Developed the most accurate model of mantle flow and plate movements

The research has earned a place on the cover of the current issue of the journal Science.

Geophysics of California Institute of Technology and University of Texas at Austin developed an accurate model of mantle flow and plate movements.

The model successfully combines data on the processes of completely different scales. It is known, for example, that the convection in the mantle drives the lithospheric plates are huge, but the result of these shifts is also strongly influenced by their interaction with each other. On their borders generates huge quantities of certain areas of mutual influences that make up the active faults. "A model in which these areas are not considered worthless," — said study participant Gernis Michael (Michael Gurnis).

Helped to solve the problem of methodology adaptive grinding computational grid, which is used in solving differential equations that describe a particular process — for example, mantle flow. Usually grid resolution is fixed at a predetermined level, which reduces the accuracy or simulation, or forced to spend "extra" calculation. Adaptive refinement, however, can dramatically reduce the number of grid points, while maintaining high resolution where it is needed. According to the authors, they were able to achieve what the program has successfully executed "only" 10 thousand processor supercomputer Ranger.

The spatial resolution of the model near the boundaries of plates was about 1 km away. The addition of the seismic data and the parameters of rocks, the researchers obtained results are in good agreement with the measurements of the displacement of plates. The program also reproduced the known effect of extremely rapid displacement of microplates, which is observed in the western Pacific Ocean. "Before, we had no opportunity to study these small-scale tectonic movements in global models," — concludes Mr. Gernis.

The full report is published in the journal Science.

Based on the materials California Institute of Technology.

Source: "Kompyulenta"

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