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Defects in olivine

Abstract : Olivine, a ferromagnesian orthosilicate, is the most abundant mineral in Earth's upper mantle and is stable down to the olivine-wadsleyite phase transition, which defines the 410 km depth mantle transition zone. Olivine also occurs in crustal environments in metamorphic and hydrothermal rocks and is expected to be the major mineral constituent of the Martian and Venusian mantles. The olivine atomic structure is also used in materials science to manufacture lithium batteries. Like any other crystalline solid, including minerals, olivine never occurs with a perfect crystalline structure: defects in various dimensions are ubiquitous, from point, line, and planar defects to three-dimensional (3-D) inclusions. In this contribution, I review the current state of the art of defects in olivine and several implications for key processes occurring in Earth's mantle. Intrinsic and extrinsic point defects are detailed, exemplifying the astonishing diversity of atomic impurities in mantle-derived olivine. Linear defects, one of the key defect types responsible for ductile deformation in crystalline solids, are examined in light of recent progress in 3-D transmission electron microscopy, which has revealed an important diversity of dislocation slip systems. I summarize the principal characteristics of interface defects in olivine: the free surface, grain and interface boundaries, and internal planar defects. As the least-studied defects to date, interface defects represent an important challenge for future studies and are the main application of numerical simulation methods in materials science. I provide an overview of melt, fluid, and mineral inclusions, which are widely studied in volcanology and igneous petrology. Special attention is given to new crystalline defects that act as deformation agents: disclinations (rotational defects) and the potential occurrence of disconnections in olivine, both of which are expected to occur along or near grain boundaries. Finally, I detail outstanding questions and research directions that will further our understanding of the crystalline specificities and paradoxes of olivine and olivine-rich rocks and ultimately their implications for the dynamics of Earth's upper mantle.
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Contributor : Sylvie Demouchy <>
Submitted on : Monday, May 3, 2021 - 5:54:30 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, May 4, 2021 - 3:27:47 AM


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Sylvie Demouchy. Defects in olivine. European Journal of Mineralogy, Copernicus, 2021, 33 (3), pp.249-282. ⟨10.5194/ejm-33-249-2021⟩. ⟨hal-03216144⟩



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