A high-order numerical study of reactive dissolution in an upwelling heterogeneous mantle: 2. Effect of shear deformation
High-porosity dunite channels produced by orthopyroxene dissolution may provide pathways for orthopyroxene-undersaturated melt generated in the deep mantle to reach shallower depth without extensive chemical reequilibration with surrounding mantle. Previous studies have considered these high-porosity channels and melt localization in the presence of a uniform upwelling mantle flow through the process of melt-rock reaction as well as shear deformation, but not both simultaneously. In this Part 2 of a numerical study of high-porosity melt and dunite channel formation during reactive dissolution, we considered the effect of shear deformation on channel distribution and channel geometry in an upwelling and viscously compacting mantle column. We formulated a high-order numerical experiment using conditions similar to those in Part 1, but with an additional prescribed horizontal shearing component in the solid matrix, as could be present in flowing mantle beneath spreading centers. Our focus was to examine orthopyroxene dissolution to determine the behavior of dunite formation and its interaction with melt flow field, by varying the upwelling and shear rate, orthopyroxene solubility gradient, and domain height. Introduction of shearing tilts the developing dunite, causing asymmetry in the orthopyroxene gradient between the dunite channels and the surrounding harzburgite. The downwind gradient is sharp, nearly discontinuous, whereas the upwind gradient is more gradual. For higher shear rates, a wave-like pattern of alternating high and low-porosity bands form on the downwind side of the channel. The band spacing increases with increasing shear rate, relative melt flow rate, and orthopyroxene solubility gradient, whereas the band angle is independent of solubility gradient and increases with increasing shear rate and decreasing relative melt flow rate. Such features could be observable in the field and provide evidence for mantle shearing. Standing wave-like patterns of melt fraction also develop on the downwind side with possible implications for the interpretation of seismic velocities in upwelling mantle.