Large-scale adaptive mantle convection simulation

Carsten Burstedde, Georg Stadler, Laura Alisic, Lucas C. Wilcox, Eh Tan, Michael Gurnis, Omar Ghattas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new generation, parallel adaptive-mesh mantle convection code, Rhea, is described and benchmarked. Rhea targets large-scale mantle convection simulations on parallel computers, and thus has been developed with a strong focus on computational efficiency and parallel scalability of bothmesh handling and numerical solvers. Rhea buildsmantle convection solvers on a collection of parallel octree-based adaptive finite element libraries that support new distributed data structures and parallel algorithms for dynamic coarsening, refinement, rebalancing and repartitioning of the mesh. In this study we demonstrate scalability to 122 880 compute cores and verify correctness of the implementation. We present the numerical approximation and convergence properties using 3-D benchmark problems and other tests for variable-viscosity Stokes flow and thermal convection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)889-906
Number of pages18
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013


  • Dynamics: convection currents
  • Mantle plumes
  • Mantle processes
  • Numerical solutions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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