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Pressure-induced transformations in deep mantle and core minerals

  • R. J. Hemley (a1), H. K. Mao (a1) and S. A. Gramsch (a1)


Recent experimental and theoretical studies provide new insight into the variety of high-pressure transformations in minerals that comprise the Earth’s deep mantle and core. Representative examples of reconstructive, displacive, electronic and magnetic transformations studied by new diamond-anvil cell techniques are examined. Despite reports for various transitions in (Mg,Fe)SiO3-perovskite, the stability field of the orthorhombic phase expands relative to magnesiowüstite + SiO2 with increasing pressure and temperature. The partitioning of Fe and Mg between Mg-rich silicate perovskite magnesiowüstite depends strongly on pressure, temperature, bulk Fe/Mg ratio, and ferric iron content. The soft-mode transition in SiO2 from the rutile- to CaCl2-type structure, originally documented by X-ray powder diffraction, Raman scattering, and first-principles theory has been explored in detail by single crystal diffraction, and transitions to higher-pressure forms have been examined. The effect of H on the transformations of various nominally anhydrous phases and transitions in dense hydrous Mg-silicates are also examined. New studies of the phase diagram of FeO include the transition to rhombohedral and higher-pressure NiAs polymorphs, and provide prototypical examples of coupled structural, electronic, and magnetic transitions. High-spin/low-spin transitions in FeO have been examined by high-resolution X-ray emission spectroscopy to 150 GPa, and the results are compared with similar studies of Fe2O3 and FeS. Finally, laser-heating studies to above 150 GPa and 2500K show that (hcp) ε-Fe has a large P-T stability field. Radial XRD measurements carried out at room temperature to 220 GPa have constrained the elasticity, rheology and sound velocities of ε-Fe at core pressures.


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