Volume rendering visualization of 3D spherical mantle convection with an unstructured mesh

Shi Chen, Huai Zhang, David A. Yuen, Shuxia Zhang, Jian Zhang, Yaolin Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We propose a new approach to utilize the algorithm of hardware-assisted visibility sorting (HAVS) in the 3D volume rendering of spherical mantle convection simulation results over unstructured grid configurations. We will also share our experience in using three different spherical convection codes and then taking full advantages of the enhanced efficiency of visualization techniques, which are based on the HAVS techniques and related transfer functions. The transfer function is a powerful tool designed specifically for editing and exploring large-scale datasets coming from numerical computation for a given environmental setting, and generates hierarchical data structures, which will be used in the future for fast access of GPU visualization facilities. This method will meet the coming urgent needs of real-time visualization of 3D mantle convection, by avoiding the demands of huge amount of I/O space and intensive network traffic over distributed parallel terascale or petascale architecture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-104
Number of pages8
JournalVisual Geosciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments The authors would like to thank Mr. Yunhai C. Wang and Dr. David Henry Porter from M.S.I. for constructive discussions. We acknowledge that Dr. Masanori C. Kameyama has kindly provided us with his AcuteMan code. We thank Ms. Stephanie Chen for technical assistance. This project is jointly supported by National Basic Research Program of China (2004cb408406) and National Science Foundation of China under grants number (40774049, 40474038). The parallel simulation program is supported by Supercomputing Center of Chinese Academy of Sciences (INF105-SCE-02-12). Dr. David A. Yuen thanked NSF for support in CMG and ITR programs.


  • Mantle convection
  • Unstructured mesh
  • Visualization
  • Volume rendering


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