Viscosity structure implied by mantle convection

Stacey F.D., Rong-Shan F. and Spiliopoulos S. (1989) Viscosity structure implied by mantle convection. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 55 1-2: 1-9. doi:10.1016/0031-9201(89)90228-8

Author Stacey F.D.
Rong-Shan F.
Spiliopoulos S.
Title Viscosity structure implied by mantle convection
Journal name Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0031-9201
Publication date 1989-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/0031-9201(89)90228-8
Volume 55
Issue 1-2
Start page 1
End page 9
Total pages 9
Language eng
Subject 1908 Geophysics
1912 Space and Planetary Science
3101 Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
3103 Astronomy and Astrophysics
1900 Earth and Planetary Sciences
2300 Environmental Science
Abstract The total mechanical dissipation by convective motion in the mantle is well constrained by thermodynamic arguments to ∼ 5.6 × 1012 W. By adopting a simple convection model we can use the observed mean plate speed υ = 3.25 cm y-1 to estimate the mean mantle creep rate, ε{lunate} ̇ ≈ 7.2 × 10 -16 s-1, which implies a mean effective stress σ ≈ 8.5 × 106 Pa and a corresponding viscosity υ {reversed tilde equals} 1.2 × 1022 Pa s. This viscosity estimate is biased low by the nature of the implied averaging, but for better estimates we must make assumptions about the internal convective pattern. If we assume that the convection is self-sustaining at all depths, and therefore that the depth distribution of dissipation is the same as the depth distribution of generated power, and that the convective pattern is self-adjusted to make stress independent of depth, then we can specify the mantle viscosity profile. These assumptions imply quasi-steady convection. The fact that viscosities inferred from convection are higher than values from isostatic rebound most plausibly arises as a difference between steady state and transient creep.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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