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It is possible that the majority of Earth’s H2O budget is present as hydroxyl (OH) structurally incorporated into the major nominally anhydrous minerals (NAMs) of the mantle (e.g., Martin and Donnay 1972). Ringwood (1966) thought as much as five times the surface H2O-mass could be present in the mantle, amounting to ~0.2 wt% H2O if distributed throughout the entire mantle (Harris and Middlemost 1969). We know now the (Mg,Fe)2SiO4 polymorphs of the upper mantle and transition zone can incorporate up to several weight percent of water in their structures (e.g., Smyth 1987; Inoue et al. 1995; Kohlstedt et al. 1996; Bolfan-Casanvoa et al. 2000; Mosenfelder et al. 2006). The possibility of a deep-Earth water cycle leads naturally to the question, is “water” in the mantle, whether regional or globally distributed, detectible seismically?
In order to address this question, it is necessary to know, quantitatively, the effects of water (or more precisely structurally bound hydroxyl) on the elastic moduli of mantle minerals. Also required are pressure and temperature derivatives of the elastic moduli for more direct comparison with seismological observation. This chapter will review what is known about the elastic properties of “hydroxylated” NAMs from experimental studies. From a crystal chemical perspective, hydrated NAMs are defect structures because hydrogen is usually incorporated through charge balance by cation vacancies. Therefore, small variations in water content can have a dramatic effect on thermoelastic parameters, more so than any other major geochemical substitution such as iron or aluminum. For example, at one atmosphere the addition of ~1 wt% H2O into ringwoodite has a similar effect on the shear modulus as raising the temperature by 800–1000 °C (Wang et al. 2003a; Jacobsen et al. 2004). However, due to elevated pressure …