Finite Prandtl number 2-D convection at high Rayleigh numbers

Catherine A. Hier Majumder, David A. Yuen, Erik O. Sevre, John M. Boggs, Stephen Y. Bergeron

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Finite Prandtl number thermal convection is important to the dynamics of planetary bodies in the solar system. For example, the complex geology on the surface of the Jovian moon Europa is caused by a convecting, brine-rich global ocean that deforms the overlying icy "lithosphere". We have conducted a systematic study on the variations of the convection style, as Prandtl numbers are varied from 7 to 100 at Rayleigh numbers 106 and 108. Numerical simulations show that changes in the Prandtl number could exert significant effects on the shear flow, the number of convection cells, the degree of layering in the convection, and the number and size of the plumes in the convecting fluid. We found that for a given Rayleigh number, the convection style can change from single cell to layered convection, for increasing Prandtl number from 7 to 100. These results are important for determining the surface deformation on the Jovian moon Europa. They also have important implications for surface heat flow on Europa, and for the interior heat transfer of the early Earth during its magma ocean phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalElectronic Geosciences
StatePublished - 2002


  • E-max
  • Finite Prandtl convection
  • Mexican hat wavelet
  • Rayleigh-Bénard convection
  • Wavelets
  • k-max


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