Nuclear resonant inelastic X-ray scattering (NRIXS) experiments have been applied to Earth materials, and the Debye speed is often related to the material’s seismic wave speeds. However, for anisotropic samples, the Debye speed extracted from NRIXS measurements is not equal to the Debye speed obtained using the material’s isotropic seismic wave speeds. The latter provides an upper bound for the Debye speed of the material. Consequently, the acoustic wave speeds estimated from the Debye speed extracted from NRIXS (Nuclear Resonant Inelastic X-ray Scattering) measurements are underestimated compared to the material’s true seismic wave speeds. To illustrate the differences, the effects of various assumptions used to estimate the Debye speed, as well as seismic wave speeds, are examined with iron alloys at Earth’s inner core conditions. For the case of pure iron, the variation of the crystal orientation relative to the incoming X-ray beam causes a
variation in the measured Debye speed, and leads to 3% and 31% underestimation in the compressional and shear wave speeds, respectively. Based upon various iron alloys, the error in the inferred seismic shear wave speed strongly depends upon the strength of anisotropy that can be quantified. We can also derive Debye speeds based upon seismological observations such as the PREM (Preliminary Reference Earth Model) and inner core anisotropy model. We show that these seismically derived Debye speeds are upper bounds for Debye speeds obtained from NRIXS experiments and that interpretation of the Debye speeds from the NRIXS measurements in terms of seismic wave speeds should be done with utmost caution.
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