The University of Arizona

Impactites of the Yaxcopoil-1 drilling site, Chicxulub impact structure: Petrography, geochemistry, and depositional environment



The impact breccias encountered in drill hole Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1) in the Chicxulub impact structure have been subdivided into six units. The two uppermost units are redeposited suevite and suevite, and together are only 28 m thick. The two units below are interpreted as a ground surge deposit similar to a pyroclastic flow in a volcanic regime with a fine-grained top (unit 3; 23 m thick; nue ardente) and a coarse breccia (unit 4; ~15 m thick) below. As such, they consist of a mlange of clastic matrix breccia and melt breccia. The pyroclastic ground surge deposit and the two units 5 and 6 below are related to the ejecta curtain. Unit 5 (~24 m thick) is a silicate impact melt breccia, whereas unit 6 (10 m thick) is largely a carbonate melt breccia with some clastic-matrix components. Unit 5 and 6 reflect an overturning of the target stratigraphy. The suevites of units 1 and 2 were deposited after emplacement of the ejecta curtain debris. Reaction of the super-heated breccias with seawater led to explosive activity similar to phreomagmatic steam explosion in volcanic regimes. This activity caused further brecciation of melt and melt fragments. The fallback suevite deposit of units 1 and 2 is much thinner than suevite deposits at larger distances from the center of the impact structure than the 60 km of the Yax-1 drill site. This is evidence that the fallback suevite deposit (units 1 and 2) originally was much thicker. Unit 1 exhibits sedimentological features suggestive of suevite redeposition. Erosion possibly has occurred right after the K/T impact due to seawater backsurge, but erosion processes spanning thousands of years may also have been active. Therefore, the top of the 100 m thick impactite sequence at Yaxcopoil, in our opinion, is not the K/T boundary.


Impact melts;Chicxulub;Yaxcopoil-1;Impact breccias

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