• Geochemistry of 4 Vesta based on HED meteorites: Prospective study for interpretation of gamma ray and neutron spectra for the Dawn mission

      Usui, Tomohiro; McSween, Harry Y. (The Meteoritical Society, 2007-01-01)
      Asteroid 4 Vesta, believed to be the parent body of the howardite, eucrite, and diogenite (HED) meteorites, will be investigated by the Dawn orbiting spacecraft. Dawn carries a gamma ray and neutron detector (GRaND) that will measure and map some major- and trace-element abundances. Drawing on HED geochemistry, we propose a mixing model that uses element ratios appropriate for the interpretation of GRaND data.Because the spatial resolution of GRaND is relatively coarse, the analyzed chemical compositions on the surface of Vesta will likely reflect mixing of three endmember components: diogenite, cumulate eucrite, and basaltic eucrite. Reliability of the mixing model is statistically investigated based on published whole-rock data for HED meteorites. We demonstrate that the mixing model can accurately estimate the abundances of all the GRaND-analyzed major elements, as well as of minor elements (Na, Cr, and Mn) not analyzed by this instrument. We also show how a similar mixing model can determine the modal abundance of olivine, and we compare estimated and normative olivine data for olivine-bearing diogenites. By linking the compositions of well-analyzed HED meteorites with elemental mapping data from GRaND, this study may help constrain the geological context for HED meteorites and provide new insight into the magmatic evolution of Vesta.