Open Access

Relations between the thermal properties and porosity of sediments in the eastern flank of the Juan de Fuca Ridge

Earth, Planets and Space200961:BF03353197

Received: 25 November 2008

Accepted: 28 March 2009

Published: 31 August 2009


The empirical relations of the thermal properties (thermal conductivity, heat capacity, specific heat, and thermal diffusivity) to the porosity and mineral composition of clay and sandy sediments recovered in the eastern flank of the Juan de Fuca Ridge are examined using the observed thermal properties, index properties, and mineral composition of the sediments. Observed thermal conductivity-porosity relations are explained using the geometric mean model. The observed relations of heat capacity and specific heat, respectively, to porosity are given by the arithmetic mean formula. A new model for the sediment thermal diffusivity-porosity relation is proposed based on models of thermal conductivity and heat capacity. This model, expressed by the geometric mean model with a correction function for the porosity and heat capacities of grain sediment and pore-filling fluid, explains the observed thermal diffusivity-porosity relations. These thermal property models are applicable to thermal properties of other sediment lithology types and are useful as standard models for estimating the thermal properties of marine sediment.

Key words

Thermal propertiesthermal conductivitythermal diffusivityheat capacityspecific heatporositymarine sedimentmineral composition