Electrical conductivity of enstatite as a function of water content: Implications for the electrical structure in the upper mantle

Baohua Zhang, Takashi Yoshino, Xiaoping Wu, Takuya Matsuzaki, Shuangming Shan, Tomoo Katsura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


The electrical conductivity of Ca-free aluminous enstatite with various water contents has been determined at a pressure of 3GPa in a Kawai-type multi-anvil apparatus. Impedance spectroscopy was performed for both hydrogen-doped and -undoped samples in a frequency range from 0.1Hz to 1MHz to examine the effect of water on conductivity. Two conduction mechanisms were identified for hydrogen-undoped samples at temperature of 1000-1723K and for hydrogen-doped samples at relatively lower temperature range of 500-900K to minimize dehydration of samples. For the hydrogen-undoped samples, the activation enthalpy is around 1.9eV at the higher temperatures range (>1300K) suggesting that the dominant charge transfer mechanism is Fe2+-Fe3+ hopping (small polaron) conduction. For the hydrogen-doped samples measured below 900K, the activation enthalpy decreases from 1.11 to 0.70eV, and the conductivity values systematically increase with increasing water content, suggesting that proton conduction is the dominant conduction mechanism. Taking hopping conduction and water content dependence of activation enthalpy for proton conduction into account, all electrical conductivity data were fitted to the formula σ=σ0hexp(-Hh/kT)+σ0pCwexp[-(Hp0-αCw1/3)/kT], where σ0 is pre-exponential factor, Cw is the water content in weight percent, H is the activation enthalpy, Hp0 is the activation enthalpy for proton conduction at very low water concentration, α is the geometrical factor, k is the Boltzmann constant, T is absolution temperature and subscripts h and p represent hopping and proton conductions, respectively. Using the present results, a laboratory-based conductivity-depth profile in the Earth's upper mantle has been constructed as a function of water content. Comparison of our model with the currently available geophysical observations beneath the Eastern Pacific Rise indicates that hydrous aluminous enstatite cannot account for the high conductivity anomaly at the top of the asthenosphere as well as hydrous olivine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-20
Number of pages10
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2012


  • Electrical conductivity
  • Orthopyroxene
  • Upper mantle
  • Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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