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On the sharpness of the perovskite/post-perovskite transition in the Earth's mantle

Akber-Knutson, Sofia and Steinle-Neumann, Gerd and Asimow, Paul D. (2005) On the sharpness of the perovskite/post-perovskite transition in the Earth's mantle. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 69 (10). A252-A252. ISSN 0016-7037.

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The phase transition of pure MgSiO_3 perovskite (Pbnm) to the post-perovskite (Cmcm) structure has been recently reported to occur at pressures and temperatures corresponding to the Earth’s lowermost mantle [Murakami et al. 2004, Tsuchiya et al. 2004, Oganov and Ono 2004]. We use ab initio calculations to assess whether this transition survives, in the Earth, for more realistic mantle compositions containing Al, Fe^(2+), and Fe^(3+). We estimate phase coexistence pressures as functions of minor element concentration, and from this we obtain the effects of Al and Fe on the depth and sharpness of the transition. For a pyrolitic mantle composition, with all the Al partitioned into MgSiO_3, we find that Al preferentially partitions into perovskite, and increases the transition pressure by approximately 5 GPa. The transition takes place over a depth range of width 225 km. Fe competes with Al by lowering the transition pressure [Mao et al. 2004], so that post-perovskite is likely to exist in the lower mantle. However, the transition is still smooth, and not likely to explain the sharp discontinuities observed seismically at the base of the mantle. Our results suggest the geodynamical implications of the post-perovskite phase transition require reevaluation.

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Asimow, Paul D.0000-0001-6025-8925
Additional Information:© 2005 Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd.
Issue or Number:10
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120906-144708844
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:33916
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:07 Sep 2012 16:45
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 04:14

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