International Journal of Earth Sciences vol:97 issue:6 pages:1201-1212
Modelling of the palaeothermal field at the Variscan thrust front in eastern Belgium indicates significant temperature modifications by late-Variscan palaeofluids migrating from internal to peripheral parts of the orogen. A detailed set of calibration data (chlorite geothermometry, microthermometry, organic rank) gives evidence of temporary palaeotemperature variations at the Variscan thrust front obviously connected to the migration of hot, low saline palaeofluids. These thermal events likely enhanced organic maturation (vitrinite reflectance, conodont alteration) of Devonian and Carboniferous sediments, which accumulated long before the Variscan orogeny occurred. Numerical simulation (2D Finite Element method) of the palaeothermal field includes coupled heat transport by thermal conduction and fluid flow. Palaeothermal scenarios yield successive palaeotemperatures (200–300°C), which are indicated by the control data, due to relatively short-term fluid ascent along the detachment and the imbricate thrust front. The simulated flow velocities are up to tens of metre per year lasting several thousand years (non-steady-state solution). In the scenarios modelled, these thermal events occur in a realm of enhanced bulk temperatures due to elevated basal heat flow densities (90 mW m−2) and an additional burial depth of some kilometres. The simulated temperature enhancement due to fluids ascending at the Variscan thrust front is several tens degrees. The scenarios demonstrate long-distance fluid migration during or after deformation of the Palaeozoic basin and its effect on the palaeothermal field.