Non-equilibrium effects of core-cooling and time-dependent internal heating on mantle flush events
- 1Dept. Geology, Geophysics and Minnesota Supercomputer Inst., Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55415-1227, USA
- 2Dept. of Theretical and Applied Mechanics, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
- 3Inst. für Geophysik und Meteorologie, Universität zu Köln, 60923 Köln, Germany
- 4Dept. of Earth and Planetary Systems Science, Faculty of Science, University of Hiroshima, Higashi-Hiroshima 739, Japan
Abstract. We have examined the non-equilibrium effects of core-cooling and time-dependent internal-heating on the thermal evolution of the Earth's mantle and on mantle flush events caused by the two major phase transitions. Both two- and three-dimensional models have been employed. The mantle viscosity responds to the secular cooling through changes in the averaged temperature field. A viscosity which decreases algebraically with the average temperature has been considered. The time-dependent internal-heating is prescribed to decrease exponentially with a single decay time. We have studied the thermal histories with initial Rayleigh numbers between 2 x 107 and 108 . Flush events, driven by the non-equilibrium forcings, are much more dramatic than those produced by the equilibrium boundary conditions and constant internal heating. Multiple flush events are found under non-equilibrium conditions in which there is very little internal heating or very fast decay rates of internal-heating. Otherwise, the flush events take place in a relatively continuous fashion. Prior to massive flush events small-scale percolative structures appear in the 3D temperature fields. Time-dependent signatures, such as the surface heat flux, also exhibits high frequency oscillatory patterns prior to massive flush events. These two observations suggest that the flush event may be a self-organized critical phenomenon. The Nusselt number as a function of the time-varying Ra does not follow the Nusselt vs. Rayleigh number power-law relationship based on equilibrium (constant temperature) boundary conditions. Instead Nu(t) may vary non-monotonically with time because of the mantle flush events. Convective processes in the mantle operate quite differently under non-equilibrium conditions from its behaviour under the usual equilibrium situations.