Diffusion Creep in Perovskite: Implications for the Rheology of the Lower Mantle

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Science  06 Mar 1992:
Vol. 255, Issue 5049, pp. 1238-1240
DOI: 10.1126/science.255.5049.1238


High-temperature creep experiments on polycrystalline perovskite (CaTiO3), an analog of (Mg,Fe)SiO3 perovskite of the lower mantle, suggest that (grain size-sensitive) diffusion creep is important in the lower mantle and show that creep rate is enhanced by the transformation from the orthorhombic to the tetragonal structure. These observations suggest that grain-size reduction after a subducting slab passes through the 670-kilometer discontinuity or after a phase transformation from orthorhombic to tetragonal in perovskite will result in rheological softening in the top portions of the lower mantle.