• The effect of the oceans on the terrestrial crater size-frequency distribution: Insight from numerical modeling

      Davison, T.; Collins, G. S. (The Meteoritical Society, 2007-01-01)
      On Earth, oceanic impacts are twice as likely to occur as continental impacts, yet the effect of the oceans has not been previously considered when estimating the terrestrial crater size-frequency distribution. Despite recent progress in understanding the qualitative and quantitative effect of a water layer on the impact process through novel laboratory experiments, detailed numerical modeling, and interpretation of geological and geophysical data, no definitive relationship between impactor properties, water depth, and final crater diameter exists. In this paper, we determine the relationship between final (and transient) crater diameter and the ratio of water depth to impactor diameter using the results of numerical impact models. This relationship applies for normal incidence impacts of stoney asteroids into water-covered, crystalline oceanic crust at a velocity of 15 km s-1. We use these relationships to construct the first estimates of terrestrial crater size-frequency distributions (over the last 100 million years) that take into account the depth-area distribution of oceans on Earth. We find that the oceans reduce the number of craters smaller than 1 km in diameter by about two-thirds, the number of craters ~30 km in diameter by about one-third, and that for craters larger than ~100 km in diameter, the oceans have little effect. Above a diameter of ~12 km, more craters occur on the ocean floor than on land; below this diameter more craters form on land than in the oceans. We also estimate that there have been in the region of 150 impact events in the last 100 million years that formed an impact-related resurge feature, or disturbance on the seafloor, instead of a crater.
    • Trace element concentrations in the Mexico-Belize ejecta layer: A link between the Chicxulub impact and the global Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary

      Wigforss-Lange, J.; Vajda, V.; Ocampo, A. (The Meteoritical Society, 2007-01-01)
      Four exposures of Chicxulub impact ejecta along the Mexico-Belize border have been sampled and analyzed for major and trace element abundances. The ejecta deposits consist of a lower spheroid bed, containing clay and dolomite spheroids, and an upper diamictite bed with boulders and clasts of limestone and dolomite. The matrix of both beds is composed of clay and micritic dolomite. The rare earth element (REE) compositions in the matrix of both units show strong similarities in concentrations and pattern. Furthermore, the Zr/TiO2 scatter plot shows a linear correlation indicating one source. These results indicate that the basal spheroid bed has the same source and was generated during the same event as the overlying diamictite bed, which lends support to a single-impact scenario for the Albion Formation ejecta deposits. The elevated concentrations of non-meteoritic elements such as Sb, As, U, and Zn in the matrix of the lower spheroid bed are regarded to have been derived from the sedimentary target rocks at the Chicxulub impact site. The positive Eu and Ce anomalies in clay concretion and in the matrix of the lower part of the spheroid bed in Albion Island quarry is probably related to processes involved in the impact, such as high temperature and oxidizing conditions. Analogous trace element anomalies have been reported from the distal Cretaceous-Paleogene (K/T) boundary clay layer at different sites. Thus, the trace element signals, reported herein, are regarded to support a genetic link between the Chicxulub impact, the ejecta deposits along the Mexico-Belize border, and the global K/T boundary layer.