Simulation of plume dynamics by the Lattice Boltzmann Method

Peter Mora, David A. Yuen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The Lattice Boltzmann Method (LBM) is a semi-microscopic method to simulate fluid mechanics by modelling distributions of particles moving and colliding on a lattice. We present 2-D simulations using the LBM of a fluid in a rectangular box being heated from below, and cooled from above, with a Rayleigh of Ra = 108, similar to current estimates of the Earth's mantle, and a Prandtl number of 5000. At this Prandtl number, the flow is found to be in the non-inertial regime where the inertial terms denoted I ≪ 1. Hence, the simulations presented lie within the regime of relevance for geodynamical problems. We obtain narrow upwelling plumes with mushroom heads and chutes of downwelling fluid as expected of a flow in the non-inertial regime. The method developed demonstrates that the LBM has great potential for simulating thermal convection and plume dynamics relevant to geodynamics, albeit with some limitations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberggx279
Pages (from-to)1932-1937
Number of pages6
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Dynamics: convection currents
  • Mantle plumes
  • Numerical solutions
  • Thermal Lattice Boltzmann Method

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