UMD Geology: Zhang on Fe-Ni-S-C Liquid in the Earth’s Mantle

2017 University of Maryland Geology Colloquium Series

Friday, April 7th 2017 at 3:00 pm
in PLS 1140 (College Park campus)

Johnny Zhang
Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Fe-Ni-S-C Liquid in the Earth’s Mantle

Fe-Ni-S-C phases are accessory phases in the Earth’s mantle, but carry important geochemical and geophysical implications due to the contrasting physical and chemical properties between metallic and silicate phases. In the shallow mantle (<200 km), the metallic phase occurs as monosulfide solid solution (mss) or melt with near-monosulfide stoichiometries. To constrain the sulfide melt stability field and its Fe-Ni exchange with mantle silicate minerals, we performed experiments at comparable conditions (P, T, fO2) to Earth’s shallow mantle. In the deeper part of the upper mantle (200-410 km), the mantle become reduced, corresponding to an increase of metal activities in sulfide melt. To contain the composition of Fe-Ni-S melt and its storage of deep carbon, we performed experiments and thermodynamic calculations to show the evolution of Fe-Ni-S-C compositions and mantle silicates at deep upper mantle conditions. Based on the experim! ental and modeling exercise, further discussion will be made on the recent Fe-Ni-S-C liquid from deep diamonds (Smith et al. 2016). In the deepest part of Earth’ mantle (<2900 km), we propose that small quantities of Fe-Ni-S-C liquid is the cause for the two large low shear velocity provinces (LLSVPs). These Fe-Ni-S-C liquid is likely trapped during the crystallization of a dense basal magma ocean and therefore a potential carrier of primordial geochemical signature.

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