Slip Systems in MgSiO3 Post-Perovskite: Implications for D′′ Anisotropy

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Science  24 Sep 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5999, pp. 1639-1641
DOI: 10.1126/science.1192465

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Understanding deformation of mineral phases in the lowermost mantle is important for interpreting seismic anisotropy in Earth’s interior. Recently, there has been considerable controversy regarding deformation-induced slip in MgSiO3 post-perovskite. Here, we observe that (001) lattice planes are oriented at high angles to the compression direction immediately after transformation and before deformation. Upon compression from 148 gigapascals (GPa) to 185 GPa, this preferred orientation more than doubles in strength, implying slip on (001) lattice planes. This contrasts with a previous experiment that recorded preferred orientation likely generated during the phase transformation rather than deformation. If we use our results to model deformation and anisotropy development in the D′′ region of the lower mantle, shear-wave splitting (characterized by fast horizontally polarized shear waves) is consistent with seismic observations.

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