Grain growth in the forsterite-diopside system

Tomohiro Ohuchi, Michihiko Nakamura

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39 Citations (Scopus)


Grain growth experiments in dunite, clinopyroxenite, and wehrlites with various forsterite/diopside ratios were performed to investigate the effect of modal composition on grain growth kinetics in the Earth's uppermost mantle. The experiments were conducted using a piston-cylinder apparatus at 1200 °C and 1.2 GPa for 2-763 h under dry conditions. Normal grain growth (NGG) occurred in dunite, clinopyroxenite, and relatively forsterite-poor wehrlites (≤70 vol.% of forsterite). Grain growth rates of forsterite and diopside in relatively forsterite-poor wehrlites were much slower than those in dunite and clinopyroxenite. In the forsterite-rich wehrlites (≥80 vol.% of forsterite), NGG of diopside and abnormal grain growth (AGG) of forsterite occurred. The growth rate of diopside was significantly slower than that in clinopyroxenite, while the growth rate of forsterite by AGG was found to be similar to that by NGG in dunite. The presence of ≤20 vol.% diopside had the effect of inhibiting the forsterite grain growth during the initial stage, resulting in AGG of forsterite, thus overtaking the growth rate in dunite. Our experimental results suggest that there would be a significant difference in grain growth rate and consequently in effective viscosity between olivine-rich peridotites (depleted mantle) and relatively olivine-poor peridotites (fertile mantle) in the case of grain size-sensitive creep. Variation of mean grain sizes in the upper mantle would result not only from differences in temperature and phase assemblage, but also from the variation of modal compositions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalPhysics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Jan 16


  • Abnormal grain growth
  • Bimineralic rock
  • Diopside
  • Forsterite
  • Normal grain growth
  • Viscosity of mantle


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