[CIG-ALL] 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 (https://github.com/GeodynamicWorldBuilder/WorldBuilder/ ) 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
  • 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.