Data from sixteen deep walls drilled for oil exploration purposes in the Anambra Basin of southeastern Nigeria indicate large variations in temperature gradients and heat flow within the basin. Geothermal gradients vary between 25 and 49 ± 1°C km−1, while heat flow estimates are in the range 48 to 76 ± 3 mW m−2. The highest geothermal gradients and heat flow values were computed for the wells located in the southwestern part of the basin north of Onitsha and Asaba. This part of the basin coincides with zones of thick, low conductivity sediments, low ground surface elevation, and hydraulic discharge zones. The general direction of increase in geothermal gradient, originally projected as south to north by earlier workers dealing with the Niger Delta data and the very limited well data from the Anambra Basin, is inconsistent with the results of the present study.The distribution of subsurface temperatures, geothermal gradients and heat flow is found to be directly related to the basin hydrodynamics – higher geothermal gradients and heat flow in areas of low hydraulic head distribution. Hydrocarbon metamorphism and migration appear to have been greatly influenced by the movements of circulating meteoric waters. A higher level of organic maturity of sediments should be expected in the southwestern zone, where the thermal anomaly exists. However, owing to hydrodynamic activities, tertiary migration would have taken place leaving many traces of residual hydrocarbons. The several cases of fluorescence noticed in wells in the southwestern zone of the Anambra Basin are taken as evidence that this process may indeed have taken place in the geological past of the basin.
Journal of African Earth Sciences 04/1999; 28(3):641-652. DOI:10.1016/S0899-5362(99)00036-6