Journal article
(Original article)

Fast asthenosphere motion in high-resolution global mantle flow models

Publication Details
Author(s): Weißmüller J, Gmeiner B, Ghelichkhan S, Huber M, John L, Wohlmuth B, Rüde U, Bunge H
Publisher: American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Publication year: 2015
Volume: 42
Journal issue: 18
Pages range: 7429-7435
ISSN: 0094-8276
Language: English


A variety of geologic observations point to fast upper mantle flow that may exceed plate tectonic velocities by an order of magnitude. At the same time there is mounting evidence from seismology for flow-like structures in the upper 100–200 km of the mantle. Here we present a set of geodynamic simulations to link these observations. In a synthetic setting, we include asthenospheric channels of varying thickness, with an extreme case of 100 km, and a significant viscosity contrast of up to 4 orders of magnitude relative to the deeper mantle. Using our new global high-resolution code TERRA-NEO, we obtain an increase in velocity by a factor of 10 between a 1000 km thick and the very thin channel, translating into velocities of ∼ 20 cm/a within the narrow asthenosphere. We further present and verify a simple Poiseuille flow model, predicting that the upper mantle velocity scales with the inverse of the asthenosphere thickness.

How to cite
APA: Weißmüller, J., Gmeiner, B., Ghelichkhan, S., Huber, M., John, L., Wohlmuth, B.,... Bunge, H. (2015). Fast asthenosphere motion in high-resolution global mantle flow models. Geophysical Research Letters, 42(18), 7429-7435.

MLA: Weißmüller, Jens, et al. "Fast asthenosphere motion in high-resolution global mantle flow models." Geophysical Research Letters 42.18 (2015): 7429-7435.

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