Iron spin transition in Earth's mantle

S. Speziale*, A. Milner, V. E. Lee, S. M. Clark, M. P. Pasternak, R. Jeanloz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High-pressure Mössbauer spectroscopy on several compositions across the (Mg,Fe)O magnesiowüstite solid solution confirms that ferrous iron (Fe2+) undergoes a high-spin to low-spin transition at pressures and for compositions relevant to the bulk of the Earth's mantle. High-resolution x-ray diffraction measurements document a volume change of 4-5% across the pressure-induced spin transition, which is thus expected to cause seismological anomalies in the lower mantle. The spin transition can lead to dissociation of Fe-bearing phases such as magnesiowüstite, and it reveals an unexpected richness in mineral properties and phase equilibria for the Earth's deep interior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17918-17922
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number50
StatePublished - 13 Dec 2005


  • Lower mantle
  • Magnesiowüstite
  • Mössbauer


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