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  1. SUMMARY

    The seismic anisotropy of the Earth's solid inner core has been the topic of much research. It could be explained by the crystallographic preferred orientation (CPO) developing during convection. The likely phase is hexagonal close-packed iron (hcp), alloyed with nickel and some lighter elements. Here we use high energy synchrotron X-rays to study CPO in Fe-9wt%Si, uniaxially compressed in a diamond anvil cell in radial geometry. The experiments reveal that strong preferred orientation forms in the low-pressure body-centred cubic (bcc) phase that appears to be softer than pure iron. CPO is attributed to dominant {110}<111> slip. The onset of the bcc→hcp transition occurs at a pressure of ≈15 GPa, and the alloy remains in a two phase bcc + hcp state up to 40 GPa. The hcp phase forms first with a distinct {11$\bar{2}$0} maximum perpendicular to compression. Modelling shows that this is a transformation texture, which can be described by Burgers orientation relationship with variant selection. Experimental results suggest that bcc grains oriented with <100> parallel to compression transform into hcp first. The CPO of the hcp changes only slowly during further pressure and deviatoric stress increase at ambient temperature. After heating to 1600 K, a change in the hcp CPO is observed with alignment ofmore »(0001) planes perpendicular to compression that can be interpreted as dominant (0001)<11$\bar{2}$0> slip, combined with {10$\bar{1}$2}<$\bar{1}$011> mechanical twinning, which is similar to the deformation modes suggested previously for pure hcp iron at inner core conditions.

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  2. The high-pressure structure and stability of the calcic amphibole tremolite (Ca2Mg5Si8O22(OH)2) was investigated to ~40 GPa at 300 K by single-crystal X-ray diffraction using synchrotron radiation. C2/m symmetry tremolite displays a broader metastability range than previously studied clinoamphiboles, exhibiting no first-order phase transition up to 40 GPa. Axial parameter ratios a/b and a/c, in conjunction with finite strain versus normalized pressure trends, indicate that changes in compressional behavior occur at pressures of ~5 and ~20 GPa. An analysis of the finite strain trends, using third-order Birch-Murnaghan equations of state, resulted in bulk moduli (𝐾) of 72(7), 77(2), and 61(1) GPa for the compressional regimes from 0-5 GPa (regime I), 5-20 GPa (II), and above 20 GPa (III), respectively, and accompanying pressure-derivatives of the bulk moduli (𝐾′) of 8.6(42), 6.0(3), and 10.0(2). The results are consistent with first-principle theoretical calculations of tremolite elasticity. The axial compressibility ratios of tremolite, determined as 𝛽a : 𝛽b : 𝛽c = 2.22:1.0:0.78 (regime I), 2.12:1.0:0.96 (II), and 1.03:1.0:0.75 (III), demonstrate a substantial reduction of the compressional anisotropy of tremolite at high pressures, which is a notable contrast with the increasingly anisotropic compressibility observed in the high-pressure polymorphs of the clinoamphibole grunerite. The shift in compression-regimemore »at 5 GPa (I-II) transition is ascribed to stiffening along the crystallographic a-axis corresponding to closure of the vacant A-site in the structure, and a shift in the topology of the a-oriented surfaces of the structural I-beam from concave to convex. The II-III regime shift at 20 GPa corresponds to an increasing rate of compaction of the Ca-polyhedra and increased distortion of the Mg-octahedral sites, processes which dictate compaction in both high-pressure compression-regimes. Bond-valence analyses of the tremolite structure under pressure show dramatic overbonding of the Ca-cations (75% at 30 GPa), with significant Mg-cation overbonding as well (40%). These imply that tremolite’s notable metastability range hinges on the calcium cation’s bonding environment. The 8-fold coordinated Ca-polyhedron accommodates significant compaction under pressure, while the geometry of the Ca-O polyhedron becomes increasingly regular and inhibits the reorientation of the tetrahedral chains that generate phase transitions observed in other clinoamphiboles. Peak/background ratio of diffraction data collected above 40 GPa and our equation of state determination of bulk moduli and compressibilities of tremolite in regime III, in concert with the results of our previous Raman study, suggest that C2/m tremolite may be approaching the limit of its metastability above 40 GPa. Our results have relevance for both the metastable compaction of tremolite during impact events, and for possible metastable persistence of tremolite within cold subduction zones within the Earth.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  4. The introduction of multigrain crystallography (MGC) applied in a laser-heated diamond anvil cell (LH-DAC) using synchrotron X-rays has provided a new path to investigate the microstructural evolution of materials at extreme conditions, allowing for simultaneous investigations of phase identification, strain state determination, and orientation relations across phase transitions in a single experiment. Here, we applied this method to a sample of San Carlos olivine beginning at ambient conditions and through the α-olivine → γ-ringwoodite phase transition. At ambient temperatures, by measuring the evolution of individual Bragg reflections, olivine shows profuse angular streaking consistent with the onset of yielding at a measured stress of ~1.5 GPa, considerably lower than previously reported, which may have implications for mantle evolution. Furthermore, γ-ringwoodite phase was found to nucleate as micron to sub-micron grains imbedded with small amounts of a secondary phase at 15 GPa and 1000 °C. Using MGC, we were able to extract and refine individual crystallites of the secondary unknown phase where it was found to have a structure consistent with the ε-phase previously described in chondritic meteorites.