• 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.
    • Structure and impact indicators of the Cretaceous sequence of the ICDP drill core Yaxcopoil-1, Chicxulub impact crater, Mexico

      Kenkmann, T.; Wittmann, W.; Scherler, D. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      As part of the ICDP Chicxulub Scientific Drilling Project, the Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1) bore hole was drilled 60 km south-southwest of the center of the 180 km-diameter Chicxulub impact structure down to a depth of 1511 m. A sequence of 615 m of deformed Cretaceous carbonates and sulfates was recovered below a 100 m-thick unit of suevitic breccias and 795 m of post-impact Tertiary rocks. The Cretaceous rocks are investigated with respect to deformation features and shock metamorphism to better constrain the deformational overprint and the kinematics of the cratering process. The sequence displays variable degrees of impact-induced brittle damage and post-impact brittle deformation. The degree of tilting and faulting of the Cretaceous sequence was analyzed using 360-core scans and dip-meter log data. In accordance with lithological information, these data suggest that the sedimentary sequence represents a number of structural units that are tilted and moved with respect to each other. Three main units and nine sub-units were discriminated. Brittle deformation is most intense at the top of the sequence and at 13001400 m. Within these zones, suevitic dikes, polymict clastic dikes, and impact melt rock dikes occur and may locally act as decoupling horizons. The degree of brittle deformation depends on lithology; massive dolomites are affected by penetrative faulting, while stratified calcarenites and bituminous limestones display localized faulting. The deformation pattern is consistent with a collapse scenario of the Chicxulub transient crater cavity. It is believed that the Cretaceous sequence was originally located outside the transient crater cavity and eventually moved downward and toward the center to its present position between the peak ring and the crater rim, thereby separating into blocks. Whether or not the stack of deformed Cretaceous blocks was already displaced during the excavation process remains an open question. The analysis of the deformation microstructure indicates that a shock metamorphic overprint is restricted to dike injections with an exception of the so called "paraconglomerate." Abundant organic matter in the Yax-1 core was present before the impact and was mobilized by impact-induced heating and suggests that 12 km^3 of organic material was excavated during the cratering process.