X-ray diffraction experiments were conducted to 257 GPa and high temperature in situ on an iron-silicon alloy containing 3.4 wt% silicon, a candidate for the Earth's inner core forming material. The results revealed that fcc and hcp phases coexist up to 104 GPa. A single hcp phase is stable at higher pressures at least up to 3600 K at 242 GPa and to 2400 K at 257 GPa. Dissolution of silicon in the liquid outer core following reaction with the silicate mantle during core formation strongly suggests the existence of silicon in the solid inner core. Our results revealed that the iron-3.4 wt% silicon alloy in the inner core is likely to possess an hcp structure, which can explain the inner core anisotropy observed in seismology.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)