The viscosities of partially molten materials undergoing diffusion creep

22 February 2019

Partially molten materials resist shearing and compaction. This resistance

is described by a fourth-rank effective viscosity tensor. When the tensor

is isotropic, two scalars determine the resistance: an effective shear and

an effective bulk viscosity. In this seminar, calculations are presented of

the effective viscosity tensor during diffusion creep for a 3D tessellation of

tetrakaidecahedrons (truncated octahedrons). The geometry of the melt is

determined by assuming textural equilibrium.  Two parameters

control the effect of melt on the viscosity tensor: the porosity and the

dihedral angle. Calculations for both Nabarro-Herring (volume diffusion)

and Coble (surface diffusion) creep are presented. For Nabarro-Herring

creep the bulk viscosity becomes singular as the porosity vanishes. This

singularity is logarithmic, a weaker singularity than typically assumed in

geodynamic models. The presence of a small amount of melt (0.1% porosity)

causes the effective shear viscosity to approximately halve. For Coble creep,

previous modelling work has argued that a very small amount of melt may

lead to a substantial, factor of 5, drop in the shear viscosity. Here, a

much smaller, factor of 1.4, drop is obtained.

  • Mathematical Geoscience Seminar