SiO2 is one of the most fundamental constituents in planetary bodies, being an essential building block of major mineral phases in the crust and mantle of terrestrial planets (1–10 ME). Silica at depths greater than 300 km may be present in the form of the rutile-type, high pressure polymorph stishovite (P42/mnm) and its thermodynamic stability is of great interest for understanding the seismic and dynamic structure of planetary interiors. Previous studies on stishovite via static and dynamic (shock) compression techniques are contradictory and the observed differences in the lattice-level response is still not clearly understood. Here, laser-induced shock compression experiments at the LCLS- and SACLA XFEL light-sources elucidate the high-pressure behavior of stishovite on the lattice-level under in situ conditions on the Hugoniot to pressures above 300 GPa. We find stishovite is still (meta-)stable at these conditions, and does not undergo any phase transitions. This contradicts static experiments showing structural transformations to the CaCl2, α-PbO2 and pyrite-type structures. However, rate-limited kinetic hindrance may explain our observations. These results are important to our understanding into the validity of EOS data from nanosecond experiments for geophysical applications.
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