Axisymmetric spherical shell models of mantle convection with variable properties and free and rigid lids
Axisymmetric spherical shell numerical simulations of mantle convection were carried out to investigate the influence of two end-member surface stress conditions: stress-free and rigid. These correspond approximately to a subducting or a rigid lithosphere and can be seen as end-member models of the surface of Venus. Our model assumed an effective Rayleigh number of 3×106, similar to that for Earth, and included uniform internal heating and depth-dependent thermal expansivity α and thermal conductivity k. The simulations utilized a Newtonian viscosity which was constant or varied with depth and/or temperature. We show how the temperature, speed and vorticity fields change qualitatively and quantitatively with surface temperature, surface stress condition, internal heating and viscosity distribution. Among the significant results, we find that a rigid lid and viscosity which increases with depth both promote steady large-scale circulation with smaller-scale circulation in the upper mantle.