Lazarz, J. D., P. Dera, C. R. Bina, and S. D. Jacobsen, Systematic investigation of compression mechanisms of clinoenstatite, Eos, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, 96, Fall Meeting Supplement, MR13B-2697, 2015.
Pyroxenes are a major component of the Earth’s upper mantle and believed to be stable to approximately 16 GPa, along the oceanic geotherm. However, under certain conditions such as subducting slabs, it is possible to carry pyroxenes to much greater depths within the mantle. Pyroxenes penetrating the mantle to such depths could potentially undergo further phase transitions which could impact subducting slab mineralogy and mantle dynamics.
The compression behavior of clinopyroxenes has been well characterized up to approximately 25 GPa with much of the work being focused on Ca-rich cpx. Beyond 10 GPa previous studies have published equations of state but there is a general lack of structure determinations.
Ca-rich clinopyroxenes crystallize in the C2/c space group while Ca-poor clinopyroxenes crystallize in P21/c. It has been shown that P21/c clinopyroxenes reversibly transform to C2/c upon increased pressure, temperature, and M2 site cation size. The critical pressure for this transition is exceedingly compositionally dependent at 6.5 GPa and 1.7 GPa for clinoenstatite and clinoferrosilite, respectively. The strong compositional dependence of phase transitions in pyroxenes is motivation for a more complete understanding of compression mechanisms within the broad pyroxene category. By using in situ x-ray diffraction and diamond anvil cells to compress single-crystal clinoenstatite up to 50 GPa this study aims to expand the understanding of Ca-poor clinopyroxene compression mechanisms and elasticity. Here we report a fully reversible high-pressure phase in the P21/c space group found at approximately 45 GPa.