In Situ X-ray Diffraction of Forsterite Under Shock Compression to 52 GPa: Time Resolved Observation of Changes in Crystal Structure and Phase
Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
The Earth’s mantle is composed primarily of ferromagnesian silicates, of which Forsterite (Fo) is the magnesium-rich end member of the dominant upper mantle phase, olivine. Fo is thought to undergo a chemical decomposition associated with a structural phase transition when dynamically loaded to 40-71 GPa, but previous inferences about such decomposition have been based only on pressure-density data with no direct phase identification. To obtain direct data on the phase evolution of shocked Fo, synthetic single crystal samples of Mg2SiO4 Fo were loaded to pressures of 52 GPa using a two stage light gas gun. X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns were collected on the static and the loaded samples in situ using a single pulse Mo Kα anode to provide a 17 keV X-ray source. X-ray polycapillary optics were used to couple the source to the sample. Clear Laue spots were observed in the static images, while the dynamic images show the appearance of new spots at early times and powder-like rings at late times. The angles of the dynamically driven spots and rings overlap with each other and indicate the change in phase of forsterite under pressure through a process that begins with the formation of single crystals and ends with polycrystalline material. Efforts are underway to identify the high-pressure phases from among the library of dense magnesium silicates, and further experiments covering a larger pressure range will be completed shortly. This work performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344.