Synthesis and Equation of State of (Mg,Fe) SiO3 Perovskite to Over 100 Gigapascals

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Science  06 Feb 1987:
Vol. 235, Issue 4789, pp. 668-670
DOI: 10.1126/science.235.4789.668


Silicate perovskite of composition (Mg0.88Fe0.12) SiO3 has been synthesized in a laser-heated diamond-anvil cell to a pressure of 127 gigapascals at temperatures exceeding 2000 K. The perovskite phase was identified and its unit-cell dimensions measured by in situ x-ray diffraction at elevated pressure and room temperature. An analysis of these data yields the first high-precision equation of state for this mineral, with values of the zero-pressure isothermal bulk modulus and its pressure derivative being K0T = 266 ± 6 gigapascals and K'0T = 3.9 ± 0.4. In addition, the orthorhombic distortion of the silicate-perovskite structure away from ideal cubic symmetry remains constant with pressure: the lattice parameter ratios are b/a = 1.032 ± 0.002 and c/a = 1.444 ± 0.006. These results, which prove that silicate perovskite is stable to ultrahigh pressures, demonstrate that perovskite can exist throughout the pressure range of the lower mantle and that it is therefore likely to be the most abundant mineral in Earth.