Effects of depth‐variations in Creep Laws on the formation of plates in mantle dynamics

Arie P. van den Berg, David A. Yuen, Peter E. van Keken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

We have studied the influences of depth‐varying rheologies on the structure of mantle convection and the near surface flow fields. Upwelling flows crossing the upper‐lower mantle boundary become considerably thinner and faster. Streamlines are concentrated near the surface and other plate‐like characteristics are enhanced by this type of rheological stratification in which the averaged effective viscosity of the upper mantle is about two orders of magnitude lower than that of the lower mantle. The presence of a lithosphere with a higher non‐linear dependence in the flow law further promotes plate‐like behavior. Plate‐like character of the top boundary‐layer is encouraged by a decreasing depth‐dependent viscosity in the non‐Newtonian upper‐mantle and by greater convective vigor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2197-2200
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume18
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1991

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