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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  2. Ferropericlase is the second most abundant mineral in the Earth’s lower mantle and its mechanical properties have a strong influence on the rheology of this region. Here, we deform polycrystalline MgO, the magnesium end-member of ferropericlase, at conditions ranging from 1.6 to 8.3 GPa and 875–1,270 K. We analyse the flow laws and microstructures of the recovered samples using electron microscopy and compare our observations with predictions from the literature. We identify a first mechanism for samples deformed at 1,270 K, attributed to a regime controlled by grain boundary sliding accommodated by diffusion, and characterized by a small grain size, an absence of texture, and no intracrystalline deformation. At 1,070 K and below, the deformation regime is controlled by dislocations. The samples show a more homogeneous grain size distribution, significant texture, and intracrystalline strains. In this regime, deformation is controlled by the ⟨110⟩{110} slip system and a combined ⟨110⟩{110} and ⟨110⟩{100} slip, depending on pressure and temperature. Based on these results, we propose an updated deformation map for polycrystalline MgO at mantle conditions. The implications for ferropericlase and seismic observations in the Earth’s lower mantle are discussed.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 9, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 22, 2023
  4. Seismic anisotropy is observed above the core-mantle boundary in regions of slab subduction and near the margins of Large Low Shear Velocity Provinces (LLSVPs). Ferropericlase is believed to be the second most abundant phase in the lower mantle. As it is rheologically weak, it may be a dominant source for anisotropy in the lowermost mantle. Understanding deformation mechanisms in ferropericlase over a range of pressure and temperature conditions is crucial to interpret seismic anisotropy. The effect of temperature on deformation mechanisms of ferropericlase has been established, but the effects of pressure are still controversial. With the aim to clarify and quantify the effect of pressure on deformation mechanisms, we perform room temperature compression experiments on polycrystalline periclase to 50 GPa. Lattice strains and texture development are modeled using the Elasto-ViscoPlastic Self Consistent method (EVPSC). Based on modeling results, we find that { 110 } ⟨ 1 1 ¯ 0 ⟩ slip is increasingly activated with higher pressure and is fully activated at ~50 GPa. Pressure and temperature have a competing effect on activities of dominant slip systems. An increasing { 100 } ⟨ 011 ⟩ : { 110 } ⟨ 1 1 ¯ 0 ⟩ ratio of slip activity ismore »expected as material moves from cold subduction regions towards hot upwelling region adjacent to LLSVPs. This could explain observed seismic anisotropy in the circum-Pacific region that appears to weaken near margins of LLVSPs.« less
  5. Mo 0.9 W 1.1 BC and ReWC 0.8 compositions have recently been identified to have exceptional hardness and incompressibility. In this work, these compositions are analyzed via in situ radial X-ray diffraction experiments to comparatively assess lattice strain and texture development. Traditionally, Earth scientists have employed these experiments to enhance understanding of dynamic activity within the deep Earth. However, nonhydrostatic compression experiments provide insight into materials with exceptional mechanical properties, as they help elucidate correlations between structural, elastic, and mechanical properties. Here, analysis of differential strain ( t / G ) and lattice preferred orientation in Mo 0.9 W 1.1 BC suggests that dislocation glide occurs along the (010) plane in orthorhombic Mo 0.9 W 1.1 BC. The (200) and (002) planes support the highest differential strain, while planes which bisect two or three axes, such as the (110) or (191), exhibit relatively lower differential strain. In ReWC 0.8 , which crystallizes in a cubic NaCl-type structure, planar density is correlated to orientation-dependent lattice strain as the low-density (311) plane elastically supports more differential strain than the denser (111), (200), and (220) planes. Furthermore, results indicate that ReWC 0.8 likely supports a higher differential stress t than Mo 0.9 Wmore »1.1 BC and, based on a lack of texture development, bulk plastic yielding is not observed in ReWC 0.8 upon compression to ∼60 GPa.« less