Journal article

Continents, supercontinents, mantle thermal mixing, and mantle thermal isolation: Theory, numerical simulations, and laboratory experiments

A Lenardic, L Moresi, AM Jellinek, CJ O'Neill, CM Cooper, CT Lee

Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems | AMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION | Published : 2011


Super-continental insulation refers to an increase in mantle temperature below a supercontinent due to the heat transfer inefficiency of thick, stagnant continental lithosphere relative to thinner, subducting oceanic lithosphere. We use thermal network theory, numerical simulations, and laboratory experiments to provide tighter physical insight into this process. We isolate two end-member dynamic regimes. In the thermally well mixed regime the insulating effect of continental lithosphere can not cause a localized increase in mantle temperature due to the efficiency of lateral mixing in the mantle. In this regime the potential temperature of the entire mantle is higher than it would be withou..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by NSF

Awarded by Division Of Earth Sciences

Funding Acknowledgements

This research was supported by NSF grants EAR-0448871 and EAR-0944156. AMJ was supported by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and NSERC. Thanks to Shijie Zhong and Nicolas Coltice for constructive reviews.