• Evidence for ocean water invasion into the Chicxulub crater at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary

      Goto, K.; Tada, R.; Tajika, E.; Bralower, T. J.; Hasegawa, T.; Matsui, T. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      The possibility of ocean water invasion into the Chicxulub crater following the impact at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary was investigated based on examination of an impactite between approximately 794.63 and 894.94 m in the Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1) core. The presence of cross lamination in the uppermost part of the impactite suggests the influence of an ocean current at least during the sedimentation of this interval. Abundant occurrence of nannofossils of late Campanian to early Maastrichtian age in the matrices of samples from the upper part of the impactite suggests that the carbonate sediments deposited on the inner rim margin and outside the crater were eroded and transported into the crater most likely by ocean water that invaded the crater after its formation. The maximum grain size of limestone lithics and vesicular melt fragments, and grain and bulk chemical compositions show a cyclic variation in the upper part of the impactite. The upward fining grain size and the absence of erosional contact at the base of each cycle suggest that the sediments were derived from resuspension of units elsewhere in the crater, most likely by high energy currents association with ocean water invasion.
    • Foraminiferal biostratigraphy and paleoenvironmental reconstruction at Yaxcopil-1 drill hole, Chicxulub crater, Yucatán Peninsula

      Arz, J. A.; Alegret, L.; Arenillas, I. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      The Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1) drill hole comprises Cretaceous limestones and calcarenites, the K/P boundary cocktail unit (including impact breccia), and a Danian marly clay layer overlain by calcareous marls. The biostratigraphy, paleobathymetry, and environmental turnover across the K/P interval were inferred after analyzing the planktic and benthic foraminiferal assemblages. The Cretaceous samples only contain a few poorly preserved planktic foraminifera of a middle Campanian to Maastrichtian age, while low-diversity benthic foraminiferal assemblages suggest a sufficient nutrient supply to the sea floor and a shallow neritic, occasionally stressed environment. The impact breccia and the redeposited suevite are overlain by a 46 cm-thick dolomitic calcareous sandstone unit that contains scarce, reworked planktic foraminiferal specimens. This unit probably represents the uppermost part of the initial infill of the crater. The uppermost centimeters of this unit are bioturbated, and its top represents a hiatus that spans at least the G. cretacea, Pv. eugubina, and part of the P. pseudobulloides biozones. This unit is overlain by a 3-4 cm-thick marly clay layer that represents a condensed layer. Benthic foraminiferal assemblages suggest a low food supply to the sea floor and environmental instability during the deposition of the marly clay layer. The increase in diversity of the assemblages indicates that the environmental conditions improved and stabilized from the G. compressa biozone toward the A. uncinata (P2) biozone. The Danian planktic and benthic foraminiferal assemblages indicate a deeper, probably bathyal environment.
    • 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.
    • Stratigraphic and sedimentological observations from seismic data across the Chicxulub impact basin

      Bell, C.; Morgan, J. V.; Hampson, G. J.; Trudgill, B. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      Seismic data across the offshore half of the Chicxulub impact crater reveal a 145 kmdiameter post-impact basin to be a thickening of Tertiary sediment, which thickens by ~0.7 sec from the basin margin to the basin center. The basin existed long after the impact and was gradually infilled to its current flat surface. A suite of seismic horizons within the impact basin have been picked on four reflection lines across the crater. They reveal that the western and northwestern parts of the impact basin were filled first. Subsequently, there was a dramatic change in the depositional environment, indicated by an unconformable surface that can be mapped across the entire basin. A prograding shelf sequence downlaps onto this unconformity in the eastern basin. The seismic stratigraphic relationships suggest a marine regression, with sedimentation becoming gradually more passive as sediments fill the eastern part of the impact basin. The central and northeastern parts of the basin are filled last. The onshore hole Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1), which was drilled on the flanks of the southern basin, has been projected onto the offshore seismic data to the west of the crater center. Using dates obtained from this onshore well and regional data, approximate ages have been placed on the most significant horizons in the offshore seismic data. Our preliminary interpretation is that the western and northwestern basins were almost entirely filled by 40 Ma and that the marine regression observed in the eastern basin is early Miocene in age. Offshore seismic stratigraphic analyses and onshore data within Yax-1 suggest that the early Paleocene is highly attenuated across the impact basin. The Mesozoic section appears to be ~1 km thicker offshore than onshore. We calculate that, given this offshore thickening, the volume of Mesozoic rocks that have been excavated, melted, or vaporized during impact is around 15% larger than expected from calculations that assume the offshore thickness is equal to that onshore. This has significant consequences for any environmental calculations. The current offset between the K-T boundary outside and inside the crater is ~700 m. However, infilling of basins with sediments is usually accompanied by subsidence, and immediately following the impact, the difference would have been smaller. We calculate the original topographic offset on the K-T boundary to have been between 450 and 700 m, which is in agreement with depthdiameter scaling laws for a mixed target.