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Plasticity of Earth's mantle (PoEM)
Start date: 01 Dec 2008, End date: 30 Nov 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Plates tectonics theory is essentially justify by the physical and chemical properties of Earth’s minerals. Specifically olivine, the major mineral of the upper Earth’s mantle effectively controls the dynamics of the upper mantle and hence the interactions between the convective mantle and surface processes. Nevertheless, several processes are still poorly constrained. For instance, data on olivine plasticity at low temperature (T<1000oC) are crucially missing. The proposal is focused on the experimental determination of the plasticity of olivine under pressure and temperature conditions of uppermost Earth’s mantle. The objectives are to ascertain (1) the deformation mechanisms of olivine and olivine-rich rocks at conditions relevant of the mantle and (2) to quantify the plasticity as a function of the temperature and chemical environment (anhydrous or hydrous). An experimental and interdisciplinary approach has been designed. It associates high pressure and temperature deformation experiments on olivine single crystals in a Paterson vessel. The water content will be determined using FTIR. Mineral chemical compositions will be analyzed by EMPA. Finally, potential petrofabrics data will be acquired by EBSD. Geosciences Montpellier (France) has world-class analytical facilities and a strong multidisciplinary research group dedicated to the study of the Earth’s mantle and its dynamics. The applicant has a strong background in high pressure and temperature experimental methods and is well experienced in FTIR, techniques in which there are no researchers in Geosciences Montpellier. The collaboration with geodynamicists, and seismologists will broaden her research interests and open way to new projects. The “PoEM” project will thus allow a young European female researcher to stronger her professional career by establishing a sound research profile and promoting new collaboaration in France to those already established during her training years in Germany and the U.S.
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