geothermal gradient

noun
the increase in temperature with increasing depth within the earth.

Origin:
1935–40

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Example sentences
The rate of change of temperature with depth is referred to as the geothermal
  gradient.
Future maps in the series will include information on geothermal gradient and
  relevant lithologic data.
Reflectance values show a regional trend caused by burial and the geothermal
  gradient.
It is theorized that the cave is heated from below by geothermal gradient.
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