Langrand, Andrault, Durand, Konôpková, Hilairet, Thomas, Merkel (2019) Kinetics and detectability of the bridgmanite to post-perovskite transformation in the Earth's D″ layer Nature communications 10(1) 5680
Bridgmanite, the dominant mineral in the Earth's lower mantle, crystallizes in the perovskite structure and transforms into post-perovskite at conditions relevant for the D[Formula: see text] layer. This transformation affects the dynamics of the Earth's lowermost mantle and can explain a range of seismic observations. The thickness over which the two phases coexist, however, can extend over 100 km, casting doubt on the assignment of the observed seismic boundaries. Here, experiments show that the bridgmanite to post-perovskite transition in (Mg[Formula: see text],Fe[Formula: see text])SiO[Formula: see text] is fast on geological timescales. The transformation kinetics, however, affects reflection coefficients of [Formula: see text] and [Formula: see text] waves by more than one order of magnitude. Thick layers of coexisting bridgmanite and post-perovskite can hence be detected using seismic reflections. Morever, the detection and wave period dependence of D[Formula: see text] reflections can be used to constrain significant features of the Earth's lowermost mantle, such as the thickness of the coexistence layer, and obtain information on temperature and grain sizes.