High-pressure single-crystal X-ray diffraction experiments with natural ferrosilite Fs82 (Fe2+0.82Mg0.16Al0.01Ca0.01)(Si0.99Al0.01)O3 orthopyroxene (opx) reveal that at ambient temperature the sample does not transform to the clinopyroxene (cpx) structure, as reported earlier for a synthetic Fs100 end-member (Hugh-Jones et al., 1996), but instead undergoes a series of two polymorphic transitions, first above 10.1(1)GPa, to the monoclinic P21/c phase β-opx (distinctly different from both P21/c and C2/c cpx), also observed in natural enstatite (Zhang et al., 2012), and then, above 12.3(1)GPa to a high-pressure orthorhombic Pbca phase γ-opx, predicted for MgSiO3 by atomistic simulations (Jahn, 2008). The structures of phases α, β and γ have been determined from the single-crystal data at pressures of 2.3(1), 11.1(1), and 14.6(1)GPa, respectively. The two new high-pressure transitions, very similar in their character to the P21/c-C2/c transformation of cpx, make opx approximately as dense as cpx above 12.3(1)GPa and significantly change the elastic anisotropy of the crystal, with the  direction becoming almost twice as stiff as in the ambient α-opx phase. Both transformations involve mainly tetrahedral rotation, are reversible and are not expected to leave microstructural evidence that could be used as a geobarometric proxy. The high Fe2+ content in Fs82 shifts the α-β transition to slightly lower pressure, compared to MgSiO3, and has a very dramatic effect on reducing the (meta) stability range of the β-phase.
- High-pressure phase transition
- Synchrotron single-crystal X-ray diffraction
- Upper mantle
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
- Space and Planetary Science