A. Herring, OSU, uses tomography at 13 BMD to quantify pore scale trapping and to analyze how mechanisms affect the efficiency of capillary trapping of CO2 in saline aquifers.

Tomography at 13 BMD

Work at GSECARS discovers water deep below Earth’s surface

A team utilizing GSECARS bealines has identified a weird form of crystallized water known as ice VII, suggesting that this material may circulate more freely at some depths within Earth than previously thought. Pockets of water may lay deep below Earth’s surface

Work at GSECARS discovers water deep below Earth’s surface

X-ray diffraction patterns from a diamond anvil cell (DAC).

X-ray diffraction is the most powerful technique for crystal structure determination. From left to right, patterns from a single crystal, polychrystalline, nano-cyrstalline and amorphous crystals.

X-ray diffraction patterns from a diamond anvil cell.

High pressure x-ray tomographic microscopy module

The HPXTM module helps researchers study the texture change of their sample under extreme pressure and temperature conditions by collecting in-situ HP/HT 3D x-ray tomographic images.

High Pressure X-ray Tomographic Microscopy Module sitting outside of the 250 ton press in 13 BMD.

GSECARS hosts experiments at 13 IDE for high school students in the Exemplary Student Research Program (ESRP) representing local area high schools. GSECARS Outreach

GSECARS Outreach

GSECARS is a national user facility
for frontier research in the earth sciences using synchrotron radiation at the
Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory.

GSECARS provides earth scientists with access to the high-brilliance hard x-rays from this third-generation synchrotron light source. All principal synchrotron-based analytical techniques in demand by earth scientists are being brought to bear on earth science problems:

  • High-pressure/high-temperature crystallography and spectroscopy using the diamond anvil cell
  • High-pressure/high-temperature crystallography and imaging using the large-volume press
  • Powder, single crystal and interface diffraction
  • Inelastic x-ray scattering
  • X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy
  • X-ray fluorescence microprobe analysis
  • Microtomograph

Science Highlights


► Inclusions of ice-VII found in diamonds from the mantle transition zone. 


An international team of scientists have discovered the presence of a high pressure phase of water preserved as inclusions in diamonds which formed in the Earth's mantle at depths exceeding 410 km. Using a combination of high resolution synchrotron techniques including X-ray diffraction and fluorescence at the Advanced Photon Source (GSECARS sector 13) and infrared spectroscopy at the Advanced Light Source and at CalTech, the discovery of ice-VII in these diamonds provides potential evidence for the presence of aqueous fluids in the Earth's mantle. Ice-VII is a high pressure polymorph of water-ice and has been recently approved as a mineral by the International Mineralogical Association based on X-ray diffraction data collected at GSECARS. Earth scientists have long debated how much water may be preserved in the regions of the mantle from where these diamonds are believed to have formed, the transition zone and at lower mantle boundary. These inclusions are believed to be residues of aqueous fluids present in the mantle when the diamonds formed, at pressures as high as 24 GPa, with the ice-VII phase crystallizing within the diamond upon ascent. The included ice-VII preserves the high pressures at which the fluids were included and represent the highest pressure of a molecular solid directly observed in nature. This finding has important implications for our understanding of how water and heat-generating elements such as K, U, Th, which have increased solubility in aqueous fluids, may be recycled in the deep Earth, for example though subduction zone processes.

GSECARS group_top90.jpg

Above (left to right) : Vitali Prakapenka, Tony Lanzirotti, Matt Newville, Eran Greenberg, Dongzhou Zhang.

O. Tschauner, S. Huang, E. Greenberg, V.B. Prakapenka, C. Ma, G.R. Rossman, A.H. Shen, D. Zhang, M. Newville, A. Lanzirotti, K. Tait, “Ice-VII inclusions in diamonds: Evidence for aqueous fluid in Earth’s deep mantle,” Science 359, 1136 (9 March 2018). DOI: 10.1126/science.aao3030

► Deciphering the mechanism of earthquakes.

Thomas P. Ferrand, Ecole Normale Supérieure, and fellow researchers, decipher the mechanism of earthquakes by performing deformation experiments on dehydrating serpentinized peridotites  at upper mantle conditions using the D-DIA, equipped with an acoustic emission detection system, at GSECARS, 13 IDD. 


(a) SEM micrograph of a sintered sample showing homogeneous microtexture and grains distribution: ∼ 80 vol% SC olivine (ol)+∼20 vol% Corsica antigorite (atg). (b) D-DIA assembly in a boron-epoxy cube. The sintered sample and its hexagonal boron nitride sleeve are inserted in the graphite furnace, in between alumina pistons. Boron-epoxy cube and hBN are transparent to X-rays. Gold foils (yellow) are used as strain markers. (c) X-ray diffraction pattern used to extract the stress from the lattice strains. For a sample with only 5 vol% of antigorite and 95 vol% of olivine. (d) Unwrapped diffraction pattern and indexing of diffraction peaks.   APS Highlight

Thomas P. Ferrand, Nadège Hilairet, Sarah Incel, Damien Deldicque, Loïc Labrousse, Julien Gasc, Joerg Renner, Yanbin Wang, Harry W. Green II, Alexandre Schubnel, “Dehydration-driven stress transfer triggers intermediate-depth earthquakes,” Nat. Commun. 8, 15247 (15 May 2017). DOI: 10.1038/ncomms15247

► TheWonders of Mineral Physics

Minerals act in totally fascinating ways when under high temperature and/or high pressure. Dr. Przemek Dera, Dr. Hannah Shelton and Dr. Greg Finkelstein from University of Hawaii at Manoa  join Pete Mouginis-Mark in the podcast, Research in Manoa, to talk about the wonders of mineral physics. In this episode they discuss the role that size may play in minerals physics and how to train the next generation of scientists to make future advances in this research?