P31A-1879: Trace elements record complex histories in diogenites

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Authors: Joseph B Balta1, Andrew W Beck2, Harry Y McSween1

Author Institutions: 1. Earth & Planetary Scies #102, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA; 2. Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, DC, USA

Diogenite meteorites are cumulate rocks composed mostly of orthopyroxene and chemically linked to eucrites (basaltic) and howardites (brecciated mixtures of diogenites and eucrites). Together, they represent the largest single family of achondrite meteorites delivered to Earth, and have been spectrally linked to the asteroid 4 Vesta, the largest remaining basaltic protoplanet. However, this spectral link is non-unique as many basaltic asteroids likely formed and were destroyed in the early solar system. Recent work suggested that Vesta may be an unlikely parent body for the diogenites based on correlations between trace elements and short-lived isotope decay products, which would be unlikely to survive on a body as large as Vesta due to its long cooling history [1]. Recent analyses of terrestrial and martian olivines have demonstrated that trace element spatial distributions can preserve evidence of their crystallization history even when major elements have been homogenized [2]. We have mapped minor elements including Cr, Al, and Ti in seemingly homogeneous diogenite orthopyroxenes and found a variety of previously unobserved textures. The pyroxenes in one sample (GRA 98108) are seemingly large grains of variable shapes and sizes, but the trace elements reveal internal grain boundaries between roughly-equal sized original subgrains, with equilibrated metamorphic triple junctions between them and trace element depletions at the boundaries. These trends suggest extraction of trace elements by a magma along those relict grain boundaries during a reheating event. Two other samples show evidence of fracturing and annealing, with trace element mobility within grains. One sample appears to have remained a closed system during annealing (MET 01084), while the other has interacted with a fluid or magma to move elements along annealed cracks (LEW 88679). These relict features establish that the history of diogenite pyroxenes is more complex than their homogeneous major element compositions imply. Many trace element analyses are performed using either bulk rock techniques or spot analyses, and these maps suggest those types of analyses likely sample variable trace element abundances even within otherwise homogeneous grains, rendering their results difficult to interpret. Consequently, the correlation discussed previously between trace elements and short lived isotopes has likely been impacted by post-magmatic alteration and cannot solely be used to argue that HED’s cannot be derived from Vesta. Furthermore, these maps strengthen the HED-Vesta link by suggesting that the diogenites underwent an extended history of cooling, reheating, partial melting, impact fragmentation, fluid/melt migration, and finally re-annealing. These complicated steps are particularly noteworthy as the pyroxene cumulate layer on the asteroid Vesta should lie beneath the eucritic crust, implying that early impacts were able to penetrate that crust and affect the diogenite layers early in Vesta’s history, most likely while the asteroid was still hot enough to allow for annealing and regrowth of fractured grains. [1] Schiller et al. (2011) [2] Milman-Barris et al. (2008)

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