Differentiation and magmatic history of Vesta: Constraints from HED meteorites and Dawn spacecraft data

1Harry Y.McSweenJr.,2Carol A.Raymond,3Edward M.Stolper,4David W.Mittlefehldt,3Michael B.Baker,5Nicole G.Lunning,6Andrew W.Beck,7Timothy M.Hahn
Geochemistry (Chemie der Erde) Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemer.2019.07.008]
1Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
2Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
3Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
4NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX 77058, USA
5Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA
6Department of Petroleum Engineering and Geology, Marietta College, Marietta, OH 45750, USA
7Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA
Copyright Elsevier

Quantifying the amounts of various igneous lithologies in Vesta’s crust allows the estimation of petrologic ratios that describe the asteroid’s global differentiation and subsequent magmatic history. The eucrite:diogenite (Euc:Diog) ratio measures the relative proportions of mafic and ultramafic components. The intrusive:extrusive (I:E) ratio assesses the effectiveness of magma ascent and eruption. We estimate these ratios by counting numbers and masses of eucrites, cumulate eucrites, and diogenites in the world’s meteorite collections, and by calculating their proportions as components of crustal polymict breccias (howardites) using chemical mixing diagrams and petrologic mapping of multiple thin sections. The latter two methods yield a Euc:Diog ratio of ∼2:1, although meteorite numbers and masses give slightly higher ratios. Surface lithologic maps compiled from spectra of Dawn spacecraft instruments (VIR and GRaND) yield Euc:Diog ratios that bracket estimates of Euc:Diog from the meteorites. The I:E ratios from HEDs lie between 0.5–2.1:1, due to uncertainties in identifying cumulate eucrite. Gravity mapping of Vesta by the Dawn spacecraft supports the existence of diogenite plutons in the crust. Quantifying the proportion of high-density diogenitic crust in the gravity map yields I:E ratios of 0.8-1:2:1, values which are bracketed by calculations based on HEDs. The I:E ratio for Vesta is lower than for Earth and Mars, consistent with physical modeling of asteroid-size bodies. Nevertheless, it indicates a significant role for pluton emplacement during the formation of Vesta’s crust. These results are inconsistent with simple differentiation models that produce the crust by crystallization of a global magma ocean, unless residual melts are extracted into crustal magma chambers.


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