Channeling instability of upwelling melt in the mantle

E. Aharonov, J. A. Whitehead, P. B. Kelemen, M. Spiegelman

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227 Scopus citations

Abstract

Presents results of a theoretical study aimed at understanding melt extraction from the upper mantle. Specifically, this paper addresses mechanisms for focusing of porous flow of melt into conduits beneath mid-ocean ridges in order to explain the observation that most oceanic residual peridotites are not in equilibrium with mid-ocean ridge basalt. It is shown that flow in a chemically reactive porous media is unstable in the presence of a solubility gradient, such as induced by adiabatic ascent of melt underneath mid-ocean ridges. The initially homogeneous flow becomes focused in time to produce elongated high-porosity fingers that act as conduits for transport of fast flowing melt. This instability arises due to a positive feedback mechanism. -from Authors

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)20,433-20,450
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Volume100
Issue numberB10
DOIs
StatePublished - 1995

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