CSCS just reported that ETH Zurich scientists have for the first time succeeded in realistically simulating how an oceanic plate sinks of its own accord under an adjacent plate. At the same time the scientists showed why only one of the plates rather than both subducts into the Earth’s mantle, and how this process affects the dynamics of the Earth’s interior.
Fabio Crameri in his doctoral thesis with ETH Zurich Professor Paul Tackley and in collaboration with his colleagues, has now succeeded for the first time in using global computer models to model an asymmetrical subduction of only one plate under the adjacent plate. The modelling was calculated on the “Monte Rosa” supercomputer belonging to the CSCS, Switzerland’s National Supercomputing Centre, and the “Brutus” cluster at ETH Zurich. Thanks to the simulation, the researchers were able to gain new insights into the Earth’s interior.