Vestan lithologies mapped by the visual and infrared spectrometer on Dawn

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Abstract

We present global lithological maps of the Vestan surface based on Dawn mission's Visible InfraRed (VIR) Spectrometer acquisitions with a spatial sampling of 200 m. The maps confirm the results obtained with the data set acquired by VIR with a spatial sampling of 700 m, that the reflectance spectra of Vesta's surface are dominated by pyroxene absorptions that can be interpreted within the context of the distribution of howardites, eucrites, and diogenites (HEDs). The maps also partially agree with the ground and Hubble Space Telescope observations: they confirm the background surface being an assemblage of howardite or polymict eucrite, as well as the location of a diogenitic-rich spot; however, there is no evidence of extended olivine-rich regions in the equatorial latitudes. Diogenite is revealed on the Rheasilvia basin floor, indicating that material of the lower crust/mantle was exposed. VIR also detected diogenites along the scarp of Matronalia Rupes, and the rims of Severina and a nearby, unnamed crater, and as ejecta of Antonia crater. The diogenite distribution is fully consistent with petrological constraints; although the mapped distribution does not provide unambiguous constraints, it favors the hypothesis of a magma ocean.

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