New understanding of feldspar elasticity may explain seismic discontinuity
A Florida State University geology researcher is going deep below the Earth's surface to understand how some of the most abundant minerals that comprise the Earth's crust change under pressure.
In a paper published today in Scientific Reports, Assistant Professor of Geology Mainak Mookherjee explores how feldspar, one of the most important minerals in the Earth's crust, changes under pressure. Typically, materials become stiffer when pressure is applied, but Mookherjee found that these pale-colored crystals actually become softer under extreme pressures.
"I am interested in exploring these materials at extreme conditions," Mookherjee said. "Feldspar is very abundant in the earth's crust so we need to understand its elastic property."
Mookherjee's work shows that at a depth of about 30 kilometers from the Earth's surface, feldspar decomposes to denser mineral phases such as pyroxene and quartz. The densification of feldspar could partially explain a scientific observation called seismic discontinuity across the Earth's crust and mantle.
This seismic discontinuity, also called Mohorovicic discontinuity, is the boundary between the Earth's crust and mantle. It was first observed in 1909 by a Croatian scientist Andrija Mohorovicic who realized that seismograms from shallow-focus earthquakes had two sets of waves -- one that followed a direct path near the Earth's surface, i.e., crust, and the other arriving faster and probably refracted from the underlying higher-velocity medium mantle.
"This is the first study of the elastic properties of feldspar at high pressure," Mookherjee said. "And it provides very new insight and a novel way of accounting for the sharp Mohorovicic discontinuity."
Scientists have been working since the late 1950s to understand the Mohorovicic discontinuity that separates the Earth's outermost layer -- oceanic and continental crust -- with the underlying mantle. Last year, researchers from the drill ship JOIDES Resolution made attempts to drill a bore hole across the discontinuity, but fell short. Further drilling attempts are planned for future.
"We care about the mineral structures in the deep Earth and how they transform to denser crystal structures within the Earth," Mookherjee said. "Through a thorough understanding of the atomic scale structures at extreme conditions and how they influence the properties of the Earth materials, it is possible to gain valuable insight into deep Earth dynamics."
Mookherjee did his work through computer simulations at the FSU Research Computing Center and facilities at Argonne National Laboratory. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.
Other researchers contributing to the article are Dhenu Patel, a Tallahassee high school student who interned in Mookherjee's lab last summer; Olle Heinonen from Argonne National Laboratory; Anant Hariharan from Cornell University; Ketan Maheshwari from University of Pittsburgh; and David Mainprice from Université de Montpellier.
Kathleen Haughney | EurekAlert!
Colorado River's connection with the ocean was a punctuated affair
16.11.2017 | University of Oregon
Researchers create largest, longest multiphysics earthquake simulation to date
14.11.2017 | Gauss Centre for Supercomputing
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses