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ASPECT 2.2.0

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We are pleased to announce the release of ASPECT 2.2.0. ASPECT is the Advanced
Solver for Problems in Earth's ConvecTion. It uses modern numerical methods such
as adaptive mesh refinement, multigrid, and a modular software design to
provide a fast, flexible, and extensible mantle convection solver. ASPECT is
available from


and the release is available from


This release includes the following significant changes:

  • New: There is a new matrix-free Stokes solver which uses geometric multigrid.
    This method is significantly faster than the default algebraic multigrid
    preconditioner and uses less memory. Free surface and melt transport are not
    yet implemented.
    (Thomas C. Clevenger, Timo Heister)

  • New: There is now a new approximation for the compressible convection
    models that is called 'projected density field'.
    (Rene Gassmoeller, Juliane Dannberg, Timo Heister, Wolfgang Bangerth)

  • Changed: The Geodynamic World Builder has been updated to version 0.3.0.
    (Menno Fraters)

  • Changed: ASPECT now requires deal.II version 9.0.0 or newer.
    (Timo Heister, Rene Gassmoeller)

  • New: There is a new, alternative stabilization method for the advection equation
    called SUPG.
    (Thomas C. Clevenger, Rene Gassmoeller, Timo Heister, Ryan Grove)

  • Changed: The entropy viscosity method for stabilizing the advection equations
    was substantially improved leading to less artificial diffusion in particular
    close to boundaries.
    (Rene Gassmoeller)

  • New: The 'visco plastic' material model now has an option to simulate
    viscoelastic-plastic deformation. The 'viscoelastic plastic' material
    model has been superseded and removed.
    (John Naliboff, Dan Sandiford)

  • New: The "Free surface" functionality has been generalized and is now part of
    "Mesh deformation". This change is incompatible to old parameter files that
    used the free surface.
    (Rene Gassmoeller, Anne Glerum, Derek Neuharth, Marine Lasbleis)

  • New benchmarks: entropy equation, viscoelastic cantilever, bouyancy-driven
    viscoelastic plate stress, advection in annulus, slab detachment benchmark,
    several advection benchmarks, rigid shear, polydiapirs, surface loading.
    (Wolfgang Bangerth, Fiona Clerc, Juliane Dannberg, Daniel Douglas, Rene
    Gassmoeller, Timo Heister, Garrett Ito, Harsha Lokavarapu, John Naliboff,
    Elbridge G. Puckett, Cedric Thieulot)

  • Incompatibility: The option to use PETSc for linear algebra has been removed
    until further notice.
    (Timo Heister)

  • New: If the user has the libdap libraries installed then input data can be
    pulled from the server instead of a local file.
    (Kodi Neumiller, Sarah Stamps, Emmanuel Njinju, James Gallagher)

  • New: Implement the "no Advection, single Stokes" and
    "single Advection, iterated Newton Stokes" solver schemes.
    (Timo Heister, Anne Glerum)

  • New: The chunk geometry model can now incorporate initial
    topography from an ascii data file.
    (Anne Glerum)

  • New: The 'depth average' postprocessor now additionally computes the laterally
    averaged density of vertical mass flux for each depth slice in the model.
    (Rene Gassmoeller)

  • Changed: The gravity point values postprocessor has been significantly extended.
    (Ludovic Jeanniot, Cedric Thieulot)

  • New: There is now a general class
    MaterialModel::Utilities::PhaseFunction that can be used to model
    phase transitions using a smooth phase function.
    (Rene Gassmoeller, John Naliboff, Haoyuan Li)

  • New: ASPECT now includes a thermodynamically self-consistent compressible
    material model, that implements the Modified Tait equation of state that is
    described in Holland and Powell, 2011.
    (Bob Myhill)

  • New: The material models can now outsource the computation of the viscosity
    into a separate rheology model.
    (Rene Gassmoeller)

  • New: ASPECT now includes initial temperature and initial composition plugins
    that use ASCII data files to define the initial temperature or composition
    at a series of layer boundaries.
    (Sophie Coulson, Anne Glerum, Bob Myhill)

  • New: Extended spherical shell geometry model to include custom mesh schemes.
    (Ludovic Jeanniot, Marie Kajan, Wolfgang Bangerth)

  • New: There is a new termination criterion that cancels the model run
    when a steady state average temperature is reached.
    (Rene Gassmoeller, Juliane Dannberg, Eva Bredow)

  • Bug fixes to : parallel hdf5 output, chunk geometry model, initial
    topography modules, gplates boundary velocity plugin.
    (many authors)

A complete list of changes and their contributing authors can be found at

Wolfgang Bangerth, Juliane Dannberg, Rene Gassmoeller, Timo Heister,
Jacqueline Austermann, Menno Fraters, Anne Glerum, John Naliboff,
and many other contributors.