02 Apr 2024

Stanford Researchers Publish Subsurface Thermal Map for Continental US

02 Apr 2024  by thinkgeoenergy   

Temperature predictions at 5 kilometers depth based on the Stanford Temperature Model (source: Website screenshot, Stanford Temperature Model)
A study by Mohammad Aljubran and Professor Roland Horne from Stanford University has resulted in the creation of a temperature-at-depth model covering 0 to 7 kilometers depth (at 1-km intervals) for the continental United States. The map can be accessed via a web-based API or ArcGIS. The data can also be accessed via the Geothermal Data Repository.

A preprint outlining the methods and the findings can be accessed here:

Sample temperature profile generated using the Stanford Temperature Model (source: Website screenshot, Stanford Temperature Model)

The Stanford Thermal Earth Model was generated using inputs from more than 400,000 bottomhole temperature measurements. Other inputs included data on depth, elevation, geographic coordinates, sediment thickness, magnetic anomaly, gravity anomaly, gamma-ray flux of radioactive elements, seismicity, and electric conductivity.

The data was then processed using physics-informed graph neural networks. The model was trained to simultaneously predict subsurface temperatures, surface heat flow, and rock thermal conductivity, hence satisfying the three-dimensional heat conduction law.

The model showed superior temperature, surface heat flow and thermal conductivity mean absolute errors of 4.8C, 5.817 mW/m2 and 0.022 W/(C-m), respectively.

The model by Aljubran & Horne joins a growing list of works that aim to make data on subsurface temperatures publicly accessible. Such efforts are instrumental in the identification of potential sites for geothermal projects, as well as in the communication of risks and opportunities to stakeholders. Noteworthy examples include the following:

GeotIS platform for Germany by LIAG;

the Superhot Rock Project Map by CATF;

the ICGC Interactive Map for Catalonia;

the Global Heat Flow Database by the IHFC;

the GeoMap by Project Innerspace.


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