We report on high-resolution, three-dimensional, high Rayleigh number, and low density ratio numerical simulations of fingering convection. We observe a previously unreported phenomenon of self-organization of fingers that cluster together to form larger-scale coherent structures. The flow ultimately forms density staircases, alternating well-mixed regions with fingering convective zones. We give evidence that the mechanical mixing induced by the clusters forms the staircases with a mechanism analogous to staircase formation in a stably stratified, nonconvective, stirred fluid.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)