The Breakdown of Olivine to Perovskite and Magnesiowüstite

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Science  24 Jan 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5299, pp. 510-513
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5299.510

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San Carlos olivine crystals under laboratory conditions of 26 gigapascals and 973 to 1473 kelvin (conditions typical of subducted slabs at a depth of 720 kilometers) for periods of a few minutes to 19 hours transformed to the phase assemblage of perovskite and magnesiowüstite in two stages: (i) the oxygen sublattice transformed into a cubic close-packed lattice, forming a metastable spinelloid, and (ii) at higher temperatures or longer run durations, this spinelloid broke down to perovskite and magnesiowüstite by redistributing silicon and magnesium while maintaining the general oxygen framework. The breakdown was characterized by a blocking temperature of 1000 kelvin, below which olivine remained metastable, and by rapid kinetics once the reaction was activated.

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