Chondritic models of 4 Vesta: Implications for geochemical and geophysical properties



Simple mass-balance and thermodynamic constraints are used to illustrate the potential geochemical and geophysical diversity of a fully differentiated Vesta-sized parent body with a eucrite crust (e.g., core size and density, crustal thickness). The results of this analysis are then combined with data from the howardite–eucrite–diogenite (HED) meteorites and the Dawn mission to constrain Vesta's bulk composition. Twelve chondritic compositions are considered, comprising seven carbonaceous, three ordinary, and two enstatite chondrite groups. Our analysis excludes CI and LL compositions as plausible Vesta analogs, as these are predicted to have a negative metal fraction. Second, the MELTS thermodynamic calculator is used to show that the enstatite chondrites, the CV, CK and L-groups cannot produce Juvinas-like liquids, and that even for the other groups, depletion in sodium is necessary to produce liquids of appropriate silica content. This conclusion is consistent with the documented volatile-poor nature of eucrites. Furthermore, carbonaceous chondrites are predicted to have a mantle too rich in olivine to produce typical howardites and to have Fe/Mn ratios generally well in excess of those of the HEDs. On the other hand, an Na-depleted H-chondrite bulk composition is capable of producing Juvinas-like liquids, has a mantle rich enough in pyroxene to produce abundant howardite/diogenite, and has a Fe/Mn ratio compatible with eucrites. In addition, its predicted bulk-silicate density is within 100 kg m−3 of solutions constrained by data of the Dawn mission. However, oxidation state and oxygen isotopes are not perfectly reproduced and it is deduced that bulk Vesta may contain approximately 25% of a CM-like component. Values for the bulk-silicate composition of Vesta and a preliminary phase diagram are proposed.