Calcium dissolution in bridgmanite in the Earth’s deep mantle

Academic Article


  • Accurate knowledge of the mineralogy is essential for understanding the lower mantle, which represents more than half of Earth’s volume. CaSiO3 perovskite is believed to be the third-most-abundant mineral throughout the lower mantle, following bridgmanite and ferropericlase1–3. Here we experimentally show that the calcium solubility in bridgmanite increases steeply at about 2,300 kelvin and above 40 gigapascals to a level sufficient for a complete dissolution of all CaSiO3 component in pyrolite into bridgmanite, resulting in the disappearance of CaSiO3 perovskite at depths greater than about 1,800 kilometres along the geotherm4,5. Hence we propose a change from a two-perovskite domain (TPD; bridgmanite plus CaSiO3 perovskite) at the shallower lower mantle to a single-perovskite domain (SPD; calcium-rich bridgmanite) at the deeper lower mantle. Iron seems to have a key role in increasing the calcium solubility in bridgmanite. The temperature-driven nature can cause large lateral variations in the depth of the TPD-to-SPD change in response to temperature variations (by more than 500 kilometres). Furthermore, the SPD should have been thicker in the past when the mantle was warmer. Our finding requires revision of the deep-mantle mineralogy models and will have an impact on our understanding of the composition, structure, dynamics and evolution of the region.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Nature  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 16731907
  • Author List

  • Ko B; Greenberg E; Prakapenka V; Alp EE; Bi W; Meng Y; Zhang D; Shim SH
  • Start Page

  • 88
  • End Page

  • 92
  • Volume

  • 611
  • Issue

  • 7934