Thursday, June 13, 2013

1306.2921 (Jezabel Curbelo et al.)

Plate-like convection induced by symmetries in fluids with
temperature-dependent viscosity

Jezabel Curbelo, Ana M. Mancho
The study of instabilities in fluids in which viscosity experiences a transition at a certain temperature range is of great interest for the understanding of planetary interiors, since this phenomena models the melting and solidification of a magma ocean and thus is suitable for representing a lithosphere over a convecting mantle. To this end, we study a 2D convection problem in which viscosity depends on temperature by abruptly changing its value by a factor 400 within a narrow temperature gap at which magma melts. We perform a study which combines bifurcation analysis and time dependent simulations. Solutions such as limit cycles are found that are fundamentally related to the presence of symmetry. Sporadically during these cycles, through abrupt bursts, spontaneous plate-like behaviors that rapidly evolve towards a stagnant lid regime emerge. The plate-like evolution alternates motions towards either right or left, introducing temporary asymmetries on the convecting styles. Further time dependent regimes with stagnant and plate-like lids are found and described.
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