Formation of primitive achondrites by partial melting of alkali-undepleted planetesimals in the inner solar system

1Max Collinet,1Timothy L.Grove
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (in Press) Link to Article []
1Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences department, 77 Massachusetts avenue, 02139, MA, USA
Copyright Elsevier

Acapulcoites-lodranites, ureilites, brachinites, brachinite-like achondrites and winonaites are the main groups of primitive achondrites. They are variably depleted in incompatible lithophile elements (Al, Na, K and rare earth elements) and siderophile/chalcophile elements relative to chondrites and are interpreted as the residual mantle of planetesimals from which silicate melts and sulfide/metal melts were extracted. We use a series of melting experiments conducted with various chondritic compositions (CV, CM, CI, H and LL) to constrain the oxygen fugacity (fO2), the temperature, extent of melting and the initial bulk composition of the parent bodies of primitive achondrites. They melted at different and variable fO2: ΔIW -0.5/-1.0 for brachinites, ΔIW -1.3/-2.5 for ureilites, ΔIW -1.6/-2.7 for acapulcoites/lodranites and ΔIW -2.5/-3.0 for winonaites (with ΔIW = log fO2 – (log fO2)IW; IW being the iron-wustite buffer). Those main groups of primitive achondrites, which have nucleosynthetic anomalies characteristic of the “non-carbonaceous” reservoir and the inner solar system, were not initially depleted in Na2O and K2O relative to the sun’s photosphere. This suggests, in accordance with the enrichment in the heavy isotopes of Zn, Rb and K in eucrites, that the depletion of moderately volatile elements in planetesimals that melted to a larger extent (e.g. Vesta, the angrite parent body) resulted from evaporative losses during partial melting. The depletion of moderately volatile elements in terrestrial planets is likely inherited from partial melting and differentiation of small planetary bodies rather than from the incomplete complete condensation of the solar nebula.


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