MINERAL PHYSICS

Unraveling ringwoodite hydration in mantle

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Science  17 Oct 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6207, pp. 311-312
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6207.311-c

Certain high-pressure minerals in Earth's mantle are likely to contain oceans' worth of water dissolved into their crystal structures. Exactly how water dissolves into ringwoodite, an important mineral in the mantle transition zone, influences our ability to detect mantle water using geophysical tools. Purevjav et al. tackle this problem by using a powerful beam of neutrons to determine the location of hydrogen atoms in the ringwoodite structure. They found that hydrogen substitutes for any of the major cations, dramatically lowering the speed of seismic waves in the mineral. This discovery may make it possible to map important water content variations in the transition zone of Earth's mantle.

Geophys. Res. Lett. 10.1002/2014GL0614488 (2014).

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