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Title: Sound velocity of Fe-S liquids at high pressure: Implications for the Moon's molten outer core

Sound velocities of Fe and Fe–S liquids were determined by combining the ultrasonic measurements and synchrotron X-ray techniques under high pressure–temperature conditions from 1 to 8 GPa and 1573 K to 1973 K. Four different liquid compositions were studied including Fe, Fe–10 wt% S, Fe–20 wt% S, and Fe–27 wt% S. Our data show that the velocity of Fe-rich liquids increases upon compression and decreases with increasing sulfur content, whereas temperature has negligible effect on the velocity of Fe–S liquids. The sound velocity data were combined with ambient-pressure densities to fit the Murnaghan equation of state (EOS). Compared to the lunar seismic model, our velocity data constrain the sulfur content at 4±3 wt%, indicating a significantly denser (6.5±0.5 g/cm3) and hotter (1870-70+100 K) outer core than previously estimated. A new lunar structure model incorporating available geophysical observations points to a smaller core radius. Our model suggests a top–down solidification scenario for the evolution of the lunar core. Such “iron snow” process may have been an important mechanism for the growth of the inner core.
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  1. Case Western
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Earth Planet. Sci. Lett.; Journal Volume: 396; Journal Issue: 06, 2014
Research Org:
Advanced Photon Source (APS), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Argonne, IL (US)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States