This study aims to model temperature distributions in an aquifer thermal extraction (ATE) system that contains a single extraction well in a thin confined aquifer. The aquifer is bounded by hot dry rocks with different thermomechanical properties and thicknesses. Based on the heat convection–conduction equation, a mathematical model is developed to describe the spatial and temporal temperature distributions of the ATE systems. The mechanisms of heat transfer in the model involve horizontal convection and thermal conduction in the aquifer, and vertical thermal conduction in both rocks. A semi-analytical solution in dimensionless form is developed using the Laplace transform technique and its corresponding time-domain result is computed by the modified Crump method. In addition, the steady-state solution is obtained by applying the final value theorem. The simulation results from the semi-analytical solution indicate that the aquifer temperature distributions are affected by aquifer thickness, the thermomechanical properties of the aquifer and rocks, geothermal gradient, outer boundary temperatures of the rocks, extraction rate, and operating time. The present solution can be used as a preliminary tool for assessing heat extraction efficiency in ATE systems. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.