EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The effect of composite rheology on mantle convection models with plate-like behavior

Maelis Arnould and Tobias Rolf
Maelis Arnould and Tobias Rolf
  • Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics (CEED), Department of geology, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway (

The coupling between mantle convection and plate tectonics results in mantle flow patterns and properties which can be characterized with different seismic methods. In particular, the presence of mantle seismic anisotropy in the uppermost mantle suggests the existence of mineral Lattice-Preferred Orientation (LPO) caused by asthenospheric flow. Dislocation creep, which implies non-Newtonian mantle rheology, has been identified as a deformation mechanism responsible for such LPO leading to seismic anisotropy. While it has been proposed that the use of a composite rheology (with both diffusion and dislocation creep) significantly impacts the planform of convection and thus the resulting tectonic behavior at the surface, large-scale mantle convection studies have typically assumed diffusion creep (Newtonian rheology) as the only deformation mechanism, due to computational limitations.

Here, we investigate the role of composite rheology on mantle convection with self-consistent plate-like behavior using the code StagYY in 2D annulus (Hernlund and Tackley, 2008). We quantify the spatial distribution of dislocation creep in the mantle in models characterized by different transitional stresses between Newtonian and non-Newtonian rheology. Such models are built on previous viscoplastic cases featuring Earth-like plate velocities, surface heat flow and topography with Newtonian rheology (Arnould et al., 2018). We then investigate how composite rheology impacts the planform of convection and the style of plate-like behavior.



Hernlund, J. W., & Tackley, P. J. (2008). Modeling mantle convection in the spherical annulus. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 171(1-4), 48-54.

Arnould, M., Coltice, N., Flament, N., Seigneur, V., & Müller, R. D. (2018). On the scales of dynamic topography in whole‐mantle convection models. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 19(9), 3140-3163.

How to cite: Arnould, M. and Rolf, T.: The effect of composite rheology on mantle convection models with plate-like behavior, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-4621,, 2020


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