Visualization and Analysis of Mixing Dynamical Properties in Convecting Systems with Different Rheologies

A. A. Ten, D. A. Yuen, Yu Yu Podladchikov

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Abstract

We analyzed and compared the mixing properties of 2-D mantle convection models. Two rheologically different models, Newtonian and non-Newtonian (power-law), were considered with both the line and field methods. The line method is based on monitoring of passive particles joined into lines, while the field method relies on the advection of a passive scalar field. Both visual and quantitative estimates revealed that the efficiency of the Newtonian mixing is greater than the non-Newtonian. A heterogeneity placed in the non-Newtonian convection forms horizontal structures, which may persist for at least 1 Ga on the upper-mantle scale. In addition, the non-Newtonian medium reveals a lesser amount of stretching of the lines than the Newtonian material. The rate of the Newtonian stretching fits well with an exponential dependence with time, while the non-Newtonian rheology shows the stretching rate close to a power-law dependence with time. In the Newtonian medium the heterogeneity is reorganized into two unstable vertical columns, while the non-Newtonian mixing favors horizontal structures. In the latter case, these structures are sufficiently stable in both the temporal and spatial planes to explain the mantle geochemical and geophysical heterogeneities. Due to the non-linear character of power-law rheology, the non-Newtonian medium offers a "natural" scale-dependent resistance to deformation, which prevents efficient mixing at the intermediate length scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)X
JournalElectronic Geosciences
Volume4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999

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