The University of Arizona

Major and trace element compositions of melt particles and associated phases from the Yaxcopoil-1 drill core, Chicxulub impact structure, Mexico

Martin G. Tuchscherer, W. Uwe Reimold, Roger L. Gibson, Bruin, Deon d, Andreas Spth


Melt particles found at various depths in impactites from the Yaxcopoil-1 borehole into the Chicxulub impact structure (Yucat√°n) have been analyzed for their major and trace element abundances. A total of 176 electron microprobe and 45 LA-ICP-MS analyses from eight different melt particles were investigated. The main purpose of this work was to constrain the compositions of precursor materials and secondary alteration characteristics of these melt particles. Individual melt particles are highly heterogeneous, which makes compositional categorization extremely difficult. Melt particles from the uppermost part of the impactite sequence are Ca- and Na-depleted and show negative Ce anomalies, which is likely a result of seawater interaction. Various compositional groupings of melt particles are determined with ternary and binary element ratio plots involving major and trace elements. This helps distinguish the degree of alteration versus primary heterogeneity of melt phases. Comparison of the trace element ratios Sc/Zr, Y/Zr, Ba/Zr, Ba/Rb, and Sr/Rb with compositions of known target rocks provides some constraints on protolith compositions; however, the melt compositions analyzed exceed the known compositional diversity of possible target rocks. Normalized REE patterns are unique for each melt particle, likely reflecting precursor mineral or rock compositions. The various discrimination techniques indicate that the highly variable compositions are the products of melting of individual minerals or of mixtures of several minerals. Small, angular shards that are particularly abundant in units 2 and 3 represent rapidly quenched melts, whereas larger particles (>0.5 mm) that contain microlites and have fluidal, schlieric textures cooled over a protracted period. Angular, shard-like particles with microlites in unit 5 likely crystallized below the glass transition temperature or underwent fragmentation during or after deposition.


Melts;Chicxulub;Mexico Impact crater;Laser ablation ICP-MS;Suevite

Full Text: