• Geochemistry of drill core samples from Yaxcopoil-1, Chicxulub impact crater, Mexico

      Schmitt, R. T.; Wittmann, A.; Stöffler, D. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      The chemical composition of suevites, displaced Cretaceous target rocks, and impactgenerated dikes within these rocks from the Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1) drill core, Chicxulub impact crater, Mexico, is reported and compared with the data from the Yucatán 6 (Y6) samples. Within the six suevite subunits of Yax-1, four units with different chemical compositions can be distinguished: a) upper/lower sorted and upper suevite (depth of 795-846 m); b) middle suevite (depth of 846-861 m); degrees C) brecciated impact melt rock (depth of 861-885 m); and d) lower suevite (depth of 885-895 m). The suevite sequence (a), (b), and (d) display an increase of the CaO content and a decrease of the silicate basement component from top to bottom. In contrast, the suevite of Y6 shows an inverse trend. The different distances of the Yax-1 and Y6 drilling sites from the crater center (~60, and ~47 km, respectively) lead to different suevite sequences. Within the Cretaceous rocks of Yax-1, a suevitic dike (depth of ~916 m) does not display chemical differences when compared with the suevite, while an impact melt rock dike (depth of ~1348 m) is significantly enriched in immobile elements. A clastic breccia dike (depth of ~1316 m) is dominated by material derived locally from the host rock, while the silicate-rich component is similar to that found in the suevite. Significant enrichments of the K2O content were observed in the Yax-1 suevite and the impact-generated dikes. All impactites of Yax-1 and Y6 are mixtures of a crystalline basement and a carbonate component from the sedimentary cover. An anhydrite component in the impactites is missing (Yax-1) or negligible (Y6).
    • Platinum group elements in impactites of the ICDP Chicxulub drill core Yaxcopoil-1: Are there traces of projectile?

      Tagle, R.; Erzinger, J.; Hecht, L.; Schmitt, R. T.; Stöffler, D.; Claeys, P. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      This study presents results of platinum group element (PGE) analyses of impactites from the Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1) and Yucatán 6 drill cores of the 180 km-diameter Chicxulub crater. These are the main elements used for projectile identification. They were determined by nickel sulfide fire assay combined with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The concentration of PGE in the samples are low. The concentration patterns of the suevite samples resemble the pattern of the continental crust. We conclude that any meteoritic fraction in these samples is below 0.05%. A synand post-impact modification of the PGE pattern from meteoritic toward a continental crust pattern is very unlikely. The globally distributed fallout at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) boundary, however, has high PGE concentrations. Therefore, the lack of a significant meteoritic PGE signature in the crater is not an argument for a PGE-poor impactor. Taking the results of three-dimensional numerical simulations of the Chicxulub event into account, the following conclusions are drawn: 1) The main fraction of the impactor was ejected into and beyond the stratosphere, distributed globally, and deposited in the K/T boundary clay; and 2) the low amount of projectile contamination in the Yax-1 lithologies may reflect an oblique impact. However, the role of volatiles in the mixing process between projectile and target is not well-understood and may also have played a fundamental role.
    • The Chicxulub Scientific Drilling Project (CSDP)

      Urrutia-Fucugauchi, J.; Morgan, J.; Stöffler, D.; Claeys, P. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
    • First petrographic results on impactites from the Yaxcopoil-1 borehole, Chicxulub structure, Mexico

      Tuchscherer, M. G.; Reimold, W. U.; Koeberl, C.; Gibson, R. L.; de Bruin, D. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      The ICDP Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1) borehole located 60 km south-southwest of the center of the Chicxulub impact structure intercepted an interval of allogenic impactites (depth of 795-895 m). Petrographic analysis of these impactites allows them to be differentiated into five units based on their textural and modal variations. Unit 1 (795-922 m) comprises an apparently reworked, poorly sorted and graded, fine-grained, clast-supported, melt fragment-bearing suevitic breccia. The interstitial material, similar to units 2 and 3, is permeated by numerous carbonate veinlets. Units 2 (823-846 m) and 3 (846-861 m) are groundmass-supported breccias that comprise green to variegated angular and fluidal melt particles. The groundmass of units 2 and 3 comprises predominantly fine-grained calcite, altered alkali element-, Ca-, and Si-rich cement, as well as occasional lithic fragments. Unit 4 (861-885 m) represents a massive, variably devitrified, and brecciated impact melt rock. The lowermost unit, unit 5 (885-895 m), comprises highly variable proportions of melt rock particles (MRP) and lithic fragments in a fine-grained, carbonate-dominated groundmass. This groundmass could represent either a secondary ydrothermal phase or a carbonate melt phase, or both. Units 1 and 5 contain well-preserved foraminifera fossils and a significantly higher proportion of carbonate clasts than the other units. All units show diagnostic shock deformation features in quartz and feldspar clasts. Our observations reveal that most felsic and all mafic MRP are altered. They register extensive K-metasomatism. In terms of emplacement, we suggest that units 1 to 3 represent fallout suevite from a collapsing impact plume, whereby unit 1 was subsequently reworked by resurging water. Unit 4 represents a coherent impact melt body, the formation of which involved a significant proportion of crystalline basement. Unit 5 is believed to represent an initial ejecta/ground-surge deposit.
    • Major and trace element characteristics of impactites from the Yaxcopoil-1 borehole, Chicxulub structure, Mexico

      Tuchscherer, M. G.; Reimold, W. U.; Koeberl, C.; Gibson, R. L. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      Approximately 100 m of impactites were retrieved from the ICDP borehole Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1), located ~60 km south-southwest from the center of the Chicxulub impact crater on the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico. Here, we characterize and discuss this impact breccia interval according to its geochemical characteristics. Chemical analysis of samples from all five recognized breccia units reveals that the impactites are of heterogeneous composition with regard to both major and trace elements at the single sample (816 cm3) scale. This is primarily due to a strong mixing relationship between carbonate and silicate fractions. However, averaged compositions for suevitic units 1 to 3 are similar, and the silicate fraction (after removal of the carbonate component) indicates thorough mixing and homogenization. Analysis of the green melt breccia horizon, unit 4, indicates that it contains a distinct mafic component. Large brown melt particles (in units 2, 3, and 4) represent a mixture of feldspathic and mafic components, with high CaO abundances. Unit 5 shows the greatest compositional diversity, with highly variable abundances of SiO2, CaO, and MgO. Inter-sample heterogeneity is the result of small sample size combined with inherent heterogeneous lithological compositions, highly variable particle size of melt and lithic components, and post-depositional alteration. In contrast to samples from the Y6 borehole from closer to the center of the structure, Yax-1 impactites have a strong carbonate component. Elevated loss on ignition, Rb, and Cs contents in the upper two impactite units indicate strong interaction with seawater. The contents of the siderophile elements, including Ni, Co, Ir, and Cr, do not indicate the presence of a significant extraterrestrial component in the Yax-1 impactites.
    • Impact lithologies and their emplacement in the Chixulub impact crater: Initial results from the Chicxulub Scientific Drilling Project, Yaxcopoil, Mexico

      Kring, D. A.; Hörz, F.; Zurcher, L.; Urrutia Fucugauchi, J. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      The Chicxulub Scientific Drilling Project (CSDP), Mexico, produced a continuous core of material from depths of 404 to 1511 m in the Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1) borehole, revealing (top to bottom) Tertiary marine sediments, polymict breccias, an impact melt unit, and one or more blocks of Cretaceous target sediments that are crosscut with impact-generated dikes, in a region that lies between the peak ring and final crater rim. The impact melt and breccias in the Yax-1 borehole are 100 m thick, which is approximately 1/5 the thickness of breccias and melts exposed in the Yucatán-6 exploration hole, which is also thought to be located between the peak ring and final rim of the Chicxulub crater. The sequence and composition of impact melts and breccias are grossly similar to those in the Yucatán-6 hole. Compared to breccias in other impact craters, the Chicxulub breccias are incredibly rich in silicate melt fragments (up to 84% versus 30 to 50%, for example, in the Ries). The melt in the Yax-1 hole was produced largely from the silicate basement lithologies that lie beneath a 3 km- thick carbonate platform in the target area. Small amounts of immiscible molten carbonate were ejected with the silicate melt, and clastic carbonate often forms the matrix of the polymict breccias. The melt unit appears to have been deposited while molten but brecciated after solidification. The melt fragments in the polymict breccias appear to have solidified in flight, before deposition, and fractured during transport and deposition.
    • Impact-related dike breccia lithologies in the ICDP drill core Yaxcopoil-1, Chicxulub impact structure, Mexico

      Wittmann, A.; Kenkmann, T.; Schmitt, R. T.; Hecht, L.; Stöffler, D. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      Petrographic descriptions of three dike breccia lithologies from drill core Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1) are presented. They occur within allochthonous units of displaced sedimentary megablocks of the Chicxulub impact structure. The suevitic dike breccias are the uppermost dike lithology. They contain melt rock particles and melt injections into the dike groundmass. Shock features occur ubiquitously and indicate a strong thermal annealing. Flow textures suggest a highly energetic emplacement process, possibly during the excavation stage as a ground-surge related deposit. The impact melt rock dikes are present in a strongly brecciated megablock interval as flow textured, anastomozing veinlets of impact melt rock that were altered to clay minerals. The melt impregnated a dolomitic host rock, indicating a low viscosity and, thus, high initial temperatures. Brecciation of the impact melt rock dikes occurred while they were still below the glass transition temperature, suggesting that dynamic conditions prevailed shortly after the emplacement process. Major element data indicates that the impact melt rock dikes differ in composition from the homogenized impact melt rock of Chicxulub. This could point to an emplacement during the late compression or early excavation stages of cratering. The clastic polymict dike breccias are coeval with pervasive brittle fracturing of the host rocks. They bear clasts including some crystalline basement and possible melt rock particles in a fine-grained dolomite matrix with turbulent flow textures. Fabric and texture indicate a granular flow at ambient pressures. Such conditions could be envisaged for the excavation phase while the transient cavity grew and fractures opened.
    • 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.
    • Paleomagnetic and rock magnetic study of the Yaxcopoil-1 impact breccia sequence, Chicxulub impact crater (Mexico)

      Urrutia-Fucugauchi, J.; Soler-Arechalde, A. M.; Rebolledo-Vieyra, M.; Vera-Sanchez, P. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      Results of a detailed paleomagnetic and rock magnetic study of samples of the impact breccia sequence cored in the Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1) borehole between abou 800 m and 896 m are presented. The Yax-1 breccia sequence occurs from 794.63 m to 894.94 m and consists of rerdeposited melt-rich, clast-size sorted, fine-grained suevites; melt rich, no clast-size sorting, medium-grained suevites; coarse suevitic melt agglomerates; coarse melt-rich heterogeneous suevites; brecciated susevites; and coarse carbonate and silicate melt suevites. The low-field susceptibility ranges from -0.3 to 40187 x 10^(-6) SI and the NRM intensity ranges from 0.02 mA/m up to 37510 mA/m. In general, the NRM intensity and magnetic susceptibility present wide rangesand are positively correlated, pointing to varying magnetic mineral contents and textures of the melt-rich breccia sequence. The vectorial composition and magnetic stability of NRM were investigated by both stepwise alternating field and thermal demagnetization. In most cases, characteristic single component magnetizations are observed. Both upward and downward inclinations are present through the sequence, and we interpret the reverse magnetization as the primary component in the breccias. Both the clasts and matrix forming the breccia appear to have been subjected to a wide range of temperature/pressure conditions and show distinct rock magnetic properties. An extended interval of remanence acquisition and secondary partial or total remagnetization may explain the paleomagnetic results.
    • 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.
    • Osmium isotope constraints on the proportion of bolide component in Chicxulub impact melt rocks

      Gelnias, A.; Kring, D. A.; Zurcher, L.; Urrutia-Fucugauchi, J.; Morton, O.; Walker, R. J. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      The spatial distribution and amount of material transferred from the bolide involved in the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) event to the target rocks at Chicxulub is still poorly constrained. In this study, Re-Os isotopic analyses of impact melt breccias and lithic clasts from the Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1) borehole were used to determine the distribution and proportion of the bolide component in the target rocks. Because of the much greater concentration of Os in chondritic meteorites compared to the target rocks, little addition of the bolide component would be necessary to greatly perturb the Os concentration and isotopic composition of target rocks. Hence, this is a very sensitive means of examining bolide contributions to the target rocks. For the examined suite of samples, the initial 187Os/188Os ratios vary from 0.19 to 2.3. Conservative mixing calculations suggest that the bolide component comprised as much as approximately 0.1%, by mass, of some samples. Most samples, however, have negligible contributions from the bolide. No samples have Os that is dominated by the bolide component, so for this suite of samples, it is impossible to fingerprint the chemical nature of the bolide using relative abundances of siderophile elements. These results suggest that the bolide did not contribute a significant amount of material to the target rocks. This may, in turn, indicate that most of the bolide was vaporized upon impact or otherwise ejected without mixing with the melt from the target.
    • Physical properties of rocks from the upper part of the Yaxcopoil-1 drill hole, Chicxulub crater

      Popov, Y.; Romushkevich, R.; Bayuk, I.; Korobkov, D.; Mayr, S.; Burkhardt, H.; Wilhelm, H. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      Physical properties were determined in a first step on post-impact tertiary limestones from the depth interval of 404-666 m of the Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1) scientific well, drilled in the Chicxulub impact crater (Mexico). Thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity, density, and porosity were measured on 120 dry and water-saturated rocks with a core sampling interval of 2-2.5 m. Nondestructive, non-contact optical scanning technology was used for thermal property measurements including thermal anisotropy and inhomogeneity. Supplementary petrophysical properties (acoustic velocities, formation resisitivity factor, internal surface, and hydraulic permeability) were determined on a selected subgroup of representative samples to derive correlations with the densely measured parameters, establishing estimated depth logs to provide calibration values for the interpretation of geophysical data. Significant short- and long-scale variations of porosity (1-37%) turned out to be the dominant factor influencing thermal, acoustic, and hydraulic properties of this post impact limestone formation. Correspondingly, large variations of thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity, acoustic velocities, and hydraulic permeability were found. These variations of physical properties allow us to subdivide the formation into several zones. A combination of experimental data on thermal conductivity for dry and water-saturated rocks and a theoretical model of effective thermal conductivity for heterogeneous media have been used to calculate thermal conductivity of mineral skeleton and pore aspect ratio for every core under study. The results on thermal parameters are the necessary basis for the determination of heat flow density, demonstrating the necessity of dense sampling in the case of inhomogeneous rock formations.
    • Magnetostratigraphy of the impact breccias and post-impact carbonates from borehole Yaxcopoil-1, Chicxulub impact crater, Yucatán, Mexico

      Rebolledo-Vieyra, M.; Urrutia-Fucugauchi, J. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      We report the magnetostratigraphy of the sedimentary sequence between the impact breccias and the post-impact carbonate sequence conducted on samples recovered by Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1). Samples of impact breccias show reverse polarities that span up to ~56 cm into the postimpact carbonate lithologies. We correlate these breccias to those of PEMEX boreholes Yucatán-6 and Chicxulub-1, from which we tied our magnetostratigraphy to the radiometric age from a melt sample from the Yucatán-6 borehole. Thin section analyses of the carbonate samples showed a significant amount of dark minerals and glass shards that we identified as the magnetic carriers; therefore, we propose that the mechanism of magnetic acquisition within the carbonate rocks for the interval studied is detrital remanent magnetism (DRM). With these samples, we constructed the scale of geomagnetic polarities where we find two polarities within the sequence, a reverse polarity event within the impact breccias and the base of the post-impact carbonate sequence (up to 794.07 m), and a normal polarity event in the last ~20 cm of the interval studied. The polarities recorded in the sequence analyzed are interpreted to span from chron 29r to 29n, and we propose that the reverse polarity event lies within the 29r chron. The magnetostratigraphy of the sequence studied shows that the horizon at 794.11 m deep, interpreted as the K/T boundary, lies within the geomagnetic chron 29r, which contains the K/T boundary.
    • High resolution temperature measurements in the borehole Yaxcopoil-1, Mexico

      Wilhelm, H.; Heidinger, P.; Šafanda, J.; Čermák, V.; Burkhardt, H.; Popov, Y. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      Within the frame of the International Continental Deep Drilling Program (ICDP) and as a part of the Chicxulub Scientific Drilling Project (CSDP), high resolution temperature measurements were performed in the borehole Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1). The temperature was logged to the depth of 858 m seven times between March 6-19, 2002, starting 10 days after the hole was shut in and mud circulation ceased. Successive logs revealed only small temperature variations in time and space, indicating a fast temperature recovery to almost undisturbed conditions prior to the first log. From these logs, a mean temperature gradient of ~37 mK/m was determined below the uppermost 250 m. Another temperature log was recorded on May 24, 2003 (15 months after the shut in) to a depth of 895 m. The obtained temperature profile is very similar to the 2002 profile, with an insignificantly higher mean gradient below 250 m that may indicate a long-term return to the pre-drilling temperature. The temperature in the uppermost part of the hole bears signs of considerable influence of a convective contribution to the vertical thermal heat transfer. The depth extent of the convection seems to have deepened from 150 m in March 2002 to 230 m in May 2003. Based on the observed temperature gradient and the rock types encountered in the borehole above 670 m, the conducted heat flow is expected to be in the range 65-80 mW/m2.
    • Integrated deep drilling, coring, downhole logging, and data management in the Chicxulub Scientific Drilling Project (CSDP), Mexico

      Wohlgemuth, L.; Bintakies, E.; Kück, J.; Conze, R.; Harms, U. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      Impact structures in the solar system are mainly recognized and explored through remote sensing and, on Earth, through geophysical deep sounding. To date, a continuous scientific sampling of large impact craters from cover rocks to target material has only seldom been performed. The first project to deep-drill and core into one of the largest and well-preserved terrestrial impact structures was executed in the winter of 2001/2002 in the 65 Myr-old Chicxulub crater in Mexico using integrated coring sampling and in situ measurements. The combined use of different techniques allows a three-dimensional insight and a better understanding of impact processes. Here, we report the integration of conventional rotary drilling techniques with wireline mining coring technology that was applied to drill the 1510 m-deep Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1) well about 40 km southwest of Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico. During the course of the project, we recovered approximately 900 m of intact core samples including the transitions of reworked ejecta to post-impact sediments, and that one from large blocks of tilted target material to impact-generated rocks, i.e., impact melt breccias and suevites. Coring was complemented by wireline geophysical measurements to obtain a continuous set of in situ petrophysical data of the borehole walls. The data acquired is comprised of contents of a natural radioactive element, velocities of compressional sonic waves, and electrical resistivity values. All the digital data sets, including technical drilling parameters, initial scientific sample descriptions, and 360 core pictures, were distributed during the course of the operations via Internet and were stored in the ICDP Drilling Information System (http://www.icdp-online.org), serving the global community of cooperating scientists as a basic information service.