Mantle Convection in the Earth and Planets



“How were the continents formed?” “Did layered mantle convection ever occur?” “Has the Earth always had a geodynamo?” These are some of the 159 questions that Schubert, Turcotte, and Olson use to provide a framework for their overview of convection related processes that affect Earth and other planets. Some of these questions have been answered; some continue to be the subject of active research and even heated debates after 3 decades of study; and others may be unanswerable. The authors return to their questions at the end of the book to summarize what is known and to identify the key unanswered questions in mantle convection. While this is not the most subtle way to guide readers through a book, I appreciate the structure and clarity provided by these questions. Moreover, I found it helpful to have a concise statement of the reasons for studying various aspects of mantle convection.