Recent seismic studies suggested an anisotropic Mantle Transition Zone (MTZ) in areas adjacent to subducted slabs. Wadsleyite is the main anisotropy contributor in the upper MTZ, therefore the interpretation of these seismic observations requires the knowledge of single-crystal elastic moduli (Cijs) and the deformation-induced lattice preferred orientation (LPO) of wadsleyite. Wadsleyite can host up to 3 wt% water in its crystal structure as point defects in the form of hydroxyl groups, however, the combined effect of water content, Fe content, and pressure on the Cijs of wadsleyite remains unclear. In this study, we measured the high-pressure single-crystal elasticity of a synthetic hydrous Fe-bearing wadsleyite (0.14 (4) wt% water, Fe#=9.4, Fe3+/ΣFe=0.3) up to 18.2 (2) GPa. In combination with previous experimental data, we separated the effects of pressure, water, and Fe contents on the Cijs and intrinsic elastic anisotropy of wadsleyite. Our results suggest that the intrinsic elastic anisotropy of wadsleyite decreases with pressure, water, and Fe contents. At 15 GPa, increasing the water content by 0.1 wt% or Fe# by 1 decreases the VP and VS anisotropy of wadsleyite by ∼1.1-1.3%, and ∼0.8-1.3% in average, respectively. Combining the LPO determined in previous deformation experiments, we modeled the seismic anisotropy in the upper MTZ generated by a sub-vertical mantle flow near cold subducted slabs and a sub-horizontal mantle flow in the ambient mantle. In both scenarios, the LPO of wadsleyite leads to VSV (vertically polarized shear wave velocity) > VSH (horizontally polarized shear wave velocity). Our results suggest that wadsleyite may account for a weak anisotropic MTZ (<1%) on the global scale. Considering the fact that water decreases the elastic anisotropy but promotes LPO of wadsleyite, seismic anisotropy may not be a good water sensor in the upper MTZ.

Wen-Yi Zhou, Zhiyuan Ren, Jin S. Zhang, Bin Chen, Ming Hao, Tomohiro Ohuchi, Lowell Miyagi, Dongzhou Zhang, Esen E. Alp, Barbara Lavina, Brandon Schmandt, The Water-Fe-Pressure dependent single-crystal elastic properties of wadsleyite: Implications for the seismic anisotropy in the upper Mantle Transition Zone, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 565, 2021,116955 abstract 

The water, Fe, and pressure–dependent Ks, G, VP, and VS of isotropic polycrystalline wadsleyite aggregates under VRH averaging scheme (the batlow color scale is from Crameri, 2020).