ŒDIPUS: a new tool to study the dynamics of planetary interiors

Research areas:
Year:
2007
Authors:
Journal:
GEOPHYSICAL JOURNAL INTERNATIONAL
Volume:
170
Number:
1
Pages:
9-30
Month:
July
ISSN:
0956-540X
Abstract:
We present a new numerical method to describe the internal dynamics of planetary mantles through the coupling of a dynamic model with the prediction of geoid and surface topography. Our tool is based on the simulation of thermal convection with variable viscosity in a spherical shell with a finite-volume formulation. The grid mesh is based on the 'cubed sphere' technique that divides the shell into six identical blocks. An investigation of various numerical advection schemes is proposed: we opted for a high-resolution, flux-limiter method. Benchmarks of thermal convection are then presented on steady-state tetrahedral and cubic solutions and time-dependent cases with a good agreement with the few recent programs developed to solve this problem.A dimensionless framework is proposed for the calculation of geoid and topography introducing two dimensionless numbers: such a formulation provides a good basis for the systematic study of the geoid and surface dynamic topography associated to the convection calculations. The evaluation of geoid and surface dynamic topography from the gridded data is performed in the spectral domain. The flow solver is then tested extensively against a precise spectral program, producing response functions for geoid as well as bottom and surface topographies. For a grid mesh of a reasonable size (6 x 64 x 64 x 64) a very good agreement (to within similar to 1 per cent) is found up to spherical harmonic degree 15.