In Situ Measurements of the Post-Spinel and Post-Garnet Phase Boundaries in Pyrolite at 17-32 GPa and 1500-2400 K
Abstract:Recent seismic studies have revealed complex structures near 660-km depth. In order to understand the effects of composition and temperature, we measured the depth and Clapeyron slope of the post-spinel and post-garnet boundaries at the pressure-temperature conditions of 600-700 km depths in pyrolitic compositions: (1) MgO-Al2O3-SiO2 (MAS) and (2) CaO-MgO-Al2O3-SiO2-FeO (CMASF).
Glass starting materials were mixed with either gold or platinum powder (10 wt%) for laser coupling and internal pressure scale. Cold compressed foils of the mixtures were loaded in the diamond-anvil cell together with Ar or KCl for thermal insulation and pressure transmission. X-ray diffraction patterns were measured for the samples in the diamond-anvil cell at in situ high pressure and high temperature combined with double side laser heating at beamlines 13-IDD (GSECARS) and 16-IDB (HPCAT) in the Advanced Photon Source. Within 5 to 8 minutes of heating, stable crystalline phase assemblages were formed and persisted with further heating for 20 to 30 minutes. A total of 160 heating cycles were conducted at different pressures and temperatures, providing tight constrains on the phase boundaries.
Our data show that the post-spinel transition occurs at 23.6-24.5 GPa and 1850 K with a Clapeyron slope of -2.5(4) MPa/K if the Pt pressure scales are used, consistent with the seismic observation of the 660 discontinuity. The post-garnet boundary occurs at 24.2-27.5 GPa and 1900 – 2450 K. We found that the Clapeyron slope of the post-garnet transition increases with Fe: from 2.4 MPa/K for MAS to 6.2 MPa/K for CMASF. Below 1900 K, garnet disappears near the post-spinel boundary within the resolution of our measurements. Our new data supports the notion that the 660 discontinuity is dominated by the post-spinel phase transition below 1900 K while dominated by the post-garnet phase transition above 1900 K. However, our data indicate much larger Clapeyron slope of the post-garnet transition, suggesting much more significant impact of the transition for the seismically observed topography of the 660 discontinuity and dynamics of the mantle plumes.