Mantle rheology, convection and rotational dynamics

J. Moser , Ctirad Matyska , David A. Yuen , A. Malevsky & H. Harder


We have examined theoretically the effects from mantle convection on Earth rotational dynamics for both viscoelastic and viscous mantles. Strategies for numerical computations are proposed. A linear Maxwell viscoelastic rheology accounting for finite deformations associated with mantle convection is considered. For both rheologies the two sets of convection and rotational equations can be partitioned into separate systems with the output from convection being used as input for the rotational equations. The differences in this convection-rotational problem between finite-strain and small-amplitude viscoelastic theories are delineated. An algorithm based on the usage of massively parallel processors is proposed in which all of the different processes in the convection-rotational problem are partitioned and the different timescales can be dealt with together. The coupled systems of convective-rotational equations can greatly be simplified by using the hydrostatic approximation for the rotational readjustment process in a viscous Earth model. This is valid for a young Earth and for non-Newtonian rheology. Larger amounts of contributions to the relative angular momentum can be expected from non-Newtonian rheology. The non-hydrostatic equatorial bulge may also be explained as a consequence of the long-wavelength dynamics associated with the effects of depth-dependent physical properties on mantle convection.

Phys. Earth Planet. Inter., 79 (1993), 367-381.