Post-Perovskite Phase Transition in MgSiO3

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Science  07 May 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5672, pp. 855-858
DOI: 10.1126/science.1095932

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In situ x-ray diffraction measurements of MgSiO3 were performed at high pressure and temperature similar to the conditions at Earth's core-mantle boundary. Results demonstrate that MgSiO3 perovskite transforms to a new high-pressure form with stacked SiO6-octahedral sheet structure above 125 gigapascals and 2500 kelvin (2700-kilometer depth near the base of the mantle) with an increase in density of 1.0 to 1.2%. The origin of the D″ seismic discontinuity may be attributed to this post-perovskite phase transition. The new phase may have large elastic anisotropy and develop preferred orientation with platy crystal shape in the shear flow that can cause strong seismic anisotropy below the D″ discontinuity.

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