The electrical conductivity of Earth's mantle has recently become an interesting topic across diverse Earth science communities. Many electrical conductivity data of mantle phases have been accumulated through the development of high-pressure experiments. These data will provide information on valence states, water concentration, Fe concentration, oxygen fugacity, and the connectivity of the conductive phase in geological materials such as minerals, melts, and rocks. Although several groups have measured the electrical conductivity of mantle materials at high pressure, they have provided inconsistent results, especially with regard to the effect of water. Thus, it is timely to review the problems underlying experimental techniques. We discuss the current understanding of the effect of water on the electrical conductivity of nominally anhydrous mantle minerals, with some speculation on the form of volatile components in Earth's interior. Finally, we consider the role of water in major conductivity anomalies observed in the upper mantle and transition zone.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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