Pressure-Induced Amorphisation in San Carlos Olivine: a XANES Study.

Monday, 15 December 2014
Innokenty Kantor and Raffaella Torchio, ESRF European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, Grenoble, France
Olivine (Mg,Fe)2SiO4 is one of the main rock-forming minerals of the Earth crust and is often used as a model compound of the whole silicate part of our planet. In equilibrium conditions in the Earth interior olivine undergoes a series of phase transitions and further breaks into ferropericlase and bridgmanite phases at about 25 GPa. All these transitions are responsible for major seismic discontinuities in the Earth. However, if olivine in compressed at temperature that is too low to overcome kinetic barrier, it preserves its original structureuntil ~35 GPa and then gradually becomes amorphous. This transformation have been observed before by mean of X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy, but very little is known about the amorphisation mechanism and the local structure of (Mg,Fe)2SiO4 glass under high pressure.

We performed a combined XANES and Raman spectroscopic study of a pressure-induced amorphisation is natural olivine sample (Mg0.92Fe0.08)2SiO4 from San Carlos location. Despite the fact that this natural sample has very low iron concentration and therefore absorption jump was quite small (about 0.06), a decent quality XANES spectra were recorded in transmission mode on the energy-dispercive beamline ID24 at the ESRF usind a diamond anvil cell technique.

The amorphisation process can be clearly seen in Raman spectra as a significant broadening and further disappearance of the Raman peaks starting from 35-40 GPa, in perfect agreement with the previous literature data. The most interesting result is a dramatic change of the near-edge structure of X-ray absorption spectra. Since XAS is sensitive to the local structure only, one would not expect significant changes in spectra (apart for some broadening) if only long-range order in the material is lost. Our experimental results indicate that pressure-induced amorphisation in olivine is accomplished with a significant variation of the local atomic structure around Fe cation, probably forming effective coordination number similar to the bridgmanite rather than a 6-fold coordination typical for low-pressure phases.