Influence of Planetary Surface Temperature on the Tectonic Transition From Heat Pipes

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Heat transport from the interior to the surface of a terrestrial body dictates the deformation experienced by the lithosphere. Terrestrial bodies with high internal heating rates exhibit heat-pipe volcanism because subsolidus convection within the mantle has a limit to the amount of heat it can transport without extensive melting. Using numerical simulations, we investigate the lithospheric deformation associated with the global-scale volcanism on such bodies. Specifically, we study the role of surface temperature and activation energy of mantle rocks while analyzing and characterizing this global deformation—as a terrestrial planet transitions out of heat pipes. We find that increased surface temperature extends the duration of heat-pipe volcanism, and plate tectonics highly depends on the temperature sensitivity of mantle viscosity. Our findings suggest that a terrestrial planet with a hot surface will develop a thick lithosphere, and thus transition into a stagnant lid tectonic regime following heat pipes.




Basu Sarkar, D., & Moore, W. B. (2022). Influence of Planetary Surface Temperature on the Tectonic Transition From Heat Pipes. Geophysical Research Letters, 49(21).

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