Predicting Geothermal Heat Flow in Antarctica With a Machine Learning Approach
We present a machine learning approach to statistically derive geothermal heat flow (GHF) for Antarctica. The adopted approach estimates GHF from multiple geophysical and geological data sets, assuming that GHF is substantially related to the geodynamic setting of the plates. We apply a Gradient Boosted Regression Tree algorithm to find an optimal prediction model relating GHF to the observables. The geophysical and geological features are primarily global data sets, which are often unreliable in polar regions due to limited data coverage. Quality and reliability of the data sets are reviewed and discussed in line with the estimated GHF model. Predictions for Australia, where an extensive database of GHF measurements exists, demonstrate the validity of the approach. In Antarctica, only a sparse number of direct GHF measurements are available. Therefore, we explore the use of regional data sets of Antarctica and its tectonic Gondwana neighbors to refine the predictions. With this, we demonstrate the need for adding reliable data to the machine learning approach. Finally, we present a new geothermal heat flow map, which exhibits intermediate values compared to previous models, ranging from 35 to 156 mW/m2, and visible connections to the conjugate margins in Australia, Africa, and India.