In Situ Measurements of the Post-Spinel and Post-Garnet Phase Boundaries in Pyrolite at 17-32 GPa and 1500-2400 K

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Yu Ye1, Chen Gu2, Sang-Heon Shim1, Vitali Prakapenka3 and Yue Meng4, (1)Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, United States, (2)Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, United States, (3)University of Chicago, GeoSoilEnviroCARS, Chicago, IL, United States, (4)HPCAT, Argonne, Chicago, IL, United States
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.