The University of Arizona

The suevite of drill hole Yucatàn 6 in the Chicxulub impact crater

P. Claeys, S. Heuschkel, E. Lounejeva-Baturina, G. Sanchez-Rubio, D. Stöffler


The suevite breccia of the Chicxulub impact crater, Yucatàn, Mexico, is more variable and complex in terms of composition and stratigraphy than suevites observed at other craters. Detailed studies (microscope, electron microprobe, SEM, XRF) have been carried out on a noncontinuous set of samples from the drill hole Yucatn 6 (Y6) located 50 km SW from the center of the impact structure. Three subunits can be distinguished in the suevite: the upper unit is a fine-grained carbonate-rich suevite breccia with few shocked basement clasts, mostly altered melt fragments, and formerly melted carbonate material; the middle suevite is a coarse-grained suevite with shocked basement clasts and altered silicate melt fragments; the lower suevite unit is composed of shocked basement and melt fragments and large evaporite clasts. The matrix of the suevite is not clastic but recrystallized and composed mainly of feldspar and pyroxene. The composition of the upper members of the suevite is dominated by the sedimentary cover of the Yucatàn target rock. With depth in well Y6, the amount of carbonate decreases and the proportion of evaporite and silicate basement rocks increases significantly. Even at the thin section scale, melt phases of different chemistry can be identified, showing that no widespread homogenization of the melt took place. The melt compositions also reflect the heterogeneity of the deep Yucatàn basement. Calcite with characteristic feathery texture indicates the existence of formerly pure carbonate melt. The proportion of carbonate to evaporite clasts is less than 5:1, except in the lower suevite where large evaporite clasts are present. This proportion constrains the amount of CO2 and SOX released by the impact event.


Impact craters;Suevite;Carbonate melts

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