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  1. Abstract The stable forms of carbon in Earth’s deep interior control storage and fluxes of carbon through the planet over geologic time, impacting the surface climate as well as carrying records of geologic processes in the form of diamond inclusions. However, current estimates of the distribution of carbon in Earth’s mantle are uncertain, due in part to limited understanding of the fate of carbonates through subduction, the main mechanism that transports carbon from Earth’s surface to its interior. Oxidized carbon carried by subduction has been found to reside in MgCO 3 throughout much of the mantle. Experiments in this study demonstrate that at deep mantle conditions MgCO 3 reacts with silicates to form CaCO 3 . In combination with previous work indicating that CaCO 3 is more stable than MgCO 3 under reducing conditions of Earth’s lowermost mantle, these observations allow us to predict that the signature of surface carbon reaching Earth’s lowermost mantle may include CaCO 3 .
  2. Both seismic observations of dense low shear velocity regions and models of magma ocean crystallization and mantle dynamics support enrichment of iron in Earth’s lowermost mantle. Physical properties of iron-rich lower mantle heterogeneities in the modern Earth depend on distribution of iron between coexisting lower mantle phases (Mg,Fe)O magnesiowüstite, (Mg,Fe)SiO3 bridgmanite, and (Mg,Fe)SiO3 post-perovskite. The partitioning of iron between these phases was investigated in synthetic ferrous-iron-rich olivine compositions (Mg0.55Fe0.45)2SiO4 and (Mg0.28Fe0.72)2SiO4 at lower mantle conditions ranging from 33–128 GPa and 1900–3000 K in the laser-heated diamond anvil cell. The resulting phase assemblages were characterized by a combination of in situ X-ray diffraction and ex situ transmission electron microscopy. The exchange coefficient between bridgmanite and magnesiowüstite decreases with pressure and bulk Fe# and increases with temperature. Thermodynamic modeling determines that incorporation and partitioning of iron in bridgmanite are explained well by excess volume associated with Mg-Fe exchange. Partitioning results are used to model compositions and densities of mantle phase assemblages as a function of pressure, FeO-content and SiO2-content. Unlike average mantle compositions, iron-rich compositions in the mantle exhibit negative dependence of density on SiO2-content at all mantle depths, an important finding for interpretation of deep lower mantle structures.
  3. Abstract

    Large Low Shear Velocity Provinces (LLSVPs) in the lowermost mantle are key to understanding the chemical composition and thermal structure of the deep Earth, but their origins have long been debated. Bridgmanite, the most abundant lower-mantle mineral, can incorporate extensive amounts of iron (Fe) with effects on various geophysical properties. Here our high-pressure experiments and ab initio calculations reveal that a ferric-iron-rich bridgmanite coexists with an Fe-poor bridgmanite in the 90 mol% MgSiO3–10 mol% Fe2O3system, rather than forming a homogeneous single phase. The Fe3+-rich bridgmanite has substantially lower velocities and a higherVP/VSratio than MgSiO3bridgmanite under lowermost-mantle conditions. Our modeling shows that the enrichment of Fe3+-rich bridgmanite in a pyrolitic composition can explain the observed features of the LLSVPs. The presence of Fe3+-rich materials within LLSVPs may have profound effects on the deep reservoirs of redox-sensitive elements and their isotopes.

  4. Abstract Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) is one of the most abundant carbonates on Earth's surface and transports carbon to Earth's interior via subduction. Although some petrological observations support the preservation of CaCO3 in cold slabs to lower mantle depths, the geophysical properties and stability of CaCO3 at these depths are not known, due in part to complicated polymorphic phase transitions and lack of constraints on thermodynamic properties. Here we measured thermal equation of state of CaCO3-Pmmn, the stable polymorph of CaCO3 through much of the lower mantle, using synchrotron X-ray diffraction in a laser-heated diamond-anvil cell up to 75 GPa and 2200 K. The room-temperature compression data for CaCO3-Pmmn are fit with third-order Birch-Murnaghan equation of state, yielding KT0 = 146.7 (±1.9) GPa and K′0 = 3.4(±0.1) with V0 fixed to the value determined by ab initio calculation, 97.76 Å3. High-temperature compression data are consistent with zero-pressure thermal expansion αT = a0 + a1T with a0 = 4.3(±0.3)×10-5 K-1, a1 = 0.8(±0.2)×10-8 K-2, temperature derivative of the bulk modulus (∂KT/∂T)P = –0.021(±0.001) GPa/K; the Grüneisen parameter γ0 = 1.94(±0.02), and the volume independent constant q = 1.9(±0.3) at a fixed Debye temperature θ0 = 631 K predicted via ab initio calculation.more »Using these newly determined thermodynamic parameters, the density and bulk sound velocity of CaCO3-Pmmn and (Ca,Mg)-carbonate-bearing eclogite are quantitatively modeled from 30 to 80 GPa along a cold slab geotherm. With the assumption that carbonates are homogeneously mixed into the slab, the results indicate the presence of carbonates in the subducted slab is unlikely to be detected by seismic observations, and the buoyancy provided by carbonates has a negligible effect on slab dynamics.« less
  5. Abstract Electronic states of iron in the lower mantle's dominant mineral, (Mg,Fe,Al)(Fe,Al,Si)O3 bridgmanite, control physical properties of the mantle including density, elasticity, and electrical and thermal conductivity. However, the determination of electronic states of iron has been controversial, in part due to different interpretations of Mössbauer spectroscopy results used to identify spin state, valence state, and site occupancy of iron. We applied energy-domain Mössbauer spectroscopy to a set of four bridgmanite samples spanning a wide range of compositions: 10–50% Fe/total cations, 0–25% Al/total cations, 12–100% Fe3+/total Fe. Measurements performed in the diamond-anvil cell at pressures up to 76 GPa below and above the high to low spin transition in Fe3+ provide a Mössbauer reference library for bridgmanite and demonstrate the effects of pressure and composition on electronic states of iron. Results indicate that although the spin transition in Fe3+ in the bridgmanite B-site occurs as predicted, it does not strongly affect the observed quadrupole splitting of 1.4 mm/s, and only decreases center shift for this site to 0 mm/s at ~70 GPa. Thus center shift can easily distinguish Fe3+ from Fe2+ at high pressure, which exhibits two distinct Mössbauer sites with center shift ~1 mm/s and quadrupole splitting 2.4–3.1 andmore »3.9 mm/s at ~70 GPa. Correct quantification of Fe3+/total Fe in bridgmanite is required to constrain the effects of composition and redox states in experimental measurements of seismic properties of bridgmanite. In Fe-rich, mixed-valence bridgmanite at deep-mantle-relevant pressures, up to ~20% of the Fe may be a Fe2.5+ charge transfer component, which should enhance electrical and thermal conductivity in Fe-rich heterogeneities at the base of Earth's mantle.« less
  6. Abstract Reactions involving carbon in the deep Earth have limited manifestations on Earth's surface, yet they have played a critical role in the evolution of our planet. The metal-silicate partitioning reaction promoted carbon capture during Earth's accretion and may have sequestered substantial carbon in Earth's core. The freezing reaction involving iron-carbon liquid could have contributed to the growth of Earth's inner core and the geodynamo. The redox melting/freezing reaction largely controls the movement of carbon in the modern mantle, and reactions between carbonates and silicates in the deep mantle also promote carbon mobility. The 10-year activity of the Deep Carbon Observatory has made important contributions to our knowledge of how these reactions are involved in the cycling of carbon throughout our planet, both past and present, and has helped to identify gaps in our understanding that motivate and give direction to future studies.