Welcome to BurnMan’s documentation!


BurnMan is an open source mineral physics toolbox written in Python which determines the velocities of seismic waves in mineral assemblages at high pressure and temperature. It was designed to calculate seismic velocities in the lower mantle, but is equally suited to any part of the solid Earth (or indeed any of the terrestrial planets). BurnMan calculates the isotropic thermoelastic moduli by solving the equations-of-state for a mixture of minerals defined by the user. The user may select from an extensive list of minerals obtained from published databases. Alternatively, they can easily define their own minerals.


  • a range of thermoelastic models, choice between second or third order accuracy
  • a range of thermodynamic models for mineral endmembers
  • consistent, comprehensive treatment of minerals with solid solutions
  • form composites of arbitrary combination of Materials
  • extensive Mineral database
  • easy plotting and comparison of seismic profiles using matplotlib
  • many examples highlighting different features of BurnMan
  • different averaging schemes for seismic velocities in composite materials
  • a catalogue of published geotherms
  • extensible: all parts can be replaced by user-written modules if desired

Please cite:

  • Cottaar S., Heister, T., Rose, I., and Unterborn, C., 2014, BurnMan: A lower mantle mineral physics toolkit, Geochemistry, Geophysics, and Geosystems, 15(4), 1164-1179 (link)

Acknowledgement and Support:

  • This project was initiated at, and follow-up research support was received through, Cooperative Institute of Deep Earth Research, CIDER (NSF FESD grant 1135452) – see www.deep-earth.org
  • We thank all the fellow members of the CIDER Mg/Si team for their input: Valentina Magni, Yu Huang, JiaChao Liu, Marc Hirschmann, and Barbara Romanowicz.
  • We thank Lars Stixrude for providing benchmarking calculations.
  • We thank CIG (www.geodynamics.org) for support and accepting our donation of BurnMan as an official project.
  • We also welcomed helpful discussions with Zack Geballe, Motohiko Murakami, Bill McDonough, Quentin Williams, Wendy Panero, and Wolfgang Bangerth.

The functions in the Main module operate on Materials which can be combination of different minerals from Mineral database.

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