Fate of carbonates within oceanic plates subducted to the lower mantle, and a possible mechanism of diamond formation Journal Article uri icon

DCO ID 11121/4465-3193-4496-1658-CC

in language

  • eng

year of publication

  • 2008


  • We report on high-pressure and high-temperature experiments involving carbonates and silicates at 30-80 GPa and 1,600-3,200 K, corresponding to depths within the Earth of approximately 800-2,200 km. The experiments are intended to represent the decomposition process of carbonates contained within oceanic plates subducted into the lower mantle. In basaltic composition, CaCO3 (calcite and aragonite), the major carbonate phase in marine sediments, is altered into MgCO3 (magnesite) via reactions with Mg-bearing silicates under conditions that are 200-300C colder than the mantle geotherm. With increasing temperature and pressure, the magnesite decomposes into an assemblage of CO2 + perovskite via reactions with SiO2. Magnesite is not the only host phase for subducted carbon-solid CO2 also carries carbon in the lower mantle. Furthermore, CO2 itself breaks down to diamond and oxygen under geotherm conditions over 70 GPa, which might imply a possible mechanism for diamond formation in the lower mantle.


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