The University of Arizona

Osmium isotope constraints on the proportion of bolide component in Chicxulub impact melt rocks

A. GELNIAS, D. A. KRING, L. ZURCHER, J. URRUTIA-FUCUGAUCHI, O. MORTON, R. J. WALKER

Abstract


The spatial distribution and amount of material transferred from the bolide involved in the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) event to the target rocks at Chicxulub is still poorly constrained. In this study, Re-Os isotopic analyses of impact melt breccias and lithic clasts from the Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1) borehole were used to determine the distribution and proportion of the bolide component in the target rocks. Because of the much greater concentration of Os in chondritic meteorites compared to the target rocks, little addition of the bolide component would be necessary to greatly perturb the Os concentration and isotopic composition of target rocks. Hence, this is a very sensitive means of examining bolide contributions to the target rocks. For the examined suite of samples, the initial 187Os/188Os ratios vary from 0.19 to 2.3. Conservative mixing calculations suggest that the bolide component comprised as much as approximately 0.1%, by mass, of some samples. Most samples, however, have negligible contributions from the bolide. No samples have Os that is dominated by the bolide component, so for this suite of samples, it is impossible to fingerprint the chemical nature of the bolide using relative abundances of siderophile elements. These results suggest that the bolide did not contribute a significant amount of material to the target rocks. This may, in turn, indicate that most of the bolide was vaporized upon impact or otherwise ejected without mixing with the melt from the target.

Keywords


Yaxcopoil-1;Chicxulub;Osmium isotopes

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