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Stability of Ferropericlase in the Lower Mantle

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Science  21 Jul 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5478, pp. 430-432
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5478.430

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Abstract

We have heated ferropericlases (Mg0.60Fe0.40)O and (Mg0.50Fe0.50)O to temperatures of 1000 kelvin at pressures of 86 gigapascals, simulating the stability of the solid solution at physical conditions relevant to Earth's lower mantle. The in situ x-ray study of the externally heated samples in a Mao-Bell–type diamond anvil cell shows that ferropericlase may dissociate into magnesium-rich and iron-rich oxide components. The result is important because the decomposition of ferropericlase into lighter and heavier phases will cause dynamic effects that could lead to mantle heterogeneity.

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