Friday, December 7, 2007

Visualizing heat flow around a pluton?

Here I am, not going to AGU. I'll do some end-of-semester blogging this weekend. But in the meantime, I'm looking for a new(ish) visualization tool.

Contact metamorphism happens when magma intrudes rocks and heats them up. It's possible to calculate how hot rocks should get at various distances from a body of magma, and to predict the mineral assemblages that one should find, and how quickly the rocks should cool off. It involves partial differential equations, but they've been used since the early 1900's. There's an analytical solution for the one-dimensional simplification*, and there has been plenty of modeling of other geometries and the effect of fluid flow. I've used some models myself in past research.

But I don't have a good, interactive demo that students can use to figure out what the equations mean.

I'm not looking for a Matlab script or anything complicated for research. I'm looking for something that a student could play with to see if a pattern of metamorphic temperature data is consistent with a simple, one-dimensional model of the cooling of a tabular intrusion.

I've used a nice program written by Simon Peacock in the late 80's/early 90's, but it used an old Mac system, and an old Fortran compiler.

Anybody seen anything like this?

*Reference: Carslaw, H.S., and Jaeger, J.C., 1959, Conduction of Heat in Solids: Oxford University Press, 510 p. Umm, the equation is not 510 pages long, though if it were, that would be all the more reason to find some kind of program to help students visualize the results.


Elli said...

tom foster at iowa uses a simple excel spreadsheet to demonstrate what can happen as you vary various parameters in a 2D system around a pluton. i can dig it out of my archives, if you're interested...

Kim said...

I'm definitely interested - I'll dig out your e-mail address and ask you about it.

Thank you!