Prior investigations concur that the granite plutons in Scotland which are most likely to prove favourable for geothermal exploration are the Ballater, Bennachie, Cairngorm and Mount Battock plutons, all of which have heat production values greater than 5 μW m−3. This heat production arises from the significant concentrations of potassium, uranium and thorium in some granite plutons. A new field-based gamma-ray spectrometric survey targeted plutons that were poorly surveyed in the past or near areas of high heat demand. This survey identifies several other plutons (Ben Rhinnes, Cheviot, Hill of Fare, Lochnagar and Monadhliath) with heat production rates between 3 and 5 μW m−3 that could well have geothermal gradients sufficient for direct heat use rather than higher temperatures required for electricity generation.
The Criffel and Cheviot plutons are examples of Scottish granites that have concentric compositional zonation and some zones have significantly higher (up to 20%) heat production rates than others in the same plutons. However, the relatively small surface areas of individual high heat-production zones mean that it is unlikely to be worthwhile specifically targeting them.
Supplementary material: The full set of heat production data is available at https://doi.org/10.5525/gla.researchdata.302