Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Perry, Eugene C., 1933-

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences


Chicxulub Crater; Geology; Stratigraphic--Cenozoic


The goal of this study is to find how the large Terminal Cretaceous Chicxulub Impact Crater controlled the geologic evolution of the northwestern Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, during the Cenozoic Era. The Crater is roughly occupied by the Chicxulub Sedimentary Basin, which is circumscribed by the Cenote Ring (a ring of karstic sinkholes). Lithologic, petrographic, and geochemical data of 11 cores from inside the Cenote Ring (depths range: 1,100 to 21 mbls) were compared to those obtained on 8 cores from outside the Ring (depths range: 671 to 98 mbls). They reveal that the Chicxulub Sedimentary Basin concentrated the deposition of pelagic and outer-platform sediments during the Paleocene and Eocene, and it filled during the Middle Miocene. Shallow-water deposition predominated outside the Chicxulub Basin during the Cenozoic. δ¹⁸O and δ¹³C in whole-rock, non-vug-filling calcite from cores ranges from −7.14‰ to +0.85‰ PDB, and −4.62‰ to +3.38‰ PDB, respectively. The abundance of the possible features of subaerial exposure (subaerial crusts, vugs, karst, dedolomite) increases upward and outward from the center of the Basin. δ18O and δ13C in whole-rock, non-vug-filling dolomite from cores ranges from −4.62‰ to +3.38‰ PDB, and −4.62‰ to +3.38‰ PDB, respectively. Most samples have negative δ¹⁸O and positive δ¹³C. XRD-determined mole % CaCO₃ varies between 47.28 and 57.24. Polyhedral dolomite, montmorillonite, mixed-layer clay, zeolite, quartz, celestite, and potassium feldspar are present in UNAM 5 core between 270 and 198 mbls. The relative abundance of dolomite is greater outside the Ring. Replacive dolomite is larger, more euhedral, and less stoichiometric inside the Ring than outside. Replacive dolomite and vug-filling dolomite cement formed under shallow-burial conditions in the presence of a fluid dominated by freshwater and/or an anomalously high geothermal gradient. Dedolomitization features (hollow crystals or dolomite rhombs partially replaced by calcite) are more common outside the Ring. Petrographic, microprobe, XRD, and stable isotope data indicate that formation of diagenesic low-magnesium calcite and dolomite was more frequent outside the Chicxulub Basin than inside. Sediment deposition and diagenesis also were controlled by the structural features of the crater (peaks, rings).


Includes bibliographical references (pages [289]-304).


xvi, 325 pages, maps




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