EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Slab Remnant Recycling and Mantle-Wide Convection: A Separation of Time Scales

Gary Jarvis
Gary Jarvis
  • York University, Lassonde School of Engineering, Earth & Space Science & Engineering, Mississauga, Canada (

Two dimensional numerical models of mantle convection in a cylindrical shell provide a possible geodynamic explanation for cold patches in the mantle below India and Mongolia as detected by seismic tomography. We investigate the influence of very high viscosities at mid-mantle and lower-mantle depths, as proposed by Mitrovica and Forte (2004) and Steinberger and Calderwood (2006), on mantle convective flow.  Models are considered with and without mineral phase transitions.  Our viscosity profiles are depth dependent with deep mantle viscosities increasing to values of 300 times the viscosity of the upper mantle, and then decreasing dramatically on approaching the core-mantle boundary.   The decrease of viscosity near the CMB mobilizes the overall mantle-wide flow despite very high mid-mantle viscosities.  However, cold detached slabs sinking below continental collisions become captured by the high viscosity interior and circulate slowly for times exceeding 200 Myr.  The separation of time scales for mantle-wide flow vs slab circulation, is a consequence of the high viscosity of the mid-mantle.

How to cite: Jarvis, G.: Slab Remnant Recycling and Mantle-Wide Convection: A Separation of Time Scales, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-2032,, 2020