Lower Mantle Electrical Conductivity Based on Measurements of Al, Fe-Bearing Perovskite Under Lower Mantle Conditions
Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 11:20 AM
Laboratory measurements of the electrical conductivities of minerals provide important constraints on the chemistry and structure of the Earth’s interior. We have measured the electrical conductivity of Al, Fe-bearing perovskite (Pv), the most abundant lower mantle phase, using a laser-heated diamond-anvil cell (LHDAC). The sample with composition Mg0.83Fe0.21Al0.06Si0.91O3 (Fe3+/ΣFe ratio ~ 0.4) was synthesized at 26 GPa and 2073 K using a multianvil press. Sample resistance was measured in situ at high pressure and high temperature up to 82 GPa and 2000 K. Results show a continuous increase in electrical conductivity with increasing pressure, in contrast to some previous studies of (Mg,Fe)SiO3 perovskite and a pyrolite assemblage where a decrease in conductivity was observed at higher pressure. Our results suggest that (1) incorporation of aluminum in Pv has a strong effect on its electrical conductivity and evolution with pressure; (2) spin crossover of Fe3+ does not occur or its effect on the conductivity is small in Al, Fe-bearing Pv, and (3) the contribution of ferropericlase to the electrical conductivity of pyrolite may be significant. The electrical conductivity profile of the Earth’s lower mantle derived from geomagnetic data can be better explained by a pyrolitic bulk chemical composition rather than a non-pyrolitic model such as one based solely on perovskite.