Effects of the Depth-Dependent Grain Size on the Evolution of Earth's Mantle: Linking Mantle Rheology and Geophysical Observations

Friday, 19 December 2014: 12:05 PM
Petar Glisovic, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada and Alessandro M Forte, Université du Québec à Montréal, GEOTOP, Montreal, QC, Canada
The effects of the grain size variations on the viscosity are comparable to that of temperature and pressure. A detailed depth-profile of the grain size in the mantle is, however, unknown. To explore the possible depth-dependence of grain size, we use models of coupled core-mantle evolution that include the dynamic effect of surface tectonic plates. We developed an algorithm for modelling: 1) the surface yield stress in a dynamically consistent manner, and 2) the diffusion creep, that is based on the following ingredients: vacancy diffusion in perovskite, depth-dependent grain size, temperature and pressure. This algorithm is able to provide a fit to a wide set of geodynamical observations. Time-dependent convection simulations reveal that the thermal evolution of the mantle is very sensitive to depth-variations in the grain size. We also explore the important feedbacks of thermal convection on the evolution of Earth's mantle rheology.