ASPECT 2.1.0 released

We are pleased to announce the release of ASPECT 2.1.0. 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: ASPECT has a new plugin system that allows to prescribe a fixed
    heat flux (instead of prescribing the temperature) at the model boundaries.
  • New: Compositional fields can optionally be advected with the melt velocity.
  • New: There is now a visualization postprocessor that outputs the compaction
    length, the characteristic length scale of melt transport.
  • New: ASPECT can optionally use the Geodynamic World Builder
    ( to create complex
    initial conditions for temperature and composition.
  • New: ASPECT can now read in a depth-dependent vs to density conversion file, which
    can be used with the included tomography model plugins.
  • New: ASPECT can now read in a depth-dependent initial temperature from file.
  • New: The ‘ascii data’ and ‘function’ boundary velocity plugins now allow
    velocities to be specified along spherical (up, east, north) unit vectors.
  • New: Added a visualization plugin that directly outputs the strain rate tensor.
  • New: ASPECT can now call PerpleX to calculate material properties, phase
    amounts and compositions on-the-fly. This model is provided as a
    proof-of-concept; more efficient procedures are required for production runs.
  • New: ASPECT now outputs a dynamically generated URL based on used features to
    ask people to cite appropriate papers.
  • New: ASPECT has two visualization postprocessors which calculate and output
    the grain lag angle and the infinite strain axis (ISA) rotation timescale,
    respectively. These two quantities can be used to calculate the grain
    orientation lag parameter of Kaminski and Ribe (G3, 2002).
  • Improved: The artificial diffusion term that is added in the entropy
    viscosity method to the temperature and composition equations is now computed
    as the maximum of the physical diffusion and entropy viscosity instead of the
    sum. This reduces numerical diffusion for the temperature field.
  • New: Compositional fields can now be prescribed to a value that is computed
    in the material model as an additional output at every time step.
  • Changed: The heat flux through boundary cells is now computed using the
    consistent boundary flux method as described in Gresho, et al. (1987), which
    is much more accurate than the previously used method.
  • New: ASPECT can now calculate gravity anomalies in addition to the geoid.
  • New: ASPECT now outputs a file named original.prm in the output directory
    with the exact content of the parameter it got started with.
  • New: Added basic support for a volume-of-fluid interface tracking advection
    method in 2D incompressible box models. The VoF method is an efficient method
    to track a distinct compositional field without artificial diffusion.
  • New: There is now an option to output visualization data as higher order
    polynomials. This is an improvement in accuracy and requires less disk space
    than the ‘Interpolate output’ option that was available before. However the
    new output can only be read by ParaView version 5.5 and newer and is
    therefore disabled by default.
  • New: Several new benchmark cases were added.
  • Many other fixes and smaller improvements.

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.