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Title: Hydrogen-bearing iron peroxide and the origin of ultralow-velocity zones

Ultralow-velocity zones (ULVZs) at Earth’s core–mantle boundary region have important implications for the chemical composition and thermal structure of our planet, but their origin has long been debated. Hydrogen-bearing iron peroxide (FeO 2H x) in the pyrite-type crystal structure was recently found to be stable under the conditions of the lowermost mantle. Using high-pressure experiments and theoretical calculations, we find that iron peroxide with a varying amount of hydrogen has a high density and high Poisson ratio as well as extremely low sound velocities consistent with ULVZs. Here in this paper we also report a reaction between iron and water at 86 gigapascals and 2,200 kelvin that produces FeO 2H x. This would provide a mechanism for generating the observed volume occupied by ULVZs through the reaction of about one-tenth the mass of Earth’s ocean water in subducted hydrous minerals with the effectively unlimited reservoir of iron in Earth’s core. Unlike other candidates for the composition of ULVZs, FeO 2H x synthesized from the superoxidation of iron by water would not require an extra transportation mechanism to migrate to the core–mantle boundary. These dense FeO2Hx-rich domains would be expected to form directly in the core–mantle boundary region and their propertiesmore » would provide an explanation for the many enigmatic seismic features that are observed in ULVZs« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [5] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [7] ;  [8]
  1. Stanford Univ., CA (United States). Dept. of Geological Sciences
  2. Stanford Univ., CA (United States). Dept. of Geological Sciences; Center for High Pressure Science and Technology Advanced Research, Shanghai (China)
  3. Center for High Pressure Science and Technology Advanced Research, Shanghai (China)
  4. Univ. of Science and Technology of China, Hefei (China). Lab. of Seismology and Physics of Earth's Interior, School of Earth and Space Sciences
  5. Carnegie Inst. of Washington, Argonne, IL (United States). Geophysical Lab.
  6. Univ. of Chicago, IL (United States). Center for Advanced Radiation Sources
  7. Center for High Pressure Science and Technology Advanced Research, Shanghai (China); Carnegie Inst. of Washington, Argonne, IL (United States). Geophysical Lab.
  8. Stanford Univ., CA (United States). Dept. of Geological Sciences; SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States). Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Science (SIMES)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-76SF00515
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature (London)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Nature (London); Journal Volume: 551; Journal Issue: 7681; Journal ID: ISSN 0028-0836
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; Geophysics; Mineralogy
OSTI Identifier:
1423460