Geothermal heat | The measured shallow temperature field in Britain

The temperature depth slice at a 1000 m below ground level

The BGS have published some new analyses on the likely temperatures to be found at borehole depths in Britain between 100 and 1000 m.

Accessing heat from the ground is set to become increasing important as renewable heat plays an ever increasing role in the renewable energy mix.

In a paper, published in the Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, BGS scientists have analysed 1748 discreet temperature measurements. Expected temperatures at depths below the ground surface of 100, 200, 500 and 1000 m are 13, 16, 24 and 38 °C respectively.

Hot spots

Not suprisingly the temperature varies in different regions where warmer and cooler zones are apparent:

Elevated temperatures have been mainly observed in eastern and southern England; these have been attributed to convective water movement within some of the underlying sandstones and the thermal blanketing effect of overlying mudstone and clay rocks.

Lower temperatures are associated with thick sequences of older sandstones that are not overlain by mudstones.

Some of the highest temperatures at depth are associated with granitic rocks, such as found in Cornwall and buried beneath younger rocks in northern England.

Download the report: The measured shallow temperature field in Britain

What's next?

We can use these measured data to improve our estimates of temperatures at depth. Estimating temperatures where we have no borehole measurements is important as it will enable those wanting to take advantage of the ground's renewable heat to make informed decisions about their choices.


Contact Jon Busby for further information