The University of Arizona

Major and trace element characteristics of impactites from the Yaxcopoil-1 borehole, Chicxulub structure, Mexico



Approximately 100 m of impactites were retrieved from the ICDP borehole Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1), located ~60 km south-southwest from the center of the Chicxulub impact crater on the Yucatn Peninsula of Mexico. Here, we characterize and discuss this impact breccia interval according to its geochemical characteristics. Chemical analysis of samples from all five recognized breccia units reveals that the impactites are of heterogeneous composition with regard to both major and trace elements at the single sample (816 cm3) scale. This is primarily due to a strong mixing relationship between carbonate and silicate fractions. However, averaged compositions for suevitic units 1 to 3 are similar, and the silicate fraction (after removal of the carbonate component) indicates thorough mixing and homogenization. Analysis of the green melt breccia horizon, unit 4, indicates that it contains a distinct mafic component. Large brown melt particles (in units 2, 3, and 4) represent a mixture of feldspathic and mafic components, with high CaO abundances. Unit 5 shows the greatest compositional diversity, with highly variable abundances of SiO2, CaO, and MgO. Inter-sample heterogeneity is the result of small sample size combined with inherent heterogeneous lithological compositions, highly variable particle size of melt and lithic components, and post-depositional alteration. In contrast to samples from the Y6 borehole from closer to the center of the structure, Yax-1 impactites have a strong carbonate component. Elevated loss on ignition, Rb, and Cs contents in the upper two impactite units indicate strong interaction with seawater. The contents of the siderophile elements, including Ni, Co, Ir, and Cr, do not indicate the presence of a significant extraterrestrial component in the Yax-1 impactites.


Suevites;Petrography;Chicxulub;Impactites;Impact structure

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