Melt generation and migration are important processes for the evolution of the Earth's interior and impact the globalconvection of the mantle. While they have been the subject of numerous investigations, the typical time and length-scales of melt transport are vastly different from global mantle convection, which determines where melt is generated. This makes it difficult to study mantle convection and melt migration in a unified framework. Moreover, modelling magma dynamics poses the challenge of highly non-linear and spatially variable material properties, in particular the viscosity.
Dannberg and Heister (2015) extend the community mantle convection code ASPECT (Advanced Solver for Problems in Earth’s Convection), adding equations that describe the behaviour of silicate melt percolating through and interacting with a viscously deforming host rock. Applying ASPECT's adaptive mesh refinement to this type of problems is particularly advantageous, as the resolution can be increased in mesh cells where melt is present and viscosity gradients are high, whereas a lower resolution is sufficient in regions without melt. Together with the high-performance, massively parallel implementation, this allows for high resolution, 3d, compressible, global mantle convection simulations coupled with melt migration. more
Dannberg, J., Heister, T. (2015). 3D Compressible Melt Transport with Mesh Adaptivity. Submitted to Geophysical Journal International.