Silicon and magnesium diffusion in a single crystal of MgSiO3 perovskite

Junshan Xu, Daisuke Yamazaki, Tomoo Katsura, Xiaoping Wu, Patrick Remmert, Hisayoshi Yurimoto, Sumit Chakraborty

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38 Citations (Scopus)


Si and Mg self-diffusion coefficients were measured simultaneously in single crystals of MgSiO3 perovskite under lower mantle conditions. There is little difference in Si volume diffusivity measured directly using single crystals (this study) and those retrieved from experiments with polycrystals (earlier studies). This agreement between studies establishes the reliability of Si diffusion coefficients measured in perovskite. Within the uncertainties of our measurements, no anisotropy in the diffusion of either Si or Mg could be resolved. Diffusion of Si and Mg in perovskite are described by an Arrhenius equation, D=D0 exp (-H/RT) at 25GPa, with D 0=5.10×10-11m2/s for Si and 4.99×10-11m2/s for Mg, H=308kJ/mol for Si, and 305kJ/mol for Mg. Mg diffusivity in MgSiO3 perovskite is distinctly lower than those measured in olivine, wadsleyite, and ringwoodite. We find that Mg has very similar diffusivity to Si in perovskite. As a consequence, the rheological properties of the lower mantle may be controlled by the coupled motion of Si and Mg. A point defect-based model is discussed that may account for the diffusion behavior of Si and Mg in MgSiO3 perovskite. Our data indicate that, within realistic ranges of temperature, grain size, and state of stress, both diffusion creep as well as dislocation creep may be observed in the lower mantle.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberB12205
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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