Research ArticlePLANETARY SCIENCE

Shock compression response of forsterite above 250 GPa

Science Advances  03 Aug 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 8, e1600157
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600157

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Abstract

Forsterite (Mg2SiO4) is one of the major planetary materials, and its behavior under extreme conditions is important to understand the interior structure of large planets, such as super-Earths, and large-scale planetary impact events. Previous shock compression measurements of forsterite indicate that it may melt below 200 GPa, but these measurements did not go beyond 200 GPa. We report the shock response of forsterite above ~250 GPa, obtained using the laser shock wave technique. We simultaneously measured the Hugoniot and temperature of shocked forsterite and interpreted the results to suggest the following: (i) incongruent crystallization of MgO at 271 to 285 GPa, (ii) phase transition of MgO at 285 to 344 GPa, and (iii) remelting above ~470 to 500 GPa. These exothermic and endothermic reactions are seen to occur under extreme conditions of pressure and temperature. They indicate complex structural and chemical changes in the system MgO-SiO2 at extreme pressures and temperatures and will affect the way we understand the interior processes of large rocky planets as well as material transformation by impacts in the formation of planetary systems.

Keywords
  • Forsterite
  • laser shock compression
  • Hugoniot
  • incongruent crystallization
  • phase transition
  • MgO
  • phase equilibria
  • large rocky planets
  • planetary impacts

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