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Olivine to spinel transformation in Mg2SiO4 via faulted structures


The mechanism of the olivine to spinel transformation has been studied in relatively few systems experimentally, most of the previous research being directed to the determination of the phase boundaries in pressure–temperature (P, T) space1 or crystal structure modelling of the low- and high-pressure phases2–6. Two of the more recent studies on magnesium germanate7 (Mg2GeO4) and nickel silicate8 (Ni2SiO4) revealed that there was no special orientation relationship between the olivine (α) and the spinel (γ). Furthermore, no evidence by way of stacking faults or twins was found in the transforming olivine to support the proposal that the transformation was martensitic-like4–6. Consequently, it was concluded that in these systems the transformation had occurred by nucleation and growth processes7,8. In contrast, the α and γ phases have been observed as tabular intergrowths in the partially transformed iron end-member, fayalite (Fe2SiO4)9, with the interphase boundaries being (100)Ol or (111)Sp. This microstructure and the orientation relationship are compatible with the martensitic transformation. We report here the results of transmission electron microscopy of the αγ transformation in the pure end-member olivine, forsterite (Mg2SiO4). Not only is there a special orientation relationship between the two phases during the transformation, that is, (100)Ol is parallel to (111)Sp and [001]Ol, parallel to [1̄10]Sp, but some of the residual olivine grains have an extremely high density of stacking faults in (100)Ol as well as a high dislocation density.

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Boland, J., Liu, Lg. Olivine to spinel transformation in Mg2SiO4 via faulted structures. Nature 303, 233–235 (1983).

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