Our knowledge of the structure of the Earth´s interior has been obtained by analysing seismic waves that travel in the Earth, and the reference Earth global models used by geophysicists are essentially seismological. Depth profiles of the seismic waves velocities reveal that the deep Earth is divided in several shells, separated by velocity and density discontinuities. The main discontinuity located at a depth of 2900 km corresponds to the transition between the mantle and the core. The Earth´s mantle can be further divided into the upper mantle and the lower mantle, with a transition zone characterised by two prominent increases in velocities observed at 410- and 660-km depths. This article will be focused on the mineral phases of the Earth´s mantle. The interpretation of seismological models in terms of chemical composition and temperature relies on the knowledge of the nature, structure and elastic properties of the candidate materials. We will describe to what extent recent advances in experimental mineral physics and X-ray diffraction have yielded essential knowledge on the structure and high-pressure high-temperature behaviour of pertinent materials, and major improvements in our understanding of the chemical and mineralogical composition of the Earth´s mantle.
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