• Impactites of the Yaxcopoil-1 drilling site, Chicxulub impact structure: Petrography, geochemistry, and depositional environment

      Dressler, B. O.; Sharpton, V. L.; Schwandt, C. S.; Ames, D. E. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      The impact breccias encountered in drill hole Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1) in the Chicxulub impact structure have been subdivided into six units. The two uppermost units are redeposited suevite and suevite, and together are only 28 m thick. The two units below are interpreted as a ground surge deposit similar to a pyroclastic flow in a volcanic regime with a fine-grained top (unit 3; 23 m thick; nue ardente) and a coarse breccia (unit 4; ~15 m thick) below. As such, they consist of a mlange of clastic matrix breccia and melt breccia. The pyroclastic ground surge deposit and the two units 5 and 6 below are related to the ejecta curtain. Unit 5 (~24 m thick) is a silicate impact melt breccia, whereas unit 6 (10 m thick) is largely a carbonate melt breccia with some clastic-matrix components. Unit 5 and 6 reflect an overturning of the target stratigraphy. The suevites of units 1 and 2 were deposited after emplacement of the ejecta curtain debris. Reaction of the super-heated breccias with seawater led to explosive activity similar to phreomagmatic steam explosion in volcanic regimes. This activity caused further brecciation of melt and melt fragments. The fallback suevite deposit of units 1 and 2 is much thinner than suevite deposits at larger distances from the center of the impact structure than the 60 km of the Yax-1 drill site. This is evidence that the fallback suevite deposit (units 1 and 2) originally was much thicker. Unit 1 exhibits sedimentological features suggestive of suevite redeposition. Erosion possibly has occurred right after the K/T impact due to seawater backsurge, but erosion processes spanning thousands of years may also have been active. Therefore, the top of the 100 m thick impactite sequence at Yaxcopoil, in our opinion, is not the K/T boundary.
    • Magnetic mineralogy of the Yaxcopoil-1 core, Chicxulub

      Pilkington, M.; Ames, D. E.; Hildebrand, A. R. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      Core from the Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1) hole, drilled as a result of the Chicxulub Scientific Drilling Project (CSDP), has been analyzed to investigate the relationship between opaque mineralogy and rock magnetic properties. Twenty one samples of suevite recovered from the depth range 818-894 m are generally paramagnetic, with an average susceptibility of 2000 x 10^(-6) SI and have weak remanent magnetization intensities (average 0.1 A/m). The predominant magnetic phase is secondary magnetite formed as a result of low temperature (<150 degrees C) alteration. It occurs in a variety of forms, including vesicle infillings associated with quartz and clay minerals and fine aggregates between plagioclase/diopside laths in the melt. Exceptional magnetic properties are found in a basement clast (metamorphosed quartz gabbro), which has a susceptibility of >45000 x 10^(-6) SI and a remanent magnetization of 77.5 A/m. Magnetic mafic basement clasts are a common component in the Yax-1 impactite sequence. The high susceptibility and remanence in the mafic basement clasts are caused by the replacement of amphiboles and pyroxenes by an assemblage with fine <1 micrometer magnetite, ilmenite, K-feldspar, and stilpnomelane. Replacement of the mafic minerals by the magnetic alteration assemblage occurred before impact. Similar alteration mechanisms, if operative within the melt sheet, could explain the presence of the high amplitude magnetic anomalies observed at Chicxulub.