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Weak cubic CaSiO₃ perovskite in the Earth’s mantle

Immoor, J. and Miyagi, L. and Liermann, H.-P. and Speziale, S. and Schulze, K. and Buchen, J. and Kurnosov, A. and Marquardt, H. (2022) Weak cubic CaSiO₃ perovskite in the Earth’s mantle. Nature, 603 (7900). pp. 276-279. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/s41586-021-04378-2.

[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 1: Unrolled diffraction image) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 2: Experimentally derived lattice strains of cubic CaSiO3 at a temperature of 1,150 ± 50 K) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 3: Texture development observed in experiments) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 4: VPSC modelling of texture development) - Supplemental Material
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Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Table 1 Viscosity contrast between CaSiO3 perovskite and bridgmanite (left) or ferropericlase (right)) - Supplemental Material
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[img] MS Excel (Source Data Fig. 2) - Supplemental Material
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[img] MS Excel (Source Data Fig. 3) - Supplemental Material
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[img] MS Excel (Source Data Extended Data Fig. 3) - Supplemental Material
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Cubic CaSiO₃ perovskite is a major phase in subducted oceanic crust, where it forms at a depth of about 550 kilometres from majoritic garnet. However, its rheological properties at temperatures and pressures typical of the lower mantle are poorly known. Here we measured the plastic strength of cubic CaSiO₃ perovskite at pressure and temperature conditions typical for a subducting slab up to a depth of about 1,200 kilometres. In contrast to tetragonal CaSiO₃, previously investigated at room temperature, we find that cubic CaSiO₃ perovskite is a comparably weak phase at the temperatures of the lower mantle. We find that its strength and viscosity are substantially lower than that of bridgmanite and ferropericlase, possibly making cubic CaSiO₃ perovskite the weakest lower-mantle phase. Our findings suggest that cubic CaSiO₃ perovskite governs the dynamics of subducting slabs. Weak CaSiO₃ perovskite further provides a mechanism to separate subducted oceanic crust from the underlying mantle. Depending on the depth of the separation, basaltic crust could accumulate at the boundary between the upper and lower mantle, where cubic CaSiO₃ perovskite may contribute to the seismically observed regions of low shear-wave velocities in the uppermost lower mantle, or sink to the core–mantle boundary and explain the seismic anomalies associated with large low-shear-velocity provinces beneath Africa and the Pacific.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access
Liermann, H.-P.0000-0001-5039-1183
Speziale, S.0000-0002-6811-4309
Buchen, J.0000-0001-5671-5214
Marquardt, H.0000-0003-1784-6515
Alternate Title:Weak cubic CaSiO3 perovskite in the Earth’s mantle
Additional Information:© 2022 Nature Publishing Group. Received 04 February 2021; Accepted 22 December 2021; Published 09 March 2022. We acknowledge technical assistance by A. Ehnes and I. Schwark. We thank A. R. Thomson for providing a table with the high-temperature shear modulus of CaSiO₃ perovskite. This research was supported through the German Science Foundation (grants MA4534/3-1 and MA4534/4-1) as well the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (ERC grant 864877). H.M. acknowledges support from the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. L..M acknowledges support from the NSF (EAR-1654687) and US Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration through the Chicago-DOE Alliance Center (DE-NA0003975). Data availability: Raw data were generated at the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) and are available at All derived data supporting the findings of this study are available within the article and the Extended Data. Source data for Figs. 2, 3 and Extended Data Fig. 2 are provided with the paper. Contributions: H.M., H.-P.L., L.M. and S.S. designed the research. J.I. prepared the experiments. All authors contributed to the synchrotron experiments. J.I. and L.M. analysed the data. H.M. performed the modelling. H.M. wrote the initial draft of the manuscript. All authors contributed to the final writing of the manuscript. The authors declare no competing interest. Peer review information: Nature thanks Patrick Cordier and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)MA4534/3-1
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)MA4534/4-1
European Research Council (ERC)864877
Bavarian Academy of SciencesUNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-NA0003975
Subject Keywords:Geodynamics; Geophysics; Mineralogy
Issue or Number:7900
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220315-37221600
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Immoor, J., Miyagi, L., Liermann, HP. et al. Weak cubic CaSiO3 perovskite in the Earth’s mantle. Nature 603, 276–279 (2022).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:113904
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:15 Mar 2022 21:03
Last Modified:15 Mar 2022 21:03

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