Podcast: TACC Powers Deep Earth Imaging

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Numerical simulation of a mantle plume rising from the core-mantle-boundary. The left half of the plume shows the temperature anomaly and the right half illustrates the amount which S waves are slowed. The top of the image shows the time that has elapsed since the beginning of the simulation, in millions of years.

Scientists have made the best computational modeling yet of mantle plumes. These are hypothesized, mushroom-shaped upwellings of hot rock from deep in the Earth that reach more than a thousand kilometers down.

“In this TACC Podcast, Ross Maguire and Jeroen Ritsema of the University of Michigan describe how supercomputer simulations of volcanos show how mantle plumes form and how they rise from Earth’s mantle. What’s more, the researchers say their work could guide future experiments with seismic imaging and help get to the bottom of mysteries like the origin of Hawaii’s volcanos.”

The scientists modeled mantle plumes on the Stampede supercomputer of the Texas Advanced Computing Center through an allocation on XSEDE, the eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment funded by the National Science Foundation. And through XSEDE they also took advantage of Science Gateways and of the Campus Champions program at the University of Michigan.

The international science team published their results on mantle plumes in January of 2018 in the American Geophysical Union’s Journal of Geophysical Research, Solid Earth.

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