Oblique mid ocean ridge subduction modelling with the parallel fast multipole boundary element method
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Geodynamic models describe the thermo-mechanical evolution of rheologically intricate structures spanning different length scales, yet many of their most relevant dynamic features can be studied in terms of low Reynolds number multiphase creep flow of isoviscous and isopycnic structures. We use the BEM-Earth code to study the interaction of the lithosphere and mantle within the solid earth system in this approximation. BEM-Earth overcomes the limitations of traditional FD/FEM for this problem by considering only the dynamics of Boundary Integral Elements at fluid interfaces, and employing a parallel multipole solver accelerated with a hashed octtree. As an application example, we self-consistently model the processes controlling the subduction of an oblique mid-ocean ridge in a global 3D spherical setting in a variety of cases, and find a critical angle characterising the transition between an extensional strain regime related to tectonic plate necking and a compressive regime related to Earth curvature effects.
KeywordsBoundary integral element Mid ocean ridges Subduction mechanics
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