Electrical conductivity model of Al-bearing bridgmanite with implications for the electrical structure of the Earth's lower mantle

Takashi Yoshino, Seiji Kamada, Chengcheng Zhao, Eiji Ohtani, Naohisa Hirao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Electrical conductivity measurements of bridgmanite with various Al contents and a constant Mg# of 90 were performed at temperatures ranging from room temperature up to 2000 K at pressures of 26-28 GPa in a Kawai-type multianvil apparatus by impedance spectroscopy analysis. The incorporation of Al into bridgmanite raises its electrical conductivity significantly, but it is a small conductivity variation with respect to the quantity of Al. Synchrotron Mössbauer spectroscopy of recovered samples showed significant amounts of ferric iron in aluminous bridgmanite. The mobility of the charge carriers in bridgmanite was calculated based on the conductivity and the Fe3+/σFe ratio. The relationship between the logarithm of the electrical conductivity and the reciprocal temperature is consistent with Fe2+-Fe3+ electron hopping (small polarons) as the dominant conduction mechanism at low temperatures (<1400 K) and ionic conduction at higher temperatures (>1600 K). By taking various conduction mechanisms into account, we develop an electrical conductivity model for aluminous bridgmanite as a function of the Al and Fe contents. The small polaron conduction model indicates that the electrical conductivity of aluminous bridgmanite has a maximum at around 0.06 Al atoms per formula unit, and any further increase in the Al content in bridgmanite reduces the conductivity. In contrast, the ionic conduction model indicates that the electrical conductivity simply increases with increasing Al content. The resulting conductivity of Al-bearing bridgmanite first increases up to 0.06 Al atoms per formula unit and then remains constant or increases with increasing Al content at higher temperatures. The increase in conductivity observed in the uppermost part of the lower mantle by electromagnetic studies can be explained by the gradual decomposition of majorite garnet. The deeper lower mantle conductivity would be controlled by small polaron conduction because of the large positive activation volume required for ionic conduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-219
Number of pages12
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 2016


  • Al content
  • Bridgmanite
  • Electrical conductivity
  • Lower mantle
  • Small polaron
  • Synchrotron Mössbauer spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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