The University of Arizona

Geochemical and petrographic characteristics of impactites and Cretaceous target rocks from the Yaxcopoil-1 borehole, Chicxulub impact structure, Mexico: Implications for target composition

M. G. Tuchscherer, W. U. Reimold, C. Koeberl, R. L. Gibson


We present major and trace element data as well as petrographic observations for impactites (suevitic groundmass, bulk suevite, and melt rock particles) and target lithologies, including Cretaceous anhydrite, dolomite, argillaceous limestone, and oil shale, from the Yaxcopoil-1 borehole, Chixculub impact structure. The suevitic groundmass and bulk suevite have similar compositions, largely representing mixtures of carbonate and silicate components. The latter are dominated by melt rock particles. Trace element data indicate that dolomitic rocks represented a significant target component that became incorporated into the suevites; in contrast, major elements indicate a strong calcitic component in the impactites. The siliceous end-member requires a mafic component in order to explain the low SiO2 content. Multicomponent mixing of various target rocks, the high alteration state, and dilution by carbonate complicate the determination of primary melt particle compositions. However, two overlapping compositional groups can be discerned--a high-Ba, low-Ta group and a high-Fe, high-Zn, and high-Hf group. Cretaceous dolomitic rocks, argillaceous limestone, and shale are typically enriched in U, As, Br, and Sb, whereas anhydrite contains high Sr contents. The oil shale samples have abundances that are similar to the North American Shale Composite (NASC), but with a comparatively high U content. Clastic sedimentary rocks are characterized by relatively high Th, Hf, Zr, As, and Sb abundances. Petrographic observations indicate that the Cretaceous rocks in the Yaxcopoil-1 drill core likely register a multistage deformation history that spans the period from preto post-impact. Contrary to previous studies that claimed evidence for the presence of impact melt breccia injection veins, we have found no evidence in our samples from a depth of 1347-1348 m for the presence of melt breccia. We favor that clastic veinlets occur in a sheared and altered zone that underwent intense diagenetic overprint prior to the impact event.


target rock determination;impactites;Chicxulub;Geochemistry

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