DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.adh3784 ISSN:

Silica-water superstructure and one-dimensional superionic conduit in Earth’s mantle

Junwei Li, Yanhao Lin, Thomas Meier, Zhipan Liu, Wei Yang, Ho-kwang Mao, Shengcai Zhu, Qingyang Hu
  • Multidisciplinary

Water in Earth’s deep interior is predicted to be hydroxyl (OH ) stored in nominally anhydrous minerals, profoundly modulating both structure and dynamics of Earth's mantle. Here, we use a high-dimensional neuro-network potential and machine learning algorithm to investigate the weight percent water incorporation in stishovite, a main constituent of the subducted oceanic crust. We found that stishovite and water prefer forming medium- to long-range ordered superstructures, featuring one-dimensional (1D) water channels. Synthesizing single crystals of hydrous stishovite, we verified the ordering of OH groups in the water channels through optical and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and found an average H-H distance of 2.05(3) Å, confirming simulation results. Upon heating, H atoms were predicted to behave fluid-like inside the channels, leading to an exotic 1D superionic state. Water-bearing stishovite could feature high ionic mobility and strong electrical anisotropy, manifesting as electrical heterogeneity in Earth's mantle.

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