Journal of Visualization

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 163–171 | Cite as

Three-dimensional visualization of numerically simulated, present-day global mantle flow

Regular Paper


The behavior of mantle convection plays a primary role in the earth’s dynamic evolution. Numerical simulation of mantle convection is one of the most powerful tools to resolve the thermal and mechanical evolution in the earth’s mantle. The developments in numerical techniques and increases in computational power over the last 10–15 years have facilitated great progress in simulation studies of mantle convection. In addition, with increases in computational resolution, one can expect greater focus on the use of three-dimensional (3D) visualization of mantle convection in gaining a deeper understanding of mantle dynamics. This paper presents simulations of the present-day, instantaneous global mantle flow based on geophysical observations such as seismic tomography models and 3D visualizations of present-day mantle convection. Numerical results are summarized in terms of two aspects of geodynamics: (1) the mixing properties and topological structure of the mantle interior, and (2) the presence of strong mantle upwelling beneath the South Pacific enhanced by the low-viscosity D″ layer.

Graphical abstract


Mantle flow Numerical simulation 3D visualization Mixing Superplume D″ layer 



I thank two anonymous reviewers for their careful reading and valuable comments. The calculations presented herein were performed on the supercomputer facilities (SGI Altix ICE X) at JAMSTEC.


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Copyright information

© The Visualization Society of Japan 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Research on Earth Evolution (IFREE)Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)KanagawaJapan

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