Beo v1.0: numerical model of heat flow and low-temperature thermochronology in hydrothermal systems
Low-temperature thermochronology can provide records of the thermal history of the upper crust and can be a valuable tool to quantify the history of hydrothermal systems. However, existing model codes of heat flow around hydrothermal systems do not include low-temperature thermochronometer age predictions. Here I present a new model code that simulates thermal history around hydrothermal systems on geological timescales. The modelled thermal histories are used to calculate apatite (U–Th)∕He (AHe) ages, which is a thermochronometer that is sensitive to temperatures up to 70 ∘C. The modelled AHe ages can be compared to measured values in surface outcrops or borehole samples to quantify the history of hydrothermal activity. Heat flux at the land surface is based on equations of latent and sensible heat flux, which allows more realistic land surface and spring temperatures than models that use simplified boundary conditions. Instead of simulating fully coupled fluid and heat flow, the code only simulates advective and conductive heat flow, with the rate of advective fluid flux specified by the user. This relatively simple setup is computationally efficient and allows running larger numbers of models to quantify model sensitivity and uncertainty. Example case studies demonstrate the sensitivity of hot spring temperatures to the depth, width and angle of permeable fault zones, and the effect of hydrothermal activity on AHe ages in surface outcrops and at depth.