Numerical simulations of mantle convection are highly sensitive to the dependence of phase relations upon pressure, temperature, and composition. Phase transitions in the (relatively silica‐poor) olivine components of the mantle tend, with increasing iron content, to inhibit convective mass transfer between the upper and lower mantle. Those occurring in the (relatively silica‐rich) non‐olivine components fail to inhibit (and indeed promote) such mass transfer. Behavior in the real mantle must entail an interplay between such competing effects, with the finite width of multivariant phase fields acting to mitigate impediments to flow. Attempts to directly correlate computed flow or temperature fields with models derived from physical observables should be approached with caution, given the sensitivity of the former to compositional heterogeneity and uncertainties in phase relations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)