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Density is a key property controlling the chemical state of Earth's interior. Our knowledge about the density of relevant melt compositions is currently poor at deep-mantle conditions. Here we report results from first-principles molecular-dynamics simulations of Fe-bearing MgSiO liquids considering different valence and spin states of iron over the whole mantle pressure conditions. Our simulations predict the high-spin to low-spin transition in both ferrous and ferric iron in the silicate liquid to occur gradually at pressures around 100 GPa. The calculated iron-induced changes in the melt density (about 8% increase for 25% iron content) are primarily due to the difference in atomic mass between Mg and Fe, with smaller contributions (<2%) from the valence and spin states. A comparison of the predicted density of mixtures of (Mg,Fe)(Si,Fe)O and (Mg,Fe)O liquids with the mantle density indicates that the density contrast between the melt and residual-solid depends strongly on pressure (depth): in the shallow lower mantle (depths < 1,000 km), the melt is lighter than the solids, whereas in the deep lower mantle (e.g., the D″ layer), the melt density exceeds the mantle density when iron content is relatively high and/or melt is enriched with Fe-rich ferropericlase. 3 3

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Geophysical Research Letters

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