TERRAPUB Earth, Planets and Space

Earth Planets Space, Vol. 50 (Nos. 11, 12), pp. 1047-1054, 1998

Numerical models of convection in a rheologically stratified oceanic upper mantle: Early results

Mamoru Kato

Department of Geophysics, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan

(Received March 18, 1998; Revised October 30, 1998; Accepted November 4, 1998)

Abstract: Recent seismological evidences imply that the boundary between the lithosphere and asthenosphere is a compositional boundary in the oceanic upper mantle, and a rapid increase of viscosity at this boundary is suggested. We modeled a thermal convection in the oceanic mantle numerically using the finite element method, and investigated geodynamical consequences of such a rheological layering. Early results from both quasi-steady state flows and time-dependent flows are presented in this report. We assumed a temperature- and depth-dependent viscosity law so that both the thermal effects and those of layering are taken into account. The effect of a high-viscosity layer (HVL) is small on the flow and the temperature field. Velocity gradients in the HVL are small in both directions, and the velocity field is well approximated by a one-dimensional channel flow. The HVL acts as a low-pass filter of the dynamic topography.

Corresponding author E-mail: mkato@kugi.kyoto-u.ac.jp

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