Intracrystalline nucleation during the post-garnet transformation under large overpressure conditions in deep subducting slabs



[1] The mechanism of the post-garnet transformation in natural single-crystalline pyropic garnet has been examined under large overpressure conditions of ∼31–43 GPa using the multianvil apparatus with sintered diamond anvils. Intracrystalline nucleation was found to be dominant above 35–38 GPa, while only grain-boundary nucleation is responsible at lower pressures. In addition, natural pyropic garnet transformed to a single phase of perovskite without decomposing to multiple phases above 38 GPa. Both intracrystalline nucleation and polymorphic growth of the post-garnet transformation under large overpressure conditions would strongly enhance the transformation kinetics. Consequently, the post-garnet transformation may pwroceed rapidly in the subducting slab at depths near ∼950 km, which would cause substantial rheological weakening of the subducting slab. The metastable post-garnet transformation may also cause the seismic discontinuities at a depth of 900–1080 km depth, which is indeed observed beneath some subduction zones.