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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter October 28, 2020

A new occurrence of corundum in eucrite and its significance

Jie-Ya Li, Ai-Cheng Zhang, Naoya Sakamoto, Hisayoshi Yurimoto and Li-Xin Gu
From the journal American Mineralogist


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.

Acknowledgments and Funding

We appreciate the constructive comments from Jinping Hu and Jin Zhang, and Associate Editor Steven Simon, and from Chi Ma, David W. Mittlefehldt, and an anonymous reviewer on an early version. This work was financially supported by the B-type strategic Priority Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant XDB41000000), a pre-research Project on Civil Aerospace Technologies funded by CNSA (grant D020204), Natural Science Foundations of China (41673068, 41973061) and Jiangsu Province of China (grant BK20170017).

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Received: 2019-11-09
Accepted: 2020-04-01
Published Online: 2020-10-28
Published in Print: 2020-11-25

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