Ringwoodite is a high-pressure polymorph of olivine, and it is stable at high temperatures and pressures like those in the Mar's mantle near 600 km depth. This mineral was first identified in the Tenham Meteorites in 1969, and it is inferred to be present in large quantity in the Mars’s mantle. It was named after the Australian earth scientist Alfred E. Ringwood who studied polymorphic phase transitions in the common mantle minerals, olivine and pyroxene, at pressures equivalent to depths as great as about 600 km. Olivine, wadsleyite, and ringwoodite are polymorphs found in the upper mantle; at depths greater than about 660 km; other minerals, including some with the perovskite structure, are stable. The properties of these minerals determine many of the properties of the mantle.


Ringwoodite occurs in the veinlets cutting the matrix of meteorites and replacing olivine probably produced during shock metamorphism. Olivine is located in the mantle at depths less than about 410 km, and ringwoodite is inferred to be present within the transition zone from about 520 km to 660 km depth. Seismic discontinuities at about 410, 520, and 660 km depth have been attributed to phase changes involving olivine and its polymorphs. The 520-km discontinuity is generally believed to be caused by the transition of the olivine polymorph, wadsleyite (P-phase) to ringwoodite (y-phase).

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