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Convection in an internally heated stratified heterogeneous reservoir

Abstract : The Earth's mantle is chemically heterogeneous and probably includes primordial material that has not been affected by melting and attendant depletion of heat-producing radioactive elements. One consequence is that mantle internal heat sources are not distributed uniformly. Convection induces mixing, such that the flow pattern, the heat source distribution and the thermal structure are continuously evolving. These phenomena are studied in the laboratory using a novel microwave-based experimental set-up for convection in internally heated systems. We follow the development of convection and mixing in an initially stratified fluid made of two layers with different physical properties and heat source concentrations lying above an adiabatic base. For relevance to the Earth's mantle, the upper layer is thicker and depleted in heat sources compared to the lower one. The thermal structure tends towards that of a homogeneous fluid with a well-defined time constant that scales with is the Rayleigh-Roberts number for the homogenized fluid. We identified two convection regimes. In the dome regime, large domes of lower fluid protrude into the upper layer and remain stable for long time intervals. In the stratified regime, cusp-like upwellings develop at the edges of large basins in the lower layer. Due to mixing, the volume of lower fluid decreases to zero over a finite time. Empirical scaling laws for the duration of mixing and for the peak temperature difference between the two fluids are derived and allow extrapolation to planetary mantles.
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Submitted on : Thursday, August 27, 2020 - 10:12:34 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - 3:07:27 AM

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Angela Limare, Claude Jaupart, Edouard Kaminski, Loïc Fourel, Cinzia Farnetani. Convection in an internally heated stratified heterogeneous reservoir. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2019, 870, pp.67-105. ⟨10.1017/jfm.2019.243⟩. ⟨insu-02923420⟩



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