• Secondary alteration of the impactite and mineralization in the basal Tertiary sequence, Yaxcopoil-1, Chicxulub impact crater, Mexico

      Ames, D. E.; Kjarsgaard, I. M.; Pope, K. O.; Dressler, B. O.; Pilkington, M. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      The 65 Ma Chicxulub impact crater formed in the shallow coastal marine shelf of the Yucatán Platform in Mexico. Impacts into water-rich environments provide heat and geological structures that generate and focus sub-seafloor convective hydrothermal systems. Core from the Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1) hole, drilled by the Chicxulub Scientific Drilling Project (CSDP), allowed testing for the presence of an impact-induced hydrothermal system by: a) characterizing the secondary alteration of the 100 m-thick impactite sequence; and b) testing for a chemical input into the lower Tertiary sediments that would reflect aquagene hydrothermal plume deposition. Interaction of the Yax-1 impactites with seawater is evident through redeposition of the suevites (unit 1), secondary alteration mineral assemblages, and the subaqueous depositional environment for the lower Tertiary carbonates immediately overlying the impactites. The least-altered silicate melt composition intersected in Yax-1 is that of a calc-alkaline basaltic andesite with 53.4-56 wt% SiO2 (volatile-free). The primary mineralogy consists of fine microlites of diopside, plagioclase (mainly Ab 47), ternary feldspar (Ab 37 to 77), and trace apatite, titanite,and zircon. The overprinting alteration mineral assemblage is characterized by Mg-saponite, Kmontmorillonite, celadonite, K-feldspar, albite, Fe-oxides, and late Ca and Mg carbonates. Mg and K metasomatism resulted from seawater interaction with the suevitic rocks producing smectite-Kfeldspar assemblages in the absence of any mixed layer clay minerals, illite, or chlorite. Rare pyrite, sphalerite, galena, and chalcopyrite occur near the base of the impactites. These secondary alteration minerals formed by low temperature (0-150 degrees C) oxidation and fixation of alkalis due to the interaction of glass-rich suevite with down-welling seawater in the outer annular trough intersected at Yax-1. The alteration represents a cold, Mg-K-rich seawater recharge zone, possibly recharging higher temperature hydrothermal activity proposed in the central impact basin. Hydrothermal metal input into the Tertiary ocean is shown by elevated Ni, Ag, Au, Bi, and Te concentrations in marcasite and Cd and Ga in sphalerite in the basal 25 m of the Tertiary carbonates in Yax-1. The lower Tertiary trace element signature reflects hydrothermal metal remobilization from a mafic source rock and is indicative of hydrothermal venting of evolved seawater into the Tertiary ocean from an impactgenerated hydrothermal convective system.
    • 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.
    • 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.