• Composition of impact melt particles and the effects of post-impact alteration in suevitic rocks at the Yaxcopoil-1 drill core, Chicxulub crater, Mexico

      Hecht, L.; Wittmann, A.; Schmitt, R.-T.; Stöffler, D. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      Petrographical and chemical analysis of melt particles and alteration minerals of the about 100 m-thick suevitic sequence at the Chicxulub Yax-1 drill core was performed. The aim of this study is to determine the composition of the impact melt, the variation between different types of melt particles, and the effects of post-impact hydrothermal alteration. We demonstrate that the compositional variation between melt particles of the suevitic rocks is the result of both incomplete homogenization of the target lithologies during impact and subsequent post-impact hydrothermal alteration. Most melt particles are andesitic in composition. Clinopyroxene-rich melt particles possess lower SiO2 and higher CaO contents. These are interpreted by mixing of melts from the silicate basement with overlying carbonate rocks. Multi-stage post-impact hydrothermal alteration involved significant mass transfer of most major elements and caused further compositional heterogeneity between melt particles. Following backwash of seawater into the crater, palagonitization of glassy melt particles likely caused depletion of SiO2, Al2O3, CaO, Na2O, and enrichment of K2O and FeOtot during an early alteration stage. Since glass is very susceptible to fluid-rock interaction, the state of primary crystallization of the melt particles had a significant influence on the intensity of the postimpact hydrothermal mass transfer and was more pronounced in glassy melt particles than in wellcrystallized particles. In contrast to other occurrences of Chicxulub impactites, the Yax-1 suevitic rocks show strong potassium metasomatism with hydrothermal K-feldspar formation and whole rock K20 enrichment, especially in the lower unit of the suevitic sequence. A late stage of hydrothermal alteration is characterized by precipitation of silica, analcime, and Na-bearing Mg-rich smectite, among other minerals. This indicates a general evolution from a silica-undersaturated fluid at relatively high potassium activities at an early stage toward a silica-oversaturated fluid at relatively high sodium activities at later stages in the course of fluid rock interaction.
    • Origin and emplacement of the impact formations of Chicxulub, Mexico, as revealed by the ICDP deep drilling at Yaxcopoil-1 and by numerical modeling

      Stöffler, D.; Artemieva, N. A.; Ivanov, B. A.; Hecht, L.; Kenkmann, T. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      We present and interpret results of petrographic, mineralogical, and chemical analyses of the 1511 m deep ICDP Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1) drill core, with special emphasis on the impactite units. Using numerical model calculations of the formation, excavation, and dynamic modification of the Chicxulub crater, constrained by laboratory data, a model of the origin and emplacement of the impact formations of Yax-1 and of the impact structure as a whole is derived. The lower part of Yax-1 is formed by displaced Cretaceous target rocks (610 m thick), while the upper part comprises six suevite-type allochthonous breccia units (100 m thick). From the texture and composition of these lithological units and from numerical model calculations, we were able to link the seven distinct impact-induced units of Yax-1 to the corresponding successive phases of the crater formation and modification, which are as follows: 1) transient cavity formation including displacement and deposition of Cretaceous megablocks; 2) ground surging and mixing of impact melt and lithic clasts at the base of the ejecta curtain and deposition of the lower suevite right after the formation of the transient cavity; 3) deposition of a thin veneer of melt on top of the lower suevite and lateral transport and brecciation of this melt toward the end of the collapse of the transient cavity (brecciated impact melt rock); 4) collapse of the ejecta plume and deposition of fall-back material from the lower part of the ejecta plume to form the middle suevite near the end of the dynamic crater modification; 5) continued collapse of the ejecta plume and deposition of the upper suevite; 6) late phase of the collapse and deposition of the lower sorted suevite after interaction with the inward flowing atmosphere; 7) final phase of fall-back from the highest part of the ejecta plume and settling of melt and solid particles through the reestablished atmosphere to form the upper sorted suevite; and 8) return of the ocean into the crater after some time and minor reworking of the uppermost suevite under aquatic conditions. Our results are compatible with: a) 180 km and 100 km for the diameters of the final crater and the transient cavity of Chicxulub, respectively, as previously proposed by several authors, and b) the interpretation of Chicxulub as a peak-ring impact basin that is at the transition to a multi-ring basin.