Multiple-Scale Convection in the Earth's Mantle: A Three-Dimensional Study

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Science  19 Feb 1982:
Vol. 215, Issue 4535, pp. 965-967
DOI: 10.1126/science.215.4535.965


Laboratory experiments suggest that a convective regime characterized by two length scales of motion is a reasonable model for circulations in the earth's upper mantle. The flows of largest horizontal scale represent a likely plate-driving mechanism, required by some theories of plate tectonics. It is also suggested that the small-scale circulations could influence the chemical evolution of the mantle by extracting primitive mantle material that is otherwise entrained in the large-scale flow.