Spin Transition Zone in Earth's Lower Mantle

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  21 Sep 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5845, pp. 1740-1743
DOI: 10.1126/science.1144997

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text


Mineral properties in Earth's lower mantle are affected by iron electronic states, but representative pressures and temperatures have not yet been probed. Spin states of iron in lower-mantle ferropericlase have been measured up to 95 gigapascals and 2000 kelvin with x-ray emission in a laser-heated diamond cell. A gradual spin transition of iron occurs over a pressure-temperature range extending from about 1000 kilometers in depth and 1900 kelvin to 2200 kilometers and 2300 kelvin in the lower mantle. Because low-spin ferropericlase exhibits higher density and faster sound velocities relative to the high-spin ferropericlase, the observed increase in low-spin (Mg,Fe)O at mid-lower mantle conditions would manifest seismically as a lower-mantle spin transition zone characterized by a steeper-than-normal density gradient.

    View Full Text

    Related Content