The effects of low-spin Fe 2+ in the earth's lower mantle are investigated in considerable detail. The existence of low-spin Fe 2+ permits the formation of an extra phase, since Mg •+ and low-spin Fe •+ probably do not form solid solutions. The elastic behavior of phases containing low-spin iron is predicted from bulk modulus systematics and is compared with available shock wave. data. It is likely that the high•pressure phases of several ferrous iron compounds involve low-spin Fe •+. Iron will be spin-paired in the mantle below 1700 km and perhaps at higher levels as well. The observed density and bulk modulus in the lower mantle are inconsistent with any combination of phases in a pyrolite bulk composition but can be fit quite well by a model with all Fe •+ spin-paired below 650 km. The lower mantle is richer in FeO and SiO• than the upper mantle. The spin-pairing of Fe 2+ provides an excellent mechanism for both iron and silicon enrichment in the lower mantle by partial melting. Thus spin-pairing in iron provides support for previous arguments for chemical inhomogeneity of the mantle and also provides a mechanism for generating the inhomogeneity. This removes the motivation for reducing FeO and SiO• in the mantle to supply Fe and Si for the core.