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You are here: Home Science & Projects Deisa Extreme Computing Initiative Projects 2007 - 2008 A realistic 3D spherical shell model of mantle convection with self-consistent plate behaviour

A realistic 3D spherical shell model of mantle convection with self-consistent plate behaviour

Project 3DEarth
Research Area Numerical modeling of geodynamical processes
Principal Investigator(s) Prof. Dr. U. Hansen
Institution(s)
  • Department of Geophysics, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany
  • Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR), Institute of Planetary Research, Germany

Abstract

It is the today's general understanding that convective flows in the Earth's mantle drives all tectonic activity on Earth. The aim of our project is to investigate numerically those processes in the mantle by means of a 3D spherical shell model of the mantle with realistic material properties. Sophisticated methods are needed to simulate a dynamical system with extremely varying material properties. Based on the Cartesian framework we have gained substantial experience in modeling plate-motion and mantle convection. With this knowledge together with our fully developed spherical model of mantle convection with a complex rheology, i.e. the viscosity is strongly dependent on temperature, pressure and stress, we are just on the cusp of a successful simulation of plate-tectonics in spherical geometry. This goal is solely practicable as a supercomputing project. Besides devising a sharper image of the Earth's interior we expect also technical spin-off in the fields of visualization of complex flow structures, parallel computing and data-management.

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