Research ArticleGEOPHYSICS

Exploring microstructures in lower mantle mineral assemblages with synchrotron x-rays

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Science Advances  01 Jan 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 1, eabd3614
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd3614


Understanding dynamics across phase transformations and the spatial distribution of minerals in the lower mantle is crucial for a comprehensive model of the evolution of the Earth’s interior. Using the multigrain crystallography technique (MGC) with synchrotron x-rays at pressures of 30 GPa in a laser-heated diamond anvil cell to study the formation of bridgmanite [(Mg,Fe)SiO3] and ferropericlase [(Mg,Fe)O], we report an interconnected network of a smaller grained ferropericlase, a configuration that has been implicated in slab stagnation and plume deflection in the upper part of the lower mantle. Furthermore, we isolated individual crystal orientations with grain-scale resolution, provide estimates on stress evolutions on the grain scale, and report {110} twinning in an iron-depleted bridgmanite, a mechanism that appears to aid stress relaxation during grain growth and likely contributes to the lack of any appreciable seismic anisotropy in the upper portion of the lower mantle.

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