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Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 489, p. 251–257, (2018) [doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2018.02.045]

Evidence for {100}<011> slip in ferropericlase in Earth's lower mantle from high-pressure/high-temperature experiments

J. Immoor, H. Marquardt, L. Miyagi, F. Lin, S. Speziale, S. Merkel, J. Buchen, A. Kurnosov, H.-P. Liermann

Seismic anisotropy in Earth's lowermost mantle, resulting from Crystallographic Preferred Orientation (CPO) of elastically anisotropic minerals, is among the most promising observables to map mantle flow patterns. A quantitative interpretation, however, is hampered by the limited understanding of CPO development in lower mantle minerals at simultaneously high pressures and temperatures. Here, we experimentally determine CPO formation in ferropericlase, one of the elastically most anisotropic deep mantle phases, at pressures of the lower mantle and temperatures of up to 1400 K using a novel experimental setup. Our data reveal a significant contribution of slip on {100} to ferropericlase CPO in the deep lower mantle, contradicting previous inferences based on experimental work at lower mantle pressures but room temperature. We use our results along with a geodynamic model to show that deformed ferropericlase produces strong shear wave anisotropy in the lowermost mantle, where horizontally polarized shear waves are faster than vertically polarized shear waves, consistent with seismic observations. We find that ferropericlase alone can produce the observed seismic shear wave splitting in D″ in regions of downwelling, which may be further enhanced by post-perovskite. Our model further shows that the interplay between ferropericlase (causing VSH > VSV) and bridgmanite (causing VSV > VSH) CPO can produce a more complex anisotropy patterns as observed in regions of upwelling at the margin of the African Large Low Shear Velocity Province.

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© Sébastien Merkel, Université de Lille, France

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