Professor Lars Stixrude
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Thermodynamic modeling of mantle assemblages

The relationship between a planet's internal heat and temperature as it cools, between temperature and the buoyancy that drives convection, and the extent and consequences of gravitational self-compression are all governed by equilibrium physical properties and understood on the basis of thermodynamics. The multi-phase nature of the mantle means that any global thermodynamic model of Earth's interior must capture on an equal footing phase equilibria and physical properties of assemblages. The importance of seismological observations means that textbook thermodymamics must be generalized to account for anisotropic stress and strain. We have been developing a global model of mantle thermodynamics that meets these requirements, as well as accounting for available experimental data and results of first principles theory. We have begun to apply this model to the interpretation of geophysical observations in terms of the chemical and thermal state of the mantle.

Further Reading:

Stixrude, L. and C. Lithgow-Bertelloni, Mineralogy and elasticity of the oceanic upper mantle: Origin of the low velocity zone, Journal of Geophysical Research, 110, B03204, 2005, doi: 10.1029/2004JB002965 PDF

Stixrude, L. and C. Lithgow-Bertelloni, Thermodynamics of mantle minerals: 1. Physical properties, Geophysical Journal International, 162, 610-632, 2005, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2005.02642.x PDF
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