Open Access

Magnetostratigraphy of the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary and early Paleocene sedimentary sequence from the Chicxulub Impact Crater

Earth, Planets and Space200658:BF03352626

Received: 20 December 2005

Accepted: 7 June 2006

Published: 8 November 2006


We report on the magnetostratigraphy of the Chicxulub crater impact breccias and first 15 meters of the Paleocene sedimentary sequence recovered in three boreholes of the UNAM Scientific Drilling Program. Three geomagnetic polarity zones are documented in the impact breccias and sedimentary sequence, which span from chron 29R to 28N. For the 15 m interval they represent 2.5 Ma, which yields low apparent sedimentary rates for boreholes UNAM-5 (110 km from the center of the crater) and UNAM-7 (127 km from the center of the crater). The carbonate sedimentary sequence can be associated to a shallow basin depositional environment. In these boreholes the thickness between the 29R and the 29N chrons is just 0.5 m, suggesting that during the 100 ka from the K/T boundary to the polarity transition sediments were not deposited or eroded. Within borehole UNAM-6 (152 km from the center of the crater) it appears that sediments containing chron 29N are missing, the lack of the upper breccias, the long duration of a reversal event within the base of the sequence and low apparent sedimentary rate of 3.3 m/Ma, suggests a hiatus within the impact breccias and the basal Paleocene sedimentary sequence. Magnetic susceptibility logs confirm absence of the upper breccias at UNAM-6 borehole. Magnetic susceptibility values increase towards the base of the sequence, suggesting that basement and melt clasts were subjected to a low temperature hydrothermal alteration.

Key words

Chicxulub CraterCretaceous/Tertiary boundarymagnetostratigraphypaleomagnetismGulf of Mexico