Stability and structure of MgSio3 perovskite to 2300-kilometer depth in earth's mantle

S. H. Shim, T. S. Duffy, G. Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Unexplained features have been observed seismically near the middle (∼1700-kilometer depth) and bottom of the Earth's lower mantle, and these could have important implications for the dynamics and evolution of the planet. (Mg,Fe)SiO3 perovskite is expected to be the dominant mineral in the deep mantle, but experimental results are discrepant regarding its stability and structure. Here we report in situ x-ray diffraction observations of (Mg, Fe)SiO3 perovskite at conditions (50 to 106 gigapascals, 1600 to 2400 kelvin) close to a mantle geotherm from three different starting materials, (Mg0.9Fe0.1)SiO enstatite, MgSiO3 glass, and an MgO+SiO2 mixture. Our results confirm the stability of (Mg,Fe)SiO3 perovskite to at least 2300-kilometer depth in the mantle. However, diffraction patterns above 83 gigapascals and 1700 kelvin (1900-kilometer depth) cannot presently rule out a possible transformation from Pbnm perovskite to one of three other possible perovskite structures with space group P21lm, Pmmn, or P42lnmc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2437-2440
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume293
Issue number5539
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 28 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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