A new occurrence of corundum in eucrite and its significance

Jie-Ya Li, Ai-Cheng Zhang, Naoya Sakamoto, Hisayoshi Yurimoto, Li-Xin Gu

American Mineralogist (2020) 105 (11): 1656–1661


“The diversity of lithologies is an important proxy of internal evolution in differentiated planets and asteroids. The major lithologies in Vesta, based on the howardite-eucrite-diogenite clan meteorites, include basalt, gabbro, noritic orthopyroxenite, orthopyroxenite, dunite, harzburgite, and dacite. No other lithology has been reported up to date. In this study, we report a new occurrence of corundum in eucrite meteorite Northwest Africa (NWA) 8647. Three-dimensional petrographic observations reveal that the corundum grain occurs as a mineral inclusion in a highly deformed pyroxene fragment. The texture indicates that the corundum is not a contaminant. The corundum-associated pyroxenes have Fe-Mn compositions consistent with typical pyroxenes from howardite-eucrite-diogenite meteorites. We suggest that the corundum grain could be a xenocryst incorporated during the ascent of a basaltic magma. The results might indicate the presence of an Al-rich, Si-poor region, probably lithology in the interior of Vesta, implying that the evolution and internal structure should be much more complex than previously thought.”