Influences of dissipation and rheology on mantle plumes coming from the D″-layer

B. Schott, D. A. Yuen

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We have investigated the possibilities for thermochemical convective instability of a low viscous, dense D″-layer heated from below, in either the extended Boussinesq approximation (i.e. with dissipation) or the Boussinesq approximation only. We find, that the compositional excess density in the D″-layer, required for its stratification at the core-mantle boundary is greatly overestimated in the Boussinesq approximation (Di=0, Rρ≈0.8). In the extended Boussinesq approximation the stabilizing excess density is far less (Di=0.3, Rρ=0.3). Therefore, in a dissipative mantle, a strongly stratified D″-density profile is unlikely, because it would stabilize the D″-layer and inhibit the development of large mantle plumes. A too low viscosity drop, greater than 102, of the D″-layer would lead to stratification of the layer and small-scale convection taking place inside it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-145
Number of pages7
JournalPhysics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 16 2004

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Core-mantle boundary
  • D″-layer
  • Mantle convection


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