energy transmission consists of five basic concepts: definition of temperature, principle of thermal expansion and contraction, Archimedes principle, thermal radiation and second law of thermodynamics and comparative efficiencies of three heat transfer modes of conduction and convection. Combined with the known Earth’s spherical structure, it can be seen from deductive reasoning that the liquid outer core begins to flow under the migration of the solid inner core, resulting in upwelling of mantle plume due to local fluid aggregation. The mantle plume occurs at the interface of another earth sphere, where the uplift force of underplating creates a convex geometry and produces a baking heating effect. As a result, the rheological property of the baked upper materials is enhanced to cause lateral flow, so that the vertical movement of the substance is converted into horizontal motion. The horizontally flowing hot matter accumulates to a certain extent and rises upward to produce vertical motion. Such vertical and horizontal movements are constantly changing, eventually transferring thermal energy from the center of the Earth’s deep core to the shallow crust. This energy transfer can lead to seafloor expansion, plate movement, basinmountain coupling, etc., and also form different levels of heatcontrol structure systems. The earthscale thermostatic tectonic system may be divided into several subsystems: the Earth’s core that is a heatgenerating structure; the liquid outer core that is a heat storage structure; mantle plums and high temperature fluids occurring at each sphere constitute the heatconducting structures; and volcanoes, hot springs and earthquakes on the Earth’s surface form the heatdissipating structures. The lateral flow of quasisolid rheological materials in continental crust is the main controlling factor for the formation of dry hot rock, which is of great significance for geothermal exploration of dry hot rock.

Key words:  deep geothermal energy, mechanism of heat transmission, deductive reasoning method, firstprinciples, hot dry rock

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