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Thermo-Chemical Convection in Planetary Mantles: Advection Methods and Magma Ocean Overturn Simulations

Thermo-Chemical Convection in Planetary Mantles: Advection Methods and Magma Ocean Overturn Simulations
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Author(s): Ana-Catalina Plesa (German Aerospace Center (DLR), Germany & Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany), Nicola Tosi (Technical University Berlin, Germany & German Aerospace Center (DLR), Germany) and Christian Hüttig (Hampton University, USA)
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 22
Source title: Integrated Information and Computing Systems for Natural, Spatial, and Social Sciences
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Claus-Peter Rückemann (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität (WWU), Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2190-9.ch015

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Abstract

Thermo-chemical convection is the primary process that controls the large-scale dynamics of the mantle of the Earth and terrestrial planets. Its numerical simulation is one the principal tools for exploiting the constraints posed by geological and geochemical surface observations performed by planetary spacecrafts. In the present work, the authors discuss the modeling of active compositional fields in the framework of solid-state mantle convection using the cylindrical/spherical code Gaia. They compare an Eulerian method based on double-diffusive convection against a Lagrangian, particle-based method. Through a series of increasingly complex benchmark tests, the authors show the superiority of the particle method when it comes to model the advection of compositional interfaces with sharp density and viscosity contrasts. They finally apply this technique to simulate the Rayleigh-Taylor overturn of the Mars’ and Mercury’s primordial magma oceans.

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