Research ArticleEARTH SCIENCES

Recovery of an oxidized majorite inclusion from Earth’s deep asthenosphere

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Science Advances  07 Apr 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 4, e1601589
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601589

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Abstract

Minerals recovered from the deep mantle provide a rare glimpse into deep Earth processes. We report the first discovery of ferric iron–rich majoritic garnet found as inclusions in a host garnet within an eclogite xenolith originating in the deep mantle. The composition of the host garnet indicates an ultrahigh-pressure metamorphic origin, probably at a depth of ~200 km. More importantly, the ferric iron–rich majoritic garnet inclusions show a much deeper origin, at least at a depth of 380 km. The majoritic nature of the inclusions is confirmed by mineral chemistry, x-ray diffraction, and Raman spectroscopy, and their depth of origin is constrained by a new experimental calibration. The unique relationship between the majoritic inclusions and their host garnet has important implications for mantle dynamics within the deep asthenosphere. The high ferric iron content of the inclusions provides insights into the oxidation state of the deep upper mantle.

Keywords
  • mantle majorite
  • eclogite xenoliths
  • Mantle petrology
  • high-pressure experiment
  • mantle asthenosphere
  • mantle convection

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