Working groups

Most of the work of the IHFC is performed by its working groups. These are organized by one or a group of speakers. Members and speakers of these working group need not necessarily be members of the IHFC. Please do not hesitate to contact the speakers in case of questions or suggestions.

The current working groups and their speakers are:

Heat Flow Database

Speaker: Sven Fuchs

The working group "Heat Flow Database" defines structure and quality criteria of the Global Heat Flow Database and takes care to include new data into the database.

Recent activities 2023:

  • Database release 2023 (January 2023)
  • Workshop on in-depth evaluation, development and discussion of criteria for determination, documentation, data-banking, and quality assessment of heat-flow data during the 7th International Meeting on Heat Flow and the Geothermal Field Potsdam, Germany, 20.06.-22.06.2022
  • Collaborative development of a new quality scheme for the global heat flow database database.
  • Database release 2021 (April 2021)
  • Collaborative development of the new database structure. Digital kick-off workshop (14th May 2020, minutes)
  • Online questionnaire (May 2020): What are your past experiences with the database and your expectation for a new heat-flow data portal?

Previous speakers: David S. Chapman (1983-1987), Henry N. Pollack (1987-1991), Eckardt Hurtig (1991-1994), Daniel Pribnow (1994-2000), Will Gosnold (2000-2019)

Borehole Temperature Database

Speaker: Shaopeng Huang

The IHFC global data base for borehole temperatures and climate reconstructions is currently located under the custody of Shaopeng Huang at the University of Wisconsin. Temperatures beneath the Earth's surface consist of two principal components: a steady-state component related to the flow of heat outward from the deeper interior, and a downward-propagating transient component related to the perturbations from changes at the ground surface. The recent effort among the geothermal community in reconstructing a ground surface temperature history from borehole temperature data adds a new dimension to the study of global climate change. It is widely recognized among the scientific community that the independent climate information comprised in borehole temperatures is complementary to instrumental records and other conventional climate proxies. With the support from the international heat flow community, a global database of borehole temperatures has been constructed for climate research.

Applied Geothermics

Speaker: Thomas Kohl, Massimo Verdoya

As a response to the growing interest in geothermal energy for providing energy for heating or cooling and for generating electric energy, the working group on Applied Geothermics provides the link between researchers working in classical tectonophysical heat flow and practitioners in the energy field. It is expected that this way theoretical and practical proficiency available in the heat flow community will find its way to be implemented in geothermal solutions for the global demand for thermal and electric energy.


Speaker: Jan Safanda

Reconstructing past climate provides a useful context for the discussion on the twentieth century global warming and future climate changes. In an initial paper published in the Geophysical Research Letters, Shaopeng Huang and Henry Pollack of the University of Michigan and Po-Yu Shen of the University of Western Ontario present a suite of 20,000 year reconstructions that integrate three types of geothermal information: a global database of terrestrial heat flux measurements, another database of temperature versus depth observations, and instrumental record of temperature. These reconstructions show the warming from the last glacial maximum, the occurrence of a mid-Holocene warm episode, a Medieval Warm Period (MWP), a Little Ice Age (LIA), and the rapid warming of the 20th century.

Thermal Properties

Speaker: Yuri Popov

The WG activity includes following aspects:

  1. Enhancement of experimental basis for measurements of rock thermal properties at atmospheric and in-situ conditions.
  2. Metrological aspects of experimental thermal petrophysics to provide necessary reliability and standardization of thermal property measurements in world geothermics. Within (1) and (2) the IHFC Working group “Thermal Properties” prepared and published in collaboration with ISRM the recommendations “ISRM Suggested Methods for Determining Thermal Properties of Rocks from Laboratory Tests at Atmospheric Pressure” (Popov Y., Beardsmore, Clauser and Roy, 2016. Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering, 49(10), 4179-4207. DOI 10.1007/s00603-016-1070-5).
  3. Development and implementation of techniques for the thermal property measurements on rock cuttings. Several approaches were developed and implemented (e.g. Popov E. et al., 2018. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrmms.2018.05.005).
  4. Development and implementation of techniques for determination of rock thermal properties using standard well logging data (e.g. Fuchs S. & Förster A. 2014, 10.1093/gji/ggt382; Shakirov et al., 2019, Proc. of Sixth EAGE Sc. Workshop, France).
  5. Implementation of novel technique for continuous contactless profiling rock thermal properties on all full-size core samples recovered from a well for determining detailed vertical variations of heat flow along the well (e.g. Chekhonin et al., 2018, 10.1007/s00603-018-1496-z; Popov et al., 2019, 10.1088/1755-1315/249/1/012042).
  6. Extension of application of advanced thermal petrophysical technologies for solution of problems in applied geothermics for (1) prospecting, exploration and development of hydrocarbon fields with conventional and unconventional resources, and (2) radioactive waste disposal.

Education and Dissemination (preliminary)

Speaker: Sven Fuchs (interim)

The working group "Education and Dissemination" is developing heatflow.X, a program framework to create and bundle a number of IHFC science and outreach activities related to heat-flow research. The program aims at developing organizational structures, specific methods, and tools to effectively support the heat-flow community with transferable knowledge.

Recent activities 2023:

  • heat flow summer school (5 days, July 2023)
  • heat flow workshop Africa, South Atlantic, South and Latin America (2 days, July 2023)
  • heat flow workshop on Antarctica (2 days, July 2023)