Elasticity of ferropericlase and seismic heterogeneity in the Earth's lower mantle

Jing Yang, Jung Fu Lin*, Steven D. Jacobsen, Nikki M. Seymour, Sergey N. Tkachev, Vitali B. Prakapenka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Deciphering the origin of seismic heterogeneity has been one of the major challenges in understanding the geochemistry and geodynamics of the deep mantle. Fully anisotropic elastic properties of constituent minerals at relevant pressure-temperature conditions of the lower mantle can be used to calculate seismic heterogeneity parameters in order to better understand chemically and thermally induced seismic heterogeneities. In this study, the single-crystal elastic properties of ferropericlase (Mg0.94Fe0.06)O were measured using Brillouin spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction at conditions up to 50 GPa and 900 K. The velocity-density results were modeled using third-order finite-strain theory and thermoelastic equations along a representative geotherm to investigate high pressure-temperature and compositional effects on the seismic heterogeneity parameters. Our results demonstrate that from 660 to 2000 km, compressional wave anisotropy of ferropericlase increased from 4% to 9.7%, while shear wave anisotropy increased from 9% to as high as 22.5%. The thermally induced lateral heterogeneity ratio (RS/P = ∂lnVS/∂lnVP) of ferropericlase was calculated to be 1.48 at ambient pressure but decreased to 1.43 at 40 GPa along a representative geotherm. The RS/P of a simplified pyrolite model consisting of 80% bridgmanite and 20% ferropericlase was approximately 1.5, consistent with seismic models at depths from 670 to 1500 km, but showed an increased mismatch at lower mantle depths below ~1500 km. This discrepancy below mid-lower mantle could be due to either a contribution from chemically induced heterogeneity or the effects of the Fe spin transition in the deeper parts of the Earth's lower mantle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8488-8500
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Brillouin spectroscopy
  • elasticity
  • ferropericlase
  • lateral heterogeneity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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