A Caltech Library Service

Edge-driven convection

King, Scott D. and Anderson, Don L. (1998) Edge-driven convection. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 160 (3-4). pp. 289-296. ISSN 0012-821X. doi:10.1016/S0012-821X(98)00089-2.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


We consider a series of simple calculations with a step-function change in thickness of the lithosphere and imposed, far-field boundary conditions to illustrate the influence of the lithosphere on mantle flow. We consider the effect of aspect ratio and far-field boundary conditions on the small-scale flow driven by a discontinuity in the thickness of the lithosphere. In an isothermal mantle, with no other outside influences, the basic small-scale flow aligns with the lithosphere such that there is a downwelling at the lithospheric discontinuity (edge-driven flow); however, the pattern of the small-scale flow is strongly dependent on the large-scale thermal structure of a much broader area of the upper mantle. Long-wavelength temperature anomalies in the upper mantle can overwhelm edge-driven flow on a short timescale; however, convective motions work to homogenize these anomalies on the order of 100 million years while cratonic roots can remain stable for longer time periods. A systematic study of the effect of the boundary conditions and aspect ratio of the domain shows that small-scale, and large-scale flows are driven by the lithosphere. Edge-driven flow produces velocities on the order of 20 mm/yr. This is comparable to calculations by others and we can expect an increase in this rate as the mantle viscosity is decreased.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Additional Information:© 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. Received 15 January 1998; revised version received 21 April 1998; accepted 28 April 1998.
Subject Keywords:mantle; convection; flood basalts; mantle plumes
Issue or Number:3-4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20121010-083642138
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Scott D King, Don L Anderson, Edge-driven convection, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 160, Issues 3–4, August 1998, Pages 289-296, ISSN 0012-821X, 10.1016/S0012-821X(98)00089-2. (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:34809
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:10 Oct 2012 16:36
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:10

Repository Staff Only: item control page