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Abstract

We present a numerical model of the geothermal field of the Makran accretionary prism and of the slab being subducted below it. Calculated heat flow density values for the sea floor of the abyssal plain and the shelf slope are compared with in situ measured and bottom simulating reflector (BSR)-derived heat flow density values. The result suggests a predominance of conductive heat transport within the accretionary complex. Little evidence is found to suggest that fluid flow or frictional heat modifies the observed geothermal field to any great extent. We also studied the geothermal field associated with the decay of the potential gas hydrate layers (indicated by the presence of BSRs), as gas hydrate layers are being tectonically uplifted out of the gas hydrate stability field into shallower and warmer sea water. Theoretical considerations suggest a complete disappearance of gas hydrates at a water depth of about 750 m. The observed presence of numerous gas seeps almost exclusively at water depths of less than 800 m suggests that gas hydrate layers in the Makran accretionary prism act as a very effective cap rock to upward-directed flow of fluids containing notable amounts of dissolved gas from within the prism to the sea floor.

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