Articles | Volume 15, issue 5
 | Highlight paper
17 May 2021
Comment/reply | Highlight paper |  | 17 May 2021

Comment on “Exceptionally high heat flux needed to sustain the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream” by Smith-Johnsen et al. (2020)

Paul D. Bons, Tamara de Riese, Steven Franke, Maria-Gema Llorens, Till Sachau, Nicolas Stoll, Ilka Weikusat, Julien Westhoff, and Yu Zhang

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Cited articles

Artemieva, I. M.: Lithosphere thermal thickness and geothermal heat flux in Greenland from a new thermal isostasy method, Earth-Scie. Rev., 188, 469–481,, 2019. 
Aschwanden, A., Fahnestock, M., and Truffer, M.: Complex Greenland outlet glacier flow captured, Nat. Com., 7, 10524,, 2016. 
Bartels, A., Nilsson, M. K. M., Klausen, M. B., and Söderlund, U.: Mesoproterozoic dykes in the Timmiarmiit area, Southeast Greenland: evidence for a continuous Gardar dyke swarm across Greenland's North Atlantic Craton, GFF, 138, 255–275,, 2016. 
Blackwell, D. D. and Richards, M.: Geothermal Map of North America, AAPG Map, scale 1 : 6 500 000, 2004. 
Bons, P. D.: The formation of large quartz veins by rapid ascent of fluids in mobile hydrofractures, Tectonophys., 336, 1–17,, 2001. 
Short summary
The modelling of Smith-Johnson et al. (The Cryosphere, 14, 841–854, 2020) suggests that a very large heat flux of more than 10 times the usual geothermal heat flux is required to have initiated or to control the huge Northeast Greenland Ice Stream. Our comparison with known hotspots, such as Iceland and Yellowstone, shows that such an exceptional heat flux would be unique in the world and is incompatible with known geological processes that can raise the heat flux.