Fe–Mg interdiffusion in wadsleyite and implications for water content of the transition zone

Baohua Zhang, Chengcheng Zhao, Takashi Yoshino

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Fe–Mg interdiffusion rates in polycrystalline wadsleyite aggregates have been determined as a function of water content (up to ∼0.345 wt.% H2O) at 16 GPa and 1373–1773 K in a Kawai-type multi-anvil apparatus. Pre-synthesized water-poor and -rich polycrystalline wadsleyite were used as starting materials. Diffusion profiles were obtained across the interface between Fe-free and -bearing diffusion couples, namely, Mg2SiO4 and (Mg0.9Fe0.1)2SiO4 aggregates by electron microprobe. Fe–Mg interdiffusivities by experiments yield DFe−Mg(m2/s)=D0XFenCH2Orexp⁡[−(E+αXFe+βCH2O)/RT], where D0 = 1.33−0.23+0.20× 10−11 m2/s, n = 0.19 ± 0.04, r = 0.29 ± 0.12, E = 92 ± 2 kJ/mol, α = −45 ± 12, and β = −134 ± 2. Our results indicate that water significantly enhances the rates of Fe–Mg interdiffusion in wadsleyite (a factor of 2.4 for fixed temperature and Fe concentration) compared to that in ringwoodite. Although under hydrous condition the transition zone shows the maximum Fe–Mg mixing efficiency as revealed by diffusivity-depth profile in the mantle, homogenization of existing chemical heterogeneity is still very limited at geological time scale only through solid-state diffusion. Combined with the Nernst–Einstein relation, the results suggest that the contribution of water to the electrical conductivity of wadsleyite or ringwoodite may be overestimated from Fe–Mg interdiffusion data at high water content. Further calculation demonstrates that ∼0.1–0.5 wt.% H2O is sufficient to account for the high conductivity values in the upper part (410–520 km) of the mantle transition zone as observed by electromagnetic induction studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116672
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 2021


  • Fe–Mg interdiffusion
  • electrical conductivity
  • mantle transition zone
  • wadsleyite
  • water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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