Crystallization and cooling conditions for the diogenite formation in the turbulent magma ocean of the asteroid 4 VestaOPEN ACCESS 

Yusuke Kawabata, Hiroko Nagahara


“The asteroid 4 Vesta has been completely differentiated to core and mantle despite its small size, of which surface materials are howardite-eucrite-diogenite (HED) meteorites that we know the detailed petrology, and therefore, is a good target for understanding differentiation of terrestrial planets. A new differentiation model for crust formation was developed by taking magma ocean fluid dynamics, chemical equilibrium, presence of 26Al, and cooling into consideration with special care to crystal separation. The role of crystal size, thickness of the conductive lid, and fO2 are evaluated as parameters. The results show that large crystals (1cm) settle and form a km-thick cumulate layer of orthopyroxene with Mg# of 0.70-0.90 in ~20 thousand years, which almost agrees with the Mg# of diogenites, whereas thinner layers are formed if the grain size is smaller. “