• 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.
    • Fluid inclusion evidence for impact-related hydrothermal fluid and hydrocarbon migration in Creataceous sediments of the ICDP-Chicxulub drill core Yax-1

      Lüders, V.; Rickers, K. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      Fluid inclusions studies in quartz and calcite in samples from the ICDP-Chicxulub drill core Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1) have revealed compelling evidence for impact-induced hydrothermal alteration. Fluid circulation through the melt breccia and the underlying sedimentary rocks was not homogeneous in time and space. The formation of euhedral quartz crystals in vugs hosted by Cretaceous limestones is related to the migration of hot (>200 degrees C), highly saline, metal-rich, hydrocarbon-bearing brines. Hydrocarbons present in some inclusions in quartz are assumed to derive from cracking of pre-impact organic matter. The center of the crater is assumed to be the source of the hot quartz-forming brines. Fluid inclusions in abundant newly-formed calcite indicate lower cyrstallization temperatures (75100 degrees C). Calcite crystallization is likely related to a later stage of hydrothermal alteration. Calcite precipitated from saline fluids, most probably from formation water. Carbon and oxygen isotope compositions and REE distributions in calcites and carbonate host rocks suggest that the calcite-forming fluids have achieved close equilibrium conditions with the Cretaceous limestones. The precipitation of calcite may be related to the convection of local pore fluids, possibly triggered by impact-induced conductive heating of the sediments.
    • Hydrothermal alteration in the core of the Yaxcopoil-1 borehole, Chicxulub impact structure, Mexico

      Zürcher, L.; Kring, D. A. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      Petrographic, electron microprobe, and Raman spectrometric analyses of Yaxcopoil-1 core samples from the Chicxulub crater indicate that the impact generated a hydrothermal system. Relative textural and vein crosscutting relations and systematic distribution of alteration products reveal a progression of the hydrothermal event in space and time and provide constraints on the nature of the fluids. The earliest calcite, halite, and gaylussite suggest that the impactite sequence was initially permeated by a low temperature saline brine. Subsequent development of a higher temperature hydrothermal regime is indicated by thermal metamorphic diopside-hedenbergite (Aeg3Fs(18-33)En32 11Wo(47-53)) after primary augite and widespread Na-K for Ca metasomatic alkali exchange in plagioclase. Hydrothermal sphene, apatite, magnetite +/- (bornite), as well as early calcite (combined 3 to 8 vol%) were introduced with metasomatic feldspar. A lower temperature regime characterized by smectite after probable primary glass, secondary chlorite, and other pre-existing mafic minerals, as well as very abundant calcite veins and open-space fillings, extensively overprinted the early hydrothermal stage. The composition of early and late hydrothermal minerals show that the solution was chlorine-rich (Cl/F >10) and that its Fe/Mg ratio and oxidation state increased substantially (4 to 5 logO2 units) as temperature decreased through time. The most altered zone in the impactite sequence occurs 30 m above the impact melt.The lack of mineralogical zoning about the impact melt and convective modeling constraints suggest that this unit was too thin at Yaxcopoil-1 to provide the necessary heat to drive fluids and implies that the hydrothermal system resulted from the combined effects of a pre-existing saline brine and heat that traveled to the Yaxcopoil-1 site from adjacent areas where the melt sheet was thicker. Limonite after iron oxides is more common toward the top of the sequence and suggests that the impactite section was subjected to weathering before deposition of the Tertiary marine cover. In addition, scarce latest anatase stringers, chalcopyrite, and barite in vugs, francolite after apatite, and recrystallized halite are the likely products of limited post- ydrothermal ambient-temperature diagenesis, or ocean and/or meteoric water circulation.