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Monday, October 13

Smith Lecture Friday October 17 at 3:00pm

Dear All,
Our Smith Lecture speaker this week is Jung-Fu Lin, University of Texas.  He is speaking on Geophysical and Geochemical Consequences of the Spin Transitions of Iron in Earth’s Deep Mantle.  Abstract below.

Smith Lectures are Friday afternoons from 3:00 to 4:00 pm, in Room 1528 C.C. Little Building.  A reception is held following the lecture in 2540 C.C. Little. The events are free and open to the public.  A full schedule for the term may be found on our website:

Best regards, -Anne

Anne Hudon
Academic Student Services
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Michigan


Based on a pyrolitic compositional model, the lower mantle is mainly made of ferropericlase, brigmanite (aluminous silicate perovskite), and calcium perovskite. Silicate perovskite transforms into silicate post-perovskite structure just above the core-mantle region, the D" layer. The existence of iron in the lower-mantle minerals can affect a broad spectrum of the minerals’ physical and chemical properties. In this presentation, I will address recent results and current understanding on the pressure-induced electronic spin-pairing transitions of iron and their associated effects on physical properties of host phases in lower-mantle minerals. The spin crossover of Fe2+ in ferropericlase occurs over a wide pressure-temperature range extending from the middle part to the lower part of the lower mantle. Furthermore, a high-spin to low-spin transition of Fe3+ in the octahedral site of perovskite occurs at pressures of 15-50 GPa. In post-perovskite the octahedral-site Fe3+ remains in the low-spin state at the pressure conditions of the lowermost mantle. These changes in the spin and valence states of iron as a function of pressure and temperature have been reported to affect physical, chemical, rheological, transport properties of the lower-mantle minerals. These effects of the spin transition can thus significantly consequences our understanding of the geophsyics and geochemistry of the deep Earth. I will present and evaluate the consequences of the transitions in terms of their implications to deep-Earth seismology, geochemistry, and geodynamics.

The electrons of ferrous and ferric iron ions that occupy some of the lattice sites in mantle minerals become slightly polarized in the presence of the Earth’s magnetic field. Using recent deep-Earth geophysics and geochemistry results, a model of the polarized electron spin density within the Earth has been developed to examine possible long-range spin-spin interactions between these spin-polarized geoelectrons and the spin-polarized electrons in recent particle physics experiments. Such information might eventually help reconcile seismic observations and mineral physics data with geochemical models.