2009 Spring AGU Abstract

Thomas, S.-M., A. F. Goncharov, S. D. Jacobsen, C. R. Bina, and D. J. Frost, Optical absorption spectra of hydrous wadsleyite to 32 GPa, Eos, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, 90, Spring Meeting Supplement, DI13A-01, 2009.


Optical absorption spectra of high-pressure minerals can be used as indirect tools to calculate radiative conductivity of the Earth's interior [e.g., 1]. Recent high-pressure studies show that e.g. ringwoodite, γ-(Mg,Fe)2SiO4, does not become opaque in the near infrared and visible region, as previously assumed, but remains transparent to 21.5 GPa [2]. Therefore, it has been concluded that radiative heat transfer does not necessarily become blocked at high pressures of the mantle and ferromagnesian minerals actually could contribute to the heat flow in the Earth's interior [2].

In this study we use gem-quality single-crystals of hydrous Fe-bearing wadsleyite, β-(Mg,Fe)2SiO4, that were synthesized at 18 GPa and 1400°C in a multianvil apparatus. Crystals were analyzed by Mössbauer and Raman spectroscopy, electron microprobe analysis and single-crystal X-ray diffraction. For absorption measurements a double-polished 50 μm sized single-crystal of wadsleyite was loaded in a diamond-anvil cell with neon as pressure medium. Optical absorption spectra were recorded at ambient conditions as well as up to 32 GPa from 400 to 50000 cm-1.

At ambient pressure the absorption spectrum reveals two broad bands at ∼10000 cm-1 and ∼15000 cm-1, and an absorption edge in the visible-ultraviolet range. With increasing pressure the absorption spectrum changes, both bands continuously shift to higher frequencies as has been observed for ringwoodite [2], but is contrary to earlier presumptions for wadsleyite [3].

Here, we will discuss band assignment along with the influence of iron, compare our results to previous absorption studies of mantle materials [2], and analyze possible implications for radiative conductivity of the transition zone.

References: [1] Goncharov et al. (2008), McGraw Yearbook Sci. Tech., 242-245. [2] Keppler & Smyth (2005), Am. Mineral., 90 1209-1212. [3] Ross (1997), Phys. Chem. Earth, 22 113-118.

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