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Timescales of chemical equilibrium between the convecting solid mantle and over- and underlying magma oceans

Paz Bolraõ, D; Ballmer, MD; Morison, A; Rozel, AB; Sanan, P; Labrosse, S; Tackley, PJ; (2021) Timescales of chemical equilibrium between the convecting solid mantle and over- and underlying magma oceans. Solid Earth , 12 (2) pp. 421-437. 10.5194/se-12-421-2021. Green open access

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Abstract

After accretion and formation, terrestrial planets go through at least one magma ocean episode. As the magma ocean crystallises, it creates the first layer of solid rocky mantle. Two different scenarios of magma ocean crystallisation involve that the solid mantle either (1) first appears at the core–mantle boundary and grows upwards or (2) appears at mid-mantle depth and grows in both directions. Regardless of the magma ocean freezing scenario, the composition of the solid mantle and liquid reservoirs continuously change due to fractional crystallisation. This chemical fractionation has important implications for the long-term thermo-chemical evolution of the mantle as well as its present-day dynamics and composition. In this work, we use numerical models to study convection in a solid mantle bounded at one or both boundaries by magma ocean(s) and, in particular, the related consequences for large-scale chemical fractionation. We use a parameterisation of fractional crystallisation of the magma ocean(s) and (re)melting of solid material at the interface between these reservoirs. When these crystallisation and remelting processes are taken into account, convection in the solid mantle occurs readily and is dominated by large wavelengths. Related material transfer across the mantle–magma ocean boundaries promotes chemical equilibrium and prevents extreme enrichment of the last-stage magma ocean (as would otherwise occur due to pure fractional crystallisation). The timescale of equilibration depends on the convective vigour of mantle convection and on the efficiency of material transfer between the solid mantle and magma ocean(s). For Earth, this timescale is comparable to that of magma ocean crystallisation suggested in previous studies (Lebrun et al., 2013), which may explain why the Earth's mantle is rather homogeneous in composition, as supported by geophysical constraints.

Type: Article
Title: Timescales of chemical equilibrium between the convecting solid mantle and over- and underlying magma oceans
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.5194/se-12-421-2021
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.5194/se-12-421-2021
Language: English
Additional information: © Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Earth Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10124310
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