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  1. Abstract The mantle transition zone connects two major layers of Earth’s interior that may be compositionally distinct: the upper mantle and the lower mantle. Wadsleyite is a major mineral in the upper mantle transition zone. Here, we measure the single-crystal elastic properties of hydrous Fe-bearing wadsleyite at high pressure-temperature conditions by Brillouin spectroscopy. Our results are then used to model the global distribution of wadsleyite proportion, temperature, and water content in the upper mantle transition zone by integrating mineral physics data with global seismic observations. Our models show that the upper mantle transition zone near subducted slabs is relatively cold,more »enriched in wadsleyite, and slightly more hydrated compared to regions where plumes are expected. This study provides direct evidence for the thermochemical heterogeneities in the upper mantle transition zone which is important for understanding the material exchange processes between the upper and lower mantle.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  2. Abstract As a major nominally anhydrous mineral (NAM) in the Earth’s upper mantle, orthopyroxene could host up to several hundred parts per million H2O in its crystal structure and transport the H2O to the deep Earth. To study the effect of structural H2O on the elasticity of orthopyroxene, we have measured the single-crystal elasticity of Mg1.991Al0.065Si1.951O6 with 842–900 ppm H2O and 1.64 ± 0.20 wt% Al2O3 at ambient conditions using Brillouin spectroscopy. The best-fit single-crystal elastic moduli (Cijs), bulk (KS0), and shear (G0) modulus of the hydrous Al-bearing orthopyroxene were determined as: C11 = 235(2) GPa, C22 = 173(2) GPa,more »C33 = 222(2) GPa, C44 = 86(1) GPa, C55 = 82(1) GPa, C66 = 82(1) GPa, C12 = 75(3) GPa, C13 = 67(2) GPa, and C23 = 49(2) GPa, KS0 = 111(2) GPa, and G0 = 78(1) GPa. Systematic analysis based on the results presented in this and previous studies suggests that the incorporation of 842–900 ppm H2O would increase C13 by 12.0(7)% and decrease C23 by 8.6(8)%. The effects on C11, C22, C33, C44, C66, KS0, and VP are subtle if not negligible when considering the uncertainties. The C55, C12, G0, and VS are not affected by the presence of structural H2O. Although laboratory experiments show that Fe,Al-bearing orthopyroxenes can host up to 0.8 wt% H2O in its structure, future high-pressure-temperature elasticity measurements on orthopyroxene with higher H2O content are needed to help better quantify this effect.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  4. Abstract We have performed sound velocity and unit cell volume measurements of three synthetic, ultrafine micro/nanocrystalline grossular samples up to 50 GPa using Brillouin spectroscopy and synchrotron X-ray diffraction. The samples are characterized by average grain sizes of 90 nm, 93 nm and 179 nm (hereinafter referred to as samples Gr90, Gr93, and Gr179, respectively). The experimentally determined sound velocities and elastic properties of Gr179 sample are comparable with previous measurements, but slightly higher than those of Gr90 and Gr93 under ambient conditions. However, the differences diminish with increasing pressure, and the velocity crossover eventually takes place at approximately 20–30 GPa. The X-ray diffractionmore »peaks of the ultrafine micro/nanocrystalline grossular samples significantly broaden between 15–40 GPa, especially for Gr179. The velocity or elasticity crossover observed at pressures over 30 GPa might be explained by different grain size reduction and/or inhomogeneous strain within the individual grains for the three grossular samples, which is supported by both the pressure-induced peak broadening observed in the X-ray diffraction experiments and transmission electron microscopy observations. The elastic behavior of ultrafine micro/nanocrystalline silicates, in this case, grossular, is both grain size and pressure dependent.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023