High-Temperature XAS Study of Fe2SiO4 Liquid: Reduced Coordination of Ferrous Iron

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Science  08 Oct 1993:
Vol. 262, Issue 5131, pp. 229-233
DOI: 10.1126/science.262.5131.229


X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) of Fe2+ in Fe2SiO4 liquid at 1575 kelvin and 10-4 gigapascal (1 bar) shows that the Fe2+ -O bond length is 1.98 ± 0.02 angstroms compared with ≈2.22 angstroms in crystalline Fe2SiO4 (fayalite) at the melting point (1478 kelvin), which indicates a decrease in average Fe2+ coordination number from six in fayalite to four in the liquid. Anharmonicity in the liquid was accounted for using a data analysis procedure. This reduction in coordination number is similar to that observed on the melting of certain ionic salts. These results are used to develop a model of the medium-range structural environment of Fe2+ in olivine-composition melts, which helps explain some of the properties of Fe2SiO4 liquid, including density, viscosity, and the partitioning of iron and nickel between silicate melts and crystalline olivines. Some of the implications of this model for silicate melts in the Earth's crust and mantle are discussed.