Phase Transition and Thermal Expansion of MgSiO3 Perovskite

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Science  25 Jan 1991:
Vol. 251, Issue 4992, pp. 410-413
DOI: 10.1126/science.251.4992.410


Results from in situ x-ray diffraction experiments with a DIA-type cubic anvil apparatus (SAM 85) reveal that MgSiO3 perovskite transforms from the orthorhombic Pbnm symmetry to another perovskite-type structure above 600 kelvin (K) at pressures of 7.3 gigapascals; the apparent volume increase across the transition is 0.7%. Unit-cell volume increased linearly with temperature, both below (1.44 x 10-5 K–1) and above (1.55 x 10–5 K–1) the transition. These results indicate that the physical properties measured on the Pbnm phase should be used with great caution because they may not be applicable to the earth's lower mantle. A density analysis based on the new data yields an iron content of 10.4 weight percent for a pyrolite composition under conditions corresponding to the lower mantle. All current equation-of-state data are compatible with constant chemical composition in the upper and lower mantle; thus, these data imply that a chemically layered mantle is unnecessary, and whole-mantle convection is possible.

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