A Caltech Library Service

On the role of surface tension in the migration of melts and fluids

Stevenson, D. J. (1986) On the role of surface tension in the migration of melts and fluids. Geophysical Research Letters, 13 (11). pp. 1149-1152. ISSN 0094-8276. doi:10.1029/GL013i011p01149.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


It is shown that surface tension can cause redistribution of melt in a partially molten medium, in accordance with a non-linear diffusion equation for the melt fraction. The associated diffusivity D depends on the surface energy and is positive (stable) for dihedral angle <60° and negative (unstable) for dihedral angle >60°. In the more likely stable case, D ∼ 10^(−7) cm^2 .s^(−1) is typical for mantle melts, but a value as high as 10^(−1) cm^2 .s^(−1) is conceivable for volatile-rich fluids. Surface tension may play an important role in creating pathways for meta-somatizing fluids in the Earth, but does not appear likely to affect substantially the existing estimates of large scale melt migration (e.g., beneath mid-ocean ridges).

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle
Stevenson, D. J.0000-0001-9432-7159
Additional Information:© 1986 by the American Geophysical Union. Received July 31, 1986; accepted August 26, 1986. I had helpful discussions or correspondence with D.R. Scott, E.B. Watson, and N. von Bargen. Supported by NSF grant EAR-8418353. Contribution number 4358 from the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences4358
Issue or Number:11
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131016-110233873
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:41945
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:16 Oct 2013 19:32
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 04:36

Repository Staff Only: item control page