Single-crystal elasticity of the lower-mantle ferropericlase (Mg0.92Fe0.08)O

Tong, Xinyue
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This study focuses on investigating the effect of the electronic spin transition of iron on the elasticity of the candidate lower mantle ferropericlase (Mg,Fe)O. This may be relevant to our understanding of the seismic velocity structures of the Earth’s lower mantle. The elastic constants of (Mg₀.₉₂Fe₀.₀₈)O at high-spin (HS) state, low-spin (LS) state, and through the pressure-induced HS-to-LS transition has been measured using both Brillouin Light Scattering (BLS) and Impulsive Stimulated Scattering (ISS). There is a large pressure range in which c₁₁ and c₁₂ exhibit a softening, while c₄₄ does not register such an anomaly. Compared with previously published data of ferropericlase with similar compositions ([Marquardt et al., 2009b], BLS measurement of (Mg₀.₉Fe₀.₁)O and [Crowhurst et al., 2008], ISS measurement of (Mg₀.₉₄Fe₀.₀₆)O), this study provides more reliable elastic constants measurements by taking the advantage of simultaneous measurements on Vp and Vs using both BLS and ISS. Our results show that bulk sound velocity of ferropericlase has a large but smooth softening in the spin transition pressure region. The elastic constants of ferropericlase at the spin transition region and the LS state have been well studied in this thesis, and a relaxation behavior has also been observed in this study. Those two subjects are not well documented in literature. The temperature effect of the spin state transition and its consequential effect on mineral’s elastic properties have not been studied in this project, but further research on this subject will follow. However, even in the room temperature, our results don’t show sudden changes in seismic velocities. Moreover, current theoretical and experimental studies [Sturhahn et al., 2005, Tsuchiya et al., 2006, Lin et al., 2007] indicate that the spin transition takes place over an extended range of depth along an expected lower-mantle geotherm, where sudden changes in compressional and bulk sound velocity are not expected.