Polymorphism of feldspars above 10 GPa

Nat Commun. 2020 Jun 1;11(1):2721. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-16547-4.


Feldspars are rock-forming minerals that make up most of the Earth's crust. Along the mantle geotherm, feldspars are stable at pressures up to 3 GPa and may persist metastably at higher pressures under cold conditions. Previous structural studies of feldspars are limited to ~10 GPa, and have shown that the dominant mechanism of pressure-induced deformation is the tilting of AlO4 and SiO4 tetrahedra in a tetrahedral framework. Herein, based on results of in situ single-crystal X-ray diffraction studies up to 27 GPa, we report the discovery of new high-pressure polymorphs of the feldspars anorthite (CaSi2Al2O8), albite (NaAlSi3O8), and microcline (KAlSi3O8). The phase transitions are induced by severe tetrahedral distortions, resulting in an increase in the Al and/or Si coordination number. High-pressure phases derived from feldspars could persist at depths corresponding to the Earth upper mantle and could possibly influence the dynamics and fate of cold subducting slabs.