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Science. 1997 Mar 21;275(5307):1779-81.

A High-Temperature Electrical Conduction Mechanism in the Lower Mantle Phase (Mg,Fe)1-xO

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  • 1Department of Geological Sciences, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK.


Measurements of electrical conductivity at high pressure and temperature were taken on the lower mantle phase magnesiowustite with varying Fe3+ content. Although previous measurements at atmospheric pressure suggest Fe2+-Fe3+ hopping (small polaron) as the dominant conductivity mechanism, the present experiments show a change in charge transport mechanism with temperature. The lower temperature measurements are consistent with small polaron conduction, but at higher temperatures, which are more applicable to the lower mantle, a large polaron mechanism is suggested. Because these mechanisms have different temperature and compositional dependencies, this transition has important implications for extrapolation to mantle conditions.

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