High-porosity channels for melt migration in the mantle: Top is the dunite and bottom is the harzburgite and lherzolite
High-porosity dunite channels are important pathways for melt migration in the mantle. To better understand the first order characteristics of the high-porosity melt channel and its associated peridotite lithologies in an upwelling mantle, we conducted high-resolution numerical simulations of reactive dissolution in a deformable porous medium. Results from this study show that high-porosity dunite channels are transient and shallow parts of pathways for melt migration in the mantle. The lower parts of a high-porosity channel are harzburgite and lherzolite. The size and dimension of dunite channels depend on the amplitude of lateral porosity variations at the base of the melting column, whereas the depth of dunite channel initiation depends on the melt flux entering the channel from below. Compaction and interaction between compaction and dissolution play a central role in distributing melt in the dunite channel. A wide orthopyroxene-free dunite channel may contain two or more high-porosity melt channels. A primary high-porosity melt channel developed in the deep mantle may excite secondary melt channels in the shallow part of the melting column. The spatial relations among the high-porosity melt channel and its associated lithologies documented in this study may shed new light on a number of field, petrological, and geochemical observations related to melt migration in the mantle. Citation: Liang, Y., A. Schiemenz, M. A. Hesse, E. M. Parmentier, and J. S. Hesthaven (2010), High-porosity channels for melt migration in the mantle: Top is the dunite and bottom is the harzburgite and lherzolite, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L15306, doi:10.1029/2010GL044162.