Trace element variations generated by magmatic and post-crystallization processes in eucrite meteorites

1Ben Kumler,1James M.D.Day
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (in Press) Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2021.03.002]
1Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0244, USA
Copyright Elsevier

Eucrite meteorites are early-formed (>4.5 Ga) basaltic rocks that are likely to derive from the asteroid 4 Vesta, or a similarly differentiated planetesimal. To understand trace element and moderately volatile element (MVE) behavior more fully within and between eucrites, a laser-ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) study is reported for plagioclase and pyroxene, as well as fusion crust and vitrophyric materials for ten eucrites. These eucrites span from a cumulate eucrite (Northwest Africa [NWA] 1923) to samples corresponding to Main Group (Queen Alexandra Range 97053, Pecora Escarpment 91245, Cumulus Hills 04049, Bates Nunatak 00300, Lewis Cliff 85305, Graves Nunataks 98098) and Stannern Group (Allan Hills 81001, NWA 1000) compositions, in addition to Elephant Moraine 90020. Along with a range of refractory trace elements, focus was given to abundances of five MVE (K, Zn, Rb, Cs, Pb) to interrogate the volatile abundance distributions in eucrite mineral phases. Modal recombination analyses of the eucrites reveals the important role of accessory phases (zircon, apatite) in some of the incompatible trace element (ITE) distributions, but not for the MVE which, for the phases that were analyzed, are mostly sited within plagioclase (Cs, Rb, K) and pyroxene (Zn, Pb), and are in equilibrium with a parental melt composition for Main Group eucrites. The new data reveal a possible relationship with total refractory ITE enrichment and texture, with the most ITE enriched Stannern Group eucrites examined (NWA 1000, ALHA 81001) having acicular textures and, in the case of ALHA 81001 a young degassing age (∼3.7 Ga). Collectively the results suggest that Stannern Group eucrites may be related to anatexis of the eucritic crust by thermal metamorphism, with the heat source possibly coming from impacts. Impact processes do not have a pronounced effect on the abundances of the MVE, where plagioclase, pyroxene, fusion crust, and whole rock compositions of eucrites are all significantly depleted in the MVE, with Zn/Fe, Rb/Ba and K/U similar to lunar rocks. Assessment of eucrite compositions, however, suggests that Vesta has a more heterogeneous distribution of volatile elements and is similarly to slightly less volatile-depleted than the Moon. Phase dependence of the MVE (e.g., Cl in apatite, Zn primarily into spinel and early formed phases, including pyroxene) is likely to influence comparison diagrams where MVE stable isotopes are shown. In the case of δ37Cl versus δ66Zn, metamorphism and impact processes may lead to a decrease in the δ37Cl value for a given δ66Zn value in eucrites, raising the possibility that late-stage impact and metamorphism had a profound effect on volatile distributions in early planetesimal crusts.

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