Three-dimensional instabilities of mantle convection with multiple phase transitions

S. Honda, D. A. Yuen, S. Balachandar, D. Reuteler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

176 Scopus citations


The effects of multiple phase transitions on mantle convection are investigated by numerical simulations that are based on three-dimensional models. These simulations show that cold sheets of mantle material collide at junctions, merge, and form a strong downflow that is stopped temporarily by the transition zone. The accumulated cold material gives rise to a strong gravitational instability that causes the cold mass to sink rapidly into the lower mantle. This process promotes a massive exchange between the lower and upper mantles and triggers a global instability in the adjacent plume system. This mechanism may be cyclic in nature and may be linked to the generation of superplumes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1308-1311
Number of pages4
Issue number5099
StatePublished - 1993


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