The University of Arizona

Impact lithologies and their emplacement in the Chixulub impact crater: Initial results from the Chicxulub Scientific Drilling Project, Yaxcopoil, Mexico

D. A. Kring, F. Hörz, L. Zurcher, J. Urrutia-Fucugauchi


The Chicxulub Scientific Drilling Project (CSDP), Mexico, produced a continuous core of material from depths of 404 to 1511 m in the Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1) borehole, revealing (top to bottom) Tertiary marine sediments, polymict breccias, an impact melt unit, and one or more blocks of Cretaceous target sediments that are crosscut with impact-generated dikes, in a region that lies between the peak ring and final crater rim. The impact melt and breccias in the Yax-1 borehole are 100 m thick, which is approximately 1/5 the thickness of breccias and melts exposed in the Yucatán-6 exploration hole, which is also thought to be located between the peak ring and final rim of the Chicxulub crater. The sequence and composition of impact melts and breccias are grossly similar to those in the Yucatán-6 hole. Compared to breccias in other impact craters, the Chicxulub breccias are incredibly rich in silicate melt fragments (up to 84% versus 30 to 50%, for example, in the Ries). The melt in the Yax-1 hole was produced largely from the silicate basement lithologies that lie beneath a 3 km- thick carbonate platform in the target area. Small amounts of immiscible molten carbonate were ejected with the silicate melt, and clastic carbonate often forms the matrix of the polymict breccias. The melt unit appears to have been deposited while molten but brecciated after solidification. The melt fragments in the polymict breccias appear to have solidified in flight, before deposition, and fractured during transport and deposition.


Chicxulub;Impact melts;Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary;Impact breccias;K/T boundary;complex Impact

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