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  1. 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.

  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 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