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Abstract

The region of the gold-rich Ashanti belt in southern Ghana was chosen as the subject for a detailed regional thermal modelling study. Geological studies, in addition to laboratory measurements of thermal properties and heat-production rates, allow us to constrain a finite-element thermal modelling. Scenarios intergrating variations of the structure of the crust and various chronological settings were examined. We calculated the thermal regime before and after the thrust tectonism that affected the region during the Eburnean orogeny (2130–2095 Ma), just before ore deposit formation. This gives a new insight into the regional thermal state of the crust before the mineralizing events. To satisfy the thermobarometric observations, the most probable mantle heat flow must be 60 mW m−2, which is at least three times greater than the present-day value. At shallow depths, our results also indicate anomalies of lateral heat flow reaching 25 mW m−2, focused on the margins of each lithological unit, including the Ashanti belt. These anomalies are related to the distortion of the isotherms in the first few kilometres that can be explained mostly by lateral contrasts in thermal conductivity. Such anomalies could be of importance for the mineralizing events, as they would favour fluid circulation locally.

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