The relations between seafloor depth, age, and geothermal heat flux, as defined in Eqns. (1.1) and (1.2), are shown in Figure 1.12.

The horizontal distribution of geothermal heat flux in the world's oceans calculated from Eqns. (1.1) and (1.2) is shown in Figure 1.13, and the total amount of geothermal heat flux is estimated as 32 TW. As expected from these formulae, geothermal heat flux is large in the vicinity of the global mid-ocean ridge system. Away from the mid-ocean ridge, the geothermal heat flux gradually declines, and the mean geothermal heat flux for the old-age seafloor is on the order of 50 mW/m2. Thus, geothermal heat flux, in general, is a rather weak source of thermal energy. Although the strong geothermal heat flux released near the mid-ocean ridges may play an important role in driving thermal circulation near the

50 100 150 200 250 Age (million years)

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