A thick pipe-like heat-transfer mechanism in the mantle: Nonlinear coupling between 3-D convection and variable thermal conductivity

Fabien Dubuffet, David A. Yuen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

We have investigated the dynamics and heat-transfer of 3-D mantle convection with a realistic temperature-and pressure-dependent conductivity in a constant viscosity medium. Variable thermal conductivity is found to stabilize greatly the interior flow and the boundary-layer dynamics, as compared to constant conductivity solutions for Rayleigh number up to 5 × 105. Due to the nonlinear interaction between variable conductivity and convective flow, a great deal of heat can be transported coherently through the mantle within thick pipe-like structures with a radius of around 500km. These pipe-like solutions can be understood from the intermediate asymptotic nature of the nonlinear heat diffusion equation. We suggest that these thick plume-like structures in the lower mantle imaged recently by tomography may be a manifestation of this nonlinearity in the conductivity of the temperature equation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-20
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

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