Three-dimensional numerical relativity: The evolution of black holes

Peter Anninos, Joan Massó, Edward Seidel, Wai Mo Suen, John Towns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report on a new three-dimensional (3D) numerical code designed to solve the Einstein equations for general vacuum spacetimes. This code is based on the standard 3+1 approach using Cartesian coordinates. We discuss the numerical techniques used in developing this code, and its performance on massively parallel and vector supercomputers. As a test case, we present evolutions for the first 3D black hole spacetimes. We identify a number of difficulties in evolving 3D black holes and suggest approaches to overcome them. We show how special treatment of the conformal factor can lead to more accurate evolution, and discuss techniques we developed to handle black hole spacetimes in the absence of symmetries. Many different slicing conditions are tested, including geodesic, maximal, and various algebraic conditions on the lapse. With current resolutions, limited by computer memory sizes, we show that with certain lapse conditions we can evolve the black hole to about t=50M, where M is the black hole mass. Comparisons are made with results obtained by evolving spherical initial black hole data sets with a 1D spherically symmetric code. We also demonstrate that an "apparent horizon locking shift" can be used to prevent the development of large gradients in the metric functions that result from singularity avoiding time slicings. We compute the mass of the apparent horizon in these spacetimes, and find that in many cases it can be conserved to within about 5% throughout the evolution with our techniques and current resolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2059-2082
Number of pages24
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


Dive into the research topics of 'Three-dimensional numerical relativity: The evolution of black holes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this