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Journal Articles Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors Year : 2017

Dynamo tests for stratification below the core-mantle boundary

Abstract

Evidence from seismology, mineral physics, and core dynamics suggests a layer with an overall stable stratification in the Earth’s outer core, possibly thermal in origin, extending below the core-mantle boundary (CMB) for several hundred kilometers. Yet vigorous deep mantle convection with locally elevated heat flux implies locally unstable thermal stratification below the CMB, consistent with interpretations of non-dipole geomagnetic field behavior that favor upwelling flows in places below the CMB. To resolve this apparent inconsistency, we investigate the structure of convection and magnetic fields in the core using numerical dynamos with laterally heterogeneous boundary heat flux. Strongly heterogeneous boundary heat flux generates localized convection beneath the CMB that coexists with an overall stable stratification there. Our partially stratified dynamos are distinguished by their time average magnetic field structures. Without stratification or with stratification confined to a thin layer, the octupole component is small and the CMB magnetic field structure includes polar intensity minima. With more extensive stratification, the octupole component is large and the magnetic field structure includes intense patches or high intensity lobes in the polar regions. Comparisons with the time-averaged geomagnetic field are generally favorable for partial stratification in a thin (<400 km) layer but unfavorable for stratification in a thick (∼1000 km) layer beneath the CMB.
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Dates and versions

hal-03271242 , version 1 (25-06-2021)

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Peter Olson, Maylis Landeau, Evan Reynolds. Dynamo tests for stratification below the core-mantle boundary. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 2017, 271, pp.1-18. ⟨10.1016/j.pepi.2017.07.003⟩. ⟨hal-03271242⟩
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