The University of Arizona

Magnetic characterization of Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sediments

V. VILLASANTE-MARCOS, F. MARTNEZ-RUIZ, M. L. OSETE, J. URRUTIA-FUCUGAUCHI

Abstract


Rock magnetic properties across several K-T boundary sections have been investigated to reveal any possible magnetic signature associated with the remains of the impact event at the end of the Cretaceous. Studied sections locations vary in distance to the Chicxulub structure from distal (Agost and Caravaca, Spain), through closer (ODP Hole 1049A, Blake Nose, North Atlantic), to proximal (El Mimbral and La Lajilla, Mexico). A clear magnetic signature is associated with the fireball layer in the most distal sections, consisting of a sharp increase in susceptibility and saturation isothermal remanent magnetization (SIRM), and a decrease in remanence coercivity. Magnetic properties in these sections point to a distinctive ferrimagnetic phase, probably corresponding to the reported Mg- and Ni-rich, highly oxidized spinels of meteoritic origin. At closer and proximal sections magnetic properties are different. Although there is an increase in susceptibility and SIRM associated with a rusty layer placed on top of the siliciclastic deposit in proximal sections, and with a similar limonitic layer on top of the spherule bed that defines the boundary at Blake Nose, the magnetic properties indicate a mixture of iron oxyhydroxides dominated by fine-grained goethite. Based on previous geochemical studies at Blake Nose and new geochemical and PGE abundance measurements performed in this work at El Mimbral, this goethite-rich layer can be interpreted as an effect of diagenetic remobilization and precipitation of Fe. There is not enough evidence to assert that this Fe concentration layer at proximal sections is directly related to deposition of fine meteoritic material. Magnetic, geochemical, and iridium data reject it as a primary meteoritic phase.

Keywords


ejecta deposition;magnetic properties;K-T boundary;impact markers

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