Spectroscopic characterization of mineralogy and its diversity across Vesta.
ABSTRACT The mineralogy of Vesta, based on data obtained by the Dawn spacecraft's visible and infrared spectrometer, is consistent with howardite-eucrite-diogenite meteorites. There are considerable regional and local variations across the asteroid: Spectrally distinct regions include the south-polar Rheasilvia basin, which displays a higher diogenitic component, and equatorial regions, which show a higher eucritic component. The lithologic distribution indicates a deeper diogenitic crust, exposed after excavation by the impact that formed Rheasilvia, and an upper eucritic crust. Evidence for mineralogical stratigraphic layering is observed on crater walls and in ejecta. This is broadly consistent with magma-ocean models, but spectral variability highlights local variations, which suggests that the crust can be a complex assemblage of eucritic basalts and pyroxene cumulates. Overall, Vesta mineralogy indicates a complex magmatic evolution that led to a differentiated crust and mantle.
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ABSTRACT: Non-cumulate eucrites represent basaltic crust that experienced a complex thermal history involving multistage metamorphism and metasomatism, probably on asteroid Vesta. To better constrain the thermal history of these rocks and their parent body, we have integrated high-precision U–Pb age and trace element data for zircon grains with sizes up to 80 μm in the eucrite Agoult. All analyzed zircon grains yielded concordant U–Pb dates that correspond to the precise 207Pb/206Pb age of 4554.5±2.0 Ma4554.5±2.0 Ma. The Ti contents in these zircon grains indicate their crystallization at subsolidus temperatures of ca. 900 °C, which are similar to the inferred conditions of pyroxene exsolution in most basaltic eucrites that occurred during protracted thermal metamorphism. The zircon crystallization temperatures, together with the presence of baddeleyite needles and variable Zr concentration in Agoult ilmenite grains, indicate metamorphic origin of the Agoult zircon through Zr release from ilmenite followed by reaction with silica. We therefore consider the zircon 207Pb/206Pb age as the timing of the widespread thermal metamorphism in Vesta's crust. The metamorphic age is coincident with the oldest Mn–Cr date for cumulate eucrites, supporting the view that the thermal metamorphism is a result of burial of basaltic crust and subsequent heating from the hot interior rather than collision of asteroids. The zircon rare earth element patterns with restricted Ce positive anomalies suggest that the metamorphism occurred at an oxygen fugacity below the iron–wüstite buffer, implying the absence of oxidizing agents such as aqueous fluid within the crust at that time.Earth and Planetary Science Letters 11/2014; · 4.72 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Howardite-eucrite-diogenite meteorites (HEDs) probably originated from the asteroid 4 Vesta. We investigated one eucrite, Béréba, to clarify a dynamic event that occurred on 4 Vesta using a shock-induced high-pressure polymorph. We discovered high-pressure polymorphs of silica, coesite, and stishovite originating from quartz and/or cristobalite in and around the shock-melt veins of Béréba. Lamellar stishovite formed in silica grains through a solid-state phase transition. A network-like rupture was formed and melting took place along the rupture in the silica grains. Nanosized granular coesite grains crystallized from the silica melt. Based on shock-induced high-pressure polymorphs, the estimated shock-pressure condition ranged from ∼8 to ∼13 GPa. Considering radiometric ages and shock features, the dynamic event that led to the formation of coesite and stishovite occurred ca. 4.1 Ga ago, which corresponds to the late heavy bombardment period (ca. 3.8-4.1 Ga), deduced from the lunar cataclysm. There are two giant impact basins around the south pole of 4 Vesta. Although the origin of HEDs is thought to be related to dynamic events that formed the basins ca. 1.0 Ga ago, our findings are at variance with that idea.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/2014; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A 20th degree ellipsoidal harmonic gravity field of Vesta is determined by processing radiometric Doppler and range data from the Dawn mission. The gravity field shows sensitivity up to degree 18 and the coefficients are globally determined on average to degree 15. Gravity anomalies are mapped to the Brillouin ellipsoid (304 × 289 × 247-km), which is a substantially closer fit to the surface than the reference ellipsoid (290 × 290 × 265-km) used to map the conventional spherical harmonic series, especially near the poles. Two models of internal structure are subsequently explored, in which density variations are permitted in the uppermost layer (i.e., crust) in order to explain Vesta’s local gravitational signature. These models include the case of a two-layer model with an average crustal thickness of 55.5 km and a three-layer model with an average crustal thickness of 22.4 km. For both two-layer and three-layer scenarios, the Bouguer gravity anomaly is minimized for a crustal density of 2970 kg/m3. The remaining Bouguer anomalies can be explained by lateral crustal density variation of 2310–3440 kg/m3 and 2660–3240 kg/m3 for the 22.4 km and 55.5 km crustal thickness models, respectively. The general trend of the estimated lateral crustal densities for the two cases is very similar, with a wider range for the 22.4 km case due to a thinner crust. This indicates that a thick crust (e.g., 55.5 km) would be more favorable for minimizing the range of lateral crustal density variations. Consideration of independent geochemical and petrological constraints suggests that a three-layer model is a more appropriate representation of Vesta’s internal structure, despite the fact that two-layer models provide a satisfactory fit to gravity data alone. In detail, it is found that densities derived from gravity data assuming three-layer models and those derived from the howardite–eucrite–diogenite meteorites and estimates of plausible bulk-Vesta composition show an excellent level of mutual consistency.Icarus 09/2014; 240:118–132. · 2.84 Impact Factor