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Tom Mazanec
2018-Jul-26, 02:54 PM
On the scifi planet Yom:
https://gailearth.com/about-2/life-on-the-planets/yom/#3.17.001
There are two polar areas called "warm ground", where geothermal heat keeps the snow melted (they are described as looking like finger prints from space).
Is this plausible? Even in Yellowstone's geyser basins, AFAIK the snow is normal. Could such a feature exist without constant lava flows?

selden
2018-Jul-26, 04:52 PM
It seems to me that how bare the ground might be would depend on the temperature and heat capacity of the heat source and how good an insulator the overlying soil or rock is.

This Web page might help: https://inspectapedia.com/insulation/R-Value_of_Soil.php

While this one defines R: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/weatherize/insulation

Swift
2018-Jul-26, 06:36 PM
I can't imagine why it wouldn't be possible. Even at Yellowstone, there are areas around the geysers where there isn't snow. image (https://pixabay.com/en/yellowstone-national-park-geyser-1730076/)

PetersCreek
2018-Jul-26, 06:44 PM
We have sidewalks and even runways here that are heated with piped hot water to keep them clear of snow, so if geothermally heated springs or aquifers were close enough to the surface to have the same effect...

selden
2018-Jul-26, 07:20 PM
We have sidewalks and even runways here that are heated with piped hot water to keep them clear of snow, so if geothermally heated springs or aquifers were close enough to the surface to have the same effect...

I think the "close enough to the surface" is the difficulty. When we provide those circumstances, the thickness of the overlaying surface is uniform and only a few inches thick (e.g. the thickness of a brick). A naturally occurring region is likely to vary greatly in thickness, perhaps resulting in some areas covered with snow, some bare and some molten.

Swift
2018-Jul-26, 08:11 PM
I think the "close enough to the surface" is the difficulty. When we provide those circumstances, the thickness of the overlaying surface is uniform and only a few inches thick (e.g. the thickness of a brick). A naturally occurring region is likely to vary greatly in thickness, perhaps resulting in some areas covered with snow, some bare and some molten.
There is a wide range of temperatures between no snow and molten. Water melts at 0C, the coolest lavas are 600 to 700C (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magma). In order to have what I think Tom is describing, you would need to keep ground temperatures between those temperatures. It is easy for me to imagine a magma pocket close enough to the surface to achieve that, without melting the surface, even given variations in surface thickness, composition, thermal conductivity, etc.