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A survey of temperature gradients in the uppermost sediments of the Louisiana continental shelf was done in 1983 by Gulf Oil Corporation, using a 5-m-long temperature probe. The survey covered 450 sq mi, with an average grid spacing of less than 1 mi. The purpose was to detect heat flow anomalies due to subsurface fluid flow. However, thermal perturbations due to seasonal variation of bottom-water temperature mask the temperature gradients due to geological heat flow. Bottom-water temperature variations similar to those recorded near the survey area in 1963-1965 explain most of the observed spatial and temporal changes in shallow temperature-depth profiles. The data set from this detailed survey has been donated to a publicly accessible scientific database, to spur resear h into heat flow measurement on continental shelves.
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