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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Nov 9;101(45):15867-9. Epub 2004 Nov 1.

Ferromagnesian postperovskite silicates in the D'' layer of the Earth.

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  • 1Department of the Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, 5734 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637.


Natural olivine with 12 mol % Fe(2)SiO(4) and synthetic orthopyroxenes with 20% and 40% FeSiO(3) were studied beyond the pressure-temperature conditions of the core-mantle boundary. All samples were found to convert entirely or partially into the CaIrO(3) postperovskite structure, which was recently reported for pure MgSiO(3). The incorporation of Fe greatly reduces the pressure needed for the transition and establishes the new phase as the major component of the D'' layer. With the liquid core as an unlimited reservoir of iron, core-mantle reactions could further enrich the iron content in this phase and explain the intriguing seismic signatures observed in the D'' layer.

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