Science.gov

Sample records for cretaceous-tertiary k-t boundary

  1. Astronomical age of the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) Boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Runnegar, B.; Varadi, F.; Jögi, P.; Ghil, M.

    2007-12-01

    Recent refinements of models for the motions of the planets, including the Earth-Moon system, have led to the realization that the calculated cyclical changes in Earth's orbital eccentricity may be approximately correct for the whole of the Cenozoic. This raises the possibility of an astronomically-tuned geological timescale that extends to, and perhaps beyond, the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary. In order to test the validity of these long numerical integrations, we compare calculations of Earth's orbital eccentricity 62-67 million years (Ma) ago with a well-documented succession of basinal limestones and marlstones at Zumaia in the Basque region of Spain. Previous work has shown that each limestone-marlstone couplet records one axial precession cycle (~21 ka). An obvious bundling of couplets defines 36 "short" (~100-ka) eccentricity cycles between a carbonate-rich interval, used previously to tie the Zumaia section to our calculations, and the K-T boundary. If we assume an uninterrupted succession of couplets, each 20.8 ka in duration, and step the amplitudes of the time series according to the color (white, pink, or red) of the carbonates, we retrieve a strong 102-ka eccentricity signal with spectral analysis. This permits other ties to be made between prominent features of the calculated time series and the observed rock record. On this basis, the K-T boundary is >65.83 or >65.84 Ma using the ~100 ka cycles, >65.88 Ma using the 20.8-ka precessional cycles, and ≥65.95 Ma using the metronomic 406-ka eccentricity cycle line frequency, all significantly older than the current consensus age of 65.5 Ma.

  2. An extended Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) stable isotope record. Implications for paleoclimate and the nature of the K/T boundary event

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dhondt, Steven

    1988-01-01

    In order to obtain a detailed single site record of marine productivity and temperature across the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) boundary, both delta C-13 and delta O-18 values were measured in paired surface and deep water microfossil and nannofossil samples of mid-latitude South Atlantic Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) Site 528. Additionally, the percent sedimentary carbonate content of the rock samples from which the analyzed fossil samples were taken, were determined. The analyzed interval spanned the last approximately 1 million years of the Cretaceous (the Abathomphalus mayaroensis foraminiferal zone) and the first approximately 9 million years of the Tertiary (the Paleocene). Paired samples were analyzed every 150 cm of the entire 165 m sampled interval (1 sample per recovered DSDP section), every 20 cm for 2.0 m below and 2.5 m above the K/T boundary, and every 0.25 cm immediately below, at, and above the K/T boundary clay. The Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary and earliest Paleocene record of DSDP Site 528 is marked by at least two strong decreases in the surface-to-deep delta C-13 gradient (one at the K/T boundary (66.4 mybp1) and one approximately 150,000 to 200,000 years later). Both of these decreases co-occur with radical decreases in percent carbonate content and appear to indicate not one, but two, strong decreases in marine primary productivity during the analyzed interval.

  3. Impact and extinction signatures in complete Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary sections

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smit, J.; Groot, H.; Dejonge, R.; Smit, P.

    1988-01-01

    The Zumaya, Caravaca and Agost sections in Spain, the El Kef section in Tunisia and the Negev (Nahal Avdat) sections in Israel are among the most continuous, expanded and complete K-T boundary sections. The distribution patterns of the planktic faunas were quantitatively analyzed in closely spaced samples across the K-T boundary in these sections, in conjuction with the geochemistry, stable isotopes, mineralogy and magnetostratigraphy. Three hundred foraminiferal specimens were randomly selected and determined. Reliable estimates for the foraminiferal productivity changes across the K-T boundary and for the 1 to 2 Ma interval preceding the K-T boundary were made from the numbers of individuals/gram of sediment corrected for the sedimentation rates (calculated from magnetic reversals and lithology). No gradual or stepwise extinction is seen below the K-T boundary nor any productivity decrease. Stable isotope analyses show a warming just after deposition of the ejecta layer, not cooling as predicted by nuclear winter scenarios, although the duration of such cooling may be too short to be observed even in these complete sections. Low REE values and cpx spherules with quench textures idential to quench-textures in diagenetically altered spherules, strongly indicate an oceanic site of (one of) the impactor(s).

  4. Carbon isotopic compositions of organic matter across continental Cretaceous Tertiary (K T) boundary sections: Implications for paleoenvironment after the K T impact event

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maruoka, Teruyuki; Koeberl, Christian; Bohor, Bruce F.

    2007-01-01

    To assess the environmental perturbation induced by the impact event that marks the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary, concentrations and isotopic compositions of bulk organic carbon were determined in sedimentary rocks that span the terrestrial K-T boundary at Dogie Creek, Montana, and Brownie Butte, Wyoming in the Western Interior of the United States. The boundary clays at both sites are not bounded by coals. Although coals consist mainly of organic matter derived from plant tissue, siliceous sedimentary rocks, such as shale and clay, may contain organic matter derived from microbiota as well as plants. Coals record δ13C values of plant-derived organic matter, reflecting the δ13C value of atmospheric CO 2, whereas siliceous sedimentary rocks record the δ13C values of organic matter derived from plants and microbiota. The microbiota δ13C value reflects not only the δ13C value of atmospheric CO 2, but also biological productivity. Therefore, the siliceous rocks from these sites yields information that differs from that obtained previously from coal beds. Across the freshwater K-T boundary at Brownie Butte, the δ13C values decrease by 2.6‰ (from - 26.15‰ below the boundary clay to - 28.78‰ above the boundary clay), similar to the trend in carbonate at marine K-T sites. This means that the organic δ13C values reflect the variation of δ13C of atmospheric CO 2, which is in equilibrium with carbon isotopes at the ocean surface. Although a decrease in δ13C values is observed across the K-T boundary at Dogie Creek (from - 25.32‰ below the boundary clay to - 26.11‰ above the boundary clay), the degree of δ13C-decrease at Dogie Creek is smaller than that at Brownie Butte and that for marine carbonate. About 2‰ decrease in δ13C of atmospheric CO 2 was expected from the δ13C variation of marine carbonate at the K-T boundary. This δ13C-decrease of atmospheric CO 2 should affect the δ13C values of organic matter derived from plant tissue. As such a

  5. Carbon isotopic compositions of organic matter across continental Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary sections: Implications for paleoenvironment after the K-T impact event

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Maruoka, T.; Koeberl, C.; Bohor, B.F.

    2007-01-01

    To assess the environmental perturbation induced by the impact event that marks the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary, concentrations and isotopic compositions of bulk organic carbon were determined in sedimentary rocks that span the terrestrial K-T boundary at Dogie Creek, Montana, and Brownie Butte, Wyoming in the Western Interior of the United States. The boundary clays at both sites are not bounded by coals. Although coals consist mainly of organic matter derived from plant tissue, siliceous sedimentary rocks, such as shale and clay, may contain organic matter derived from microbiota as well as plants. Coals record ??13C values of plant-derived organic matter, reflecting the ??13C value of atmospheric CO2, whereas siliceous sedimentary rocks record the ??13C values of organic matter derived from plants and microbiota. The microbiota ??13C value reflects not only the ??13C value of atmospheric CO2, but also biological productivity. Therefore, the siliceous rocks from these sites yields information that differs from that obtained previously from coal beds. Across the freshwater K-T boundary at Brownie Butte, the ??13C values decrease by 2.6??? (from - 26.15??? below the boundary clay to - 28.78??? above the boundary clay), similar to the trend in carbonate at marine K-T sites. This means that the organic ??13C values reflect the variation of ??13C of atmospheric CO2, which is in equilibrium with carbon isotopes at the ocean surface. Although a decrease in ??13C values is observed across the K-T boundary at Dogie Creek (from - 25.32??? below the boundary clay to - 26.11??? above the boundary clay), the degree of ??13C-decrease at Dogie Creek is smaller than that at Brownie Butte and that for marine carbonate. About 2??? decrease in ??13C of atmospheric CO2 was expected from the ??13C variation of marine carbonate at the K-T boundary. This ??13C-decrease of atmospheric CO2 should affect the ??13C values of organic matter derived from plant tissue. As such a

  6. The Manson impact structure, a possible site for a Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary impact

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hartung, J. B.; Kunk, M. J.; Anderson, R. R.

    1988-01-01

    The Manson impact structure, about 35 km in diameter, is the largest impact crater recognized in the United States. Its center is located near the town of Manson, 29 km west of Fort Dodge, Iowa. The structure is not well known geologically because it is covered by tens of meters of glacial deposits. What is known about the structure was learned mostly from the study of water well cuttings. At Manson the normal Phanerozoic and Proterozoic sedimentary rocks were replaced by centrally uplifted Proterozoic crystalline rocks that are representative of the normal basement: This central uplift is surrounded by completely disrupted rocks which are roughly encircled by peripherally faulted and slumped sequences of normal sedimentary strata. Radially outward normal sedimentary strata are uplifted slightly. Manson, once interpreted as a cryptovolcanic structure, is now considered an impact structure based on its circular shape, its central uplift and the presence of multiple intersecting sets of shock lamellae in quartz grains from the central uplift. The Ar-40/Ar-39 age spectrum dating results for a microcline separate from the Manson 2-A core in the central uplift is shown. This spectrum is interpreted to indicate a nearly complete degassing of the microcline at the time of the Manson impact. The remainder of the gas released climbs in age with increasing temperature of release. This pattern of the age spectrum is interpreted to represent diffusional loss due to reheating at the time of the impact and during subsequent cooling. Shocked quartz grains, present in the iridium-bearing layer at the K-T boundary throughout the world, have a significantly larger size and are more abundant in the western interior of North America than elsewhere in the world. Furthermore, shocked feldspar and granitic fragments are found at the K-T boundary in North America. These observations indicate the K-T boundary impact must have penetrated continental crust in North America.

  7. The Manson impact structure, a possible site for a Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary impact

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hartung, J. B.; Kunk, M. J.; Anderson, R. R.

    The Manson impact structure, about 35 km in diameter, is the largest impact crater recognized in the United States. Its center is located near the town of Manson, 29 km west of Fort Dodge, Iowa. The structure is not well known geologically because it is covered by tens of meters of glacial deposits. What is known about the structure was learned mostly from the study of water well cuttings. At Manson the normal Phanerozoic and Proterozoic sedimentary rocks were replaced by centrally uplifted Proterozoic crystalline rocks that are representative of the normal basement: This central uplift is surrounded by completely disrupted rocks which are roughly encircled by peripherally faulted and slumped sequences of normal sedimentary strata. Radially outward normal sedimentary strata are uplifted slightly. Manson, once interpreted as a cryptovolcanic structure, is now considered an impact structure based on its circular shape, its central uplift and the presence of multiple intersecting sets of shock lamellae in quartz grains from the central uplift. The Ar-40/Ar-39 age spectrum dating results for a microcline separate from the Manson 2-A core in the central uplift is shown. This spectrum is interpreted to indicate a nearly complete degassing of the microcline at the time of the Manson impact. The remainder of the gas released climbs in age with increasing temperature of release. This pattern of the age spectrum is interpreted to represent diffusional loss due to reheating at the time of the impact and during subsequent cooling. Shocked quartz grains, present in the iridium-bearing layer at the K-T boundary throughout the world, have a significantly larger size and are more abundant in the western interior of North America than elsewhere in the world. Furthermore, shocked feldspar and granitic fragments are found at the K-T boundary in North America. These observations indicate the K-T boundary impact must have penetrated continental crust in North America.

  8. The Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) impact: One or more source craters?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Koeberl, Christian

    1992-01-01

    The Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) boundary is marked by signs of a worldwide catastrophe, marking the demise of more than 50 percent of all living species. Ever since Alvarez et al. found an enrichment of IR and other siderophile elements in rocks marking the K/T boundary and interpreted it as the mark of a giant asteroid (or comet) impact, scientists have tried to understand the complexities of the K/T boundary event. The impact theory received a critical boost by the discovery of shocked minerals that have so far been found only in association with impact craters. One of the problems of the K/T impact theory was, and still is, the lack of an adequate large crater that is close to the maximum abundance of shocked grains in K/T boundary sections, which was found to occur in sections in Northern America. The recent discovery of impact glasses from a K/T section in Haiti has been crucial in establishing a connection with documented impact processes. The location of the impact-glass findings and the continental nature of detritus found in all K/T sections supports at least one impact site near the North American continent. The Manson Impact Structure is the largest recognized in the United States, 35 km in diameter, and has a radiometric age indistinguishable from that of the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) boundary. Although the Manson structure may be too small, it may be considered at least one element of the events that led to the catastrophic loss of life and extinction of many species at that time. A second candidate for the K/T boundary crater is the Chicxulub structure, which was first suggested to be an impact crater more than a decade ago. Only recently, geophysical studies and petrological (as well as limited chemical) analyses have indicated that this buried structure may in fact be of impact origin. At present we can conclude that the Manson crater is the only confirmed crater of K/T age, but Chicxulub is becoming a strong contender; however, detailed geochemical

  9. The Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) impact: One or more source craters?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koeberl, Christian

    The Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) boundary is marked by signs of a worldwide catastrophe, marking the demise of more than 50 percent of all living species. Ever since Alvarez et al. found an enrichment of IR and other siderophile elements in rocks marking the K/T boundary and interpreted it as the mark of a giant asteroid (or comet) impact, scientists have tried to understand the complexities of the K/T boundary event. The impact theory received a critical boost by the discovery of shocked minerals that have so far been found only in association with impact craters. One of the problems of the K/T impact theory was, and still is, the lack of an adequate large crater that is close to the maximum abundance of shocked grains in K/T boundary sections, which was found to occur in sections in Northern America. The recent discovery of impact glasses from a K/T section in Haiti has been crucial in establishing a connection with documented impact processes. The location of the impact-glass findings and the continental nature of detritus found in all K/T sections supports at least one impact site near the North American continent. The Manson Impact Structure is the largest recognized in the United States, 35 km in diameter, and has a radiometric age indistinguishable from that of the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) boundary. Although the Manson structure may be too small, it may be considered at least one element of the events that led to the catastrophic loss of life and extinction of many species at that time. A second candidate for the K/T boundary crater is the Chicxulub structure, which was first suggested to be an impact crater more than a decade ago. Only recently, geophysical studies and petrological (as well as limited chemical) analyses have indicated that this buried structure may in fact be of impact origin. At present we can conclude that the Manson crater is the only confirmed crater of K/T age, but Chicxulub is becoming a strong contender; however, detailed geochemical

  10. Fullerenes in the cretaceous-tertiary boundary layer

    SciTech Connect

    Heymann, D.; Chibante, L.P.F.; Smalley, R.E. ); Brooks, R.R. ); Wolbach, W.S. )

    1994-07-29

    High-pressure liquid chromatography with ultraviolet-visible spectral analysis of toluene extracts of samples from two Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary sites in New Zealand has revealed the presence of C[sub 60] at concentrations of 0.1 to 0.2 parts per million of the associated soot. This technique verified also that fullerenes are produced in similar amounts in the soots of common flames under ambient atmospheric conditions. Therefore, the C[sub 60] in the K-T boundary layer may have originated in the extensive wildfires that were associated with the cataclysmic impact event that terminated the Mezozoic era about 65 million years ago.

  11. The Western North American Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary interval and its content of shock-metamorphosed minerals: Implications concerning the K-T boundary impact-extinction theory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Izett, G. A.

    1988-01-01

    At 20 sites in the Raton Basin of Colorado and New Mexico, and at several other sites in Wyoming, Montana, and Canada, a pair of claystone units, an Ir abundance anomaly, and a concentration of shock-metamorphosed minerals mark the palynological K-T boundary. The K-T boundary claystone, which is composed of kaolinite and small amounts of illite/smectite mixed-layer clay, is similar in most respects to kaolinite tonstein layers in coal beds. At some, but not all, K-T boundary localities, the boundary claystone contains solid kaolinite and hollow and solid goyazite spherules, 0.05 to 1.2 mm in diameter. The upper unit, the K-T boundary impact layer, consists chiefly of kaolinite and various amounts of illite/smectite mixed-layer clay. The impact layer and boundary claystone are similar chemically, except that the former has slightly more Fe, K, Ba, Cr, Cu, Li, V, and Zn than the latter. The facts that the boundary claystone and impact layer contain anomalous amounts of Ir, comprise a stratigraphic couplet at Western North American sites, and form thin, discrete layers, similar to air-fall units (volcanic or impact), suggest that the claystone units are of impact origin. Significantly, the impact layer contains as much as 2 percent clastic mineral grains, about 30 percent of which contain multiple sets of shock lamellae. Only one such concentration of shocked minerals has been found near the K-T boundary. The type of K-T boundary shock-metamorphosed materials (quartzite and metaquartzite) in the impact layer and the lack of shock lamellae in quartz and feldspar of pumice lapilli and granitic xenoliths in air-fall pumice units of silicic tuffs, such as the Bishop Tuff, eliminate the possibility that the shock-metamorphosed minerals in the K-T impact layer are of volcanic origin. The global size distribution and abundance of shock-metamorphosed mineral grains suggest that the K-T impact occurred in North America.

  12. Seawater strontium isotopes at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Macdougall, J. D.; Martin, E.

    1988-01-01

    Anomalously high values of Seawater Sr-87/Sr-86 near the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary have been reported. However, few of the data from the literature are from a single continuous section, and perhaps the most complete study of the boundary region, from a shallow marine limestone sequence in Alabama, showed elevated Sr-87/Sr-86 but no pronounced spike. Thus, in order to investigate the cause of the change in strontium isotopic composition, it is important to determine the exact nature and magnitude of the increase by studying in detail continuous sections through the boundary. If there is indeed a Sr isotope spike at the K-T boundary, it requires the addition of a large amount of radiogenic Sr to the oceans over a short time period, a phenomenon that may be linked to other large-scale environmental disturbances which occurred at that time. In order to address this question, a high-resolution strontium isotope study of foraminifera from three Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) cores which recovered the K-T boundary section: Site 356 in the South Atlantic, Site 384 in the North Atlantic and Site 577 from the Shatsky Rise in the Pacific was initiated. The isotope measurements are being made on either single or small numbers of forams carefully picked and identified and in most cases examined by SEM before analysis. Because this work is not yet complete, conclusions drawn here must be viewed as tentative. They are briefly discussed.

  13. Magnesioferrite from the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, Caravaca, Spain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bohor, Bruce F.; Foord, Eugene E.; Ganapathy, Ramachandran

    1986-12-01

    The results of an analysis of samples separated from the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary clay at Caravaca, Spain are presented. Magnetically fractionated samples were irradiated with thermal neutrons, and the element concentrations were determined by gamma-ray counting. The magnetic mineral separated from the basal layer of the K-T boundary is a spinel-type phase having the composition of magnesioferrite, and is high (about 29 ppb) in iridium. This spinel-type phase and others of the spinel group found in K-T boundary clays have been proposed to represent unaltered remnants of ejecta deposited from an earth-girdling dust cloud formed from the impact of an asteroid or other large bolide at the end of the Cretaceous period. Major element composition (high Cr and Ni) and trace element ratios of the analyzed samples indicate either an extraterrestrial or mantle source for the magnesioferrite. On the basis of the crystal morphology and general compositon of the grains, rapid crystallization at high temperature is indicated, most likely directly from a vapor phase or emanating cloud and in an environment of moderate oxygen fugacity.

  14. The debate over the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Alvarez, W.; Asaro, F.; Alvarez, L. W.; Michel, H. V.

    1988-01-01

    Large-body impact on the Earth is a rare but indisputable geologic process. The impact rate is approximately known from objects discovered in Earth-crossing orbits and from the statistics of craters on the Earth's surface. Tektite and microtektite strewn fields constitute unmistakable ejecta deposits that can be due only to large-body impacts. The Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary coincides with an unusually severe biological trauma, and this stratigraphic horizon is marked on a worldwide basis by anomalous concentrations of noble metals in chondritic proportions, mineral spherules with relict quench-crystallization textures, and mineral and rock grains showing shock deformation. These features are precisely compatible with an impact origin. Although only impact explains all the types of K-T boundary evidence, the story may not be as simple as once thought. The original hypothesis envisioned one large impact, triggering one great extinction. Newer evidence hints at various complications. Different challenges are faced by the occupants of each apex of a three-cornered argument over the K-T event. Proponents of a non-impact explanation must show that the evidence fits their preferred model better than it fits the impact scenario. Proponents of the single impact-single extinction view must explain away the complications. Proponents of a more complex impact crisis must develop a reasonable scenario which honors the new evidence.

  15. Magnesioferrite from the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, Caravaca, Spain

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bohor, B.F.; Foord, E.E.; Ganapathy, R.

    1986-01-01

    Magnesioferrite grading toward magnetite has been identified as a very small but meaningful constituent of the basal iron-rich portion of the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary clay at the Barranco del Gredero section, Caravaca, Spain. This spinel-type phase and others of the spinel group, found in K-T boundary clays at many widely separated sites, have been proposed as representing unaltered remnants of ejecta deposited from an earth-girdling dust cloud formed from the impact of an asteroid or other large bolide at the end of the Cretaceous period. The magnesioferrite occurs as euhedral, frequently skeletal, micron-sized octahedral crystals. The magnesioferrite contains 29 ?? 11 ppb Ir, which accounts for only part of the Ir anomaly at this K-T boundary layer (52 ?? 1 ppb Ir). Major element analyses of the magnesioferrite show variable compositions. Some minor solid solution exists toward hercynite-spinel and chromite-magnesiochromite. A trevorite-nichromite (NiFe2O4NiCr2O4) component is also present. The analyses are very similar to those reported for sites at Furlo and Petriccio, Umbria, Italy. On the basis of the morphology and general composition of the magnesioferrite grains, rapid crystallization at high temperature is indicated, most likely directly from a vapor phase and in an environment of moderate oxygen fugacity. Elemental similarity with metallic alloy injected into rocks beneath two known impact craters suggests that part of the magnesioferrite may be derived from the vaporized chondritic bolide itself, or from the mantle; there is no supporting evidence for its derivation from crustal target rocks. ?? 1986.

  16. Cathodoluminescence of shocked quartz at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Owen, Michael R.; Anders, Mark H.

    1988-01-01

    Empirical studies have documented an association between rock type and the cathodoluminescence color of constituent quartz grains. Quartz from extrusive igneous sources luminesces uniform pale blue. Quartz from intrusive igneous and high-grade metamorphic rocks generally luminesces darker purple-blue, whereas quartz recrystallized under low-grade metamorphic conditions luminesces reddish-brown. Quartz grains in most sandstones luminesce a heterogeneous mixture of these colors because the grains were derived from a variety of ultimate source rocks. If shocked quartz found at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary is volcanic in origin, its cathodoluminescence should be predominantly pale blue. Alternatively, quartz grains derived from bolide impact upon, and ejection of, mixed igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks should luminesce a variety of colors. Grain mounts of sand collected at the K-T boundary horizon from the Clear Creek North site in the Raton Basin, Colorado were examined. Shocked quartz luminesced a variety of colors and very few grains luminesced the pale blue color that is typical of volcanic quartz. It was concluded that the shocked quartz was derived from a petrologically diverse source region without substantial volcanic contribution. Most shocked grains apparently were derived from low-grade metamorphic rocks, with a slightly smaller contribution from high-grade metamorphic and intrusive igneous rocks. Rare quartz grains with brown-luminescing rims reflect a minor addition from detrital sedimentary sources. The apparent relative abundances of intrusive (and rare extrusive) igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary ultimate source rocks suggested by CL colors of shock-deformed quartz at the K-T boundary is consistent with a crustal/supracrustal origin for the grains.

  17. 40Ar/39Ar age of Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary tektites from Haiti

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Izett, G.A.; Dalrymple, G.B.; Snee, L.W.

    1991-01-01

    40Ar/39Ar dating of tektites discovered recently in Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary marine sedimentary rocks on Haiti indicates that the K-T boundary and impact event are coeval at 64.5 ?? 0.1 million years ago. Sanidine from a bentonite that lies directly above the K-T boundary in continental, coal-bearing, sedimentary rocks of Montana was also dated and has a 40Ar/39Ar age of 64.6 ?? 0.2 million years ago, which is indistinguishable statistically from the age of the tektites.

  18. Major wildfires at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anders, Edward; Wolbach, Wendy S.; Gilmour, Iain

    1991-01-01

    The current status of the reconstruction of major biomass fire events at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary is discussed. Attention is given to the sources of charcoal and soot, the identification of biomass and fossil carbon, and such ignition-related problems as delated fires, high atmospheric O2 content, ignition mechanisms, and the greenhouse-effect consequences of fire on the scale envisioned. Consequences of these factors for species extinction patterns are noted.

  19. Biostratigraphy of the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary in the Sirwan Valley (Sulaimani Region, Kurdistan, NE Iraq)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharbazheri, Khalid Mahmood; Ghafor, Imad Mahmood; Muhammed, Qahtan Ahmad

    2009-10-01

    The Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary sequence, which crops out in the studied area is located within the High Folded Zone, in the Sirwan Valley, northeastern Iraq. These units mainly consist of flysch and flysch-type successions of thick clastic beds of Tanjero/Kolosh Formations. A detailed lithostratigraphic study is achieved on the outcropping uppermost part of the Upper Cretaceous successions (upper part of Tanjero Formation) and the lowermost part of the Kolosh Formation. On the basis of the identified planktonic foraminiferal assemblages, five biozones are recorded from the uppermost part of Tanjero Formation and four biozones from the lower part of the Kolosh Formation (Lower Paleocene) in the Sirwan section. The biostratigraphic correlations based on planktonic foraminiferal zonations showed a comparison between the biostratigraphic zones established in this study and other equivalents of the commonly used planktonic zonal scheme around the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary in and outside Iraq.

  20. Proximal Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary impact deposits in the Caribbean

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hildebrand, Alan R.; Boynton, Willam V.

    1990-01-01

    Trace element, isotopic, and mineralogic studies indicate that the proposed impact at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary occurred in an ocean basin, although a minor component of continental material is required. The size and abundance of shocked minerals and the restricted geographic occurrence of the ejecta layer and impact-wave deposits suggest an impact between the Americas. Coarse boundary sediments at sites 151 and 153 in the Colombian Basin and 5- to 450-meter-thick boundary sediments in Cuba may be deposits of a giant wave produced by a nearby oceanic impact.

  1. Ignition of global wildfires at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Melosh, H. J.; Schneider, N. M.; Zahnle, K. J.; Latham, D.

    1990-01-01

    The recent discovery of an apparently global soot layer at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary indicates that global wildfires were somehow ignited by the impact of a comet or asteroid. It is shown here that the thermal radiation produced by the ballistic reentry of ejecta condensed from the vapor plume of the impact could have increased the global radiation flux by factors of 50 to 150 times the solar input for periods ranging from one to several hours. This great increase in thermal radiation may have been responsible for the ignition of global wildfires, as well as having deleterious effects on unprotected animal life.

  2. Palynologically calibrated vertebrate record from North Dakota consistent with abrupt dinosaur extinction at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pearson, D.A.; Schaefer, T.; Johnson, K.R.; Nichols, D.J.

    2001-01-01

    New data from 17 Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary sections and 53 vertebrate sites in the Hell Creek and Fort Union Formations in southwestern North Dakota document a 1.76 m barren interval between the highest Cretaceous vertebrate fossils and the palynologically recognized K-T boundary. The boundary is above the formational contact at 15 localities and coincident with it at two, demonstrating that the formational contact is diachronous. Dinosaurs are common in the highest Cretaceous vertebrate samples and a partial dinosaur skeleton in the Fort Union Formation is the highest recorded Cretaceous vertebrate fossil in this area.

  3. New links between the Chicxulub impact structure and the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sharpton, V.L.; Dalrymple, G.B.; Marin, L.E.; Ryder, G.; Schuraytz, B.C.; Urrutia-Fucugauchi, J.

    1992-01-01

    THE 200-km-diameter Chicxulub structure1-3 in northern Yucatan, Mexico has emerged as the prime candidate for the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary impact crater3-6. Concentric geophysical anomalies associated with enigmatic occurrences of Upper Cretaceous breccias and andesitic rocks led Penfield and Camargo1 to suspect that this structure was a buried impact basin. More recently, the discovery of shocked quartz grains in a Chicxulub breccia3, and chemical similarities between Chicxulub rocks and K/T tektite-like glasses3-6 have been advanced as evidence that the Chicxulub structure is a K/T impact site. Here we present evidence from core samples that Chicxulub is indeed a K/T source crater, and can apparently account for all the evidence of impact distributed globally at the K/T boundary without the need for simultaneous multiple impacts or comet showers. Shocked breccia clasts found in the cores are similar to shocked lithic fragments found worldwide in the K/T boundary ejecta layer7,8. The Chicxulub melt rocks that we studied contain anomalously high levels of iridium (up to 13.5 parts per 109), also consistent with the indium-enriched K/T boundary layer9. Our best estimate of the crystallization age of these melt rocks, as determined by 40Ar/39Ar analyses, is 65.2??0.4 (1??) Myr, in good agreement with the mean plateau age of 64.98 ?? 0.05 Myr recently reported10. Furthermore, these melt rocks acquired a remanent magnetization indicating that they cooled during an episode of reversed geomagnetic polarity. The only such episode consistent with 40Ar/39Ar constraints is chron 29R, which includes the K/T boundary.

  4. Orbital Cyclicities Above and Below the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary, Umbria-Marche Region, Italy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    King, D. T., Jr.; Petruny, L. W.; Rampino, M. R.; Prokoph, A.; Pope, K.; Fischer, A. G.; Montanari, A.; Ocampo, A. C.

    2000-01-01

    In the Umbria-Marche region of central Italy, the deep basinal carbonate Scaglia Rossa Formation contains an important sequence of Cretaceous-Tertiary strata including a detailed paleomagnetic record and the distal impactoclastic Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary clay layer. In addition to this significant paleomagnetic and impactoclastic record, the Scaglia Rossa also contains potentially important stratigraphic evidence of relatively long-term oceanic and atmospheric consequences of the Cretaceous-Tertiary bolide catastrophe, which we will describe for the first time herein. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  5. Wildfires and animal extinctions at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adair, Robert K.

    2010-06-01

    Persuasive models of the ejection of material at high velocities from the Chicxulub asteroid impact marking the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary have led to the conclusion that upon return, that material, heated in passage through the upper atmosphere, generated a high level of infrared energy density over the Earth's surface. That radiant energy has been considered to be a direct source of universal wildfires, which were presumed to be a major cause of plant and animal species extinctions. The extinction of many animal species, especially the dinosaurs, has also been attributed to the immediate lethal effects of the radiation. I find that the absorption of the radiation by the atmosphere, by cloud formations, and by ejecta drifting in the lower atmosphere reduced the radiation at the surface to a level that cannot be expected to have generated universal fires. Although the reduced radiation will have likely caused severe injuries to many animals, such insults alone seem unlikely to have generated the overall species extinctions that have been deduced.

  6. Selective extinction and survival across the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary in the northern Atlantic Coastal Plain

    SciTech Connect

    Gallagher, W.B. )

    1991-10-01

    The inner Atlantic Coastal Plain in New Jersey and the Delmarva Peninsula is underlain by an Upper Cretaceous-lower Tertiary sequence of marine and paralic sand, clay, and glauconitic beds. Campanian, Maastrichtian, Danian, and Thanetian deposits are especially fossiliferous and yield a succession of marine faunas that reveal a pattern of selective extinction and survival across the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary in this area. Cretaceous benthic invertebrate communities are dominated by oysters and other semi-infaunal and infaunal molluscs with planktotrophic larval stages. These are replaced in the Danian by brachiopod-dominated communities that are composed of epifaunal benthos with a variety of nonplanktotrophic reproductive strategies. A similar pattern is observable in the nektonic cephalopod populations in this sequence; the typical ammonites of the Cretaceous became extinct at the K/T boundary, whereas the nautilids survived. Ammonites are thought to have had a planktotrophic larval stage, whereas nautilids are known to lay large lecithotrophic eggs. This pattern of differential survival is attributed to the planktonic population crash at the K/T boundary which placed planktotrophically reproducing species at a disadvantage while favoring the varied groups that practiced alternative reproductive strategies.

  7. High-resolution leaf-fossil record spanning the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Johnson, K.R.; Nichols, D.J.; Attrep, M., Jr.; Orth, C.J.

    1989-01-01

    THEORIES that explain the extinctions characterizing the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary1-3 need to be tested by analyses of thoroughly sampled biotas. Palynological studies are the primary means for stratigraphic placement of the terrestrial boundary and for estimates of plant extinction4-12, but have not been combined with quantitative analyses of fossil leaves (megaflora). Megafloral studies complement palynology by representing local floras with assemblages capable of high taxonomic resolution13, but have previously lacked the sample size and stratigraphic spacing needed to resolve latest Cretaceous floral history5,14-18. We have now combined megafloral data from a 100-m-thick composite K/T boundary section in North Dakota with detailed palynological analysis. Here the boundary is marked by a 30% palynofloral extinction coincident with iridium and shocked-mineral anomalies and lies ???2 m above the highest dinosaur remains. The megaflora undergoes a 79% turnover across the boundary, and smaller changes 17- and 25-m below it. This pattern is consistent with latest Cretaceous climatic warming preceding a bolide impact. ?? 1989 Nature Publishing Group.

  8. Planktonic foraminiferal bioevents and faunal turnover across the Cretaceous Tertiary boundary in north of Iran

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Darvishzad, B.; Khaje Tash, R.

    2009-04-01

    In the north of Iran in the Galanderud area, similar to those known from the eastern Tethys realm, experienced unusually adverse environmental conditions for planktic foraminifera during the last two million years of the terminal Cretaceous to early Danian. This section is studied to determine the foraminiferal biozones of the upper Cretaceous to lower Paleocene and to detect patterns of foraminiferal changes across the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary. All late Maastrichtian planktic foraminiferal biozones CF1 to CF4, and Danian biozones P0 (Parvularugoglobogerina extensa) P1a (Parvularugoglobogerina eugubina) and Parasubbotina pseudobulloides are present. Faunal studies show that all but four of the Cretaceous species identified disappeared at or below the K-T boundary in zone CF1 (P. hantkeninoides). Another four species (Heterohelix globulosa, H. dentata, H. monmouthensis, G. cretacea) appear to have survived in to the early Danian. Early disappearances appear to be environmentally controlled. Coarse ornamented species with small populations disappeared first, where as small species will little or no ornamented and generally large populations tended to survive after the environment changing. This indicates a pattern of gradual and selective faunal turnover in planktonic foraminifera during the latest Maastrichtian and in to the earliest Danian that is similar to that observed at the El kef stratotype of Tunisia, as well as K-T sequences in west of Iran, Egypt, Italy, Spain and Mexico.

  9. Deccan volcanism at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Courtillot, V.; Vandamme, D.; Besse, J.

    1988-01-01

    The accuracy with which one can claim that Deccan trap volcanism occurred at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) over a very short time interval is of key importance in deciding whether a volcanic origin of the KTB events should be taken seriously. In the two years since paleomagnetic, paleontological and geodynamic evidence was published, further data have become available and the case now appears to be well constrained. The Ar-40/Ar-39 results from six labs have yielded some 24 reliable plateau ages that narrow the age range to 65 to 69 Ma. Moreover, it appears that a significant part of this range results from inter-lab spread and possible minor alteration. Paleontology demonstrates that volcanism started in the Maestrichtian, more precisely in the A. mayaroensis zone. Paleomagnetism shows that volcanism spanned only 3 chrons and only one correlation remains possible, that of the main central reversed chron with 29R. Therefore, whereas Ar-40/Ar-39 is able only to restrict the duration of volcanism to some 4 Ma, paleomagnetism restricts it to 0.5 Ma. Using some geochemical indicators such as C-13 as proxy, it is suggested that volcanism actually consists of a few shorter events of unequal magnitude. Extrusion rates may be as high as 100 cu km/yr and fissure lengths as long as several 100 km. Such a scenario appears to be at least as successful as others in accounting for most anomalies observed at the KTB. Particularly important are Iridium and other platinum group elements (PGE) profiles, Sr-87/Sr-86, C-13, 0-18, other exotic geochemical signatures, spherules, soot, shocked minerals, selective and stepwise extinctions. The environmental impact of CO2 possibly released during explosive phases of volcanism, and SO2 released during effusive phases, and the ability of volcanism to ensure worldwide distribution of KTB products are now all addressed. In conclusion, the case for a causal link between internal hotspot activity, birth of the Reunion hotspot itself as

  10. Benthic foraminifera at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary around the Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alegret, Laia; Molina, Eustoquio; Thomas, Ellen

    2001-10-01

    Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary sections in northeastern Mexico contain marly formations separated by a controversial clastic unit. Benthic foraminifera in seven sections indicate middle and lower bathyal depths of deposition for the marls, with the exception of the upper bathyal northernmost section. Mixed neritic-bathyal faunas were present in the clastic unit, indicating redeposition in the deep basin by mass-wasting processes resulting from the K-T bolide impact in the Gulf of Mexico. Benthic foraminifera in the Mexican sections, and at other deep-sea locations, were not subject to major extinction at the time of impact, but there were temporary changes in assemblage composition. Benthic faunas indicate well- oxygenated bottom waters and mesotrophic conditions during the late Maastrichtian and increased food supply during the latest Maastrichtian. The food supply decreased drastically just after the K-T boundary, possibly because of the collapse of surface productivity. Cretaceous and early Paleogene benthic foraminifera, however, did not exhibit the benthic-pelagic coupling of present-day faunas, as documented by the lack of significant extinction at the K-T collapse of surface productivity. Much of the food supplied to the benthic faunas along this continental margin might have been refractory material transported from land or shallow coastal regions. The decrease in food supply at the K-T boundary might be associated with the processes of mass wasting, which removed surface, food-rich sediment. Benthic faunas show a staggered pattern of faunal recovery in the lowermost Paleogene, consistent with a staged recovery of the vertical organic flux but also with a gradual buildup of organic matter in the sediment.

  11. Clay mineralogy of the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary clay. [in search for asteroid ejecta

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rampino, M. R.; Reynolds, R. C.

    1983-01-01

    Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary layer clay samples from four localities were subjected to analyses which imply that they are neither mineralogically exotic nor distinct from locally derived clays above and below the boundary. The anomalous iridium-rich ejecta component predicted by the asteroid impact scenario of Alvarez et al (1980) was not detected. It is proposed that volcanic material be considered as an explanation of the geochemical anomalies of the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. A model which involves a period of intense volcanism at the end of the Cretaceous would generate a variety of climatic and biological effects consonant with the geologic history of that period.

  12. 40Ar-39Ar dating of the Manson impact structure: A cretaceous-tertiary boundary crater candidate

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kunk, M.J.; Izett, G.A.; Haugerud, R.A.; Sutter, J.F.

    1989-01-01

    The mineralogy of shocked mineral and lithic grains in the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary claystone worldwide is most consistent with a bolide impact on a continent. Both the concentrations and sizes of these shocked grains are greatest in the western interior of North America. These data suggest that the Manson impact structure in north-central Iowa is a viable candidate for the K-T boundary impact event. Argon-40-argon-39 age spectrum dating of shocked microcline from the crystalline central uplift of the Manson impact structure indicates that there was severe argon-40 loss at 65.7 ?? 1.0 million years ago, an age that is indistinguishable from that of the K-T boundary, within the limits of analytical precision.

  13. Ar-40 - Ar-39 dating of the Manson impact structure - A Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary crater candidate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kunk, M. J.; Sutter, J. F.; Izett, G. A.; Haugerud, R. A.

    1989-06-01

    The mineralogy of shocked mineral and lithic grains in the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary claystone worldwide is most consistent with a bolide impact on a continent. Both the concentrations and sizes of these shocked grains are greatest in the western interior of North America. These data suggest that the Manson impact structure in north-central Iowa is a viable candidate for the K-T boundary impact event. Argon-40-argon-39 age spectrum dating of shocked microcline from the crystalline central uplift of the Manson impact structure indicates that there was severe argon-40 loss at 65.7 + or - 1.0 million years ago, an age that is indistinguishable from that of the K-T boundary, within the limits of analytical precision.

  14. sup 40 Ar- sup 39 Ar dating of the manson impact structure: A cretaceous-tertiary boundary crater candidate

    SciTech Connect

    Kunk, M.J.; Sutter, J.F. ); Izett, G.A. ); Haugerud, R.A. )

    1989-06-30

    The mineralogy of shocked mineral and lithic grains in the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary claystone worldwide is most consistent with a bolide impact on a continent. Both the concentrations and sizes of these shocked grains are greatest in the western interior of North America. These data suggest that the Manson impact structure in north-central Iowa is a viable candidate for the K-T boundary impact event. Argon-40-argon-39 age spectrum dating of shocked microcline from the crystalline central uplift of the Manson impact structure indicates that there was severe argon-40 loss at 65.7 {plus minus} 1.0 million years ago, an age that is indistinguishable from that of the K-T boundary, within the limits of analytical precision. 36 refs., 2 figs., 1 tab.

  15. Mineralogy of Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary clays in the Chicxulub structure in northern Yucatan

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ming, D. W.; Sharpton, Virgil L.; Schuraytz, B. C.

    1991-01-01

    The Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary clay layer is thought to be derived from ejecta material from meteorite impact, based on the anomalous concentrations of noble metals in the layer. Because of recent findings of a half-meter thick ejecta deposit at the K/T boundary in Haiti, efforts have focused on locating a large impact feature in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. One of the leading candidates for the site of a large impact is the Chicxulub structure located on the northern Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The Chicxulub structure is a subsurface zone of upper Cretaceous igneous rocks, carbonates, and breccias. The structure has been interpreted to be a 200 km diameter; however, there is some question to the size of the structure or to the fact that it even is an impact feature. Little is known about the mineralogy of this structure; the objective of this study was to determine the clay mineralogy of core samples from within the Chicxulub structure.

  16. Palaeobotanical evidence for a June 'impact winter' at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wolfe, J.A.

    1991-01-01

    A LARGE bolide impact, such as that thought to have occurred at the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary, should produce large amounts of light-attenuating debris, thereby causing an 'impact winter'1-3. Because of thermal buffering in the oceans, evidence for a brief (1-2 months2-4) impact winter would be found only in terrestrial environments. Aquatic leaves in the K/T boundary section near Teapot Dome, Wyoming, preserve structural deformation that can be duplicated experimentally in extant aquatic leaves by freezing. Reproductive stages reached by the fossil aquatic plants at the time of death suggest that freezing took place in approximately early June. Both the existence of the structurally deformed plants and the high abundance of fern spores occur in a horizon containing sparse impact debris, but below the horizon containing abundant impact debris; I therefore suggest that the lower horizon represents debris and effects from a large, distant bolide impact, and the upper horizon represents a small, nearby bolide impact.

  17. Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in the Antarctic: Climatic cooling precedes biotic crisis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stott, Lowell D.; Kennett, James P.

    1988-01-01

    Stable isotopic investigations were conducted on calcareous microfossils across two deep sea Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sequences on Maud Rise, Weddell Sea, Antarctica. The boundary is taken at the level of massive extinctions in calcareous planktonic microfossils, and coincides with a sharp lithologic change from pure calcareous ooze to calcareous ooze with a large volcanic clay component. The uppermost Maestrichtian is marked by a long-term decrease in delta value of 0 to 18 which spans most of the lower and middle A. mayaroensis Zone and represents a warming trend which culminated in surface water temperatures of about 16 C. At approximately 3 meters below the K-T boundary this warming trend terminates abruptly and benthic and planktonic isotopic records exhibit a rapid increase in delta value of 0 to 18 that continues up to the K-T boundary. The trend towards cooler surface water temperatures stops abruptly at the K-T boundary and delta value of 0 to 18 values remain relatively stable through the Paleocene. Comparison of the Antarctic sequence with the previously documented deep sea records in the South Atlantic reveal shifts of similar magnitude in the latest Maestrichtian. It is indicated that the Southern Ocean underwent the most significant, and apparently permanent, climatic change. The latest Cretaceous oxygen isotopic shift recorded at Maud Rise and other deep sea sites is similar in magnitude to large positive delta valve of 0 to 18 shifts in the middle Eocene, at the Eocene/Oligocene boundary and in the middle Miocene that marked large scale climatic transitions which ultimately lead to cryospheric development of the Antarctic. The climatic shift at the end of the Cretaceous represents one of the most significant climatic transitions recorded in the latest Phanerozoic and had a profound effect on global climate as well as oceanic circulation.

  18. Assessing the Evidence for Extensive Wildfires at the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Belcher, C. M.; Collinson, M. E.; Finch, P.; Scott, A. C.

    2004-12-01

    Models of the Cretaceous-Tertiary impact at Chicxulub have suggested that the thermal radiation released by the impact would have been sufficient to ignite extensive wildfires. Eight non-marine K-T sequences stretching from New Mexico to Saskatchewan have been studied in order to test this hypothesis. A multi-proxy approach has been devised by identifying and using key palaeo wildfire proxies (charcoal, soot and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's)) in combination to assess the extent of biomass burning as part of the K-T events. Soot and PAH's cannot be used to indicate fire location, as soot and PAH's from one large fire could be spread globally. The morphology of the soot and nature of the PAH's present can be used to determine their source, allowing identification of those created by biomass burning versus those from coal, gas and hydrocarbons in the K-T rocks. In contrast to soot and PAH's charcoal is a product uniquely produced by the combustion of vegetation. Charcoal in non-marine rocks provides an excellent tool to record the distribution of wildfires and therefore assess the extent of any thermal radiation associated with the impact at Chicxulub. Quantitative data from three different measures of charcoal abundance (in situ in polished blocks of rock and macro- and microscopic charcoal particles released from sieving of demineralised sediment) reveal that the K-T boundary rocks across the Western Interior of North America contain significantly less charcoal than is typical of the Cretaceous background of this area. The Cretaceous sedimentary rocks contain between 4 and 9 times (according to the measure used) more charcoal particles than the K-T sedimentary rocks. Taphonomic factors do not explain this difference. Furthermore non-charred plant remains are also abundant in the K-T rock layers. Re-assessment of the record of soot and PAH's reported in the K-T rocks suggests that the morphology of the soot and the signature of the PAH's is more consistent with

  19. High-resolution late Maastrichtian early Danian oceanic 87Sr/86Sr record: Implications for Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vonhof, H. B.; Smit, J.

    1997-04-01

    A high-resolution late Maastrichtian early Danian seawater 87Sr/86Sr reference curve is constructed from two Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (K-T boundary) sections: Bidart (France) and El Kef (Tunisia). The 87Sr/86Sr curve shows maxima at 0.3 0.4 Ma before the K-T boundary and at the K-T boundary. The first maximum could mark the onset of a major outflow of the Deccan Traps. The second maximum, a rapid 0.000 06 87Sr/86Sr, shift, extends from ˜3 4 m below to ˜1 m above the K-T boundary. This profile probably results from diagenetic smoothing of an originally sharp K-T boundary 87Sr/86Sr anomaly, rather than from a gradual process. The sharp shift could result from (1) the vaporization of the Chicxulub target rocks, (2) global wildfires, and (3) acid-rain leaching of soils and sialic surface rocks. Of these three possibilities, only Sr release by soil leaching combined with increased rainfall associated with the K-T event appears to be sufficiently large to produce the observed K-T 87Sr/86Sr anomaly.

  20. The Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary biotic crisis in the Basque country

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lamolda, M. A.

    1988-01-01

    The Zumaya section has been selected as a classic locality for the study of the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary due to its richness in microfaune, macrofaune, and nannoflora. The sections present similar good conditions for the study of the K-T boundary. The sedimentary rocks of the Uppermost Maastrichtian from the Basque Country are purple or pink marls and marls-tones. Above it is found a clayed bed, 40 to 29 cm thick, grey or dark grey in its basal part, of Lowermost Danian age. Above there is alternation of micritic grey-pink limestones and thin clay beds of Dano-Montian age. The average sedimentation is 7 to 8 times higher during the Upper Maastrichtian than in the Dano-Montian. The macrofauna underwent a decrease since the Campanian and was not found in the last 11 m of the Zumaya section; it was associated with changes in paleoceanographic conditions and primary productivity of the oceans. The microfossil assemblages in the K-T transition allows the recognition of several phases of a complex crisis between two well established planktonic ecosystems. In the Mayaroensis Zone there is a stable ecosystem with 45 to 47 planktonic foraminifera species. The disappearance of A. mayaroensis starts a degradation of the ecosystem. The number of planktonic foraminiera species decreases between 20 and 45 percent. The next phase of the crisis was the result of main extinction events in the planktonic calcareous ecosystem. There are several cretaceous planktonic foraminifera species, probably reworked, whose numbers decrease upward. The next and last phase of the biotic crisis shows a diversification of the ecosystem; the number of planktonic foraminifera is 2 to 3 times higher than before and it is noted the first appearance of Tertiary nannoflora species, while Cretaceous species decrease and persisting species are still the main ones.

  1. Major wildfires at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gilmour, Iain; Wolbach, Wendy S.; Anders, Edward

    1989-01-01

    K-T boundary (KTB) clays from five sites are enriched in soot and charcoal by factors of 100-1000 over Cretaceous levels, apparently due to a global fire. The soot profile nearly coincides with the Ir profile, implying that the fire was triggered by the impact. Much or all of the fuel was biomass, as indicated by the presence of retene and by the C isotopic composition. The amount of elemental C at the KTB (0.012 g/sq cm) is very large, and requires either that most of the Cretaceous biomass burned down or that the soot yield was higher than in small fires. At undisturbed sites, soot correlates tightly with Ir, As, Sb, and Zn. Apparently soot and Ir-bearing ejecta particles coagulated in the stratosphere and then scavenged additional chalcophiles from the hydrosphere. In view of this coagulation, the K-T fire would only slightly prolong the period of darkness and cold caused by impact ejecta.

  2. A new Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary locality in the western powder River basin, Wyoming: biological and geological implications

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nichols, D.J.; Brown, J.L.; Attrep, M., Jr.; Orth, C.J.

    1992-01-01

    A newly discovered Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary locality in the western Powder River basin, Wyoming, is characterized by a palynologically defined extinction horizon, a fern-spore abundance anomaly, a strong iridium anomaly, and shock-metamorphosed quartz grains. Detailed microstratigraphic analyses show that about one third of the palynoflora (mostly angiosperm pollen) disappeared abruptly, placing the K-T boundary within a distinctive, 1- to 2-cm-thick claystone layer. Shocked quartz grains are concentrated at the top of this layer, and although fern-spore and iridium concentrations are high in this layer, they reach their maximum concentrations in a 2-cm-thick carbonaceous claystone that overlies the boundary claystone layer. The evidence supports the theory that the K-T boundary event was associated with the impact of an extraterrestrial body or bodies. Palynological analyses of samples from the K-T boundary interval document extensive changes in the flora that resulted from the boundary event. The palynologically and geochemically defined K-T boundary provides a unique time-line of use in regional basin analysis. ?? 1992.

  3. The Origin of White Beds below the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary Revisited

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abrajevitch, A.; Font, E.; Florindo, F.; Roberts, A. P.

    2014-12-01

    The respective roles of an asteroid impact and Deccan Traps eruptions in biotic changes at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary are still debated. In many shallow marine sections around the world, the K-T boundary is marked by a distinct impact clay layer that is often underlain by a several decimeter-thick "white" low susceptibility zone. A previous study of the Gubbio section, Italy [Lowrie et al., 1990; EPSL, 98, 302-312], attributed the loss of coloration and low magnetization intensity in the white beds to post-depositional dissolution of ferrimagnetic minerals. Dissolution is thought to be a consequence of downward infiltration of reducing waters that resulted from rapid accumulation of organic matter produced by mass extinctions after the impact. We compared rock magnetic characteristics of the Gubbio section with those of the Bidart section in France. The two sections are similar in their carbonate lithology, presence of a boundary clay and low susceptibility zone. When compared to background Cretaceous sediments, the white zone in both sections is marked by an absence of biogenic magnetite, a decrease in total ferrimagnetic mineral content, and preferential loss of magnetite with respect to hematite - features that are consistent with reductive dissolution. However, unlike the Gubbio section, where the white zone starts immediately below the impact clay, at Bidart the low susceptibility zone and the clay layer are separated by a ~2 cm carbonate interval that contains abundant biogenic magnetite. Such separation casts doubt on a causal link between the impact and sediment bleaching. The white layer, thus, is more likely to record an episode of unusual bottom water chemistry that preceded the asteroid impact. A change in sea-water acidity associated with Deccan Traps volcanism may explain the magnetic mineral dissolution in the white beds.

  4. Step-wise extinctions at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary and their climatic implications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Maurrasse, Florentin J-M. R.

    1988-01-01

    A comparative study of planktonic foraminifera and radiolarian assemblages from the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary section of the Beloc Formation in the southern Peninsula of Haiti, and the lowermost Danian sequence of the Micara Formation in southern Cuba reveals a remarkable pattern of step-wise extinctions. This pattern is consistent in both places despite the widely different lithologies of the two formations. Because of a step-wise extinction and the delayed disappearance of taxa known to be more representative of cooler water realms, it is inferred that a cooling trend which characterized the close of the Maastrichtian and the onset of the Tertiary had the major adverse effect on the existing biota. Although repetitive lithologic and faunal fluctuations throughout the Maastrichtian sediments found at Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) site 146/149 in the Caribbean Sea indicate variations reminiscent of known climatically induced cycles in the Cenozoic, rapid biotic succession appears to have taken place during a crisis period of a duration greater than 2 mission years. Widespread and abundant volcanic activities recorded in the Caribbean area during the crisis period gives further credence to earlier contention that intense volcanism may have played a major role in exhacerbating pre-existing climatic conditions during that time.

  5. Ocean alkalinity and the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Caldeira, K. G.; Rampino, Michael R.

    1988-01-01

    A biogeochemical cycle model resolving ocean carbon and alkalinity content is applied to the Maestrichtian and Danian. The model computes oceanic concentrations and distributions of Ca(2+), Mg(2+), and Sigma-CO2. From these values an atmospheric pCO2 value is calculated, which is used to estimate rates of terrestrial weathering of calcite, dolomite, and calcium and magnesium silicates. Metamorphism of carbonate rocks and the subsequent outgassing of CO2 to the atmosphere are parameterized in terms of carbonate rock reservoir sizes, total land area, and a measure of overall tectonic activity, the sea-floor generation rate. The ocean carbon reservoir computed by the model is used with Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) C-13 data to estimate organic detrital fluxes under a variety of ocean mixing rate assumptions. Using Redfield ratios, the biogenic detrital flux estimate is used to partition the ocean carbon and alkalinity reservoirs between the mixed layer and deep ocean. The calcite flux estimate and carbonate ion concentrations are used to determine the rate of biologically mediated CaCO3 titration. Oceanic productivity was severely limited for approximately 500 kyr following the K/T boundary resulting in significant increases in total ocean alkalinity. As productivity returned to the ocean, excess carbon and alkalinity was removed from the ocean as CaCO3. Model runs indicate that this resulted in a transient imbalance in the other direction. Ocean chemistry returned to near-equilibrium by about 64 mybp.

  6. Magnetic characterization of Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Villasante-Marcos, Víctor; Martínez-Ruiz, Francisca; Osete, María Luisa; Urrutia-Fucugauchi, Jaime

    Rock magnetic properties across several K-T boundary sections have been investigated to reveal any possible magnetic signature associated with the remains of the impact event at the end of the Cretaceous. Studied sections' locations vary in distance to the Chicxulub structure from distal (Agost and Caravaca, Spain), through closer (ODP Hole 1049A, Blake Nose, North Atlantic), to proximal (El Mimbral and La Lajilla, Mexico). A clear magnetic signature is associated with the fireball layer in the most distal sections, consisting of a sharp increase in susceptibility and saturation isothermal remanent magnetization (SIRM), and a decrease in remanence coercivity. Magnetic properties in these sections point to a distinctive ferrimagnetic phase, probably corresponding to the reported Mg- and Ni-rich, highly oxidized spinels of meteoritic origin. At closer and proximal sections magnetic properties are different. Although there is an increase in susceptibility and SIRM associated with a rusty layer placed on top of the siliciclastic deposit in proximal sections, and with a similar limonitic layer on top of the spherule bed that defines the boundary at Blake Nose, the magnetic properties indicate a mixture of iron oxyhydroxides dominated by fine-grained goethite. Based on previous geochemical studies at Blake Nose and new geochemical and PGE abundance measurements performed in this work at El Mimbral, this goethite-rich layer can be interpreted as an effect of diagenetic remobilization and precipitation of Fe. There is not enough evidence to assert that this Fe concentration layer at proximal sections is directly related to deposition of fine meteoritic material. Magnetic, geochemical, and iridium data reject it as a primary meteoritic phase.

  7. Geochemical evidence for suppression of pelagic marine productivity at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zachos, J.C.; Arthur, M.A.; Dean, W.E.

    1989-01-01

    The normal, biologically productive ocean is characterized by a gradient of the 13C/12C ratio from surface to deep waters. Here we present stable isotope data from planktonic and benthic micro-fossils across the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary in the North pacific, which reveal a rapid and complete breakdown in this biologically mediated gradient. The fluxes of barium (a proxy for organic carbon) and CaCO3 also decrease significantly at the time of the major marine plankton extinctions. The implied substantial reduction in oceanic primary productivity persisted for ???0.5 Myr before the carbon isotope gradient was gradually re-established. In addition, the stable isotope and preservational data indicate that environmental change, including cooling, began at least 200 kyr before the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary, and a peak warming of ???3 ??C occurred 600 kyr after the boundary event. ?? 1989 Nature Publishing Group.

  8. Shocked quartz in the cretaceous-tertiary boundary clays: Evidence for a global distribution

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bohor, B.F.; Modreski, P.J.; Foord, E.E.

    1987-01-01

    Shocked quartz grains displaying planar features were isolated from Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary days at five sites in Europe, a core from the north-central Pacific Ocean, and a site in New Zealand. At all of these sites, the planar features in the shocked quartz can be indexed to rational crystallographic planes of the quartz lattice. The grains display streaking indicative of shock in x-ray diffraction photographs and also show reduced refractive indices. These characteristic features of shocked quartz at several sites worldwide confirm that an impact event at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary distributed ejecta products in an earth-girdling dust cloud, as postulated by the Alvarez impact hypothesis.

  9. Spherules from the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary clay at Gubbio, Italy: the problem of outcrop contamination

    SciTech Connect

    Montanari, A.

    1986-12-01

    Surficial outcrop contamination has occurred in some well-known stratigraphic sections of carbonate rocks in the northern Apennines. A critical case involves several contaminated clay partings, including the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary clay in the classic Bottaccione section near Gubbio, Italy. These clay layers contain shiny spherules which, in several recent studies, have been said to consist of volcanic glass and have been used to support the hypothesis that the terminal Cretaceous mass extinction was caused by widespread volcanism. Laboratory tests, however, indicate that these shiny spherules are made of HF-insoluble and combustible material and are therefore of recent biological origin. These objects were introduced into the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary clay and other clay layers from the surrounding soil along with abundant detrital contaminants derived from erosion of the middle Miocene flysch exposed at the head of the Bottaccione Gorge. They are completely different from the altered and flattened microtektitelike spheroids that are found only in the iridium-rich Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary clay and that provide strong evidence for a large impact.

  10. Marine and continental K-T boundary clays compared

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schmitz, B.

    1988-01-01

    Detailed geochemical and mineralogical studies (1 to 5) of sediments across the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary at Stevns Klint, Karlstrup, Nye Klov, Dania, and Kjolby Gaard in Denmark, at Limhamn in Sweden, at Caravaca in Spain, at Waipara and Woodside Creek in New Zealand, at Trinidad in Colorado, and at various sites in Montana, have induced conclusions and reflections which are given and briefly discussed.

  11. Palynological and iridium anomalies at Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, south-central Saskatchewan

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nichols, D.J.; Jarzen, D.M.; Orth, C.J.; Oliver, P.Q.

    1986-01-01

    The Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in south-central Saskatchewan is marked by coincident anomalies in abundance of iridium and fern spores at the extinction level of a suite of Cretaceous pollen taxa. Evidence of disruption of the terrestrial flora includes the fern-spore abundance anomaly and local extinction of as much as 30 percent of angiosperm species. The reorganized earliest Tertiary flora is made up largely of surviving species that assumed new roles of dominance. Persistence of climatically sensitive taxa across the boundary indicates that if paleoclimate was altered by the terminal Cretaceous event, it returned quickly to the pre-event condition.

  12. Disruption of the terrestrial plant ecosystem at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, western interior

    SciTech Connect

    Tschudy, R.H.; Pillmore, C.L.; Orth, C.J.; Gilmore, J.S.; Knight, J.D.

    1984-09-07

    The palynologically defined Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in the western interior of North America occurs at the top of an iridium-rich clay layer. The boundary is characterized by the abrupt disappearance of certain pollen species, immediately followed by a pronounced, geologically brief change in the ratio of fern spores to angiosperm pollen. The occurrence of these changes at two widely separated sites implies continent-wide disruption of the terrestrial ecosystem, probably caused by a major catastrophic event at the end of the period. 15 references, 2 figures.

  13. Disruption of the terrestrial plant ecosystem at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, western interior

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tschudy, R.H.; Pillmore, C.L.; Orth, C.J.; Gilmore, J.S.; Knight, J.D.

    1984-01-01

    The palynologically defined Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in the western interior of North America occurs at the top of an iridium-rich clay layer. The boundary is characterized by the abrupt disappearance of certain pollen species, immediately followed by a pronounced, geologically brief change in the ratio of fern spores to angiosperm pollen. The occurrence of these changes at two widely separated sites implies continentwide disruption of the terrestrial ecosystem, probably caused by a major catastrophic event at the end of the period.

  14. A new Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary site at Flaxbourne River, New Zealand - Biostratigraphy and geochemistry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Strong, C. P.; Brooks, Robert R.; Wilson, Shane M.; Reeves, Roger D.; Orth, Charles J.

    1987-01-01

    On the basis of biostratigraphy data, it is shown that the Flaxbourne River Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary is among the most complete and least disturbed marine sequences yet found; this is particularly true with respect to its post-Ir anomaly and prelowermost Paleocene sequence. INAA and ICP analyses reveal that the boundary clay is also enriched in Cr and Ni, mainly from meteoritic material, and As, Co, Cu, Sb, and Zn from terrestrial sources. It is found that Zn/Sb, As/Sb, and Zn/As ratios generally fall between crustal and oceanic values, suggesting contributions from both sources.

  15. Biospheric effects of a large extraterrestrial impact: Case study of the cretaceous/tertiary boundary crater

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pope, Kevin O.

    1995-01-01

    The Chicxulub impact crater, buried in the Yucatan carbonate platform in Mexico, is the site of the impact purported to have caused mass extinctions at the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary. A recently discovered Chicxulub ejecta deposit in Belize contains evidence of carbonate vaporization and precipitation from the vapor plume. Sulfate clasts are almost absent in the Belize ejecta, but are abundant in the coarse ejecta near the crater rim, hwich may reflect the greater abundance of sulfates deep in the target section. The absence of sulfate precipitates in Belize may indicate that most of the vaporized sulfur was deposited in the upper atmosphere. Hydrocode modeling of the impact indicates that between 0.4 to 7.0 x 10(exp 17) g of sulfur were vaporized by the impact in sulfates. Laser experiments indicate that SO2, SO3, and SO4 are produced, and that complex chemical reactions between plume constituents occur during condensation. The sulfur released as SO3 or SO4 converted rapidly into H2HO4 aerosol. A radiative transfer model coupled with a model of coagulation predicts that the aerosol prolonged the initial blackout period caused by impact dust only if it contained impurities. The sulfur released as SO2 converted to aerosol slowly due to the rate limiting oxidation of SO2. Radiative transfer calculations combined with rates of acid production, coagulation, and diffusion indicate that solar transmission was reduced to 10-20 percent of normal for a period of 8-13 years. This reduction produced a climate forcing (cooling) of -300 Wm(exp -2), which far exceeded the +8 Wm(exp -2) greenhouse warming caused by the CO2 released through the vaporization of carbonates, and therefore produced a decade of freezing and near-freezing temperatures. Several decades of moderate warming followed the decade of severe cooling due to the long residence time of CO2. The prolonged impact winter may have been a major cause of the K/T extinctions.

  16. Biospheric effects of a large extraterrestrial impact: Case study of the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary crater

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pope, Kevin O.

    1994-01-01

    The Chicxulub Crater in Yucatan, Mexico, is the primary candidate for the impact that caused mass extinctions at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary. The target rocks at Chicxulub contain 750 to 1500 m of anhydrite (CaSO4), which was vaporized upon impact, creating a large sulfuric acid aerosol cloud. In this study we apply a hydrocode model of asteroid impact to calculate the amount of sulfuric acid produced. We then apply a radiative transfer model to determine the atmospheric effects. Results include 6 to 9 month period of darkness followed by 12 to 26 years of cooling.

  17. Trace element and isotope geochemistry of Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sediments: identification of extra-terrestrial and volcanic components

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Margolis, S. V.; Doehne, E. F.

    1988-01-01

    Trace element and stable isotope analyses were performed on a series of sediment samples crossing the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary from critical sections at Aumaya and Sopelano, Spain. The aim is to possibly distinguish extraterrestrial vs. volcanic or authigenic concentration of platinum group and other elements in K-T boundary transitional sediments. These sediments also have been shown to contain evidence for step-wise extinction of several groups of marine invertebrates, associated with negative oxygen and carbon isotope excursions occurring during the last million years of the Cretaceous. These isotope excursions have been interpreted to indicate major changes in ocean thermal regime, circulation, and ecosystems that may be related to multiple events during latest Cretaceous time. Results to date on the petrographic and geochemical analyses of the Late Cretaceous and Early Paleocene sediments indicate that diagenesis has obviously affected the trace element geochemistry and stable isotope compositions at Zumaya. Mineralogical and geochemical analysis of K-T boundary sediments at Zumaya suggest that a substantial fraction of anomalous trace elements in the boundary marl are present in specific mineral phases. Platinum and nickel grains perhaps represent the first direct evidence of siderophile-rich minerals at the boundary. The presence of spinels and Ni-rich particles as inclusions in aluminosilicate spherules from Zumaya suggests an original, non-diagenetic origin for the spherules. Similar spherules from southern Spain (Caravaca), show a strong marine authigenic overprint. This research represents a new approach in trying to directly identify the sedimentary mineral components that are responsible for the trace element concentrations associated with the K-T boundary.

  18. Surface-water acidification and extinction at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Hondt, Steven; Pilson, Michael E. Q.; Sigurdsson, Haraldur; Hanson, Alfred K., Jr.; Carey, Steven

    1994-11-01

    If published estimates of SO2 volatilization and NOx generation by the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) impact were atmospherically converted to sulfuric and nitric acid, globally dispersed, and rapidly rained out, the resulting acid concentrations would bracket a critical threshold in surface-ocean chemistry. Rapid and globally uniform deposition of masses corresponding to the lowest estimates would have had no major effect on sea-surface chemistry. However, similar deposition of masses corresponding to the highest estimates would have provided enough acid to destroy the carbonate-buffering capacity of the upper 100 m of the world ocean and catastrophically reduce surface-ocean pH. Despite the possible effect of the highest estimated acid yields, scenarios that rely on acid rain as the primary explanation of global K-T extinctions are not readily compatible with K-T records of terrestrial and marine survival or culturing studies of modern marine plankton. The possibility that acid rain was a primary cause of K-T extinctions can be tested further by analysis of geographic variation in extinction intensity, because such variation was a likely consequence if the impact resulted in global dispersal and rapid globally uniform deposition of more than ˜6 x 1016 mol of H2SO4 or 1.2 x 1017 mol of HNO3.

  19. Multiple factors in the origin of the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary: the role of environmental stress and Deccan Trap volcanism.

    PubMed

    Glasby, G P; Kunzendorf, H

    1996-06-01

    A review of the scenarios for the Cretaceous/ Tertiary (K/T) boundary event is presented and a coherent hypothesis for the origin of the event is formulated. Many scientists now accept that the event was caused by a meteorite impact at Chicxulub in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Our investigations show that the oceans were already stressed by the end of the Late Cretaceous as a result of the long-term drop in atmospheric CO2, the long-term drop in sea level and the frequent development of oceanic anoxia. Extinction of some marine species was already occurring several million years prior to the K/T boundary. The biota were therefore susceptible to change. The eruption of the Deccan Traps, which began at 66.2 Ma, coincides with the K/T boundary events. It erupted huge quantities of H2SO4, HCl, CO2, dust and soot into the atmosphere and led to a significant drop in sea level and marked changes in ocean temperature. The result was a major reduction in oceanic productivity and the creation of an almost dead ocean. The volcanism lasted almost 0.7 m.y. Extinction of biological species was graded and appeared to correlate with the main eruptive events. Elements such as Ir were incorporated into the volcanic ash, possibly on soot particles. This horizon accumulated under anoxic conditions in local depressions and became the marker horizon for the K/T boundary. An oxidation front penetrated this horizon leading to the redistribution of elements. The eruption of the Deccan Traps is the largest volcanic event since the Permian-Triassic event at 245 Ma. It followed a period of 36 m.y. in which the earth's magnetic field failed to reverse. Instabilities in the mantle are thought to be responsible for this eruption and therefore for the K/T event. We therefore believe that the K/T event can be explained in terms of the effects of the Deccan volcanism on an already stressed biosphere. The meteorite impact at Chicxulub took place after the onset of Deccan volcanism. It probably

  20. Palaeobotanical evidence for a marked temperature increase following the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wolfe, J.A.

    1990-01-01

    CORRESPONDENCE analysis of dicot leaf physiognomy of modern vegetational samples from a wide range of environments indicates that >70% of physiognomic variation corresponds to water or temperature factors, or both. Despite wide variation in single physiognomic characters, overall trends can be used to distinguish between samples from different climates. Some climate parameters are well correlated with changes in physiognomy, so that climate characteristics can be inferred from physiognomic analyses. Here I apply this climate-leaf analysis multivariate program (CLAMP) to leaf assemblages from the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary. The results indicate a fourfold increase in precipitation at the boundary and an increase in mean annual temperature of 10??C. These levels persisted for 0.5-1.0 Myr, after which precipitation decreased to about three times the values for the latest Cretaceous, and the mean annual temperature decreased to 5-6??C above latest Cretaceous values.

  1. Chicxulub impact predates the K-T boundary mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Keller, Gerta; Adatte, Thierry; Stinnesbeck, Wolfgang; Rebolledo-Vieyra, Mario; Urrutia Fucugauchi, Jaime; Kramar, Utz; Stüben, Doris

    2004-01-01

    Since the early l990s the Chicxulub crater on Yucatan, Mexico, has been hailed as the smoking gun that proves the hypothesis that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs and caused the mass extinction of many other organisms at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary 65 million years ago. Here, we report evidence from a previously uninvestigated core, Yaxcopoil-1, drilled within the Chicxulub crater, indicating that this impact predated the K-T boundary by ≈300,000 years and thus did not cause the end-Cretaceous mass extinction as commonly believed. The evidence supporting a pre-K-T age was obtained from Yaxcopoil-1 based on five independent proxies, each with characteristic signals across the K-T transition: sedimentology, biostratigraphy, magnetostratigraphy, stable isotopes, and iridium. These data are consistent with earlier evidence for a late Maastrichtian age of the microtektite deposits in northeastern Mexico. PMID:15004276

  2. Local Structure of Sb in Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary Clays from Stevns Klint By the XAFS Method

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hongu, H.; Yoshiasa, A.; Tobase, T.; Hiratoko, T.; Isobe, H.; Arima, H.; Sugiyama, K.; Okube, M.

    2014-12-01

    The Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) mass extinctions has been thought to be due to the asteroid impact since Ir anomalies was found by Alvarez et al. (1980) . The boundary clay is also enriched in Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As and Sb. Especially concentrations of Sb and As are unusually large. However, the origins and concentration processes of Sb are unknown. In this study, local structure around antimony atoms in K-T boundary clay from Stevns Klint, Denmark, was determined by Sb K-edge XAFS spectroscopy. The XAFS analyses give the information about the chemical state and coordination environment around Sb atoms and help identify of the concentration phase, and also may provide various kinds of information about the asteroid impact and mass extinction. The XAFS measurements were performed at the BL-NW10A beamline at the Photon Factory in KEK, Tsukuba, Japan. The XANES spectra and radial structure function (RSF) showed that Sb in K-T boundary clays is high oxidation state Sb5+ and occupies a SbO6 octahedral site. The Sb-O interatomic distance in K-T clay sample is 2.08(1) A. It is known that Sb5+ is stable form in soil and soil water under an equilibrium situation within the Earth's surface environment. Antimony belongs to group 15 in the periodic table below arsenic, and the chemical behavior of Sb5+ is similar to that of As5+. Because there is a close correlation on co-precipitation between As and Fe (Ebihara and Miura, 1996; Sakai et al., 2007) , it is considered that Sb also correlates closely with Fe compounds (e.g., ferric hydroxides). Abundant ferric hydroxides occur in K-T boundary clays. It is considered that one of the reasons of abnormal high concentrations of Sb and As in K-T boundary clays is a lot of dust from impact ejecta falls with iron ions and deposits on surface of the Earth for a short period of time after the asteroid impact. ReferencesL. W. Alvarez, Science, 208, 1095-1108 (1980) M. Ebihara and T. Miura, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 60, 5133

  3. Tektite-bearing, deep-water clastic unit at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in northeastern Mexico

    SciTech Connect

    Smit, J. ); Montanari, A.; Swinburne, N.H.M.; Alvarez, W. ); Hildebrand, A.R. ); Margolis, S.V.; Claeys, P. ); Lowrie, W. ); Asaro, F. )

    1992-02-01

    The hypothesis of Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary impact on Yucatan, Mexico, predicts that nearby sites should show evidence of proximal impact ejecta and disturbance by giant waves. An outcrop along the Arroyo el Mimbral in northeastern Mexico contains a layered clastic unit up to 3 m thick that interrupts a biostratigraphically complete pelagic-marl sequence deposited at more than 400 m water depth. The marls were found to be unsuitable for determining magnetostratigraphy, but foraminiferal biostratigraphy places the clastic unit precisely at the K-T boundary. The authors interpret this clastic unit as the deposit of a megawave or tsunami produced by an extraterrestrial impact. The clastic unit comprises three main subunits. (1) The basal 'spherule bed' contains glass in the form of tektites and microtektites, glass spherules replaced by chlorite-smectite and calcite, and quartz grains showing probable shock features. This bed is interpreted as a channelized deposit of proximal ejecta. (2) A set of lenticular, massive, graded 'laminated beds' contains intraclasts can abundant plant debris, and may the result of megawave backwash that carried coarse debris from shallow parts of the continental margin into deeper water. (3) At the top, several thin 'ripple beds' composed of fine sand are separated by clay drapes; they are interpreted as deposits of oscillating currents, perhaps a seiche. An iridium anomaly (921 {plus minus} 23 pg/g) is observed at the top of the ripple beds. Their observations at the Mimbral locality support the hypothesis of a K-T impact on nearby Yucatan.

  4. Tektite-bearing, deep-water clastic unit at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in northeastern Mexico.

    PubMed

    Smit, J; Montanari, A; Swinburne, N H; Alvarez, W; Hildebrand, A R; Margolis, S V; Claeys, P; Lowrie, W; Asaro, F

    1992-02-01

    The hypothesis of Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary impact on Yucatán, Mexico, predicts that nearby sites should show evidence of proximal impact ejecta and disturbance by giant waves. An outcrop along the Arroyo el Mimbral in northeastern Mexico contains a layered clastic unit up to 3 m thick that interrupts a biostratigraphically complete pelagic-marl sequence deposited at more than 400 m water depth. The marls were found to be unsuitable for determining magnetostratigraphy, but foraminiferal biostratigraphy places the clastic unit precisely at the K-T boundary. We interpret this clastic unit as the deposit of a megawave or tsunami produced by an extraterrestrial impact. The clastic unit comprises three main subunits. (1) The basal "spherule bed" contains glass in the form of tektites and microtektites, glass spherules replaced by chlorite-smectite and calcite, and quartz grains showing probable shock features. This bed is interpreted as a channelized deposit of proximal ejecta. (2) A set of lenticular, massive, graded "laminated beds" contains intraclasts and abundant plant debris, and may be the result of megawave backwash that carried coarse debris from shallow parts of the continental margin into deeper water. (3) At the top, several thin "ripple beds" composed of fine sand are separated by clay drapes; they are interpreted as deposits of oscillating currents, perhaps a seiche. An iridium anomaly (921 +/- 23 pg/g) is observed at the top of the ripple beds. Our observations at the Mimbral locality support the hypothesis of a K-T impact on nearby Yucatán. PMID:11537752

  5. Tektite-bearing, deep-water clastic unit at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in northeastern Mexico

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smit, J.; Montanari, A.; Swinburne, N. H.; Alvarez, W.; Hildebrand, A. R.; Margolis, S. V.; Claeys, P.; Lowrie, W.; Asaro, F.

    1992-01-01

    The hypothesis of Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary impact on Yucatan, Mexico, predicts that nearby sites should show evidence of proximal impact ejecta and disturbance by giant waves. An outcrop along the Arroyo el Mimbral in northeastern Mexico contains a layered clastic unit up to 3 m thick that interrupts a biostratigraphically complete pelagic-marl sequence deposited at more than 400 m water depth. The marls were found to be unsuitable for determining magnetostratigraphy, but foraminiferal biostratigraphy places the clastic unit precisely at the K-T boundary. We interpret this clastic unit as the deposit of a megawave or tsunami produced by an extraterrestrial impact. The clastic unit comprises three main subunits. (1) The basal "spherule bed" contains glass in the form of tektites and microtektites, glass spherules replaced by chlorite-smectite and calcite, and quartz grains showing probable shock features. This bed is interpreted as a channelized deposit of proximal ejecta. (2) A set of lenticular, massive, graded "laminated beds" contains intraclasts and abundant plant debris, and may be the result of megawave backwash that carried coarse debris from shallow parts of the continental margin into deeper water. (3) At the top, several thin "ripple beds" composed of fine sand are separated by clay drapes; they are interpreted as deposits of oscillating currents, perhaps a seiche. An iridium anomaly (921 +/- 23 pg/g) is observed at the top of the ripple beds. Our observations at the Mimbral locality support the hypothesis of a K-T impact on nearby Yucatan.

  6. Surface alteration and physical properties of glass from the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Barkatt, A.; Sang, J.C.; Thorpe, A.N.; Senftle, F.E.; Talmy, I.G.; Norr, M.K.; Mazer, J.J.; Izett, G.; Sigurdsson, Haraldur

    1994-01-01

    The scalloped surface feature on Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary glass is often explained as being due to terrestrial aqueous leaching. Leaching of man-made glass results in a reduction in density of the glass. Also, Fe, because of its relative insolubility, is concentrated by the leaching process. Thus, the Haitian glass specimens which have been heavily altered should have a thin rim of less dense glass in which the Fe is concentrated compared to the core glass. The higher Fe concentration in the rim glass should cause it to have an enhanced Curie constant and a lower density compared to the unaltered glass. The magnetic Curie constant, density, and scanning electron microscopic studies were made on altered specimens of Haitian glass and also on specimens showing a minimum of alteration. The results show that the less altered samples have the highest density and the lowest Curie constant. The data substantiate the terrestrial hypothesis. ?? 1994.

  7. Iridium and trace element measurements from the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, site 752, Broken Ridge, Indian Ocean

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schuraytz, B. C.; O'Connell, S.; Sharpton, V. L.

    1991-01-01

    Fourteen samples spanning a 2.5 m interval that includes the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) boundary from Hole 752B near the crest of Broken Ridge in the eastern Indian Ocean were studied in order to search for anomalous enrichments of iridium (Ir) and shock-metamorphosed quartz grains. No allogenic quartz grains larger than 10 microns were observed, hence the presence of quartz containing diagnostic evidence of shock-metamorphism could not be confirmed. Two Ir anomalies of 2.2 +/- 0.6 and 2.0 +/- 0.4 parts per billion (ppb) were measured in samples of dark green ash-bearing chalk at depths of 357.93 and 358.80 m below seafloor, respectively. These samples containing anomalous enrichments of Ir were taken from approximately 82 cm above and 5 cm below the extinction level of Globotruncanids. Our results are consistent with those of Michel et al., who observe elevated concentrations of Ir at these depths in addition to a larger Ir anomaly associated with the extinction level of Globotruncanids.

  8. Iridium profile for 10 million years across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary at Gubbio (Italy)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Alvarez, Walter; Asaro, Frank; Montanari, Alessandro

    1990-01-01

    The iridium anomaly at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (KT) boundary was discovered in the pelagic limestone sequence at Gubbio on the basis of 12 samples analyzed by neutron activation analysis (NAA) and was interpreted as indicating impact of a large extraterrestrial object at exactly the time of the KT mass extinction. Continuing controversy over the shape of the Ir profile at the Gubbio KT boundary and its interpretation called for a more detailed follow-up study. Analysis of a 57-meter-thick, 10-million-year-old part of the Gubbio sequence using improved NAA techniques revealed that there is only one Ir anomaly at the KT boundary, but this anomaly shows an intricate fine structure, the origin of which cannot yet be entirely explained. The KT Ir anomaly peaks in a 1-centimeter-thick clay layer, where the average Ir concentration is 3000 parts per trillion (ppt); this peak is flanked by tails with Ir concentrations of 20 to 80 ppt that rise above a background of 12 to 13 ppt. The fine structure of the tails is probably due in part to lateral reworking, diffusion, burrowing, and perhaps Milankovitch cyclicity.

  9. Oceanic primary productivity and dissolved oxygen levels at the Cretaceous/Tertiary Boundary: Their decrease, subsequent warming, and recovery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaiho, Kunio; Kajiwara, Yoshimichi; Tazaki, Kazue; Ueshima, Masato; Takeda, Nobuyori; Kawahata, Hodaka; Arinobu, Tetsuya; Ishiwatari, Ryoshi; Hirai, Akio; Lamolda, Marcos A.

    1999-08-01

    Thirty-six different geochemical and foraminiferal analyses were conducted on samples collected at closely spaced intervals across the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary exposed at Caravaca, Spain. A rapid reduction in the gradient between δ13C values in fine fraction carbonate and benthic foraminiferal calcite and a decrease in the abundance of phosphorus (a proxy for organic carbon) and calcium were recorded in sediments 0-0.5 cm above the K/T boundary. These trends imply that an abrupt mass mortality occurred among pelagic organisms, leading to a significant reduction in the flux of organic carbon to the seafloor. In addition, variations in sulfur isotope ratios, the hydrocarbon-generating potential of kerogen (measured as the hydrogen index), and foraminiferal indices of dissolved oxygen level all imply that a rapid decrease in dissolved oxygen was coincident with the δ13C event. Evidence of the low oxygen event has also been recognized in Japan and New Zealand, suggesting that intermediate water oxygen minima were widely developed during earliest Danian time. A threefold increase in the kaolinite/illite ratio and a 1.2‰ decrease in δ18O (carbonate fine fraction) were recorded in the basal 0.1-2 cm of Danian age sediments. These trends suggest that atmospheric warming and an increase in surface water temperature occurred 0-3 kyr after the δ13C event. Recovery in the difference between δ13C values in the carbonate fine fraction and in benthic foraminiferal calcite as well as increases in phosphorus and calcium contents occur at the base of planktonic foraminiferal Zone Pla, implying that an increase in primary productivity commenced some 13 kyr after the K/T boundary. Tables A1-A3 are available on diskette or via Anonymous FTP from kosmos.agu.org directory APENO (Username = anonymous, Password = guest). Diskette may be ordered from American Geophysical Union, 2000 Florida Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20009 or by phone at 800-966-2481; $15.00. Payment must

  10. Osmium-187/osmium-186 in manganese nodules and the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

    SciTech Connect

    Luck, J.M.; Turekian, K.K.

    1983-11-11

    As a result of the radioactive decay of rhenium-187 (4.6 x 10/sup 10/ years) the osmium-187/osmium-186 ratio changes in planetary systems as a function of time and the rhenium-187/osmium-186 ratio. For a value of the rhenium-187/osmium-186 ratio of about 3.2, typical of meteorites and the earth's mantle, the present-day osmium-187/osmium-186 ratio is about 1. The earth's continental crust has an estimated rhenium-187/osmium-186 ratio of about 400, so that for a mean age of the continent of 2 x 10/sup 9/ years, a present-day osmium-187/osmium-186 ratio of about 10 is expected. Marine manganese nodules show values (6 to 8.4) compatible with this expectation if allowance for a 25 percent mantle osmium supply to the oceans is allowed. The Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary iridium-rich layer in the marine section at Stevns Klint, Denmark, yields an osmium-187/osmium-186 ratio of 1.65, and the one in a continental section in the Raton Basin, Colorado, is 1.29. The simplest explanation is that these represent osmium imprints of predominantly meteoritic origin.

  11. Octopods: Nude ammonoids that survived the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lewy, Z.

    1996-07-01

    Certain ammonoids changed the mode of coiling or the growth angle of their last body chamber, constricted the terminal aperture, or developed apertural processes, which restricted all life functions. The modified terminal body chamber of macroconchs apparently functioned as a floating egg case for a single breeding phase. The young that hatched from tiny eggs fed on the enclosed female corpse. This same breeding strategy is executed by the extant octopod Argonauta. As a nude cephalopod, the sexually mature female secretes an egg case, which resembles Cretaceous ammonites, for the tiny eggs. The remarkable similarity in mode of breeding between Argonauta and ammonoids with modified terminal body chambers suggests that the ancestral argonautid was a nude ammonoid. Other octopods, which lay large, yolk-rich eggs attached onto substrates, likewise originate from ancestral nude ammonoids, which, however, did not breed in a floating egg case. Nude ammonoids crossed the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, as did the genuine coleoids comprising rudimentary endoskeletons.

  12. Evidence from paleosols for ecosystem changes across the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary in eastern Montana

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Retallack, Gregory J.; Leahy, Guy D.; Spoon, Michael D.

    1987-12-01

    Ancient soils (paleosols) of the latest Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation are mildly calcareous, have clayey subsurface (Bt) horizons, and exhibit abundant large root traces, as is typical of forested soils in subhumid climates. The fact that some of the paleosols are capped by thin, impure coals is evidence for seasonally dry swamps. The paleosol evidence thus supports published reconstructions, based on fossil leaves, pollen, and vertebrates, that this area was subtropical, seasonally dry, subhumid, and forested mainly by angiosperms. Paleosols within the earliest Tertiary (Paleocene) Tullock Formation have thicker, coaly, surface (O and A) horizons and are more drab colored and less calcareous than paleosols of the Hell Creek Formation. These features are indications of waterlogging and of a humid climate. Large root traces and clayey subsurface (Bt) horizons are evidence of swamp woodland and forest. Inferred base level and paleoclimate are compatible with evidence from fossil leaves and pollen that indicates more abundant deciduous, early successional angiosperms and swamp conifers compared to those of Late Cretaceous time. Most of the paleosols have drab Munsell hues and can be expected to preserve a reliable fossil record of pollen and other plant remains. The carbonate content of the paleosols declines toward the top of the Hell Creek Formation, and the uppermost 3 m of the formation is noncalcareous. Because of this, the decline in diversity and abundance of bone over this interval is interpreted as a taphonomic artifact. Evidence from paleosols supports paleobotani-cal evidence for catastrophic change in ecosystems at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary.

  13. Proximal impact deposits at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in the Gulf of Mexico: a restudy of DSDP Leg 77 Sites 536 and 540.

    PubMed

    Alvarez, W; Smit, J; Lowrie, W; Asaro, F; Margolis, S V; Claeys, P; Kastner, M; Hildebrand, A R

    1992-08-01

    Restudy of Deep Sea Drilling Project Sites 536 and 540 in the southeast Gulf of Mexico gives evidence for a giant wave at Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary time. Five units are recognized: (1) Cenomanian limestone underlies a hiatus in which the five highest Cretaceous stages are missing, possibly because of catastrophic K-T erosion. (2) Pebbly mudstone, 45 m thick, represents a submarine landslide possibly of K-T age. (3) Current-bedded sandstone, more than 2.5 m thick, contains anomalous iridium, tektite glass, and shocked quartz; it is interpreted as ejecta from a nearby impact crater, reworked on the deep-sea floor by the resulting tsunami. (4) A 50-cm interval of calcareous mudstone containing small Cretaceous planktic foraminifera and the Ir peak is interpreted as the silt-size fraction of the Cretaceous material suspended by the impact-generated wave. (5) Calcareous mudstone with basal Tertiary forams and the uppermost tail of the Ir anomaly overlies the disturbed interval, dating the impact and wave event as K-T boundary age. Like Beloc in Haiti and Mimbral in Mexico, Sites 536 and 540 are consistent with a large K-T age impact at the nearby Chicxulub crater. PMID:11538163

  14. Proximal impact deposits at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in the Gulf of Mexico: A restudy of DSDP Leg 77 Sites 536 and 540

    SciTech Connect

    Alvarez, W.; Asaro, F. ); Smit, J. ); Lowrie, W. ); Asaro, F. ); Margolis, S.V.; Claeys, P. ); Kastner, M. ); Hildebrand, A.R. )

    1992-08-01

    Restudy of Deep Sea Drilling Project Sites 536 and 540 in the southeast Gulf of Mexico gives evidence for a giant wave at Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary time. Five units are recognized: (1) Cenomanian limestone underlies a hiatus in which the five highest Cretaceous stages are missing, possibly because of catastrophic K-T erosion. (2) Pebbly mudstone, 45 m thick, represents a submarine landslide possibly of K-T age. (3) Current-bedded sandstone, more than 2.5 m thick, contains anomalous iridium, tektite glass, and shocked quartz; it is interpreted as ejecta from a nearby impact crater, reworked on the deep-sea floor by the resulting tsunami. (4) A 50-cm interval of calcareous mudstone containing small Cretaceous planktic foraminifera and the Ir peak is interpreted as the silt-size fraction of the Cretaceous material suspended by the impact-generated wave. (5) Calcareous mudstone with basal Tertiary forams and the uppermost tail of the Ir anomaly overlies the disturbed interval, dating the impact and wave event as K-T boundary age. Like Beloc in Haiti and Mimbral in Mexico, Sites 536 and 540 are consistent with a large K-T age impact at the nearby Chicxulub crater.

  15. Proximal impact deposits at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in the Gulf of Mexico: a restudy of DSDP Leg 77 Sites 536 and 540

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Alvarez, W.; Smit, J.; Lowrie, W.; Asaro, F.; Margolis, S. V.; Claeys, P.; Kastner, M.; Hildebrand, A. R.

    1992-01-01

    Restudy of Deep Sea Drilling Project Sites 536 and 540 in the southeast Gulf of Mexico gives evidence for a giant wave at Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary time. Five units are recognized: (1) Cenomanian limestone underlies a hiatus in which the five highest Cretaceous stages are missing, possibly because of catastrophic K-T erosion. (2) Pebbly mudstone, 45 m thick, represents a submarine landslide possibly of K-T age. (3) Current-bedded sandstone, more than 2.5 m thick, contains anomalous iridium, tektite glass, and shocked quartz; it is interpreted as ejecta from a nearby impact crater, reworked on the deep-sea floor by the resulting tsunami. (4) A 50-cm interval of calcareous mudstone containing small Cretaceous planktic foraminifera and the Ir peak is interpreted as the silt-size fraction of the Cretaceous material suspended by the impact-generated wave. (5) Calcareous mudstone with basal Tertiary forams and the uppermost tail of the Ir anomaly overlies the disturbed interval, dating the impact and wave event as K-T boundary age. Like Beloc in Haiti and Mimbral in Mexico, Sites 536 and 540 are consistent with a large K-T age impact at the nearby Chicxulub crater.

  16. Cretaceous-tertiary boundary spherules and Cenozoic microtektites: Similarities and differences

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Glass, B. P.; Bohor, Bruce F.; Betterton, William J.

    1993-01-01

    Bohor and Betterton pointed out that the K-T spherules can be divided into three groups. Their Type 1 spherules appear to be found in or adjacent to North America, particularly the Western Interior and in Haiti and Mexico. The Type 1 spherules occur in the lower part of the K-T boundary clay below an Ir anomaly. It is the Type 1 spherules which are most similar to microtektites. The discovery of K-T boundary spherules in Beloc, Haiti, and Mimbral, Mexico, with residual tektite-like glass cores supports the hypothesis that the Type 1 spherules are diagenetically altered microtektites. The similarities and differences of the Type 1 K-T boundary spherules to previously described Cenozoic microtektites are discussed.

  17. The Karskiy craters are the probable records of catastrophe at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kolesnikov, E. M.; Nazarov, M. A.; Badjukov, D. D.; Shukolyukov, Yu. A.

    1988-01-01

    In order to corroborate the hypothesis of Alvarez and others about the connection of mass mortality and meteorite or cometary impact at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, it is necessary to find a meteorite crater which was formed at the same time. Masaitiss suggested that the Karskiy craters (USSR) are suitable, but previous K/Ar data from other laboratories are very different (from 47 to 82 million years). Impact glasses were gathered from the Karskiy and Ust-Karskiy craters K/Ar age analyses were performed. The glasses cooled very rapidly and had the youngest model ages from 65.8 to 67.6 million years. The slower cooling crypto-crystalline aggregates had more ancient model ages, from 70.5 to 73.9 my as had tagamite because they captured excess argon during crystallization. Least squares analysis showed that with probability of 99 percent the findings on crypto-crystalline aggregates, tagamite and quartz glasses from the Karskiy and Ust-Karskiy craters lie on an isochron which has an age of 65.8 + or - 1.1 million years and a content of excess argon. For the two glasses with identical composition which have different quantities of secondary non-potassium minerals, an independent method determined the content of excess argon. Taking into account these data a more exact slope of the first isochron of 66.4 + or - 1.0 million years was observed and the second glass isochron with age 66.5 + or - 1.1 million years was constructed.

  18. An atmospheric pCO2 reconstruction across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary from leaf megafossils

    PubMed Central

    Beerling, D. J.; Lomax, B. H.; Royer, D. L.; Upchurch, G. R.; Kump, L. R.

    2002-01-01

    The end-Cretaceous mass extinctions, 65 million years ago, profoundly influenced the course of biotic evolution. These extinctions coincided with a major extraterrestrial impact event and massive volcanism in India. Determining the relative importance of each event as a driver of environmental and biotic change across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) crucially depends on constraining the mass of CO2 injected into the atmospheric carbon reservoir. Using the inverse relationship between atmospheric CO2 and the stomatal index of land plant leaves, we reconstruct Late Cretaceous-Early Tertiary atmospheric CO2 concentration (pCO2) levels with special emphasis on providing a pCO2 estimate directly above the KTB. Our record shows stable Late Cretaceous/Early Tertiary background pCO2 levels of 350–500 ppm by volume, but with a marked increase to at least 2,300 ppm by volume within 10,000 years of the KTB. Numerical simulations with a global biogeochemical carbon cycle model indicate that CO2 outgassing during the eruption of the Deccan Trap basalts fails to fully account for the inferred pCO2 increase. Instead, we calculate that the postboundary pCO2 rise is most consistent with the instantaneous transfer of ≈4,600 Gt C from the lithic to the atmospheric reservoir by a large extraterrestrial bolide impact. A resultant climatic forcing of +12 W⋅m−2 would have been sufficient to warm the Earth's surface by ≈7.5°C, in the absence of counter forcing by sulfate aerosols. This finding reinforces previous evidence for major climatic warming after the KTB impact and implies that severe and abrupt global warming during the earliest Paleocene was an important factor in biotic extinction at the KTB. PMID:12060729

  19. Geologic and biostratigraphic framework of the non-marine Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary interval in western North America

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nichols, D.J.

    1990-01-01

    Palynologically defined Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sites in nonmarine rocks in western North America exhibit similar characteristics. All are marked by abrupt disappearance of the regional uppermost Cretaceous palynoflora at the level of an iridium anomaly; most also yeild shock-metamorphosed minerals. All are in coal-bearing, fluvial or paludal depositional settings, although the boundary horizon may be below, within, above, or at some stratigraphic distance from coal seams. At many sites the lowermost Tertiary beds contain assemblages overwhelmed by fern spores that, together with extinctions of some groups of angiosperms, are taken as evidence of regional devastation of terrestrial plant communities and subsequent recolonization by pioneer species. ?? 1990.

  20. The Manson impact structure - Its contribution to impact materials observed at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, Raymond R.; Hartung, Jack B.

    The Manson impact structure (MIS) in Iowa is an excellently preserved complex crater that formed 65.7 Ma ago at the K/T boundary. Drill and seismic data have been used to identify three primary terranes within the 35-km diameter crater: (1) an outermost ring graben composed of listric normal fault blocks that structurally preserve Paleozoic and Cretaceous strata, impact ejecta, and possibly earliest Tertiary lake sediments; (2) a crater moat region of slumped and fallback materials overlain by Tertiary lake sediments in most areas; and (3) a central peak of uplifted basement rock capped in many areas by impact breccia. It is argued that concentrations of Ir at a K/T boundary exposure near Gubbio, Italy and clasts of glass reported from the K/T boundary in Haiti are consistent with possible production in the MIS.

  1. The Manson impact structure - Its contribution to impact materials observed at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anderson, Raymond R.; Hartung, Jack B.

    1992-01-01

    The Manson impact structure (MIS) in Iowa is an excellently preserved complex crater that formed 65.7 Ma ago at the K/T boundary. Drill and seismic data have been used to identify three primary terranes within the 35-km diameter crater: (1) an outermost ring graben composed of listric normal fault blocks that structurally preserve Paleozoic and Cretaceous strata, impact ejecta, and possibly earliest Tertiary lake sediments; (2) a crater moat region of slumped and fallback materials overlain by Tertiary lake sediments in most areas; and (3) a central peak of uplifted basement rock capped in many areas by impact breccia. It is argued that concentrations of Ir at a K/T boundary exposure near Gubbio, Italy and clasts of glass reported from the K/T boundary in Haiti are consistent with possible production in the MIS.

  2. The Unique Significance and Origin of the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary: Historical Context and Burdens of Proof

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ryder, Graham

    1996-01-01

    The abruptness and intensity of the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary have been deemphasized by some authors over recent years, mainly by those skeptical of an impact origin for the boundary. However, it was recognized at the birth of stratigraphy as both abrupt and of major importance. It was used to define the change from the Mesozoic to the Cenozoic; the boundary has become continually more precisely defined and its global sequences more correlatable. It is now unique in being an event boundary marked by an iridium-bearing layer of global extent, rather than an arbitrary boundary in a sequence of little change. The Permian-Triassic boundary, in contrast, is arbitrary and the transition is not yet proven to be abrupt, the extinctions that define it perhaps having taken place in pulses over several millions of years. Some of those who have denied the importance (and in some cases even the existence) of an impact in the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinctions have placed burdens of proof on the impact hypothesis that they do not place on strictly terrestrial mechanisms. Terrestrial mechanisms have always been unsatisfactory (or at least unconvincing for global, massive, multienvironment faunal change) and are now even more so. Some authors have required of the impact hypothesis attributes that are not inherent in it, including particular patterns of extinction selectivity and timing.

  3. The Origin of Fullerenes in the 65 Myr Old Cretaceous/Tertiary Boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Becker, L.; Poreda, R. J.; Bunch, T. E.

    2000-01-01

    In this work we have searched for extraterrestrial (ET) helium (He) in fullerenes isolated from several K/T boundary (KTB) sediments. Measurements of He in these KTB fullerene residues revealed He-3/He-4 ratios that can only be explained as ET in origin.

  4. New Evidence links Deccan Traps to the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adatte, T.; Keller, G.

    2012-04-01

    Recent studies indicate that Deccan Trap volcanism began with a relatively minor eruption phase (~6% of total volume) during the late Maastrichtian magnetic polarity C30n. The main eruption phase (~80%) occurred over a short period in C29r just below the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) and the last Deccan phase (~14%) erupted in the early Danian C29n. Multiproxy studies from sections in Meghalaya (NE India), Jhilmili in central India (Madhya Pradesh), 6 quarry outcrops from Rajahmundry (SE India), 10 deep wells from the Krishna-Godavari Basin (K-G) (Andhra Pradesh) place the KTB mass extinction near the end of the main Deccan phase coincident with the mass extinction. These studies show that the second and third phase of eruptions each produced the world's largest and longest lava megaflows ~1500 km across India through the K-G Basin into the Bay of Bengal. These megaflows are separated by sand, silt and shale which record the mass extinction across an interval that spans zones CF1-CF2 and most of the nannofossil Micula prinsii zone and is correlative with the rapid global warming and subsequent cooling near the end of the Maastrichtian. The mass extinction began preceding the first of the four mega-flows in C29r. Planktic foraminifera suffered a 50% drop in species richness. Survivors suffered another 50% drop after the first mega-flow, leaving just 7 to 8 survivor species. No recovery occurred between the next three mega-flows and the mass extinction was complete with the last phase-2 megaflow at the KTB. The last phase of Deccan volcanism and its 3 to 4 megaflows in the early Danian C29n (zone P1b) delayed biotic recovery of marine plankton. Correlative with these intense volcanic phases, climate changed from humid/tropical to arid conditions and returned to normal tropical humidity after the last phase of volcanism. Similar environmental conditions, mass extinction and delayed recovery patterns are observed in Meghalaya, NE India.The mass extinction was

  5. Ar-40 to Ar-39 ages of the large impact structures Kara and Manicouagan and their relevance to the Cretaceous-Tertiary and the Triassic-Jurassic boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Trieloff, M.; Jessberger, E. K.

    Since the discovery of the Ir enrichment in Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary clays in 1980, the effects of a 10-km asteroid impacting on the Earth 65 Ma ago have been discussed as the possible reason for the mass extinction--including the extinction of the dinosaurs--at the end of the Cretaceous. But up to now no crater of this age that is large enough (ca. 200 km in diameter) has been found. One candidate is the Kara Crater in northern Siberia. Kolesnikov et al. determined a K-Ar isochron of 65.6 +/- 0.5 Ma, indistinguishable from the age of the K-T boundary and interpreted this as confirmation of earlier proposals that the Kara bolide would have been at least one of the K-T impactors. Koeberl et al. determined Ar-40 to Ar-39 ages ranging from 70 to 82 Ma and suggested an association to the Campanian-Maastrichtian boundary, another important extinction horizon 73 Ma ago. We dated four impact melts, KA2-306, KA2-305, SA1-302, and AN9-182. Results from the investigation are discussed.

  6. Ar-40 to Ar-39 ages of the large impact structures Kara and Manicouagan and their relevance to the Cretaceous-Tertiary and the Triassic-Jurassic boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Trieloff, M.; Jessberger, E. K.

    1992-01-01

    Since the discovery of the Ir enrichment in Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary clays in 1980, the effects of a 10-km asteroid impacting on the Earth 65 Ma ago have been discussed as the possible reason for the mass extinction--including the extinction of the dinosaurs--at the end of the Cretaceous. But up to now no crater of this age that is large enough (ca. 200 km in diameter) has been found. One candidate is the Kara Crater in northern Siberia. Kolesnikov et al. determined a K-Ar isochron of 65.6 +/- 0.5 Ma, indistinguishable from the age of the K-T boundary and interpreted this as confirmation of earlier proposals that the Kara bolide would have been at least one of the K-T impactors. Koeberl et al. determined Ar-40 to Ar-39 ages ranging from 70 to 82 Ma and suggested an association to the Campanian-Maastrichtian boundary, another important extinction horizon 73 Ma ago. We dated four impact melts, KA2-306, KA2-305, SA1-302, and AN9-182. Results from the investigation are discussed.

  7. Evidence for a single impact at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary from trace elements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gilmour, Iain; Anders, Edward

    1988-01-01

    Not only meteoritic elements (Ir, Ni, Au, Pt metals), but also some patently non-meteoritic elements (As, Sb) are enriched at the K-T boundary. Eight enriched elements at 7 K-T sites were compared and it was found that: All have fairly constant proportions to Ir and Kilauea (invoked as an example of a volcanic source of Ir by opponents of the impact theory) has too little of 7 of these 8 elements to account for the boundary enrichments. The distribution of trace elements at the K-T boundary was reexamined using data from 11 sites for which comprehensive are available. The meteoritic component can be assessed by first normalizing the data to Ir, the most obviously extraterrestrial element, and then to Cl chondrites. The double normalization reduces the concentration range from 11 decades to 5 and also facilitates the identification of meteoritic elements. At sites where trace elements were analyzed in sub-divided samples of boundary clay, namely, Caravaca (SP), Stevns Klint (DK), Flaxbourne River (NZ) and Woodside Creek (NZ), Sb, As and Zn are well correlated with Ir across the boundary implying a common deposition mechanism. Elemental carbon is also enriched by up to 10,000 x in boundary clay from 5 K-T sides and is correlated with Ir across the boundary at Woodside Creek. While biomass would appear to be the primary fuel source for this carbon a contribution from a fossil fuel source may be necessary in order to account for the observed C abundance.

  8. Geochemistry and Stratigraphy of the Cretaceous/tertiary Boundary Impact Ejecta

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hildebrand, Alan Russell

    1992-01-01

    An array of stratigraphic, chemical, isotopic, and mineralogical evidence indicates that an impact terminated the Cretaceous Period. The 180-km-diameter Chicxulub crater, which now lies buried on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, was probably formed by the impact. The impactor was probably a long-period comet. Shock devolatization of the thick carbonate/evaporite sequence impacted at Chicxulub probably led to a severe and long-lasting greenhouse warming and a prompt pulse of sulfuric acid rain. The fallout of crater ejecta formed two layers: a lower layer which varies in thickness following a power -law relation based on distance from the Chicxulub crater and an upper, globally-distributed, uniformly ~3-mm-thick layer. The upper layer probably represents the fallout of condensates and entrained solid and liquid particles which were distributed globally by the impact fireball. The lower layer consists of brecciated rock and impact melt near the crater and largely altered tektites far from the crater. The clasts of this layer were probably ballistically transported. The Raton, New Mexico K/T boundary section preserves the fireball and ejecta layers in a coal-free nonmarine environment. Siderophile, chalcophile, and lithophile trace element anomalies occur similar to those found at marine K/T boundary localities. Soot occurs peaking in the 3-mm-thick fireball layer and the immediately overlying 3 mm of sediment, implying prompt burning of the Cretaceous forests. The Brazos River, Texas continental-shelf K/T sections preserve coarse boundary sediments which were probably produced by impact waves. Siderophile and chalcophile trace-element anomalies occur suggesting that the fireball layer and possibly part of the ejecta layer are interbedded with the coarse boundary sediments. The Beloc, Haiti deep-sea K/T sections preserve a thick ejecta sequence including altered and unaltered tektites and shocked minerals capped by the fireball layer. The thick K/T ejecta preserved at

  9. Macrofossil extinction patterns at Bay of Biscay Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sections

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ward, Peter D.; Macleod, Kenneth

    1988-01-01

    Researchers examined several K-T boundary cores at Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) core repositories to document biostratigraphic ranges of inoceramid shell fragments and prisms. As in land-based sections, prisms in the deep sea cores disappear well before the K-T boundary. Ammonites show a very different extinction pattern than do the inoceramids. A minimum of seven ammonite species have been collected from the last meter of Cretaceous strata in the Bay of Biscay basin. In three of the sections there is no marked drop in either species numbers or abundance prior to the K-T boundary Cretaceous strata; at the Zumaya section, however, both species richness and abundance drop in the last 20 m of the Cretaceous, with only a single ammonite specimen recovered to date from the uppermost 12 m of Cretaceous strata in this section. Researchers conclude that inoceramid bivalves and ammonites showed two different times and patterns of extinction, at least in the Bay of Biscay region. The inoceramids disappeared gradually during the Early Maestrichtian, and survived only into the earliest Late Maestrichtian. Ammonites, on the other hand, maintained relatively high species richness throughout the Maestrichtian, and then disappeared suddenly, either coincident with, or immediately before the microfossil extinction event marking the very end of the Cretaceous.

  10. Main Deccan Trap Eruptions occurred close to the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary: increasing Multiproxy Evidence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adatte, Thierry; Keller, Gerta

    2010-05-01

    Recent studies indicate that the bulk (80%) of the Deccan trap eruptions occurred over less than 0.8 m.y. in magnetic polarity C29r spanning the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) (Chenet et al, 2007, 2008). Detailed multiproxy studies from several sections from southeastern India (Rajhamundry, Andhra Pradesh) and central India (Jilmili, Madhya Pradesh) place the KTB event near the end of the main Deccan eruptive phase and indicate that Deccan volcanism could have been a major contributor to the mass extinction (Keller et al., 2008, 2009). Geochemical, mineralogical and micropaleontogical evidence from localities outside India suggest that this megapulse took place in the uppermost Maastrichtian C29r (CF2-CF1 transition). For example, a rapid shift in 187Os/188Os ratios observed in three deep-sea sections (Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans) are interpreted to mark the onset of the main Deccan pulse in C29r (Robinson et al., 2009). Foraminiferal oxygen isotope data from DSDP Site 525 (South Atlantic) show a short rapid global warming in C29r (Li and Keller, 1998) coincident with the decline in 187Os/188Os ratios. This warming is also observed in the terrestrial plant record (Wilf 2003). A coeval increase in weathering observed in Site 525 and Tunisia (Adatte et al., 2002) is marked by dominant kaolinite clay assemblages. In the same interval a significant decrease in bulk carbonate content suggests acidification due to volcanic SO2. Enhanced dissolution is also observed at DSDP Site 527 and Gubbio, Italy. Calcareous microfossils (planktic foraminifera and nannofossils) experienced major stress conditions expressed by species dwarfing, decreased diversity and decreased abundance (Keller, 2005). These observations indicate that Deccan volcanism played a key role in increasing atmospheric CO2 levels that resulted in global warming and enhanced greenhouse effect, which coupled with high SO2 emission increased biotic stress and predisposed faunas to eventual extinction

  11. Extinction and survival of plant life following the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary event, Western Interior, North America ( USA).

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tschudy, R.H.; Tschudy, B.D.

    1986-01-01

    The palynological Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary is recognized in the northern part of the Western Interior by the abrupt disappearance of a few characteristic Cretaceous pollen genera. In the southern part, the boundary is recognized by the disappearance of a somewhat different group of pollen. The abrupt change in both regions takes place precisely at the stratigraphic horizon at which boundary clay layers containing anomalously high concentrations of iridium are found. All the principal Cretaceous pollen genera that disappear regionally have been reported from Tertiary rocks in other parts of North America. Differential apparent extinction and/or survival reflects a pronounced temporary disruption of plant life immediately after the impact event. Some Cretaceous plants must have persisted in refugia to have provided the propagules for the rapid recovery of the flora. No massive total extinction of plant genera at the end of the Cretaceous can be seen from the palynologic record. -from Authors

  12. Iridium, shocked minerals, and trace elements across the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary at Maud Rise, Wedell Sea, and Walvis Ridge, South Atlantic Ocean

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Huffman, Alan R.; Crocket, James H.; Carter, Neville L.

    1988-01-01

    Sediments spanning a 5 meter section across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary at ODP holes 689B and 690D, Maud Rise, Wedell Sea and hole 527, Walvis Ridge, are being analyzed for shock deformation, PGE's and other trace elements (including REE's). Mineral separates from each sample were studied with optical microscopy to determine the distribution and microstructural state of quartz and feldspar present in the sediments. Samples from Maud Rise were taken of the K/T transition and at about 50 cm intervals above and below it. These samples consist of carbonate-rich sediments, with the K/T transition marked by a change from white Maastrichtian oozes to a greenish ooze with higher concentrations of altered volcanic clay and vitric ash. The Walvis Ridge site is characterized by more clay-rich sediments with average carbonate content about 60 to 70 percent. Initial results from RNAA studies indicate that iridium is present in all the Maud Rise samples in concentrations equal to or greater than 0.01 ppb (whole-rock basis). Preliminary results from optical microscopy indicate the occurrence of shock mosaicism in quartz and feldspar in all of the samples studied. The pervasiveness of shock mosaicism and presence of planar features to 2 meters from the K/T boundary indicates that a single impact or volcanic explosion 66 ma may be ruled out as responsible for the K/T event. A similar conclusion may be drawn independently from the distribution of iridium and other trace elements. Regardless of the source of the shock waves and sediment contamination, multiple events are required over a ca.0.5 my timespan; currently we favor endogenous sources.

  13. Faunal, geochemical and paleomagnetic change across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary at Braggs, Alabama

    SciTech Connect

    Jones, D.S.; Mueller, P.A.; Channell, J.E.T.; Dobson, J.P.; Bryan, J.R.

    1985-01-01

    Near Braggs, Alabama the Upper Cretaceous Prairie Bluff Chalk underlies the Paleocene Pine barren Member of the Clayton Formation in a well-exposed, continuous K/T boundary section composed of interbedded sands, shales, and limestones of shallow marine origin. As determined from foraminiferal and calcareous nannofossil biostratigraphies, and the Maastrichtian/Danian contact at Braggs lies below a marine hardground in a zone associated with slow sedimentation and a deepening paleoenvironment. The K/T boundary occurs within a well-defined reversed magnetozone which we correlate to the reversed interval between marine magnetic anomalies 29 and 30. This magnetozone is approx.3.2 m thick, suggesting a sedimentation rate of only 6.8 m/m.y. across the boundary. The boundary occurs in the lower part of the magnetozone, about 1 m above its base, unlike the Italian sections where the boundary occurs toward the top of the reversed magnetozone. Marine macrofossils occur abundantly throughout the sequence had have been analyzed on a bed by bed basis to document the pattern of extinction and paleoenvironmental change. To help calibrate the rate of faunal change and refine the bio- and magnetostratigraphies, the Rb-Sr systematics of glauconites from the section are being investigated and the change of /sup 87/Sr//sup 86/Sr in seawater is being investigated by analysis of CaCO/sub 3/ from molluscan shells and foraminiferal tests. Initial Rb-Sr measurements of glauconites from a bed above the contact suggest an age of 60 Ma with an initial /sup 87/Sr//sup 86/Sr compatible with /sup 87/Sr//sup 86/Sr measured in shell carbonate at this site. Values for shell carbonate range from .707713 to .707826 and appear to show a maximum near the boundary.

  14. The Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary marine extinction and global primary productivity collapse

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zachos, J. C.; Arthus, M. A.; Dean, W. E.

    1988-01-01

    The extinction of marine phyto-and zoo-plankton across the K-T boundary has been well documented. Such an event may have resulted in decreased photosynthetic fixation of carbon in surface waters and a collapse of the food chain in the marine biosphere. Because the vertical and horizontal distribution of the carbon isotopic composition of total dissolved carton (TDC) in the modern ocean is controlled by the transfer of organic carbon from the surface to deep reservoirs, it follows that a major disruption of the marine biosphere would have had a major effect on the distribution of carbon isotopes in the ocean. Negative carbon isotope excursions have been identified at many marine K-T boundary sequences worldwide and are interpreted as a signal of decreased oceanic primary productivity. However, the magnitude, duration and consequences of this productivity crisis have been poorly constrained. On the basis of planktonic and benthic calcareous microfossil carbon isotope and other geochemical data from DSDP Site 577 located on the Shatsky Rise in the north-central Pacific, as well as other sites, researchers have been able to provide a reasonable estimate of the duration and magnitude of this event.

  15. Ruthenium/Iridium Ratios in the Cretaceous-tertiary Boundary Clay: Implications for Global Dispersal and Fractionation Within the Ejecta Cloud

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Evans, Noreen Joyce; Goodfellow, W. D.; Gregoire, D. C.; Veizer, J.

    1992-01-01

    Ruthenium (Ru) and iridium (Ir) are the least mobile platinum group elements (PGE's) within the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary clay (BC). The Ru/Ir ratio is, therefore, the most useful PGE interelement ratio for distinguishing terrestrial and extraterrestrial contributions to the BC. The Ru/Ir ratio of marine K-T sections (1.77 +/- 0.53) is statistically different from that of the continental sections (0.93 +/- 0.28). The marine Ru/Ir ratios are chondritic (C1 = 1.48 +/- 0.09), but the continental ratios are not. We discovered an inverse correlation of shocked quartz size (or distance from the impact site) and Ru/Ir ratio. This correlation may arise from the difference in Ru and Ir vaporization temperature and/or fractionation during condensation from the ejecta cloud. Postsedimentary alteration, remobilization, or terrestrial PGE input may be responsible for the Ru/Ir ratio variations within the groups of marine and continental sites studied. The marine ratios could also be attained if approximately 15 percent of the boundary metals were contributed by Deccan Trap emissions. However, volcanic emissions could not have been the principal source of the PGE's in the BC because mantle PGE ratios and abundances are inconsistent with those measured in the clay. The Ru/Ir values for pristine Tertiary mantle xenoliths (2.6 +/- 0.48), picrites (4.1 +/- 1.8), and Deccan Trap basalt (3.42 +/- 1.96) are all statistically distinct from those measured in the K-T BC.

  16. Dynamic deformation of volcanic ejecta from the Toba caldera: possible relevance to Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary phenomena

    SciTech Connect

    Carter, N.L.; Officer, C.B.; Chesner, C.A.; Rose, W.I.

    1986-05-01

    Plagioclase and biotite phenocrysts in ignimbrites erupted from the Toba caldera, Sumatra, show microstructures and textures indicative of shock stress levels higher than 10 GPa. Strong dynamic deformation has resulted in intense kinking in biotite and, with increasing shock intensity, the development of plagioclase of planar features, shock mosaicism, incipient recrystallization, and possible partial melting. Microstructures in quartz indicative of strong shock deformation are rare, however, and many shock lamellae, if formed, may have healed during post-shock residence in the hot ignimbrite; they might be preserved in ash falls. Peak shock stresses from explosive silicic volcanism and other endogenous processes may be high and if so would obviate the need for extraterrestrial impacts to produce all dynamically deformed structures, possibly including shock features observed near the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary. 38 references, 3 figures.

  17. Nitrogen geochemistry of a Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary site in New Zealand

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gilmour, Iain; Boyd, Stuart R.

    1988-01-01

    Nitrogen in the basal layer of the K-T boundary clay at Woodside Creek, New Zealand, has an abundance of 1100 ppm, a 20-fold enrichment over Cretaceous and Tertiary values. The enrichment parallels that for Ir and elemental carbon (soot); all decrease over the next 6 mm of the boundary clay. The C/N ratio, assuming the nitrogen to be associated with organic rather than elemental carbon, is approximately 5 for the basal layer compared to 20 to 30 for the remainder of the boundary clay. The correlation between N and Ir abundances appears to persist above the boundary, implying that the N is intimately associated with the primary fallout and remained with it during the secondary redeposition processes that kept the Ir abundance relatively high into the lowermost Tertiary. Apparently the basal layer of the boundary clay represents the accumulation of a substantial quantity of N with an isotopic composition approximately 10 percent heavier than background delta value of N-15 values. If the boundary clay represents an altered impact glass from a meteorite impact than it probably denotes a time period of less than 1 year. Therefore, the changes in nitrogen geochemistry apparently occurred over a very short period of time. The high abundance of N and the correspondingly low C/N ratio may reflect enhanced preservation of organic material as a result of the rapid sweepout and burial of plankton by impact ejecta, with little or no bacterial degradation. It is conceivable that the shift in delta value of N-15 may represent an influx of nitrogen from a different source deposited contemporaneously with the impact ejecta. An interesting possibility is that it may be derived from nitrate, produced from the combustion of atmospheric nitrogen.

  18. Biogeochemical and ecological consequences of dissolved organic carbon released from soot particles from global firestorms at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary: Was the Strangelove Ocean a blackwater ocean?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McKnight, D. M.; Steinberg, C.; Baron, J. S.

    2002-12-01

    Phytoplankton productivity in the oceans was suppressed for about 200,000 years after the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary event, and many species of marine calcareous plankton became extinct at the boundary. Proposed causes for what has been called the "Strangelove Ocean" include acidification of oceanic surface waters and effects associated with deposition from a global cloud of firestorm ash. We evaluate the potential effects on the marine ecosystem of leaching of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from firestorm soot particles. Based upon the quantity of soot deposited in the clay layer at the K/T boundary, we estimate that DOC concentrations in oceanic surface waters increased by at least a factor of two. These results are also supported by extrapolations based upon DOC increases in lakes and streams associated with deposition of ash in Rocky Mountain National Park from the Yellowstone fire of 1988. The soluble soot-derived humic substances would have had different chemical properties than marine humic substances, including a more aromatic character, greater absorptivity for visible light and greater quinone content. These humic substances could have acted as stress-inducing xenobiotic compounds and could have changed the physical and chemical characteristics of the marine environment. Cellular uptake of these humic compounds could have also inhibited calcite precipitation by coccolithophorids and foraminifera, contributing to the greater extinction of these species compared to dinoflagellates. Calculations show that the greater light absorption by the firestorm-derived humic substances would have decreased the depth of the mixed zone, limiting the dilution of the DOC pulse, and would have decreased the depth of the photic zone, spatially restructuring marine ecosystems.

  19. Extended period of K/T boundary mass extinction in the marine realm

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Keller, G.

    1988-01-01

    The Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary mass extinction has been widely recognized as a nearly instantaneous catastrophy among marine plankton such as foraminifera. However, the suddenness of this extinction event may have been overemphasized because most pelagic K/T boundary sequences are stratigraphically incomplete and generally lack the earliest Tertiary (Zones P0 and P1a) either due to carbonate dissolution and/or non-deposition. Stratigraphically complete sections appear to be restricted to continental shelf regions with high sedimentation rates and deposition well above the CCD. Such sections have been recovered from El Kef, Tunisia (1) and Brazos River, Texas. Quantitative foraminiferal analysis of these sections indicate an extinction pattern beginning below the K/T boundary and ending above the boundary. These data imply that the mass extinction event was not geologically instantaneous, but occurred over an extended period of time. Evidence supporting this conclusion is discussed.

  20. Impact mineralogy and chemistry of the cretaceous-tertiary boundary at DSDP site 576

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bostwick, Jennifer A.; Kyte, Frank T.

    1993-01-01

    We have identified the K/T boundary in pelagic clay sediments from cores at DSDP Site 576 in the western North Pacific. Detailed geochemical and trace mineralogical analyses of this boundary section are in progress and initial results indicate similarities and differences relative to the only other clay core investigated in detail; DSDP Site 596, a locality in the western South Pacific. Peak Ir concentrations of 13 ng/g in DSDP Hole 576B are virtually identical with those observed in the South Pacific, but in the North Pacific this peak is much narrower and the integrated Ir fluence of 85 ng cm(exp -2) is 4 times lower (320 in Hole 596). Of the 34 elements measured, only Ir and Cr were found to have anomalous concentrations in K/T boundary samples. Trace mineral residues were obtained by washing away clays and sequential chemical leaches (including HF) to remove typical hydrogenous and biogenous sediment components (e.g., zeolites and radiolarian opal). We attempted to quantitatively recover the entire trace mineral assemblage for grains greater than 30 micrometers in diameter. Our mineral residues were dominated by two phases: quartz and magnesioferrite spinel. Other non-opaque mineral grains we have positively identified were trace K-feldspar, plagioclase, corundum, and muscovite. Of these only K-feldspar exhibited planar deformation features (PDF). We have not found abundant plagioclase, as in the South Pacific suggesting that this phase was either not preserved in the North Pacific, or that in the south, it has a non-impact (i.e., volcanic) source. PDF in quartz were commonly obscured by secondary overgrowths on the surfaces of quartz grains, presumably from diagenetic reprecipitation of silica dissolved from opaline radiolarian tests that are common in these sediments. However, careful examination revealed that most grains had multiple sets of PDF. Of the 133 quartz grains greater than 30 micrometers analyzed, 62 percent showed evidence of shock. The largest

  1. Tektites in Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary rocks on Haiti and their bearing on the Alvarez impact extinction hypothesis

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Izett, G.A.

    1991-01-01

    Relic tektites are associated with a Pt-group metal abundance anomaly and shocked minerals in a thin marl bed that marks the K-T boundary on Haiti. The presence of these three impact-produced materials at the precise K-T boundary enormously strengthens the Alvarez impact extinction hypothesis. The Haitian tektites are the first datable impact products in K-T boundary rocks, and 40Ar-39Ar ages of the glass show that the K-T boundary and impact event are coeval at 64.5 ?? 0.1 Ma. -from Author

  2. Chicxulub's Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary Twin Crater. Was There a Double Impact in the Yucatan Peninsula?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Camargo, A. Z.; Juarez, J. S.

    2004-05-01

    Crater would fit the karstic depressions E-SE of the Chicxulub crater. We found that an 82 km diameter circle fits well the semi circle of dark spots, and interpret it as a portion of the rim of the IZAMAL impact crater. The interpreted relationships and origin of the Chicxulub and Izamal craters are: The Chicxulub crater was created after Izamal. They were created by two different impact bodies. The craters are of the same age. They were formed by two parts of the same celestial body, the MAYA BOLIDE. The diameter of the fragment impacted in Izamal is estimated to be about 4 km. This finding has implications on studies related to the K/T extinction event. Some scientists argue that the Chicxulub crater is somewhat small to account for the global K/T extinction all by itself. The double impact may account for the observed effects. Also, multiple impacts at sea may have put into the atmosphere much more sea water salts capable of dissociating into damaging chlorine compounds. Furthermore, the impact sequence may help explain the origin of the K/T boundary glasses from Haiti and better define the ballistic trajectories of the impacts ejecta and its effects on the extinctions. And the Maya Bolide orbit can be investigated to define its origin and characteristics as a comet or asteroid.

  3. Mineralogical and geochemical anomalous data of the K-T boundary samples

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miura, Y.; Shibya, G.; Imai, M.; Takaoka, N.; Saito, S.

    1988-01-01

    Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary problem has been discussed previously from the geological research, mainly by fossil changes. Although geochemical bulk data of Ir anomaly suggest the extraterrestrial origin of the K-T boundary, the exact formation process discussed mainly by mineralogical and geochemical study has been started recently, together with noble gas contents. The K-T boundary sample at Kawaruppu River, Hokkaido was collected, in order to compare with the typical K-T boundary samples of Bubbio, Italy, Stevns Klint, Denmark, and El Kef, Tunisia. The experimental data of the silicas and calcites in these K-T boundary samples were obtained from the X-ray unit-cell dimension (i.e., density), ESR signal and total linear absorption coefficient, as well as He and Ne contents. The K-T boundary samples are usually complex mixture of the terrestrial activities after the K-T boundary event. The mineralogical and geochemical anomalous data indicate special terrestrial atmosphere at the K-T boundary formation probably induced by asteroid impact, followed the many various terrestrial activities (especially the strong role of sea-water mixture, compared with terrestrial highland impact and impact craters in the other earth-type planetary bodies).

  4. Provenance of mineral phases in the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sediments exposed on the southern peninsula of Haiti

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kring, David A.; Hildebrand, Alan R.; Boynton, William V.

    1994-01-01

    Acid-insoluble mineral residua of tektite-bearing Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sediments in the Beloc Formation of Haiti contain abundant shocked quartz and lesser amounts of shocked plagioclase. The shocked quartz grains typically have 2 or 3 sets of planar deformation features, although grains with up to 15 sets were observed. The proportion of shocked quartz in the boundary sediments increases with stratigraphic height; at least 70 +/- 11% of the proportion of the quartz grains are shocked in the uppermost stratigraphic interval. The proportion of shocked quartz throughout the boundary sediments indicates that these grains were excavated primarily from crystalline silicate units, which may have been covered with a small amount of porous quartz-bearing sediments. Polyhedral and moderately sutured margins in shocked polycrystalline quartz grains, the size of the crystal units in these grains and the presence of shocked plagioclase, indicate these ejecta components were excavated from a target with continental affinites, containing quartzites or metaquartzites and a sialic metamorphic and/or igneous component. Other evidence suggests the target may also have contained a significant amount of calcium carbonate and/or sulfate. The large size and amount of shocked quartz grains deposited in Haiti indicate the crater from which they were excavated was produced in the proto-Caribbean region.

  5. Provenance of mineral phases in the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sediments exposed on the southern peninsula of Haiti

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kring, David A.; Hildebrand, Alan R.; Boynton, William V.

    1994-12-01

    Acid-insoluble mineral residua of tektite-bearing Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sediments in the Beloc Formation of Haiti contain abundant shocked quartz and lesser amounts of shocked plagioclase. The shocked quartz grains typically have 2 or 3 sets of planar deformation features, although grains with up to 15 sets were observed. The proportion of shocked quartz in the boundary sediments increases with stratigraphic height; at least 70 +/- 11% of the proportion of the quartz grains are shocked in the uppermost stratigraphic interval. The proportion of shocked quartz throughout the boundary sediments indicates that these grains were excavated primarily from crystalline silicate units, which may have been covered with a small amount of porous quartz-bearing sediments. Polyhedral and moderately sutured margins in shocked polycrystalline quartz grains, the size of the crystal units in these grains and the presence of shocked plagioclase, indicate these ejecta components were excavated from a target with continental affinites, containing quartzites or metaquartzites and a sialic metamorphic and/or igneous component. Other evidence suggests the target may also have contained a significant amount of calcium carbonate and/or sulfate. The large size and amount of shocked quartz grains deposited in Haiti indicate the crater from which they were excavated was produced in the proto-Caribbean region.

  6. Field guide to Cretaceous-tertiary boundary sections in northeastern Mexico

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Keller, Gerta; Stinnesbeck, Wolfgang; Adatte, Thierry; Macleod, Norman; Lowe, Donald R.

    1994-01-01

    This guide was prepared for the field trip to the KT elastic sequence of northeastern Mexico, 5-8 February 1994, in conjunction with the Conference on New Developments Regarding the KT Event and Other Catastrophes in Earth History, held in Houston, Texas. The four-day excursion offers an invaluable opportunity to visit three key outcrops: Arroyo El Mimbral, La Lajilla, and El Pinon. These and other outcrops of this sequence have recently been interpreted as tsunami deposits produced by the meteorite impact event that produced the 200 to 300-km Chicxulub basin in Yucatan, and distributed ejecta around the world approximately 65 m.y. ago that today is recorded as a thin clay layer found at the K/T boundary. The impact tsunami interpretation for these rocks has not gone unchallenged, and others examining the outcrops arrive at quite different conclusions: not tsunami deposits but turbidites; not KT at all but 'upper Cretaceous.' Indeed, it is in hopes of resolving this debate through field discussion, outcrop evaluation, and sampling that led the organizers of the conference to sanction this field trip. This field guide provides participants with background information on the KT clastic sequence outcrops and is divided into two sections. The first section provides regional and logistical context for the outcrops and a description of the clastic sequence. The second section presents three representative interpretations of the outcrops by their advocates. There is clearly no way that these models can be reconciled and so two, if not all three, must be fundamentally wrong. Readers of this guide should keep in mind that many basic outcrop observations that these models are based upon remain unresolved. While great measures were taken to ensure that the information in the description section was as objective as possible, many observations are rooted in interpretations and the emphasis placed on certain observations depends to some degree upon the perspective of the author.

  7. New method for the measurement of osmium isotopes applied to a New Zealand Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary shale

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lichte, F.E.; Wilson, S.M.; Brooks, R.R.; Reeves, R.D.; Holzbecher, J.; Ryan, D.E.

    1986-01-01

    The determination of osmium content and isotopic abundances in geological materials has received increasing attention in recent years following the proposal of Alvarez et al.1 that mass extinctions at the end of the Cretaceous period were caused by the impact of a large (???10km) meteorite which left anomalously high iridium levels as a geochemical signature in the boundary shales. Here we report a new and simple method for measuring osmium in geological materials, involving fusion of the sample with sodium peroxide, distillation of the osmium as the tetroxide using perchloric acid, extraction into chloroform, and absorption of the chloroform extract onto graphite powder before instrumental neutron activation analysis. In a variant of this technique, the chloroform extract is back-extracted into an aqueous phase and the osmium isotopes are determined by plasma-source mass spectrometry (ICPMS). We have used this method on the Woodside Creek (New Zealand) Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary clay and have obtained the first osmium content (6g ng g-1) for this material. The 187Os/186Os ratio is 1.12??0.16, showing a typical non-crustal signature. This combined distillation-extraction- ICPMS method will prove to be useful for measuring osmium isotopes in other geological materials. ?? 1986 Nature Publishing Group.

  8. Kara and Ust-Kara impact structures (USSR) and their relevance to the K/T boundary event

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Koeberl, Christian; Sharpton, Virgil; Murali, A. V.; Burke, Kevin

    1990-01-01

    Ample evidence exists for at least one major meteorite impact event at the time of the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary, and it is therefore important to establish if any recognized terrestrial impact craters are K/T in age. The Kara, USSR, impact structure consists of two adjacent large impact craters (a rare and interesting geologic phenomenon), and it has been suggested that this twin impact structure might be related to the K/T boundary event. However, newly determined (Ar-40)/(Ar-39) and K-Ar ages presented here suggest that these structures are slightly older than 70 Ma, and may thus be too old for a 66 Ma K/T boundary event. Still, these two craters represent a substantial impact event that could have initiated regional, if not global, degradation of the biosphere. Their age suggests a possible relation with the Campanian/Maastrichtian boundary.

  9. 40Ar-39Ar Ages of the Large Impact Structures Kara and Manicouagan and their Relevance to the Cretaceous-Tertiary and the Triassic-Jurassic Boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Trieloff, M.; Jessberger, E. K.

    1992-07-01

    Since the discovery of the iridium enrichment in Cretaceous- Tertiary boundary clays by Alvarez et al. (1980) the search for the crater of the K/T impactor is in progress. Petrographic evidence at the K/T boundary material points towards an impact into an ocean as well as onto the continental crust, multiple K/T impacts are now being considered (Alvarez and Asaro, 1990). One candidate is the Kara crater in northern Siberia of which Kolesnikov et al. (1988) determined a K-Ar isochrone age of 65.6 +- 0.5 Ma, regarding this as indicating that the Kara bolide is at least one of the K/T impactors. Koeberl et al. (1990) determined ^40Ar-^39Ar ages of six impact melts ranging from 70 to 82 Ma and suggested rather an association to the Campanian- Maastrichtian boundary, another important extinction horizon 73 Ma ago (Harland et al., 1982). We dated with the ^40Ar-^39Ar technique four impact melts, KA2- 306, KA2-305, SA1-302 and AN9-182. The spectra have rather well- defined plateaus, shown with highly extended age scales (Fig. 1). The plateau ages range from 69.3 to 71.7 Ma. Our data do not support an association either with the Cretaceous-Tertiary or with the Campanian-Maastrichtian boundary. We deduce an age of 69-71 Ma for the Kara impact structure. Nazarov et al. (1991) have demonstrated by isotopic hydrogen studies that the Kara bolide impacted on dry land, while the last regression at the target area before the end of the Cretaceous occurred 69-70 Ma ago. Our data are consistent with an impact shortly after the regression. We further dated impact metamorphic anorthosite samples (10BD5 and 10BD3C) of the Manicouagan crater, Canada, which may be related to the Triassic-Jurassic boundary (McLaren and Goodfellow, 1990). The samples consist of two different phases, one degassing at low temperatures yielding a plateau age of 212 Ma and another phase which was degassed during the cratering event to varying degrees with apparent ages increasing up to 950 Ma, the age of the

  10. Plants and the K-T Boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nichols, Douglas J.; Johnson, Kirk R.

    In Plants and the K--T Boundary, two of the world's leading experts in palynology and paleobotany provide a comprehensive account of the fate of land plants during the 'great extinction' about 65 million years ago. They describe how the time boundary between the Cretaceous and Paleogene Periods (the K--T boundary) is recognized in the geological record, and how fossil plants can be used to understand global events of that time. There are case studies from over 100 localities around the world, including North America, China, Russia and New Zealand. The book concludes with an evaluation of possible causes of the K--T boundary event and its effects on floras of the past and present. This book is written for researchers and students in paleontology, botany, geology and Earth history, and everyone who has been following the course of the extinction debate and the K--T boundary paradigm shift.

  11. Quenched magnetite in cretaceous-tertiary boundary microtekite-like spheroid

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smit, J.; Kyte, F. T.; Wasson, J. T.

    1984-01-01

    The magnetite containing spheres collected from a kt boundary localities in Italy were analyzed. It was found that these spheres contain relatively high concentrations of Ir. The spheres were analyzed for siderophile elements Ir, Pt, Au, Pd, Os, and Re. Elements Ir, Pt, Pd, and Au were found in high concentrations in magnetic spheres and their concentrations are similar to those in most meteorites. It is suggested that the magnetite spheres do not contain a meteorite component which may be a relic of the kt event.

  12. The causes for geographical variations in OS187/OS186 at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Turekian, K. K.; Esser, B. K.; Ravizza, G. E.

    1988-01-01

    Researchers at Yale has approached the problem of the osmium isotopic composition of marine deposits formed in contact with both oxidized and reduced bottom waters. The measured (187) Os/(186) Os ratios of modern bulk sediment can be explained using mixing equations involving continental detrital, volcaniclastic, cosmogenic and hydrogeneous components. These studies show that sediments deposited under reducing marine conditions contain a hydrogenous component which is enriched in Re and has a radiogenic (187) Os/(186) Os ratio. The presence of such a hydrogenous component in the marine fish clay at Stevns Klint can account for the elevation of its (187) Os/(186) Os ration above the expected meteoritic value. Mass balance considerations require the Re/Os ratio of the phase precipitated from the terminal Cretaceous sea at Stevns Klint to have been about one tenth the value observed in contemporary deposits in the Black Sea, assuming Re has not been lost (or Os gained) subsequent to precipitation. In continental sections, the elevation of the (187) Os/(186) Os ratio in boundary layers may be due to precipitation from continental waters of crustally-derived radiogenic osmium either contemporaneous with the meteoritic (or mantle) osmium deposition or later during diagenesis.

  13. A Search for Soot from Global Wildfires in Central Pacific Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary and Other Extinction and Impact Horizon Sediments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wolbach, Wendy S.; Widicus, Susanna; Kyte, Frank T.

    2003-01-01

    Hypotheses of global wildfires following the Cretaceous-Tertiary (KT) boundary impact are supported by high concentrations of elemental carbon (3.6 mg cm-3) and soot (1.8 mg cm-2) in DSDP Site 465, which was located several thousand kilometers from potential continental sources at 65 Ma. Soot is not preserved at four other central Pacific KT localities, but this is attributed to loss during oxic diagenesis. We find no evidence for wildfires related to major impacts in the late Eocene or to Ir anomalies and extinctions in the late Cenomanian.

  14. Faunal and erosional events in the Eastern Tethyan Sea across the K/T boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Keller, G.; Benjamini, C.

    1988-01-01

    A regional pattern of three closely spaced erosional events at and above the K/T boundary was determined from six Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary sections in the Negev of Israel. The sections were collected from locations throughout the central and northern Negev. All sections are lithologically similar. The Maastrichtian consists of a sequence of limestone beds intercalated with thin marly beds. In some sections, the last limestone bed is followed by 1 to 2 m of calcareous marls grading upwards into several meters of grey shale. In other sections the limestone bed is followed directly by grey shale with the contact containing particles of limestone and marl. A 5 to 20 cm thick dark grey organic-rich clay layer is present about 1.5 to 2.5 m above the base of the grey shale. The grey shale grades upwards into increasingly carbonate rich marls. No unconformities are apparent in field outcrops. During field collection the dark grey clay layer was believed to represent the K/T boundary clay. Microfossil analysis however identified the boundary at the base of the grey shale. The black shale represents a low productivity anoxic event similar to, but younger than, the K/T boundary clay in other K/T boundary sections. High resolution planktic foraminiferal and carbonate analysis of these sections (at 5 to 10 cm intervals) yield surprising results. The K/T boundary is marked by an erosional event which removed part or all of the uppermost Maastrichtian marls above the last limestone bed. Percent carbonate data for four Negev sections are illustrated and show the regional similarities in carbonate sedimentation. Faunal and carbonate data from the Negev sections thus show three closely spaced short erosional events at the K/T boundary and within the first 50,000 to 100,000 years of the Danian. These K/T boundary erosional events may represent global climatic or paleoceanographic events.

  15. Detritus in K/T boundary clays of western North America - Evidence against a single oceanic impact

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sharpton, V. L.; Schuraytz, B. C.; Burke, K.; Murali, A. V.; Ryder, G.

    1990-01-01

    Understanding the crustal signature of impact ejecta contained in the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary layer is crucial to constraining the possible site(s) of the postulated K/T impact event. The relatively unaltered clastic constituents of the boundary layer at widely separated outcrops within the western interior of North America are not compatible with a single oceanic impact but require instead an impact site on a continent or continental margin. On the other hand, chemical compositions of highly altered K/T boundary layer components in some marine sections have suggested to others an impact into oceanic crust. We suspect that post-depositional alteration within the marine setting accounts for this apparent oceanic affinity. If, however, this is not the case, multiple simultaneous impacts, striking continent as well as ocean floor, would seem to be required.

  16. Shocked quartz and more: Impact signatures in K-T boundary clays and claystones

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bohor, Bruce F.

    1988-01-01

    Quartz grains displaying multiple sets of planar features are described from numerous Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary clays and claystones at both marine and nonmarine depositional sites around the world. All these sites also show anomalously high amounts of iridium and enrichments of other siderophile elements in cosmic ratios within these boundary units. This combination of mineralogical and geochemical features are used in support of an impact hypothesis for the end-Cretaceous event. Recently, it was suggested that some combination of explosive and nonexplosive volcanism associated with the formation of the Deccan traps in India could be responsible for the mineralogy and geochemistry seen in the K-T boundary units. Besides the obvious contradition of simultaneous explosive and nonexplosive volcanism from one locality during an instant of geologic time, there remains the difficulty of spreading both iridium (and trace elements in cosmic proportions) and quartz grains around the world by volcanic (atmospheric) transport. In addition, the ability of volcanism to produce the type of shock metamorphism seen in minerals at the K-T boundary was not demonstrated. Multiple sets of shock lamellae in quartz are considered characteristic of shock metamorphism in rocks at the sites of known impact craters and are the type of deformation seen in quartz from K-T boundary clays and claystones. Single sets of poorly defined lamellae described from rare quartz grains in certain volcanic deposits are characteristic of tectonic deformation and do not correspond to the shock lamellae in quartz from K-T sediments and impact structures. So-called shock mosaicism in quartz and feldspar grains described from volcanic deposits can result from many processes other than shock metamorphism, and therefore is not considered to be an effect characteristic solely of shock. The mineralogy of shock-metamorphosed grains at the K-T boundary also argues against a volcanic origin.

  17. Constraints on the Nature and Distribution of Iridium Host Phases at the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary: Implications for Projectile Identity and dispersal on impact

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schuraytz, B. C.; Lindstrom, D. J.; Sharpton, V. L.

    1997-01-01

    Among Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sites worldwide, variations in the concentrations and ratios of elements commonly enriched in meteorites complicate traditional geochemical attempts at impactor identification. Yet they may provide constraints on the physical and chemical processes associated with large-body disruption and dispersal, as well as with diagenesis of projectile components. To this end, we continue our efforts to identify the mineral host-phases of projectile-derived elements, particularly for Ir, and to document their partitioning between crater deposits and ejecta resulting from the Chicxulub basin-forming impact. Building on earlier work, we used INAA to measure Ir concentrations in successively smaller splits of finely powdered impact melt breccia from the Chicxulub Crater in Mexico (sample Y6Nl9-R(b)), and K/T boundary fish clay from Stevns Klint, Denmark (sample FC-1, split from 40 kg of homogenized material intended as an analytical standard). Results for the Chicxulub sample show a heterogeneous Ir distribution and document that at least five discrete Ir-bearing host phases were isolated in subsequent splits, having Ir masses equivalent to pure Ir spheres from about 0.8 to about 3.5 mm in diameter. Three of these are within a sufficiently reduced mass of powder to warrant searching for them using backscattered electron microscopy. In contrast, successively smaller splits of the Stevns Klint fish clay show no statistically significant deviation from the reported value of 32 +/- 2 ng/g Ir, suggesting a uniform Ir host-phase distribution. For the smallest split obtained thus far (100 +/- 40 ng/g Ir), a pure Ir sphere of equivalent Ir mass would be <0.05 min in diameter. (n.b. Although homogenizing and sieving of FC-1 to <75 min obviously obscured variations in stratigraphic distribution, it is unlikely to have affected the size-frequency distribution of Ir host phases.) We previously identified micrometer-scale Ir host phases by electron

  18. Bio-, Magneto- and event-stratigraphy across the K-T boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Preisinger, A.; Stradner, H.; Mauritsch, H. J.

    1988-01-01

    Determining the time and the time structure of rare events in geology can be accomplished by applying three different and independent stratigraphic methods: Biostratigraphy, magneto-stratigraphy and event-stratigraphy. The optimal time resolution of the two former methods is about 1000 years, while by means of event-stratigraphy a resolution of approximately one year can be achieved. For biostratigraphy across the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary micro- and nannofossils have been found best suited. The qualitative and quantitative analyses of minerals and trace elements across the K-T boundary show anomalies on a millimeter scale and permit conclusions regarding the time structure of the K-T event itself. The results of the analyses find a most consistent explanation by the assumption of an extraterrestrial impact. The main portion of the material rain from the atmosphere evidently was deposited within a short time. The long-time components consist of the finest portion of the material rain from the atmosphere and the transported and redeposited fall-out.

  19. Deccan volcanism and K-T boundary signatures

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Murali, A. V.; Schuraytz, B. C.; Parekh, P. P.

    1988-01-01

    The Deccan Traps in the Indian subcontinent represent one of the most extensive flood basalt provinces in the world. These basalts occur mainly as flat-lying, subaerially erupted tholeiitic lava flows, some of which are traceable for distances of more than 100 km. Offshore drilling and geophysical surveys indicate that a part of the Deccan subsided or was downfaulted to the west beneath the Arabian Sea. The presence of 1 to 5 m thick intertrappean sediments deposited by lakes and rivers indicates periods of quiescence between eruptions. The occurrence of numerous red bole beds among the flows suggests intense weathering of flow tops between eruptive intervals. Although the causative relationship of the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) biotic extinctions to Deccan volcanism is debatable, the fact that the main Deccan eruptions straddle the K-T event appears beyond doubt from the recent Ar-40/Ar-39 ages of various Deccan flows. This temporal relationship of the K-T event with Deccan volcanism makes the petrochemical signatures of the entire Deccan sequence (basalt flows, intercalated intertrappean sediments, infratrappean Lameta beds (with dinosaur fossils), and the bole beds) pertinent to studies of the K-T event. The results of ongoing study is presented.

  20. Impact wave deposits provide new constraints on the location of the K/T boundary impact

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hildebrand, A. R.; Boynton, W. V.

    1988-01-01

    All available evidence is consistent with an impact into oceanic crust terminating the Cretaceous Period. Although much of this evidence is incompatible with an endogenic origin, some investigators still feel that a volcanic origin is possible for the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary clay layers. The commonly cited evidence for a large impact stems from delicate clay layers and their components and the impact site has not yet been found. Impact sites have been suggested all over the globe. The impact is felt to have occurred near North America by: the occurrence of a 2 cm thick ejecta layer only at North American locales, the global variation of shocked quartz grain sizes peaking in North America, the global variation of spinel compositions with most refractory compositions occurring in samples from the Pacific region and possibly uniquely severe plant extinctions in the North American region. The K/T boundary interval was investigated as preserved on the banks of the Brazos River, Texas. The K/T fireball and ejecta layers with associated geochemical anomalies were found interbedded with this sequence which apparently allows a temporal resolution 4 orders of magnitude greater than typical K/T boundary sections. A literature search reveals that such coarse deposits are widely preserved at the K/T boundary. Impact wave deposits have not been found elsewhere on the globe, suggesting the impact occurred between North and South America. The coarse deposits preserved in Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) holes 151-3 suggest the impact occurred nearby. Subsequent tectonism has complicated the picture.

  1. Platinum-group elements (PGE) and rhenium in marine sediments across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary: constraints on Re-PGE transport in the marine environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Cin-Ty Aeolus; Wasserburg, Gerald J.; Kyte, Frank T.

    The nature of Re-platinum-group element (PGE; Pt, Pd, Ir, Os, Ru) transport in the marine environment was investigated by means of marine sediments at and across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) at two hemipelagic sites in Europe and two pelagic sites in the North and South Pacific. A traverse across the KTB in the South Pacific pelagic clay core found elevated levels of Re, Pt, Ir, Os, and Ru, each of which is approximately symmetrically distributed over a distance of ˜1.8 m across the KTB. The Re-PGE abundance patterns are fractionated from chondritic relative abundances: Ru, Pt, Pd, and Re contents are slightly subchondritic relative to Ir, and Os is depleted by ˜95% relative to chondritic Ir proportions. A similar depletion in Os (˜90%) was found in a sample of the pelagic KTB in the North Pacific, but it is enriched in Ru, Pt, Pd, and Re relative to Ir. The two hemipelagic KTB clays have near-chondritic abundance patterns. The ˜1.8-m-wide Re-PGE peak in the pelagic South Pacific section cannot be reconciled with the fallout of a single impactor, indicating that postdepositional redistribution has occurred. The elemental profiles appear to fit diffusion profiles, although bioturbation could have also played a role. If diffusion had occurred over ˜65 Ma, the effective diffusivities are ˜10 -13 cm 2/s, much smaller than that of soluble cations in pore waters (˜10 -6 cm 2/s). The coupling of Re and the PGEs during redistribution indicates that postdepositional processes did not significantly fractionate their relative abundances. If redistribution was caused by diffusion, then the effective diffusivities are the same. Fractionation of Os from Ir during the KTB interval must therefore have occurred during aqueous transport in the marine environment. Distinctly subchondritic Os/Ir ratios throughout the Cenozoic in the South Pacific core further suggest that fractionation of Os from Ir in the marine environment is a general process throughout geologic

  2. Platinum-group elements (PGE) and Rhenium in Marine Sediments across the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary: Constraints on Re-PGE Transport in the Marine Environment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, Cin-Ty Aeolus; Wasserburg, Gerald J.; Kyte, Frank T.

    2003-01-01

    The nature of Re-platinum-group element (PGE; Pt, Pd, Ir, Os, Ru) transport in the marine environment was investigated by means of marine sediments at and across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) at two hemipelagic sites in Europe and two pelagic sites in the North and South Pacific. A traverse across the KTB in the South Pacific pelagic clay core found elevated levels of Re, Pt, Ir, Os, and Ru, each of which is approximately symmetrically distributed over a distance of approx. 1.8 m across the KTB. The Re-PGE abundance patterns are fractionated from chondritic relative abundances: Ru, Pt, Pd, and Re contents are slightly subchondritic relative to Ir, and Os is depleted by approx. 95% relative to chondritic Ir proportions. A similar depletion in Os (approx. 90%) was found in a sample of the pelagic KTB in the North Pacific, but it is enriched in Ru, Pt, Pd, and Re relative to Ir. The two hemipelagic KTB clays have near-chondritic abundance patterns. The approx. 1.8-m-wide Re-PGE peak in the pelagic South Pacific section cannot be reconciled with the fallout of a single impactor, indicating that postdepositional redistribution has occurred. The elemental profiles appear to fit diffusion profiles, although bioturbation could have also played a role. If diffusion had occurred over approx. 65 Ma, the effective diffusivities are approx. 10(exp -13)sq cm/s, much smaller than that of soluble cations in pore waters (approx. 10(exp -5) sq cm/s). The coupling of Re and the PGEs during redistribution indicates that postdepositional processes did not significantly fractionate their relative abundances. If redistribution was caused by diffusion, then the effective diffusivities are the same. Fractionation of Os from Ir during the KTB interval must therefore have occurred during aqueous transport in the marine environment. Distinctly subchondritic Os/Ir ratios throughout the Cenozoic in the South Pacific core further suggest that fractionation of Os from Ir in the marine

  3. Acid-neutralizing scenario after the Cretaceous-Tertiary impact event

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maruoka, Teruyuki; Koeberl, Christian

    2003-06-01

    Acid rain from the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary impact event should have caused significant damage to freshwater life, but only minor extinctions of freshwater species are actually observed. We propose a mechanism to neutralize the acid using larnite (β-Ca2SiO4), produced as a result of the specific lithology at the Chicxulub impact site. The impact vapor plume must have been enriched in calcium from the carbonate-rich target, leading to the crystallization of larnite. The acid-neutralizing capacity of the larnite grains would have been high enough to consume acid produced after the K-T event within several hours, reducing it to a level at which freshwater life would not have been affected, even if all the acid had precipitated instantaneously after the K-T impact. This scenario can explain some of the extinction selectivity at the K-T boundary.

  4. Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd, K-Ca, O, and H isotopic study of Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sediments, Caravaca, Spain Evidence for an oceanic impact site

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Depaolo, D. J.; Kyte, F. T.; Marshall, B. D.; Oneil, J. R.; Smit, J.

    1983-01-01

    The results of isotopic and trace-element-abundance analyses of Ir-enriched Cretaceous-Tertiary-boundary clay sediments from Caravaca, Spain, and of adjacent carbonate and marl layers, are presented. Acetic-acid and HCl leachates and residues were analyzed by isotope dilution to determine K, Rb, Sr, Sm, and Nd concentrations and Sr-87/Sr-86 and Nd-143/Nd-144 ratios. The stable isotope ratios delta-D, delta-(C-13), and delta-(0-18) were also determined. The results are presented in tables and graphs and compared with published data on the Caravaca sediments and on samples from other locations. The boundary clay is found to be distinguished from the adjacent layers by its isotopic ratios and to be of mainly terrestrial, lithospheric (deeper than 3-km) origin. Although submarine-weathering effects are evident and difficult to quantify, the degree of variation in Ni, Ir, Sr, and REE concentrations is considered too large to be attributed to postdepositional processes alone. These findings are seen as evidence for the ocean impact of a large single asteroid producing a worldwide blanket of ejecta, a large injection of water vapor into the atmosphere, and perhaps a gigantic tsunami, at the end of the Cretaceous period.

  5. Isotopic signatures of black tektites from the K-T boundary on Haiti - Implications for the age and type of source material

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Premo, W. R.; Izett, G. A.

    1992-01-01

    An isotopic study was carried out to characterize the type of black tektites from the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary on Haiti (the first reasonably well-preserved impact-derived material recovered from the K-T boundary), in order to help characterize the tektite source material (i.e., the type of rocks that were melted and ejected during the impact event(s) at around 64.5 Ma). Results show that the isotopic data and all of the element concentration data obtained are consistent with an andesitic-dacitic composition for the tektites and their source material. The Nd isotopic data suggest that the source rocks were not older than Silurian (T(chur) = 400 Ma) in age, and were composed largely of young (less than 1080 Ma) crustal material. Of the suspected K-T boundary impact sites, both the Manson (Iowa) and Chicxulub (Yucatan) structures occur in suitable lithologies to yield the Haitian black tektites.

  6. Isotopic signatures of black tektites from the K-T boundary on Haiti - Implications for the age and type of source material

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Premo, W. R.; Izett, G. A.

    1992-09-01

    An isotopic study was carried out to characterize the type of black tektites from the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary on Haiti (the first reasonably well-preserved impact-derived material recovered from the K-T boundary), in order to help characterize the tektite source material (i.e., the type of rocks that were melted and ejected during the impact event(s) at around 64.5 Ma). Results show that the isotopic data and all of the element concentration data obtained are consistent with an andesitic-dacitic composition for the tektites and their source material. The Nd isotopic data suggest that the source rocks were not older than Silurian (T(chur) = 400 Ma) in age, and were composed largely of young (less than 1080 Ma) crustal material. Of the suspected K-T boundary impact sites, both the Manson (Iowa) and Chicxulub (Yucatan) structures occur in suitable lithologies to yield the Haitian black tektites.

  7. Coeval Ar-40/Ar-39 ages of 65.0 million years ago from Chicxulub crater melt rock and Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary tektites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Swisher, Carl C., III; Grajales-Nishimura, Jose M.; Montanari, Alessandro; Margolis, Stanley V.; Claeys, Philippe; Alvarez, Walter; Renne, Paul; Cedillo-Pardo, Esteban; Maurrasse, Florentin J.-M. R.; Curtis, Garniss H.

    1992-01-01

    Ar-40/Ar-39 dating of drill-core samples of a glassy melt rock recovered from beneath a massive impact breccia contained with the 180-kilometer subsurface Chicxulub crater yields well-behaved incremental heating spectra with a mean plateau age of 64.98 +/- 0.05 million years ago (Ma). The glassy melt rock of andesitic composition was obtained from core 9 (1390 to 1393 meters) in the Chicxulub 1 well. The age of the melt rock is virtually indistinguishable from Ar-40/Ar-39 ages obtained on tektite glass from Beloc, Haiti, and Arroyo el Mimbral, northeastern Mexico, of 65.01 +/- 0.08 Ma (mean plateau age for Beloc) and 65.07 +/- 0.10 Ma (mean total fusion age for both sites). The Ar-40/Ar-39 ages, in conjunction with geochemical and petrological similarities, strengthen the suggestion that the Chicxulub structure is the source for the Haitian and Mexican tektites and is a viable candidate for the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary impact site.

  8. Coeval 40Ar/39Ar Ages of 65.0 Million Years Ago from Chicxulub Crater Melt Rock and Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary Tektites.

    PubMed

    Swisher, C C; Grajales-Nishimura, J M; Montanari, A; Margolis, S V; Claeys, P; Alvarez, W; Renne, P; Cedillo-Pardoa, E; Maurrasse, F J; Curtis, G H; Smit, J; McWilliams, M O

    1992-08-14

    (40)Ar/(39)Ar dating of drill core samples of a glassy melt rock recovered from beneath a massive impact breccia contained within the 180-kilometer subsurface Chicxulub crater in Yucatán, Mexico, has yielded well-behaved incremental heating spectra with a mean plateau age of 64.98 +/- 0.05 million years ago (Ma). The glassy melt rock of andesitic composition was obtained from core 9 (1390 to 1393 meters) in the Chicxulub 1 well. The age of the melt rock is virtually indistinguishable from (40)Ar/(39)Ar ages obtained on tektite glass from Beloc, Haiti, and Arroyo el Mimbral, northeastern Mexico, of 65.01 +/- 0.08 Ma (mean plateau age for Beloc) and 65.07 +/- 0.10 Ma (mean total fusion age for both sites). The (40)Ar/(39)Ar ages, in conjunction with geochemical and petrological similarities, strengthen the recent suggestion that the Chicxulub structure is the source for the Haitian and Mexican tektites and is a viable candidate for the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary impact site. PMID:17789640

  9. Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd, K-Ca, O, and H isotopic study of Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sediments, Caravaca, Spain: evidence for an oceanic impact site

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DePaolo, D.J.; Kyte, F.T.; Marshall, B.D.; O'Neil, J.R.; Smit, J.

    1983-01-01

    Isotopic ratios and trace element abundances were measured on samples of Ir-enriched clay at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, and in carbonate and marl from 5 cm below and 3 cm above the boundary. Samples were leached with acetic acid to remove carbonate, and with hydrochloric acid. Leachates and residues were measured. The Sr, Nd, O and H isotopic compositions of the boundary clay residues are distinct from those of the stratigraphically neighboring materials. The data indicate that most of the clay material was derived from a terrestrial source with relatively low 87Sr/86Sr and high 143Nd/144Nd ratios. The ??18O data suggest that the detritus has been modified by submarine weathering. K-Ca and Rb-Sr systematics, as well as O isotope ratios of K-feldspar spherules within the boundary clay, suggest that they are predominantly authigenic and may have formed after the time of deposition. However, Sm-Nd and Rb-Sr isotopic data indicate that the spherules contain relict material that provides information on the nature of the original detritus. The isotopic evidence for foreign terrestrial detritus in the boundary clay, the low rare earth element concentrations and high Ni concentration, support the hypothesis of a terminal Cretaceous asteroidal impact that produced a global layer of fallout. The data are most easily explained if the impact site was on oceanic crust rather than continental crust, and if a substantial fraction of the fallout was derived from relatively deep within the lithosphere (>3 km). This would probably require a single large impactor. ?? 1983.

  10. Geochemistry of K/T boundaries in India and contributions of Deccan volcanism

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bhandari, N.; Gupta, M.; Pandey, J.; Shukla, P. N.

    1988-01-01

    Three possible Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary sections in the Indian subcontinent were studied for their geochemical and fossil characteristics. These include two marine sections of Meghalaya and Zanskar and one continental section of Nagpur. The Um Sohryngkew river section of Meghalaya shows a high iridium, osmium, iron, cobalt, nickel and chromium concentration in a 1.5 cm thick limonitic layer about 30 cm below the planktonic Cretaceous-Palaeocene boundary identified by the characteristic fossils. The Bottaccione and Contessa sections at Gubbio were also analyzed for these elements. The geochemical pattern at the boundary at the Um Sohryngkew river and Gubbio sections are similar but the peak concentrations and the enrichment factors are different. The biological boundary is not as sharp as the geochemical boundary and the extinction appears to be a prolonged process. The Zanskar section shows, in general, similar concentration of the siderophile, lithophile and rare earth elements but no evidence of enrichment of siderophiles has so far been observed. The Takli section is a shallow inter-trappean deposit within the Deccan province, sandwiched between flow 1 and flow 2. The geochemical stratigraphy of the inter-trappeans is presented. The various horizons of ash, clay and marl show concentration of Fe and Co, generally lower than the adjacent basalts. Two horizons of slight enrichment of iridium are found within the ash layers, one near the contact of flow 1 and other near the contact of flow 2, where iridium occurs at 170 and 260 pg/g. These levels are lower by a factor of 30 compared to Ir concentration in the K/T boundary in Meghalaya section. If the enhanced level of some elements in a few horizons of the ash layer are considered as volcanic contribution by some fractionation processes than the only elements for which it occurs are REE, Ir and possibly Cr.

  11. A multi-isotopic and trace element investigation of the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary layer at Stevns Klint, Denmark - inferences for the origin and nature of siderophile and lithophile element geochemical anomalies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frei, Robert; Frei, Karin M.

    2002-10-01

    Os, Sr, Nd and Pb isotope data were collected from a profile across the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary layer at Stevns Klint, Denmark. ɛNd [ T=65 Ma] values from within the boundary layer (Fish Clay) are lower by ˜1 ɛ unit than those of the underlying Maastrichtian limestone and the overlying Danian chalk sequences. Systematic profile-upward changes of Pb, Sr and Os isotopic compositions and concentrations in the boundary layer cannot be accounted for by in situ growth of daughter products since the sedimentation of the Fish Clay. While Os, Nd and Pb isotopes indicate the admixing of less radiogenic components to the Fish Clay, Sr isotopes show elevated radiogenic values in the boundary layer, relative to the carbonate sequences beneath and above it. The sudden change in lithophile (e.g., Sr, Pb and Nd) isotope compositions at the base of the Fish Clay and profile-upward trends of 87Sr/ 86Sr and 206Pb/ 204Pb ratios towards those of the overlying Danian chalk are interpreted to reflect recovery from enhanced, acid rain-induced continental (local?) weathering input to the seawater. However, a continental crustal source is invalid for the siderophile element Os. In the light of evidence from chromium isotopes for a cosmic origin of the platinum group elements (PGEs) and certain moderately siderophile elements (Cr, Ni, Co, V) in K-T boundary sediments, including Stevns Klint [Shukolyukov and Lugmair, Science 282 (1998) 927-929], and supported by the finding of projectile debris [Bauluz et al., Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 182 (2000) 127-136] and the occurrence of abundant Ni-rich spinel at many K-T sites [Robin et al., Nature 363 (1993) 615-617; Kyte, Nature 396 (1998) 237-239], we favor to explain the sudden drop of 187Os/ 188Os ratios from 0.210 to 0.160 at the K-T boundary to derive from global fall-out of extraterrestrial matter. The present 186Os/ 188Os ratio of 0.119836±0.000004 measured in the basal layer of the Fish Clay is within the uncertainty a

  12. Collapse of florisitic diversity coincident with a fungal spike and iridium anomaly at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in New Zealand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vajda, V.; Raine, J. I.

    2003-04-01

    Analysis of pollen and spore assemblages from both terrestrial and near-shore marine sediments in New Zealand had revealed an instant, extensive destruction of land plants directly associated with the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) event, (Vajda et al., 2001). A recent palynological investigation, based on millimeter resolution sampling of the terrestrial KTB sediments at Moody Creek Mine, Greymouth coalfield, New Zealand has been carried out. The sediments were deposited in a terrestrial wetland environment and the KTB is defined within a coal seam. Preliminary results of the high-resolution investigation reveal a diverse vascular plant spore/pollen flora (>80 species) that was replaced by an assemblage impoverished in vascular plant pollen and spores, but rich in fungal spores. The "barren" layer is coincident with the extinction of several miospore taxa and contains an iridium abundance of 3ppb. The fungal spike covers 5 mm, and is followed by a 40-cm interval with abundant fern spores. The relative abundance of fern spores, increases from 25% below the boundary to 98% in the sediment following the KTB. We argue that the abrupt palynofloristic changes at this high southern palaeolatitude site are evidence of massive disruptions to terrestrial plant communities as a consequence of the Chicxulub impact. Palynofloristic evidence indicates that the complex mire and forest vegetation was totally devastated at the time of impact. Global cooling and several months with extremely low light levels following the impact, perhaps in combination with extensive wildfires would explain the devastation of the vegetation. The "barren" layer at the KTB corresponds to immediate post-impact conditions with low light levels and dust-related cooling unfavorable to forest growth but favoring saprophytic fungi. The recovery succession is initiated by opportunistic species of ground ferns, the plants best adapted to low light, lowered temperatures and high acidity. Vajda, V., Raine

  13. Climatic changes resulting from mass extinctions at the K-T boundary (and other bio-events)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rampino, Michael R.; Volk, Tyler

    1988-01-01

    The mass extinctions at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary include about 90 percent of marine calcareous nannoplankton (coccoliths), and carbon-isotope data show that marine primary productivity was drastically reduced for about 500,000 years after the boundary event, the so-called Strangelove Ocean effect. One result of the elimination of most marine phytoplankton would have been a severe reduction in production of dimethyl sulfide (DMS), a biogenic gas that is believed to be the major precursor of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) over the oceans. A drastic reduction in marine CCN should lead to a cloud canopy with significantly lower reflectivity, and hence cause a significant warming at the earth's surface. Calculations suggest that, all other things being held constant, a reduction in CCN of more than 80 percent (a reasonable value for the K-T extinctions) could have produced a rapid global warming of 6 C or more. Oxygen-isotope analyses of marine sediments, and other kinds of paleoclimatic data, have provided for a marked warming, and a general instability of climate coincident with the killoff of marine plankton at the K-T boundary. Similar reductions in phytoplankton abundance at other boundaries, as indicated by marked shifts in carbon-isotope curves, suggest that severe temperature changes may have accompanied other mass extinctions, and raises the intriguing possibility that the extinction events themselves could have contributed to the climatic instabilities at critical bio-events in the geologic record.

  14. A Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction? Were most of Earth's species killed off?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Briggs, J. C.

    1991-01-01

    For the past decade, the scientific and popular press have carried frequent articles about a catastrophic mass extinction that supposedly destroyed the majority of the earth's species, including the dinosaurs, approximately 65 million years ago. Since 1980, more than 2000 papers and books have dealt with some aspect of a mass extinction at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) boundary. One authoritative estimate of the severity of the extinctions is that 60-80% of all the living species became extinct at this boundary (Raup 1988). There appears to be a general acceptance of the fact that such a great catastrophe did occur. Most of the argument among scientists now is devoted to the determination of the cause. In this article, I argue that the species changes at the K/T boundary were neither sudden nor catastrophic. They were most likely caused by a regression of sea level that led to a decrease in primary production.

  15. Shock-induced microdeformations in quartz and other mineralogical indications of an impact event at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bohor, B.F.

    1990-01-01

    The event terminating the Cretaceous period and the Mesozoic era caused massive extinctions of flora and fauna worldwide. Theories of the nature of this event can be classed as endogenic (volcanic, climatic, etc.) or exogenic (extraterrestrial causes). Mineralogical evidence from the boundary clays and claystones strongly favor the impact of an extraterrestrial body as the cause of this event. Nonmarine KT boundary claystones are comprised of two separate layers-an upper layer composed of high-angle ejecta material (shocked quartz, altered glass and spinel) and a basal kaolinitic layer containing spherules, clasts, and altered glass, together with some shocked grains. Recognition of this dual-layered nature of the boundary clay is important for the determination of the timing and processes involved in the impact event and in the assignment and interpretation of geochemical signatures. Multiple sets of shock-induced microdeformations (planar features) in quartz grains separated from KT boundary clays provide compelling evidence of an impact event. This mineralogical manifestation of shock metamorphism is associated worldwide with a large positive anomaly of iridium in these boundary clays, which has also been considered indicative of the impact of a large extraterrestrial body. Global distributions of maximum sizes of shocked quartz grains from the boundary clays and the mineralogy of the ejecta components favor an impact on or near the North American continent. Spinel crystals (magnesioferrite) occur in the boundary clays as micrometer-sized octahedra or skeletal forms. Their composition differs from that of spinels found in terrestrial oceanic basalts. Magnesioferrite crystals are restricted to the high-angle ejecta layer of the boundary clays and their small size and skeletal morphology suggest that they are condensation products of a vaporized bolide. Hollow spherules ranging up to 1 mm in size are ubiquitously associated with the boundary clays. In nonmarine

  16. Mineralogy and petrology of the Cretaceous- Tertiary boundary clay bed and adjacent clay-rich rocks, Raton Basin, New Mexico and Colorado.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pollastro, R.M.; Pillmore, C.L.

    1987-01-01

    The K-T boundary occurs at the top of a kaolinitic claystone layer, commonly referred to as the 'boundary clay layer', in an interval of coal and carbonaceous shale. The boundary is defined by the disappearance of certain fossil-pollen taxa. The boundary clay layer also contains shocked quartz grains and abundance anomalies of iridium, chromium, and other elements. Each of these characteristics support the hypothesis of an asteroid impact at the end of the Cretaceous. -from Authors

  17. Biospheric Effects of the Chicxulub Impact and Their Role in the Cretaceous/Tertiary Mass Extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pope, Kevin O.

    1997-01-01

    A comprehensive analysis of volatiles in the Chicxulub impact strongly supports the hypothesis that impact-generated sulfate aerosols caused over a decade of global cooling, acid rain, and disruption of ocean circulation, which contributed to the mass extinction at the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary. The crater size, meteoritic content of the K/T boundary clay, and impact models indicate that the Chicxulub crater was formed by a short period comet or an asteroid impact that released 0.7-3.4 x 10(exp 31) ergs of energy. Impact models and experiments combined with estimates of volatiles in the projectile and target rocks predict that over 200 gigatons (Gt) each of SO2 and water vapor, and over 500 Gt of CO2, were globally distributed in the stratosphere by the impact.

  18. Impact dust not the cause of the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pope, Kevin O.

    2002-02-01

    Most of the 3-mm-thick globally distributed Chicxulub ejecta layer found at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary was deposited as condensation droplets from the impact vapor plume. A small fraction of this layer (<1%) is clastic debris. Theoretical calculations, coupled with observations of the coarse dust fraction, indicate that very little (<1014 g) was submicrometer-size dust. The global mass and grain-size distribution of the clastic debris indicate that stratospheric winds spread the debris from North America, over the Pacific Ocean, to Europe, and little debris reached high southern latitudes. These findings indicate that the original K-T impact extinction hypothesis—the shutdown of photosynthesis by submicrometer-size dust—is not valid, because it requires more than two orders of magnitude more fine dust than is estimated here. Furthermore, estimates of future impact hazards, which rely upon inaccurate impact-dust loadings, are greatly overstated.

  19. The Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction: A lethal mechanism involving anhydrite target rocks

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brett, R.

    1992-01-01

    The Chicxulub Crater, Yucatan, Mexico, is a leading contender as the site for the impact event that caused the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) extinctions. A considerable thickness of anhydrite (CaSO4) forms part of the target rock. High temperatures resulting from impact would drive SO2 off from the anhydrite. Hundreds of billions of tonnes of sulfuric acid aerosol would thus enter the stratosphere and cause considerable cooling of the Earth's surface, decrease photosynthesis by orders of magnitude, deplete the ozone layer, and permit increased UV radiation to reach the Earth's surface. Finally, the aerosol would fall back to Earth as acid rain and devastate land and some lacustrine biota and near-surface marine creatures. The presence of anhydrite in the Chicxulub target rock may thus help explain the many extinctions observed at the K-T boundary. ?? 1992.

  20. The Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction - A lethal mechanism involving anhydrite target rocks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brett, Robin

    1992-09-01

    The Chicxulub Crater, Yucatan, Mexico, is a leading contender as the site for the impact event that caused the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) extinctions. A considerable thickness of anhydrite (CaSO4) forms part of the target rock. High temperatures resulting from impact would drive SO2 off from the anhydrite. Hundreds of billions of tonnes of sulfuric acid aerosol would thus enter the stratosphere and cause considerable cooling of the earth's surface, decrease photosynthesis by orders of magnitude, deplete the ozone layer, and permit increased UV radiation to reach the earth's surface. Finally, the aerosol would fall back to earth as acid rain and devastate land and some lacustrine biota and near-surface marine creatures. The presence of anhydrite in the Chicxulub target rock may thus help explain the many extinctions observed at the K-T boundary.

  1. Main Deccan volcanism phase ends near the K-T boundary: Evidence from the Krishna-Godavari Basin, SE India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, G.; Adatte, T.; Gardin, S.; Bartolini, A.; Bajpai, S.

    2008-04-01

    Recent studies indicate that the bulk (80%) of the Deccan trap eruptions occurred over less than 0.8 m.y. in magnetic polarity C29r spanning the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary. Determining where within this major eruptive phase the K-T mass extinction occurred has remained problematic. For this reason, models estimating the biotic and environmental consequences have generally underestimated the rate and quantity of Deccan gas emissions by orders of magnitude leading to conclusions that volcanism could not have been one of the major causes for the K-T mass extinction. In this study we report that the most massive Deccan trap eruption occurred near the K-T mass extinction. These results are based on sedimentologic, microfacies and biostratigraphic data of 4-9 m thick intertrappean sediments in four quarry outcrops in the Rajahmundry area of the Krishna-Godavari Basin of southeastern India. In this area two Deccan basalt flows, known as the Rajahmundry traps, mark the longest lava flows extending 1500 km across the Indian continent and into the Bay of Bengal. The sediments directly overlying the lower Rajahmundry trap contain early Danian planktic foraminiferal assemblages of zone P1a, which mark the evolution in the aftermath of the K-T mass extinction. The upper Rajahmundry trap was deposited in magnetic polarity C29n, preceding full biotic recovery. These results suggest that volcanism may have played critical roles in both the K-T mass extinction and the delayed biotic recovery.

  2. Rocks, resolution, and the record at the terrestrial K/T boundary, eastern Montana and western North Dakota

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fastovsky, D. E.

    1988-01-01

    Reconstructions of mass extinction events are based upon faunal patterns, reconstructed from numerical and diversity data ultimately derived from rocks. It follows that geological complexity must not be subsumed in the desire to establish patterns. This is exemplified at the Terrestrial Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) boundary in eastern Montana and western North Dakota, where there are represented all of the major indicators of the terrestrial K/T transition: dinosaurian and non-dinosaurian vertebrate faunas, pollen, a megaflora, iridium, and shocked quartz. It is the patterns of these indicators that shape ideas about the terrestrial K/T transition. In eastern Montana and western North Dakota, the K/T transition is represented lithostratigraphically by the Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation, and the Tertiary Tullock Formation. Both of these are the result of aggrading, meandering, fluvial systems, a fact that has important consequences for interpretations of fossils they contain. Direct consequences of the fluvial depositional environments are: facies are lenticular, interfingering, and laterally discontinuous; the occurrence of fossils in the Hell Creek and Tullock formations is facies-dependent; and the K/T sequence in eastern Montana and western North Dakota is incomplete, as indicated by repetitive erosional contacts and soil successions. The significance for faunal patterns of lenticular facies, facies-dependent preservation, and incompleteness is discussed. A project attempting to reconstruct vertebrate evolution in a reproducible manner in Hell Creek-type sediments must be based upon a reliable scale of correlations, given the lenticular nature of the deposits, and a recognition of the fact that disparate facies are not comparable in terms of either numbers of preserved vertebrates or depositional rates.

  3. Terrestrial ecosystem destabilization at the K/T boundary in southwestern North Dakota, USA.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bercovici, Antoine; Pearson, Dean; Villanueva-Amadoz, Uxue

    2010-05-01

    Much of the debate regarding mass extinction events tend to discuss the relationship between such events relative to the moment and timing of internal or external factors (such as volcanism, impact(s), climate, sea-level changes and so on). However, the details of the extinction process itself is still poorly understood, and most of the analysis are based on biodiversity patterns without integrating the biogeographic and environmental context. Another way of approaching the problem would be to propose precise paleoenvironment reconstructions and analyzing their evolution through time, which allows for the understanding of such processes. The badlands of southwestern North Dakota provides some of the most prolific exposures of the continental Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary in the world. The stratigraphical context indicates that the K/T boundary is coincident or lies in close proximity to the contact between the Hell Creek and the Fort Union Formations. In this area, a series of eight stratigraphical sections across a 40 km north-south transect were studied. These sections bracket the formational contact on a 10 m stratigraphical interval. Reconstruction of the depositional environment was undertaken at a centimeter scale by using sedimentological data, as well as palynological, paleobotanical and palaeontological content of the strata, using the K/T boundary as a precise chronological datum of correlation between the sections. Results shows a consistent evolution of pattern across the entire study area : 1) The uppermost 10 to 20 cm of the Hell Creek Formation always corresponds to a sequence of dark rooted mudstone. Pollen content is consistent with a Cretaceous age and displays a diversity of terrestrial taxa. 2) Immediately above, the formation contact lies at the lower part of the first laterally traceable lignite horizon. The K/T boundary indicators (iridium anomaly, shocked quartz, fern spike and boundary claystone) are located at or adjacent to this

  4. Explosive volcanism, shock metamorphism and the K-T boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Desilva, S. L.; Sharpton, V. L.

    1988-01-01

    The issue of whether shocked quartz can be produced by explosive volcanic events is important in understanding the origin of the K-T boundary constituents. Proponents of a volcanic origin for the shocked quartz at the K-T boundary cite the suggestion of Rice, that peak overpressures of 1000 kbars can be generated during explosive volcanic eruptions, and may have occurred during the May, 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Attention was previously drawn to the fact that peak overpressures during explosive eruptions are limited by the strength of the rock confining the magma chamber to less than 8 kbars even under ideal conditions. The proposed volcanic mechanisms for generating pressures sufficient to shock quartz are further examined. Theoretical arguments, field evidence and petrographic data are presented showing that explosive volcanic eruptions cannot generate shock metamorphic features of the kind seen in minerals at the K-T boundary.

  5. XAFS Study of As in K-T Boundary Clays

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sakai, Shunsuke; Yoshiasa, Akira; Arima, Hiroshi; Okube, Maki; Numako, Chiya; Sato, Tsutomu

    2007-02-01

    Local structure around arsenic atoms in K-T boundary clays was studied by As K-edge XAFS spectroscopy. The threshold E0 energy of As and the characterization of the white peak of XANES spectra agree well with the values of As(+5) minerals like Zn2(AsO4)2(OH)22H2O and CaCu(AsO4)(OH) according to the comparison with several types of arsenic minerals. This indicates that arsenic is in a high oxidation state As(+5) and occupies the AsO4 tetrahedral site of a mineral in K-T boundary clays.

  6. The global Cretaceous-Tertiary fire: Biomass or fossil carbon

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gilmour, Iain; Guenther, Frank

    1988-01-01

    The global soot layer at the K-T boundary indicates a major fire triggered by meteorite impact. However, it is not clear whether the principal fuel was biomass or fossil carbon. Forests are favored by delta value of C-13, which is close to the average for trees, but the total amount of elemental C is approximately 10 percent of the present living carbon, and thus requires very efficient conversion to soot. The PAH was analyzed at Woodside Creek, in the hope of finding a diagnostic molecular marker. A promising candidate is 1-methyl-7-isopropyl phenanthrene (retene,), which is probably derived by low temperature degradation of abietic acid. Unlike other PAH that form by pyrosynthesis at higher temperatures, retene has retained the characteristic side chains of its parent molecule. A total of 11 PAH compounds were identified in the boundary clay. Retene is present in substantial abundance. The identification was confirmed by analysis of a retene standard. Retene is characteristic of the combustion of resinous higher plants. Its formation depends on both temperature and oxygen access, and is apparently highest in oxygen-poor fires. Such fires would also produce soot more efficiently which may explain the high soot abundance. The relatively high level of coronene is not typical of a wood combustion source, however, though it can be produced during high temperature pyrolysis of methane, and presumably other H, C-containing materials. This would require large, hot, low O2 zones, which may occur only in very large fires. The presence of retene indicates that biomass was a significant fuel source for the soot at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. The total amount of elemental C produced requires a greater than 3 percent soot yield, which is higher than typically observed for wildfires. However, retene and presumably coronene imply limited access of O2 and hence high soot yield.

  7. Osmium, tungsten, and chromium isotopes in sediments and in Ni-rich spinel at the K-T boundary: Signature of a chondritic impactor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quitté, Ghylaine; Robin, Eric; Levasseur, Sylvain; Capmas, Françoise; Rocchia, Robert; Birck, Jean-Louis; Allègre, Claude Jean

    It is now established that a large extraterrestrial object hit the Earth at the end of the Cretaceous period, about 65 Ma ago. We have investigated Re-Os, Hf-W, and Mn-Cr isotope systems in sediments from the Cretaceous and the Paleogene in order to characterize the type of impactor. Within the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary layer, extraterrestrial material is mixed with terrestrial material, causing a dilution of the extraterrestrial isotope signature that is difficult to quantify. A phase essentially composed of Ni-rich spinel, formed in the atmosphere mainly from melted projectile material, is likely to contain the extraterrestrial isotopic signature of the impactor. We show that the analysis of spinel is indeed the best approach to determine the initial isotope composition of the impactor, and that W and Cr isotopes confirm that the projectile was a carbonaceous chondrite.

  8. A possible K-T boundary bolide impact site offshore near Bombay and triggering of rapid Deccan volcanism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Negi, J. G.; Agrawal, P. K.; Pandey, O. P.; Singh, A. P.

    1993-03-01

    The temporal coincidence of a major biological mass extinction (including dinosaurs), the well-known iridium excess anomaly at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary and the eruption of Deccan flood basalts at about 65 Ma has aroused global interest among geologists and biologists. It is widely debated whether the mass extinction and iridium anomaly are due to an asteroid impact or the massive outpouring of extensive Deccan volcanism. An oval shaped unusual positive gravity anomaly (10 000 km 2 in area) near Bombay has attracted our attention during a search for an impact site near Deccan basalts. A detailed gravity interpretation indicates the presence of a fossil conduit structure of 12 km height extending from a shallow crust-mantle boundary (at 18 km) to an approximate depth of 6 km from the surface. The conduit structure, with a maximum diameter of about 35 km at its base, may originate from cracking of a weak pre-Deccan trap shallow upwarped mantle. The structure may have been caused by a bolide impact which triggered the eruption of massive flood basalts (Deccan traps) on the western margin of the fast-moving Indian plate. An impact in this locality can explain the sudden detachment of the arcuate Seychelles block from India as well as the large-scale reorganisation of plate boundaries in the Indian Ocean. Our hypothesis of impact-triggered volcanism at 65 Ma advocates a bimodal cause for the mass extinction at the K-T boundary. Extraordinary geothermal and structural conditions of the nearby region are also discussed as circumstantial evidence to support the twin-cause mechanism by weakened features and the presence of partial melt at subcrustal depth.

  9. Determination of rapid Deccan eruptions across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary using paleomagnetic secular variation: 2. Constraints from analysis of eight new sections and synthesis for a 3500-m-thick composite section

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chenet, Anne-Lise; Courtillot, Vincent; Fluteau, FréDéRic; GéRard, Martine; Quidelleur, Xavier; Khadri, S. F. R.; Subbarao, K. V.; Thordarson, Thor

    2009-06-01

    two largest around 65 ± 1 Ma, one entirely within C29r just before the K-T boundary, the other shortly afterward spanning the C29r/C29n reversal. We next estimate sulfur dioxide (likely a major agent of environmental stress) amounts and fluxes released by SEEs: they would have ranged from 5 to 100 Gt and 0.1 to 1 Gt/a, respectively, over durations possibly as short as 100 years for each SEE. The chemical input of the Chicxulub impact would have been on the same order as that of a very large single pulse. The impact, therefore, appears as important but incremental, neither the sole nor main cause of the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinctions.

  10. 87Sr/86Sr anomalies in Late Cretaceous-Early Tertiary strata of the Cauvery basin, south India: Constraints on nature and rate of environmental changes across K-T boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ramkumar, Mu; Stüben, Doris; Berner, Zsolt; Schneider, Jens

    2010-02-01

    The Ariyalur-Pondicherry sub-basin of the Cauvery basin comprises a near complete stratigraphic record of Upper Cretaceous-Lower Tertiary periods. Earlier studies have documented variations of clay mineral assemblages, change in microtexture of siliciclasts and many geochemical and stable isotopic anomalies far below the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) in these strata. This paper documents the occurrences of two positive 87Sr/86Sr anomalies preceding K-T boundary in this basin and discusses plausible causes. Analysis of trace elemental and stable isotopic profiles, sedimentation history, petrography and mineralogy of the rocks reveal that while both the anomalies may be due to increased detrital influx caused by sea level and climatic changes, the second anomaly might have been influenced by Deccan volcanism which in turn predated KTB. Record of such anomalies preceding K-T boundary supports the view of multi-causal step-wise extinction of biota across KTB.

  11. Coastal landsliding and catastrophic sedimentation triggered by Cretaceous-Tertiary bolide impact: A Pacific margin example?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Busby, Cathy J.; Yip, Grant; Blikra, Lars; Renne, Paul

    2002-08-01

    We report here the first-recognized Pacific margin stratigraphic sequence containing evidence for catastrophic landsliding attributed to bolide impact related seismic shocking at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary. The K-T boundary is not commonly preserved in stratigraphic sequences of the Pacific margin, but we have discovered it within a coastal paleovalley in Baja California, Mexico (near El Rosario). This 5-km-wide, 15-km-long, and 200-m-deep coastal paleovalley formed by massive gravitational collapses and rapidly filled with coastal (shallow marine and lesser fluvial) gravels and sands, as well as slide sheets of marine mudstone that range from meters to kilometers in length. We infer that seismic shocking caused liquefaction and extremely rapid sedimentation of the gravels and sands, simultaneous with unleashing of slide sheets. Laser-heating 40Ar/39Ar data for biotite, hornblende, and plagioclase (single crystal and bulk step heating) on a 20-m-thick pumice lapilli tuff in the middle of the valley fill give an age of 65.5 ± 0.6 Ma; this is indistinguishable from the age of Haitian tektites dated by the same laboratory. Our new Pacific margin sequence, like many K-T boundary sequences in the Gulf of Mexico Caribbean region, provides evidence of giant landslides and catastrophic sedimentation 1800 km from the bolide impact site.

  12. Remanence Acquisition in Marine Carbonates: a Lesson from the K-T Boundary Interval

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abrajevitch, A.; Kodama, K.

    2008-12-01

    An apparently complete carbonate-rich Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary interval in ODP section 119-738C- 20R-5 from the southern Kerguelen Plateau provides a unique insight into processes of magnetization acquisition in marine carbonates. The boundary interval is characterized by a 1-m-thick clay-rich zone. The basal 15 cm of this zone is finely laminated, the upper part is bioturbated. It has been inferred that the clay- rich zone formed over a long time interval, and the bulk of the clay in this zone has a local provenance. Although the elevated Ir concentration and the evolutionary change in the nannofossil assemblage are spread over the laminated interval, there is no recognizable change in the composition of the clay mineral assemblage between the laminated and bioturbated zones. No faunal, mineralogical, or chemical evidence for anoxic/sulfate-reducing conditions within the clay-rich zone was found. The total iron content of the clay-rich zone co-varies with the alumosilicate content, indicating detrital source for iron. Normalized by the alumosilicate content, the laminated and bioturbated intervals have comparable total iron values, yet strikingly different magnetic properties. The initial susceptibility and NRM intensities are approximately an order of magnitude higher in the bioturbated interval compared to the laminated one. Our detailed rock magnetic study indicates that PSD magnetite grains likely of biogenic origin are the dominant iron-bearing phase in the bioturbated interval. In the laminated interval, apart from a small ferromagnetic fraction with MD-like behavior, non-silicate-bound iron is mainly sequestered in paramagnetic phases, probably (poorly crystalline) oxyhydroxides. It appears that a shut-down of biological productivity after the K-T event allowed preservation of the initial detrital/early authigenic iron phases that are dominated by reactive iron oxyhydroxides. With the recovery of normal biological activity as evidenced by the resumption

  13. Catastrophic volcanism as a cause of shocked features found at the K/T boundary and in cryptoexplosion structures

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Loper, D. E.; Mccartney, K.

    1988-01-01

    The presence of quartz grains containing shock lamellae at the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary is viewed by many as the single most compelling evidence of meteoritic or cometary impact because there is no known endogenous mechanism for producing these features. Similarly the presence of shocked quartz, shatter cones, coesite and stishovite at cryptoexplosion structures is comonly taken as conclusive evidence of impact. However, several recent studies have cast doubt on this interpretation. It is argued that basaltic volcanism, although not normally explosive, can under exceptional circumstances produce overpressures sufficiently high to produce shock features. The exceptional circumstances include a high content of volatiles, usually CO2, and no preestablished pathway to the surface. Rapid cooling of the saturated basaltic magma can occur if it underlies a cooler more evolved magma in a chamber. Initial slow cooling and partial exsolution of the volatiles will cause the density of the basaltic magma to become less than that of the overlying magma, leading to overturning and mixing. Gas will escape the magma chamber along planar cracks once the pressure becomes sufficiently high. In the vicinity of the crack tip there is a smallscale deviatoric stress pattern which is thought to be sufficiently high to produce transient cracks along secondary axes in the quartz crystals, causing the planar features. The CO2-rich fluid inclusions which have been found along planar elements of quartz in basement rocks of the Vredefort Dome were likely to have been emplaced by such a process. If the mechanism described is capable of producing shocked features as above, it would require a reassessment of the origin of many cryptoexplosion structures as well as seriously weakening the case for an impact origin of the K/T event.

  14. Osmium Isotopic Composition of the K/T Boundary Sediments from Sumbar: A Progress Report

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meisel, T.; Krahenbuhl, U.; Nazarov, M. A.

    1993-07-01

    Osmium isotope measurements have been performed on the boundary clay at different Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) sites [1-5] since [6] suggested that Os isotopes are an indicator of an extraterrestrial component. The debate over "impact vs. volcanic" could not be resolved, but an isotope ratio close to chondritic could be demonstrated. The study of the distribution of iridium in the stratigraphy of the KTB cannot distinguish the contribution of chondritic and/or terrestrial Ir respectively, whereas the Os isotopes allow us to better constrain a mixing model. The ^187Os/^186Os ratio of the continental crust and chondritic reservoirs differ by at least 10-30 times. Assuming certain parameters, we should be able to calculate the proportion of the reservoirs making up the sediments of the KTB section. We studied a complete section of the KTB of Sumbar, Turkmenistan [7], for its Os isotopic composition. In the section 0-30 cm above the boundary clay, the ^187Os/^186Os ratio increases from 1.15 to 1.47, whereas the Ir concentration decreases from 66 to 1.4 ng/g or 66 to 4.7 ng/g on a carbonate-free basis respectively. Calculations show that the chondritic component makes up 9% at the boundary layer and decreases down to 0.6% at +30 cm. The data cannot be simply explained by varying admixtures of a chondritic component to a sediment of constant Os concentration and isotopic signature. To explain the Os ratios completely it is necessary to consider a mixture of four components (extraterrestrial, ejecta material, local terrigeneous, and carbonacous sediments) with certain assumptions: (1) The extraterrestrial source is chondritic in its Os and Re content and has an initial Os isotope ratio of 1.12 at 65 Ma (time of impact), which is above the average for normal chondrites but is within the range measured so far (e.g., Murray). (2) The ejecta material has a higher Os concentration (0.2 ng/g) than the sediments and is only present in the first 5 cm of the sequence above

  15. Biochemical vs. detrital mechanism of remanence acquisition in marine carbonates: A lesson from the K-T boundary interval

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abrajevitch, Alexandra; Kodama, Kazuto

    2009-08-01

    An apparently complete carbonate-rich Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary interval in ODP section 119-738C-20R-5 from the southern Kerguelen Plateau provides a unique insight into processes of magnetization acquisition in marine carbonates. The boundary interval is characterized by a 1-m-thick clay-rich zone. Distinct depositional lamina are preserved within the basal 15 cm of this zone; the upper part is bioturbated. Previous studies have demonstrated that the bulk of the detrital fraction in the laminated and bioturbated carbonates has the same local source, and hence, the two intervals likely had similar initial detrital assemblages. Magnetic properties of these rocks, however, differ significantly. The laminated sediments have a higher content of non-silicate-bound iron, yet approximately an order of magnitude lower intensity of the natural remanent magnetization compared to the bioturbated rocks. Our detailed rock magnetic study indicates that in the bioturbated interval the dominant iron-bearing phase is single-domain magnetite, likely of biogenic origin. In the laminated interval, apart from a small ferromagnetic fraction with multi-domain-like behavior, non-silicate-bound iron is mainly sequestered in paramagnetic phases, likely poorly-crystalline oxyhydroxides. It appears that a shut-down of biological productivity after the K-T event allowed preservation of the initial detrital/early authigenic iron phases that are dominated by reactive iron oxyhydroxides. With recovery of the normal biological activity as evidenced by resumption of bioturbation, the oxyhydroxides had been replaced with biogenic magnetite. Thus produced biochemical magnetization led to a several-fold increase in the remanence. Our results suggest that in areas where bioavailable iron constitutes a significant part of the detrital input, such as in pelagic marine environments distant from clastic sources, the biochemical remanent magnetization may be the dominant process of magnetization

  16. Mineralogical Data of Shocked Quartz Materials from K/T Boundary and Impact Crater

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miura, Y.; Kato, T.; Imai, M.

    1992-07-01

    Shocked quartz minerals from the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) boundary and impact craters have been mainly discussed from distribution of optical directions, mean optical refractive index, and X-ray data (1). The purpose of the present study is presentation of the detailed mineralogical data of shocked quartz found in the K/T boundaries and terrestrial impact craters (2,3,4,5). X-ray powder diffraction pattern of shocked quartz aggregate reveals that all Xray peaks are split into major three peaks composed of low-density quartz (LQ), normal quartz (Q), and shocked quartz with high density (SQ). X-ray peaks of (110), (200), (201), (202), and (211) in the hexagonal cell are also split into many peaks. The X-ray intensity among LQ, Q, and SQ phases indicates that the SQ phase shows 36% to 53% in six K/T boundary samples (5). The relative X-ray intensity ratio of shocked quartz to standard rock crystal decreases into 13% to 37%, which suggests that shocked quartz materials contain major parts of diaplectic amorphous phases (G1) in the K/T boundary and impact crater. Although the LQ and Q type quartz phases, which can be also obtained at artificial impact processes (2,3,4,5), could not be distinguished from magmatic terrestrial origins, the SQ type quartz with high density has been selected for X-ray structure analysis to obtain the atomic arrangement of shocked quartz crystal. The detailed X-ray structural analyses of the SQ type shocked quartz indicate that atomic distance between oxygen and oxygen is shrunk largely (-0.8% than standard quartz Q), but that between silicon and oxygen is shrunk relatively small (-0.3%). The structural shrinkage is considered to be major causes of high density value of the SQ parts (up to +0.8% of the density deviation) (4,5). The chemical composition of shocked quartz phase (SQ) from electron and ion microprobe analyzers shows almost pure silica without Al element, though amorphous silica glassy phases (G2) contain Al contamination (ca. 0

  17. A regional perspective on the palynofloral response to K-T boundary event(s) with emphasis on variations imposed by the effects of sedimentary facies and latitude

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sweet, A. R.

    1988-01-01

    Palynological studies deal with fossil reproductive bodies that were produced by fully functioning plants, whereas most faunal studies are based on death assemblages. Therefore, changes in pollen and spore assemblages cannot be used directly as evidence of catastrophic mass killings but only to indicate changes in ecological conditions. The impact of the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary event on terrestrial plant communities is illustrated by the degree, rate and selectivity of change. As in most classical palynological studies, the degree of change is expressed in terms of relative abundance and changes in species diversity. It is recognized that sampling interval and continuity of the rock record within individual sections can affect the percieved rate of change. Even taking these factors into account, a gradual change in relative abundance and multiple levels of apparent extinctions, associated with the interval bounding the K-T boundary, can be demonstrated. Climatic change, which locally exceeds the tolerance of individual species, and the possible loss of a group of pollinating agents are examined as possible explanations for the selectivity of apparent extinctions and/or locally truncated occurrences. The aspects of change are demonstrated with data from four different K-T boundary localities in Western Canada between paleolatitudes 60 and 75 deg north. Together, the four localities discussed allow changes imposed by latitude and differences in the depositional environment be isolated from the boundary event itself which is reflected by the truncated ranges of several species throughout the region of study. What must be recognized is that variations in the response of vegetation to the K-T boundary event(s) occurred throughout the Western Interior basin.

  18. The Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction: Modeling carbon flux and ecological response

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adams, J. Brad; Mann, Michael E.; D'Hondt, Steven

    2004-03-01

    It is widely recognized that a significant negative excursion in carbon isotopic (δ13C) differences between planktic and benthic foraminiferal tests occurred at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary. We applied parametric and nonparametric breakpoint tests and statistical comparisons of different recovery models to assess the timing and pattern of recovery from this negative excursion at South Atlantic Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) Site 528 and equatorial Pacific DSDP Site 577. Our results indicate a two-stage recovery with an initial recovery to an intermediate state of planktic-to-benthic δ13C differences followed by a discontinuous shift to a final state with planktic-to-benthic δ13C differences similar to preextinction values. The final discontinuous shift in both the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean sites occurred several million years after the K-T collapse of planktic-to-benthic δ13C differences. Both the first and second stages of recovery are best described by damped exponential relaxations. The pattern and timing of this carbon cycle recovery may have been contingent on the occurrence of key biological events.

  19. Evidence for the recovery of terrestrial ecosystems ahead of marine primary production following a biotic crisis at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Beerling, D.J.; Lomax, B.H.; Upchurch, G.R., Jr.; Nichols, D.J.; Pillmore, C.L.; Handley, L.L.; Scrimgeour, C.M.

    2001-01-01

    The fossil record demonstrates that mass extinction across the Cretaceous–Tertiary (K–T) boundary is more severe in the marine than the terrestrial realm. We hypothesize that terrestrial ecosystems were able to recover faster than their marine counterparts. To test this hypothesis, we measured sedimentary δ13C as a tracer for global carbon cycle changes and compared it with palaeovegetational changes reconstructed from palynomorphs and cuticles across the K–T boundary at Sugarite, New Mexico, USA. Different patterns of perturbation and timescales of recovery of isotopic and palaeobotanical records indicate that the δ13C excursion reflects the longer recovery time of marine versus terrestrial ecosystems.

  20. Large meteorite impacts: The K/T model

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bohor, B. F.

    1992-01-01

    The Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary event represents probably the largest meteorite impact known on Earth. It is the only impact event conclusively linked to a worldwide mass extinction, a reflection of its gigantic scale and global influence. Until recently, the impact crater was not definitively located and only the distal ejecta of this impact was available for study. However, detailed investigations of this ejecta's mineralogy, geochemistry, microstratigraphy, and textures have allowed its modes of ejection and dispersal to be modeled without benefit of a source crater of known size and location.

  1. Extraterrestrial cause for the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Alvarez, L. W.; Alvarez, W.; Asaro, F.; Michel, H. V.

    1980-01-01

    Direct physical evidence is presented for an unusual event at exactly the time of extinctions in the planktonic realm. Deep-sea limestones exposed in Italy, Denmark, and New Zealand indicate iridium increases of about 30, 160, and 20 times, respectively, above the background level at precisely the time of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinctions, 65 million years ago. Reasons are given that this iridium is of extraterrestrial origin, but did not come from a nearby supernova. A hypothesis is set forth which accounts for the extinctions and the iridium observations. One prediction of this hypothesis is verified, that the chemical composition of the boundary clay, which is thought to come from the stratospheric dust, is markedly different from that of clay mixed with the chemically similar Cretaceous and Tertiary limestones.

  2. Reverse Polarity Magnetized Melt Rocks from the Cretaceous/Tertiary Chicxulub Structure, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Urrutia-Fucugauchi, J.; Marin, Luis; Sharpton, Virgil L.

    1994-01-01

    We report paleomagnetic results for core samples of the breccia and andesitic rocks recovered from the Yucatan-6 Petrolcos Mexicanos exploratory well within the Chicxulub structure (about 60 km SSW from its center), northern Yucatan, Mexico. A previous study has shown that the rocks studied contain high iridium levels and shocked breccia clasts and an Ar/Ar date of 65.2 +/- 0.4 Ma. Andesitic rocks are characterized by stable single-component magnetizations with a mean inclination of -42.6 deg +/- 2.4 deg. Breccias present a complex paleomagnetic record characterized by multivectorial magnetizations with widely different initial NRM inclinations. However, after alternating field demagnetization, well defined characteristic components with upward inclinations are defined. IRM acquisition experiments, comparison of IRM and NRM coercivity spectra and the single component magnetization of the andesitic rocks indicate the occurrence of iron-rich titanomagnetites of single or pseudo-single domain states as the dominant magnetic carriers. Mean inclinations from the andesitic rocks and most of the breccia samples give a mean inclination of about -40 deg to -45 deg, indicating a reverse polarity for the characteristic magnetization that is consistent with geomagnetic chron 29R, which spans the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary. The inclination is also consistent with the expected value (and corresponding paleolatitude) for the site estimated from the reference polar wander curve for North America. We suggest that the characteristic magnetizations for the andesitic and breccia rocks are the result of shock heating at the time of formation of the impact structure and that the age, polarity and pateolatitude are consistent with a time at the K/T boundary.

  3. Impact winter and the Cretaceous/Tertiary extinctions: Results of a Chicxulub asteroid impact model

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pope, Kevin O.; Baines, Kevin H.; Ocampo, Adriana C.; Ivanov, Boris A.

    1994-01-01

    The Chicxulub impact crater in Mexico is the site of the impact purported to have caused mass extinctions at the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary. 2-D hydrocode modeling of the impact, coupled with studies of the impact site geology, indiate that between 0.4 and 7.0 x 10(exp 17) g of sulfur were vaporized by the impact into anhydrite target rocks. A small portion of the sulfur was released as SO3 or SO4, which converted rapidly into H2SO4 aerosol and fell as acid rain. A radiative transfer model, coupled with a model of coagulation indicates that the aerosol prolonged the initial blackout period caused by impact dust only if the aerosol contained impurities. A larger portion of sulfur was released as SO2, which converted to aerosol slowly, due to the rate-limiting oxidation of SO2. Our radiative transfer calculations, combined with rates of acid production, coagulation, and diffusion indicate that solar transmission was reduced to 10-20% of normal for a period of 8-13 yr. This reduction produced a climate forcing (cooling) of -300 W/sq.m, which far exceeded the +8 W/sq.m greenhouse warming, caused by the CO2 released through the vaporization of carbonates, and therefore produced a decade of freezing and near-freezing temperatures. Several decades of moderate warming followed the decade of severe cooling due to the long residence time of CO2. The prolonged impact winter may have been a major cause of the K/T extinctions.

  4. Cretaceous-Tertiary findings, paradigms and problems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Officer, C. B.; Drake, C. L.

    1988-01-01

    The asteroid hypothesis has stimulated numerous studies of the paleontological record at Cretaceous/Tertiary time as well as of geological indicators of environmental crisis preserved in the rock record. Both extinctions and geological anomalies often occur at times that do not appear to be synchronous or instantaneous. The record includes paleontological indicators of dinosaurs, terrestrial flora, marine planktonic organisms, and shallow water marine macrofauna and geological phenomena include occurrences of iridium and other platinum metals, trace elements, clay mineralogy, shocked minerals, soot, microspherules, and isotopes of osmium, strontium and carbon. These findings are reviewed in the context of the alternate hypotheses of an exogenic cause, involving either a single asteroid impact or multiple commentary impacts, and an endogenic cause, involving intense global volcanism and major sea level regression.

  5. TEM study of meteorite impact glass at New Zealand Cretaceous-Tertiary sites: evidence for multiple impacts or differentiation during global circulation?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bauluz, Blanca; Peacor, Donald R.; Hollis, Christopher J.

    2004-03-01

    Study by transmission electron microscopy of samples from the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary clay at Flaxbourne River and Woodside Creek, New Zealand, has revealed the occurrence of nanometer-sized meteorite impact-derived glass. The average glass composition is exceptionally Ca-rich and is distinct from other glass found on Earth, apart from glass inferred to be of impact origin at Mexican and Haitian K-T sites. The glass shards are partially altered to montmorillonite-like smectite, with the dominant interlayer cation, Ca, reflecting the composition of the parent glass. The data imply a heterogeneous global distribution in composition of K-T boundary impact glass: Si-rich and Ca-rich in Mexico and Haiti, Si-rich in Denmark, and Ca-rich in New Zealand. This heterogeneous distribution may relate to dispersal processes similar to those used to account for the asymmetric distribution of clastic debris from the Chicxulub impact site. However, recent discovery of an impact crater of K-T boundary age in Ukraine raises the possibility of impact clusters which produce material of heterogeneous composition.

  6. Energy, volatile production, and climatic effects of the Chicxulub Cretaceous/Tertiary impact.

    PubMed

    Pope, K O; Baines, K H; Ocampo, A C; Ivanov, B A

    1997-09-25

    A comprehensive analysis of volatiles in the Chicxulub impact strongly supports the hypothesis that impact-generated sulfate aerosols caused over a decade of global cooling, acid rain, and disruption of ocean circulation, which contributed to the mass extinction at the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary. The crater size, meteoritic content of the K/T boundary clay, and impact models indicate that the Chicxulub crater was formed by a short period comet or an asteroid impact that released 0.7-3.4 x 10(31) ergs of energy. Impact models and experiments combined with estimates of volatiles in the projectile and target rocks predict that over 200 gigatons (Gt) each of SO2 and water vapor, and over 500 Gt of CO2, were globally distributed in the stratosphere by the impact. Additional volatiles may have been produced on a global or regional scale that formed sulfate aerosols rapidly in cooler parts of the vapor plume, causing an early, intense pulse of sulfuric acid rain. Estimates of the conversion rate of stratospheric SO2 and water vapor to sulfate aerosol, based on volcanic production of sulfate aerosols, coupled with calculations of diffusion, coagulation, and sedimentation, demonstrate that the 200 Gt stratospheric SO2 and water vapor reservoir would produce sulfate aerosols for 12 years. These sulfate aerosols caused a second pulse of acid rain that was global. Radiative transfer modeling of the aerosol clouds demonstrates (1) that if the initial rapid pulse of sulfate aerosols was global, photosynthesis may have been shut down for 6 months and (2) that for the second prolonged aerosol cloud, solar transmission dropped 80% by the end of first year and remained 50% below normal for 9 years. As a result, global average surface temperatures probably dropped between 5 degrees and 31 degrees K, suggesting that global near-freezing conditions may have been reached. Impact-generated CO2 caused less than 1 degree K greenhouse warming and therefore was insignificant compare

  7. Energy, volatile production, and climatic effects of the Chicxulub Cretaceous/Tertiary impact

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pope, K. O.; Baines, K. H.; Ocampo, A. C.; Ivanov, B. A.

    1997-01-01

    A comprehensive analysis of volatiles in the Chicxulub impact strongly supports the hypothesis that impact-generated sulfate aerosols caused over a decade of global cooling, acid rain, and disruption of ocean circulation, which contributed to the mass extinction at the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary. The crater size, meteoritic content of the K/T boundary clay, and impact models indicate that the Chicxulub crater was formed by a short period comet or an asteroid impact that released 0.7-3.4 x 10(31) ergs of energy. Impact models and experiments combined with estimates of volatiles in the projectile and target rocks predict that over 200 gigatons (Gt) each of SO2 and water vapor, and over 500 Gt of CO2, were globally distributed in the stratosphere by the impact. Additional volatiles may have been produced on a global or regional scale that formed sulfate aerosols rapidly in cooler parts of the vapor plume, causing an early, intense pulse of sulfuric acid rain. Estimates of the conversion rate of stratospheric SO2 and water vapor to sulfate aerosol, based on volcanic production of sulfate aerosols, coupled with calculations of diffusion, coagulation, and sedimentation, demonstrate that the 200 Gt stratospheric SO2 and water vapor reservoir would produce sulfate aerosols for 12 years. These sulfate aerosols caused a second pulse of acid rain that was global. Radiative transfer modeling of the aerosol clouds demonstrates (1) that if the initial rapid pulse of sulfate aerosols was global, photosynthesis may have been shut down for 6 months and (2) that for the second prolonged aerosol cloud, solar transmission dropped 80% by the end of first year and remained 50% below normal for 9 years. As a result, global average surface temperatures probably dropped between 5 degrees and 31 degrees K, suggesting that global near-freezing conditions may have been reached. Impact-generated CO2 caused less than 1 degree K greenhouse warming and therefore was insignificant compare

  8. Provenance of the K/T boundary layers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hildebrand, A. R.; Boynton, W. V.

    1988-01-01

    An array of chemical, physical and isotopic evidence indicates that an impact into oceanic crust terminated the Cretaceous Period. Approximately 1500 cu km of debris, dispersed by the impact fireball, fell out globally in marine and nonmarine environments producing a 2 to 4 mm thick layer (fireball layer). In North American locales, the fireball layer overlies a 15 to 25 mm thick layer of similar but distinct composition. This 15 to 25 mm layer (ejecta layer) may represent approximately 1000 cu km of lower energy ejecta from a nearby impact site. Isotopic and chemical evidence supports a mantle provenance for the bulk of the layers. The extraordinary REE pattern of the boundary clays was modelled as a mixture of oceanic crust, mantle, and approximately 10 percent continental material. The results are presented. If the siderophiles of the ejecta layer were derived solely from the mantle, a test may be available to see if the siderophile element anomaly of the fireball layer had an extraterrestrial origin. Radiogenic Os-187 is depleted in the mantle relative to an undifferentiated chondritic source. Os-187/Os-186 ratios of 1.049 and 1.108 were calculated for the ejecta and fireball layers, respectively.

  9. The Cretaceous-Tertiary Impact Crater and the Cosmic Projectile that Produced it

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sharpton, Virgil L.; Marin, Luis E.

    1997-01-01

    Evidence gathered to date from topographic data, geophysical data, well logs, and drill-core samples indicates that the buried Chicxulub basin, the source crater for the approximately 65 Ma Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) boundary deposits, is approximately 300 km in diameter. A prominent topographic ridge and a ring of gravity anomalies mark the position of the basin rim at approximately 150 km from the center. Wells in this region recovered thick sequences of impact-generated breccias at 200-300 m below present sea level. Inside the rim, which has been severely modified by erosion following impact, the subsurface basin continues to deepen until near the center it is approximately 1 km deep. The best planetary analog for this crater appears to be the 270 km-diameter Mead basin on Venus. Seismic reflection data indicate that the central zone of downward displacement and excavation (the transient crater is approximately 130 km in diameter, consistent with previous studies of gravity anomaly data). Our analysis of projectile characteristics utilizes this information, coupled with conventional scaling relationships, and geochemical constraints on the mass of extraterrestrial material deposited within the K/T boundary layer. Results indicate that the Chicxulub crater would most likely be formed by a long-period comet composed primarily of nonsilicate materials (ice, hydrocarbons, etc.) and subordinate amounts (less than or equal to 50 percent) primitive chondritic material. This collision would have released the energy equivalent to between 4 x 10(exp 8) and 4 x 10(exp 9) megatons of TNT. Studies of terrestrial impact rates suggest that such an event would have a mean production rate of approximately 1.25 x 10(exp -9) y(exp -1). This rate is considerably lower than that of the major mass extinctions over the last 250 million years (approximately 5 x 10(exp -7) y(exp -1). Consequently, while there is substantial circumstantial evidence establishing the cause-effect link

  10. Stratigraphy and sedimentology of the K/T boundary deposit in Haiti

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Carey, S.; Sigurdsson, H.; Dhondt, S.; Espindola, J. M.

    1993-01-01

    The K/T boundary sequence is exposed in uplifted carbonate sediments of the southwest peninsula of Haiti. It is found at 15 localities within the Beloc formation, a sequence of limestone and marls interpreted as a monoclinal nappe structure thrust to the north. This tectonic deformation has affected the K/T boundary deposit to varying degrees. In some cases the less competent K/T deposit has acted as a slip plane leading to extensive shearing of the boundary layer, as well as duplication of the section. The presence of glassy tektites, shocked quartz, and an Ir anomaly directly link the deposit to a bolide impact. Stratigraphic and sedimentological features of the tripartite sequence indicate that it was formed by deposition from ballistic fallout of coarse tektites, emplacement of particle gravity flows and fine grained fallout of widely dispersed impact ejecta.

  11. Shocked Minerals in the K-T Boundary: Implications for Obliquity of Impact

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morgan, J.; Lana, C.; Artemieva, N. A.

    2006-03-01

    This study combines observational data on the distribution of the coarse ejecta within the global K-T boundary layer with numerical modeling of vertical and oblique impacts, in an attempt to constrain the direction and angle of impact at Chicxulub.

  12. K/T boundary stratigraphy: Evidence for multiple impacts and a possible comet stream

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shoemaker, E. M.; Izett, G. A.

    1992-01-01

    A critical set of observations bearing on the K/T boundary events were obtained from several dozen sites in western North America. Thin strata at and adjacent to the K/T boundary are locally preserved in association with coal beds at these sites. The strata were laid down in local shallow basins that were either intermittently flooded or occupied by very shallow ponds. Detailed examination of the stratigraphy at numerous sites led to the recognition of two distinct strata at the boundary. From the time that the two strata were first recognized, E.M. Shoemaker has maintained that they record two impact events. We report some of the evidence that supports this conclusion.

  13. Chicxulub Impact Predates K-T Boundary: new evidence from Texas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, G.; Adatte, T.; Harting, M.; Berner, Z.; Baum, G. R.; Stueben, D.

    2006-05-01

    In March 2005 NSF-EAR supported the drilling of three holes by DOSECC, along the Brazos River, Falls County, Texas, about 1000 km from the impact crater in order to test earlier observations in NE Mexico and the Chicxulub crater that this impact predates the K-T boundary by about 300,000 years. The new Texas Mullinax cores and new outcrops recovered the most complete K-T sequences known in this area and a stratigraphic record which revealed: (1) the K-T boundary 90 cm above the event deposit that is commonly interpreted as impact tsunami, and (2) the discovery of the original Chicxulub impact ejecta layer 40 cm below the event deposit. Multidisciplinary biostratigraphic, sedimentological, geochemical and mineralogical analyses reveal that in the new Mullinax-1 core and the outcrop the K-T boundary is marked by the global K-T negative /?13C excursion, a major faunal turnover from Cretaceous to Tertiary dominated assemblages and the first appearances of Tertiary species in all microfossil groups (planktic foraminifera, nannofossils, palynomorphs). A major iridium anomaly was earlier reported coincident with these K-T characteristics at the classic Brazos-1 outcrop only 150 m to the east. The underlying 45 cm thick event deposit, interbedded in late Maastrichtian sediments, contains multiple depositional events with burrows, and near the base reworked and altered Chicxulub impact glass spherules in a clast-rich, shelly, glauconitic sandstone. The event deposits infill a channel and overlie an erosional surface. The original impact ejecta layer is in a claystone 40 cm below the event deposit and consists of a 3 cm thick layer of altered impact glass in the lower part of chron 29R and near the base of biozone CF1, which marks the last 300,000 years of the Cretaceous. The new Brazos results confirm the earlier results from NE Mexico and the crater core Yaxcopoil-1 that the Chicxulub impact predates the K-T boundary by about 300,000 years.

  14. Chicxulub Impact Predates K-T Boundary in Texas and Caused no Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fucugauchi, J. U.; Soler-Arechalde, A. M.; Rebolledo-Vieyra, M.; Keller, G.; Adatte, T.; Berner, Z.; Baum, G.; Stueben, D.

    2005-05-01

    In the Chicxulub crater and throughout NE Mexico the impact breccia and spherule ejecta layer, respectively, predate the K-T boundary by about 300,000 years (Keller et al., 2003, 2004). The stratigraphic separation between the K-T boundary and the Chicxulub impact ejecta varies from 50 cm in the Chicxulub crater, to over 14 m in NE Mexico, with the variation due to erosion, non-deposition and paloetopography. New studies from drilling and exposures along the Brazos River, Texas, confirm these findings based on biostratigraphy, paleomagnetic stratigraphy, geochemistry, stable isotopes, and faunal assemblages. In this area, the spherule ejecta is reworked near the base of a series of `event beds' representing variable storm deposits separated by repeated colonization of the ocean floor by invertebrates. The base of these storm beds overlies an undulating erosion surface of latest Maastrichtian claystone. The original spherule ejecta layer appears to be within the underlying claystone, in the lower part of chron 29R and near the base of biozone CF1, which marks the last 300,000 years of the Cretaceous. Above the `event beds' latest Maastrichtian claystone sedimentation continues up to the K-T boundary, which is characterized by a sharp (1.4 ng/g) iridium anomaly that marks the K-T as a second major impact. The distance between the top of the `event beds' and the K-T boundary varies from 20 cm to 1.6 m depending on local tectonics and erosion. Evaluation of the biotic effects of the Chicxulub and K-T impacts upon planktic foraminifera, which suffered most severely of all marine organisms, reveals no species extinctions associated with the Chicxulub impact and no significant species population changes, except for species dwarfing as a result of increased biotic stress. These Brazos results confirm the 65.3 Ma age for the Chicxulub impact determined from NE Mexico and the crater core Yaxcopoil-1. They also show that the Chicxulub impact did not cause a mass extinction

  15. Sea-floor methane blow-out and global firestorm at the K-T boundary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Max, M.D.; Dillon, William P.; Nishimura, C.; Hurdle, B.G.

    1999-01-01

    A previously unsuspected source of fuel for the global firestorm recorded by soot in the Cretaceous-Tertiary impact layer may have resided in methane gas associated with gas hydrate in the end-Cretaceous seafloor. End-Cretaceous impact-generated shock and megawaves would have had the potential to initiate worldwide oceanic methane gas blow-outs from these deposits. The methane would likely have ignited and incompletely combusted. This large burst of methane would have been followed by longer-term methane release as a part of a positive thermal feedback in the disturbed ocean-atmosphere system.

  16. Preliminary Ar-40/Ar-39 age spectrum and laser probe dating of the M1 core of the Manson Impact Structure, Iowa: A K-T boundary crater candidate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kunk, M. J.; Snee, L. W.; French, B. M.; Harlan, S. S.; McGee, J. J.

    1993-03-01

    Preliminary Ar-40/Ar-39 age spectrum and laser probe dating results from new drill core from the 35-km-diameter Manson Impact Structure (MIS), Iowa indicates a reasonable possibility that the MIS is a Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary impact event. Several different types of samples from a melt-matrix breccia, a unit of apparent crater fill intersected by the M1 core, were analyzed. Ar-40/Ar-39 results from these samples indicate a maximum age for the MIS of about 65.4 plus or minus 0.4(2 sigma) Ma. Petrographic analyses of the samples indicate a high probability that all the dated samples from the melt-matrix breccia contain relict grains that were not entirely melted or degassed at the time of impact, suggesting that the actual age of the MIS could be somewhat younger than our preliminary results indicate. The results are consistent with a previously published age estimate of shocked microcline from the MIS central uplift of 65.7 plus or minus 1.0 Ma.

  17. Preliminary Ar-40/Ar-39 age spectrum and laser probe dating of the M1 core of the Manson Impact Structure, Iowa: A K-T boundary crater candidate

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kunk, M. J.; Snee, L. W.; French, B. M.; Harlan, S. S.; Mcgee, J. J.

    1993-01-01

    Preliminary Ar-40/Ar-39 age spectrum and laser probe dating results from new drill core from the 35-km-diameter Manson Impact Structure (MIS), Iowa indicates a reasonable possibility that the MIS is a Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary impact event. Several different types of samples from a melt-matrix breccia, a unit of apparent crater fill intersected by the M1 core, were analyzed. Ar-40/Ar-39 results from these samples indicate a maximum age for the MIS of about 65.4 plus or minus 0.4(2 sigma) Ma. Petrographic analyses of the samples indicate a high probability that all the dated samples from the melt-matrix breccia contain relict grains that were not entirely melted or degassed at the time of impact, suggesting that the actual age of the MIS could be somewhat younger than our preliminary results indicate. The results are consistent with a previously published age estimate of shocked microcline from the MIS central uplift of 65.7 plus or minus 1.0 Ma.

  18. Geochemical comparison of K-T boundaries from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tredous, M.; Verhagen, B. TH.; Hart, R. J.; Dewit, C. B.; Smith, C. B.; Perch-Nielsen, K.; Sellschop, J. P. F.

    1988-01-01

    Closely spaced (cm-scale) traverses through the K-T boundary at Stevns Klint (Denmark), Woodside Creek (New Zealand) and a new Southern Hemisphere site at Richards Bay (South Africa) were subjected to trace element and isotopic (C, O, Sr) investigation. Intercomparison between these data-sets, and correlation with the broad K-T database available in the literature, indicate that the chemistry of the boundary clays is not globally constant. Variations are more common than similarities, both of absolute concentrations, and interelement ratios. For example, the chondrite normalized platinum-group elements (PGE) patterns of Stevns Klint are not like those of Woodside Creek, with the Pt/Os ratios showing the biggest variation. These differences in PGE patterns are difficult to explain by secondary alteration of a layer that was originally chemically homogeneous, especially for elements of such dubious crustal mobility as Os and Ir. The data also show that enhanced PGE concentrations, with similar trends to those of the boundary layers, occur in the Cretaceous sediments below the actual boundary at Stevns Klint and all three the New Zealand localities. This confirms the observations of others that the geochemistry of the boundary layers apparently does not record a unique component. It is suggested that terrestrial processes, eg. an extended period of Late Cretaceous volcanism can offer a satisfactory explanation for the features of the K-T geochemical anomaly. Such models would probably be more consistent with the observed stepwise, or gradual, palaeontological changes across this boundary, than the instant catastrophe predicated by the impact theory.

  19. The K-T boundary in Oman: identified using magnetic susceptibility field measurements with geochemical confirmation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ellwood, Brooks B.; MacDonald, William D.; Wheeler, Christopher; Benoist, Stephen L.

    2003-02-01

    Recognizing distal ejecta marker horizons and correlating these among widely separated sections is typically difficult in the absence of visually distinctive marker beds. Here we propose a magnetic susceptibility (MS) field method to locate such horizons, and explore the K-T boundary interval at Abat, Oman, as a test of the method. A distinctive pattern of high MS values was used to approximately locate the K-T boundary interval in a sequence of platform carbonates, which were then sampled in detail. Whole-rock geochemical enrichments in Ir, V, As, Ni, Co, Zn and Zr and a large negative carbon isotope anomaly confirmed the inferred boundary location. Common microspherules whose chemistry reflects the whole-rock geochemistry are associated with the boundary interval. The association suggests that the microspherules formed during or as a result of the impact. The geochemical record at the Abat locality shows two levels where Ir is high (>1 ppb) suggesting input from two impacts, separated in the section by 1.35 m. The upper level is chosen as the boundary interval based on the high Ir (1.19 ppb), δ 13C negative excursion (˜7‰), and distinctive MS pattern.

  20. Fires at the K/T boundary - Carbon at the Sumbar, Turkmenia, site

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wolbach, Wendy S.; Anders, Edward; Nazarov, Michael A.

    1990-01-01

    Results are reported on carbon analysis and on C and Ir correlations in samples from the marine K-T boundary site SM-4 at the Sumbar River in Turkmenia (USSR), which has the largest known Ir anomaly (580 ng/cq cm). In addition, the boundary clay is thick, and is undisturbed by bioturbation. Kerogen and delta-C-13 elemental carbon in the boundary clay were resolved using a Cr2O7(2-) oxidation method of Wolbach and Anders (1989). It was found that Ir and shocked quartz, both representing impact ejecta, rise sharply at the boundary, peak in the basal layer, and then decline. On the other hand, soot and total elemental C show a similar spike in the basal layer but then rise rather than fall, peking at 7 cm. Results indicate that fires at the SM-4 K-T boundary site started before the basal layer had settled, implying that ignition and spreading of major fires became possible at the time of or very soon after the meteorite impact.

  1. Mass extinctions, atmospheric sulphur and climatic warming at the K/T boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rampino, Michael R.; Volk, Tyler

    1988-01-01

    The possible climatic effects of a drastic decrease in cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) associated with a severe reduction in the global marine phytoplankton abundance are investigated. Calculations suggest that a reduction in CCN of more than 80 percent and the resulting decrease in marine cloud albedo could have produced a rapid global warming of 6 C or more. Oxygen isotope analyses of marine sediments from many parts of the world have been interpreted as indicating a marked warming coincident with the demise of calcareous nannoplankton at the K/T boundary. Decreased marine cloud albedo and resulting high sea surface temperatures could have been a factor in the maintenance of low productivity in the 'Strangelove Ocean' period following the K/T extinctions.

  2. Magnetic properties and Moessbauer analyses of glass from the K-T boundary, Beloc, Haiti

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Senftle, F. E.; Thorpe, A. N.; May, L.; Barkatt, A.; Adel-Hadadi, M. A.; Marbury, G. S.; Izett, G.; Sigurdsson, H.; Maurasse, F. J.-M. R.

    1993-01-01

    The experimental magnetic susceptibility, the temperature-independent component of the magnetic susceptibility, the magnetization, and the Curie constant have been measured for a number of specimens of glass from the K-T boundary found at Beloc, Haiti, and the results are compared with those of similar measurements of tektites. Because the Fe(3+)/Fe(2+) ratio is needed to calculate the magnetic parameters, Moessbauer spectroscopic measurements were also made. The data were consistent with the classification of the Beloc glasses as tektites.

  3. The Koshak section: Evidence for element fractionation and an oxidation event at the K/T boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nazarov, M. A.; Badjukov, D. D.; Barsukova, L. D.; Kolesov, G. M.; Naidin, D. P.

    1993-01-01

    The Koshak site is a new K/T section located about 125 km EEN of the Fort Shevchenko city, Mangyshlak, Kazakhstan. In this paper, we report results of geochemical and mineralogical studies of this section which indicate a deep element fractionation and an oxidation event at the K/T boundary.

  4. Chicxulub impact predates K T boundary: New evidence from Brazos, Texas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, Gerta; Adatte, Thierry; Berner, Zsolt; Harting, Markus; Baum, Gerald; Prauss, Michael; Tantawy, Abdel; Stueben, Doris

    2007-03-01

    Multidisciplinary studies, including stratigraphy, sedimentology, mineralogy and geochemistry, of the new core Mullinax-1 and outcrops along the Brazos River and Cottonmouth Creek, Falls County, Texas, reveal the complex history of the Chicxulub impact, the event deposit and the K-T boundary event. The K-T boundary, as identified by the negative δ13C shift, first occurrence of Danian planktic foraminifera and palynomorphs occurs 80 cm above the event deposit in core Mullinax-1. The underlying 80 cm interval was deposited in a shallow low oxygen environment during the latest Maastrichtian, as indicated by high stress microfossil assemblages, small shells and burrows infilled with framboidal pyrite. The underlying event deposit, commonly interpreted as K-T impact tsunami, consists of a basal conglomerate with clasts containing Chicxulub impact spherules, repeated upward fining units of spherule-rich sands, followed by hummocky cross-bedded and laminated sands, which are burrowed by Thalassinoides, Planolites and Ophiomorpha and truncated by erosion. This suggests a series of temporally separated storm events with re-colonization of the ocean floor by invertebrates between storms, rather than a series of waning tsunami-generated waves. The lithified clasts with impact spherules at the base of the event deposit provide strong evidence that the Chicxulub impact ejecta layer predates the event deposit, but was eroded and re-deposited during the latest Maastrichtian sea level lowstand. The original Chicxulub ejecta layer was discovered in a 3 cm thick yellow clay layer interbedded in undisturbed late Maastrichtian clay- and mudstones 40 cm below the base of the event deposit and near the base of planktic foraminiferal zone CF1, which spans the last 300 kyr of the Maastrichtian. The yellow clay consists of cheto smectite derived from alteration of impact glass, as indicated by rare altered glass spherules with similar chemical compositions as reworked spherules from the

  5. First evidence for a massive extinction event affecting bees close to the K-T boundary.

    PubMed

    Rehan, Sandra M; Leys, Remko; Schwarz, Michael P

    2013-01-01

    Bees and eudicot plants both arose in the mid-late Cretaceous, and their co-evolutionary relationships have often been assumed as an important element in the rise of flowering plants. Given the near-complete dependence of bees on eudicots we would expect that major extinction events affecting the latter would have also impacted bees. However, given the very patchy distribution of bees in the fossil record, identifying any such extinctions using fossils is very problematic. Here we use molecular phylogenetic analyses to show that one bee group, the Xylocopinae, originated in the mid-Cretaceous, coinciding with the early radiation of the eudicots. Lineage through time analyses for this bee subfamily show very early diversification, followed by a long period of seemingly no radiation and then followed by rapid diversification in each of the four constituent tribes. These patterns are consistent with both a long-fuse model of radiation and a massive extinction event close to the K-T boundary. We argue that massive extinction is much more plausible than a long fuse, given the historical biogeography of these bees and the diversity of ecological niches that they occupy. Our results suggest that events near the K-T boundary would have disrupted many plant-bee relationships, with major consequences for the subsequent evolution of eudicots and their pollinators. PMID:24194843

  6. First Evidence for a Massive Extinction Event Affecting Bees Close to the K-T Boundary

    PubMed Central

    Rehan, Sandra M.; Leys, Remko; Schwarz, Michael P.

    2013-01-01

    Bees and eudicot plants both arose in the mid-late Cretaceous, and their co-evolutionary relationships have often been assumed as an important element in the rise of flowering plants. Given the near-complete dependence of bees on eudicots we would expect that major extinction events affecting the latter would have also impacted bees. However, given the very patchy distribution of bees in the fossil record, identifying any such extinctions using fossils is very problematic. Here we use molecular phylogenetic analyses to show that one bee group, the Xylocopinae, originated in the mid-Cretaceous, coinciding with the early radiation of the eudicots. Lineage through time analyses for this bee subfamily show very early diversification, followed by a long period of seemingly no radiation and then followed by rapid diversification in each of the four constituent tribes. These patterns are consistent with both a long-fuse model of radiation and a massive extinction event close to the K-T boundary. We argue that massive extinction is much more plausible than a long fuse, given the historical biogeography of these bees and the diversity of ecological niches that they occupy. Our results suggest that events near the K-T boundary would have disrupted many plant-bee relationships, with major consequences for the subsequent evolution of eudicots and their pollinators. PMID:24194843

  7. Iridium contents in the Late Cretaceous-Early Tertiary clays in relation to the K/T boundary, North Jordan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abboud, Iyad Ahmed

    2016-06-01

    The mineralogy, lithology, and geochemistry of five discrete laminations across the K/T boundary of clayey shale at the Yarmouk River area, Jordan, were examined. There were no marked changes in the mineralogy of the clayey shale within the K/T boundary. This outcrop consists of more than 100 m of Maastrichtian oil shale overlying about 20 m limestone. Marly limestone included many clay laminations from organic and volcanic origins, which are considered an evidence of the K/T boundary through detected iridium anomalies. Any of these particular lamellae range from 2 mm to 5 mm in thickness. Smectite was the predominant clay mineral in smectitic shale laminations. It was located at eight meters above the K/T boundary and includes some anomalous concentrations of iridium and traces of other elements. The analysis of geochemical platinum group at the K/T boundary clays showed anomalous enrichments of iridium, compared with other carbonate rocks as a result of weathering processes of oil shale, or through concentration from weathering of basalt flows, but not pointing to an impact process. The clays in late Maastrichtian have Ir-Sc prevailed anomalies and synchronize with increasing of terrigenous and volcanogenic traced elements. Kaolin, smectite, and volkonskoite were the dominant clay minerals at the K/T boundary with high concentrations of iridium. The concentration levels of iridium in some laminations of the Yarmouk sediments ranged between 1.6 and 7.8 ppb.

  8. Isotopic comparison of K/T boundary impact glass with melt rock from the Chicxulub and Manson impact structures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blum, Joel D.; Chamberlain, C. P.; Hingston, Michael P.; Koeberl, Christian; Marin, Luis E.; Schuraytz, Benjamin C.; Sharpton, Virgil L.

    1993-07-01

    Strontium, neodymium, and oxygen isotopic compositions are reported for core samples of impact melt rock recovered from drill holes into the Chicxulub and Manson craters, which are candidate source craters for the catastrophic impact that occurred at the boundary between the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods (K/T boundary). The data are compared with previously published isotopic data from impact glasses from the K/T boundary of the Beloc formation in Haiti. It is found that the Chicxulub melt rocks are isotopically indistinguishable from the K/T impact glass, supporting the hypothesis that Chicxulub is a source crater for the K/T catastrophe. In contrast, the Manson melt rocks have a clearly different isotopic composition.

  9. Twelve-year trail of clues leads to impact crater from the K-T boundary

    SciTech Connect

    Levi, B.G.

    1992-12-01

    In 1980, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley proposed that a massive comet or asteroid might have struck the earth about 65 million years ago, changing the earth's climate so drastically that dinosaurs and other creatures could no longer survive. This article describes the evidence for the elusive crater required to support this theory. The structure in question is 180 km in diameter and is submeged beneath the Yucatan peninsula and centered on the Mexican village of Chicxulub. Material drilled from this crater has been linked chemically and geologically to pellets found in Northeast Mexico and Haiti. The link between this ejecta material and the crater was confirmed by a report that the Chicxulub melt rock and pellets are coeval, all having ages consistent with 65 million years. This puts the possible impact at the K-T boundary -- the dividing line between the Cretaceous period of the dinosaurs and the Tertiary period of the mammals. 13 refs.

  10. Late cretaceous and paroxysmal cretaceous/tertiary extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Officer, Charles B.; Drake, Charles L.; Hallam, Anthony; Devine, Joseph D.

    1987-03-01

    The various geological signatures at Cretaceous/Tertiary time including iridium and other associated elements, microspherules, and shock deformation features are compatible with the suggestion that the transition is marked by a period of intense volcanism. The volatile emissions from this volcanism would lead to acid rain, reduction in the alkalinity and pH of the surface ocean, global atmospheric temperature changes, and ozone layer depletion. These environmental effects coupled with those related to the major sea level regression of the late Cretaceous provide the framework for an explanation of the selective nature of the observed extinction record.

  11. Style, Magnitude, and Rate of Deccan Lava Super-eruptions at K-T Boundary Times

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Self, S.; Jay, A. E.; Widdowson, M.; Kelley, S. P.

    2005-12-01

    A study of 100s of individual lava flow units exposed in sections through the upper part of the main Deccan basaltic lava pile includes flow fields that were being erupted across the K-T boundary, about 65 Ma ago. Pahoehoe flow fields (the products of one eruption), each commonly 50 m, and exceptionally 80 m, thick, dominate the pile in the central Western Ghats region. The main landscape-builders are inflated sheet lobes between 15-30 m (occasionally 50 m) thick, with subordinate smaller inflated lobes and units down to the size of toes. These are typical tholeiitic pahoehoe sheet lobes, similar to those found in many other flood basalt provinces. Defining flow fields by several criteria permits an estimate of how many eruptions built up this portion of the Deccan pile, which is 30-40 in number. Based on the extent of the formations, some of the lava fields may be the longest yet described on Earth (1000 km). All formations studied have the same style lava flows, and, thus, fissure-fed, pahoehoe-flow-forming effusive volcanism dominated. Evidence from inter-flow horizons suggests extensive explosive activity also accompanied some eruptions (cf. Icelandic eruptions such as Eldgja AD 934). The 1,200-m-thick lava pile can be assigned to Deccan Group formations in the Wai Sub-group (WSG) by compositional fingerprinting, to the paleomagnetic timescale by polarity and declination measurements, and, by cross-correlation, to the radiometric time scale. During eruptions that built up the WSG lavas, which encompass the K-T boundary and the slightly younger paleomagnetic chron 29R-N boundary, the widespread nature of the formations attests that enormous volumes of lava were produced during each eruption. Volumes of eruptive units (flow fields) exceeded 2,000, and probably 5,000, cubic km of lava, and this was likely repeated in most eruptive events, each lasting many years. The age span of the WSG series of lava eruptions was so short that it falls within the errors of

  12. Environmental Effects of an Impact-Generated Dust Cloud: Implications for the Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pollack, James B.; Toon, Owen B.; Ackerman, Thomas P.; McKay, Christopher P.; Turco, Richard P.

    1983-01-01

    A model of the evolution and radiative effects of a debris cloud from a hypothesized impact event at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary suggests that the cloud could have reduced the amount of light at the earth's surface below that required for photosynthesis for several months and, for a somewhat shorter interval, even below that needed for many animals to see. For 6 months to 1 year, the surface would cool; the oceans would cool only a few degrees Celsius at most, but the continents might cool a maximum of 40 Kelvin. Extinctions in the ocean may have been caused primarily by the temporary cessation of photosynthesis, but those on land may have been primarily induced by a combination of lowered temperatures and reduced light.

  13. Environmental effects of an impact-generated dust cloud - Implications for the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinctions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pollack, J. B.; Toon, O. B.; Ackerman, T. P.; Mckay, C. P.; Turco, R. P.

    1983-01-01

    A model of the evolution and radiative effects of a debris cloud from a hypothesized impact event at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary suggests that the cloud could have reduced the amount of light at the earth's surface below that required for photosynthesis for several months and, for a somewhat shorter interval, even below that needed for many animals to see. For 6 months to 1 year, the surface would cool; the oceans could cool only a few degrees Celsius at most, but the continents might cool a maximum of 40 Kelvin. Extinctions in the ocean may have been caused primarily by the temporary cessation of photosynthesis, but those on land may have been primarily induced by a combination of lowered temperatures and reduced light.

  14. Seismic Refraction Mapping of the K-T Boundary Complex Near the Brazos River, Falls County, Texas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gowan, J. S.; Everett, M. E.

    2007-12-01

    The relationship between the Chicxulub impact and the paleontologically defined boundary between the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods is a hotly debated subject. The K-T complex, with its distinctive yellow spherule- rich clay layer, is capped by sandstone beds in streambed exposures along the Brazos River in Falls County, TX. Studies of the microfossils in the Falls Co. location show that the paleontological K-T boundary is stratigraphically removed from the yellow clay layer associated with Chicxulub. This study is an attempt to construct a 3-D image of the top of "event complex" by the use of geophysical methods. A near surface seismic refraction survey was completed in an area near the exposed K-T sections. Our seismic images may shed some light on competing theories as to the depositional environment at the time the sandstone bed was formed. Important seismically-resolved topographic features such as undulations and discontinuities could play a large role in shaping a better understanding of the K-T boundary complex origins.

  15. K-T transition in Deccan Traps of central India marks major marine Seaway across India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, G.; Adatte, T.; Bajpai, S.; Mohabey, D. M.; Widdowson, M.; Khosla, A.; Sharma, R.; Khosla, S. C.; Gertsch, B.; Fleitmann, D.; Sahni, A.

    2009-05-01

    Deccan intertrappean sediments in central India are generally considered as terrestrial deposits of Maastrichtian age, but the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) position is still unknown. Here we report the discovery of the K-T transition, a marine incursion and environmental changes preserved within the intertrappean sediments at Jhilmili, Chhindwara District, Madhya Pradesh. Integrative biostratigraphic, sedimentologic, mineralogic and chemostratigraphic analyses reveal the basal Danian in the intertrappean sediments between lower and upper trap basalts that regionally correspond to C29r and the C29R/C29N transition, respectively. Intertrappean deposition occurred in predominantly terrestrial semi-humid to arid environments. But a short aquatic interval of fresh water ponds and lakes followed by shallow coastal marine conditions with brackish marine ostracods and early Danian zone P1a planktic foraminifera mark this interval very close to the K-T boundary. This marine incursion marks the existence of a nearby seaway, probably extending inland from the west through the Narmada and Tapti rift valleys. The Jhilmili results thus identify the K-T boundary near the end of the main phase of Deccan eruptions and indicate that a major seaway extended at least 800 km across India.

  16. Carbon isotope geochemistry of the Cretaceous-Tertiary section of the Wasserfallgraben, Lattengebirge, southeast Germany

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arneth, J.-D.; Matzigkeit, U.; Boos, A.

    1985-09-01

    Carbonates and organic matter in sediments of the Cretaceous-Tertiary (C/T) section of the Wasserfallgraben, Lattengebirge (Bavaria) have been investigated. All parameters—the carbonate content (C carb), its isotopic composition ( δ 13C carb, δ 18O carb) as well as the organic carbon content (C org), its isotopic composition ( δ 13C org) and the H/C ratio of the sedimentary organic matter—display systematic variations across the C/T boundary which cannot be attributed to a single cause. The boundary zone as a whole is tectonically disturbed and shows significant features of detrital contaminations. Unidirectional shift in δ 13C carb and δ 13C org are observed when directly comparing Maastrichtian (latest Cretaceous) and Danian (earliest Tertiary) sediments. These synchronous isotope displacements towards more negative readings are interpreted to reflect the reduced photosynthetic activity as consequence of the mass extinction at the C/T boundary. The results may have some bearings on other C/T profiles investigated where measurements on the reduced carbon species are still lacking.

  17. Meteorite impact, cryptoexplosion, and shock metamorphism - A perspective on the evidence at the K/T boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sharpton, V. L.; Grieve, R. A. F.

    1990-01-01

    A perspective on the evidence of a major impact event at the K/T boundary is proposed using field and laboratory studies of terrestrial impact craters. Recent assertions that diagnostic indications of shock metamorphism are also produced in volcanic environments are challenged. A general geological framework of impact structures is developed and the issue of volcanically induced shock metamorphism is examined. Cryptoexplosion is addressed by assessing the geology of two structures: the Slate Islands and Manson, which are often cited by advocates of an internal origin for shock metamorphism as volcanic structures. It is concluded that the link between shock metamorphism and meteorite impact is now established beyond reasonable doubt. The occurrence and worldwide distribution of shocked minerals at the K/T boundary is considered to be the conclusive evidence for a major impact event.

  18. Meteorite impact, cryptoexplosion, and shock metamorphism - A perspective on the evidence at the K/T boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharpton, V. L.; Grieve, R. A. F.

    A perspective on the evidence of a major impact event at the K/T boundary is proposed using field and laboratory studies of terrestrial impact craters. Recent assertions that diagnostic indications of shock metamorphism are also produced in volcanic environments are challenged. A general geological framework of impact structures is developed and the issue of volcanically induced shock metamorphism is examined. Cryptoexplosion is addressed by assessing the geology of two structures: the Slate Islands and Manson, which are often cited by advocates of an internal origin for shock metamorphism as volcanic structures. It is concluded that the link between shock metamorphism and meteorite impact is now established beyond reasonable doubt. The occurrence and worldwide distribution of shocked minerals at the K/T boundary is considered to be the conclusive evidence for a major impact event.

  19. Geochemical evidences for two chondritic-like cometary or asteroidal impacts before and at the K/T boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Liu, Y.-G.; Schmitt, R. A.

    1993-01-01

    A number of geological and palaeontological evidences support multiple impacts of cometary showers within a short time (approximately 1-3 Ma) and their connection with mass extinctions. Observations include clustered crater ages, stratigraphic horizons of impact ejecta closely spaced in time, and evidence for stepwise mass extinctions spanning intervals of 1-3 Ma. For the K/T boundary, three candidates, Popigai, Manson, and Yucatan, have been proposed as impact craters. Two distinct strata at the K/T boundary in western North America have been interpreted as evidence for two sequential impacts. If multiple impacts occurred within a time span of about 1 Ma then multiple Ir enrichments should be observed. DSDP Hole 577B on the Shatsky Plateau in the northern Pacific at K/T time is the first site. Samples contain approximately greater than 97 percent CaCO3, which exhibit clear chemical signals associated with asteroidal/cometary impact. Ir, Fe, and Cr data are presented. From the Th-normalized data, two satellite peaks below the major peak at 78 cm and 81 cm of 577B-1-4 are clearly shown. The major Ir peak (K/T boundary) is at 72 cm. Fe and Cr, from C1-like impactor ejecta fallout, also show two peaks at the same positions. For hole 738C on the southern Kerguelen Plateau, Ir values reach a peak concentration of 18 ppb in the clay layer at 96.0-96.2 cm in section 20R-5, and gradually tail off. In the sample 115 cm above the boundary, Ir concentrations have still not reached background levels. From the Ir peak downward to the lowermost sample analyzed at 102 cm, the Ir concentration is still as high as 1.7 ppb. From the Th-normalized data, we observe a small Ir/Th peak at 100-101 cm. Though this peak is within the error margin, the trend is clear. Fe and Cr exhibit the same pattern. The third case is Hole 690C on the Queen Maud Ridge. Again, the Ir/Th plot indicates the strong possibility of satellite peaks at approximately 52 cm. The main peak is at 39-40 cm. For the

  20. Geochemical evidences for two chondritic-like cometary or asteroidal impacts before and at the K/T boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Y.-G.; Schmitt, R. A.

    1993-03-01

    A number of geological and palaeontological evidences support multiple impacts of cometary showers within a short time (approximately 1-3 Ma) and their connection with mass extinctions. Observations include clustered crater ages, stratigraphic horizons of impact ejecta closely spaced in time, and evidence for stepwise mass extinctions spanning intervals of 1-3 Ma. For the K/T boundary, three candidates, Popigai, Manson, and Yucatan, have been proposed as impact craters. Two distinct strata at the K/T boundary in western North America have been interpreted as evidence for two sequential impacts. If multiple impacts occurred within a time span of about 1 Ma then multiple Ir enrichments should be observed. DSDP Hole 577B on the Shatsky Plateau in the northern Pacific at K/T time is the first site. Samples contain approximately greater than 97 percent CaCO3, which exhibit clear chemical signals associated with asteroidal/cometary impact. Ir, Fe, and Cr data are presented. From the Th-normalized data, two satellite peaks below the major peak at 78 cm and 81 cm of 577B-1-4 are clearly shown. The major Ir peak (K/T boundary) is at 72 cm. Fe and Cr, from C1-like impactor ejecta fallout, also show two peaks at the same positions. For hole 738C on the southern Kerguelen Plateau, Ir values reach a peak concentration of 18 ppb in the clay layer at 96.0-96.2 cm in section 20R-5, and gradually tail off. In the sample 115 cm above the boundary, Ir concentrations have still not reached background levels. From the Ir peak downward to the lowermost sample analyzed at 102 cm, the Ir concentration is still as high as 1.7 ppb. From the Th-normalized data, we observe a small Ir/Th peak at 100-101 cm. Though this peak is within the error margin, the trend is clear. Fe and Cr exhibit the same pattern. The third case is Hole 690C on the Queen Maud Ridge.

  1. The Disposition of Pt, Pd, Ir, Os, and Ru in Marine Sediments and the K/T Boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, Cin-Ty; Wasserburg, Gerald; Kyte, Frank

    2003-01-01

    The marine record of platinum group elements (PGEs) and Os isotopic compositions provides information on different inputs of PGEs into the oceans. Some studies based on a smaller subset of the PGEs suggest that the PGEs may suffer post-depositional mobility during diagenesis. In some K/T boundary clays, Kyte and others showed that the relative abundances of Pt, Pd, Ir, and Os can differ significantly from chondritic, which is the signature expected from fallout of the meteorite impact. In some K/T boundary sections, elevated Ir concentrations are observed as far as 1 meter from the cm-thick boundary clay containing the meteoritic ejecta. The purpose of this study was to characterize Pt, Pd, Ir, Os, and Ru abundances in zones including the K/T boundary. We determined PGE abundances of boundary clays at two hemipelagic sites (Stevns Klint, Denmark and Caravaca, Spain) in which previous studies by Kyte and others showed that the Ir anomaly is confined to within a few cm. We also analyzed two pelagic Pacific sites: a boundary clay from the north Pacific (Hole 465A) characterized by a 0.5 m thick Ir anomaly and a transect across the K/T boundary from the south Pacific (Hole 596) where the Ir anomaly spans 2 m. The Stevns Klint, Caravaca, and north Pacific sites are characterized by abundant marls and limestones in the section, whereas the south Pacific site is dominated by clays. Samples were spiked with isotopic tracers, mixed with a flux, S and Ni, and equilibrated by fusion. PGEs were extracted from the Ni and analyzed on a Finnigan Element ICP-MS. We find that the narrow Caravaca and Stevns Klint boundary clays have relative PGE abundance patterns indistinguishable from chondritic values. The two Pacific sites were found to have nearly identical PGE patterns but have ratios at the peak, which differ from chondritic values as found earlier by Evans et al. The Pacific sites were found to have nearly identical PGE patterns but are extremely depleted in OS (Os/Ir = 0

  2. Environments and extinctions at the K-T boundary in eastern Montana are compatible with an asteroid impact

    SciTech Connect

    Fastovsky, D.E. ); Sheehan, P.M. )

    1992-01-01

    In the terrestrial latest Cretaceous Hell Creek (HC) Formation, both non-biotic events and patterns of extinction and survivorship are consistent with an asteroid impact causing the extinctions. Environments through the last 2--3 million-year interval represented by the HC remained relatively constant: an aggrading coastal lowland dissected by meandering rivers. The K-T boundary occurred during an abrupt change to impeded drainage represented by coals and pond deposits formed under low-energy conditions. Because of the close temporal proximity of the sediments of the Paleocene Cannonball Sea to the K-T boundary in South Dakota, impeded drainage in the earliest Paleocene in eastern Montana may be attributable to riverine base-level changes associated with a renewed transgression of the western interior sea during the K-T transition. Patterns within the biota mirror those of the paleoenvironments. The ecological diversity of HC dinosaurs remains statistically unchanged through HC time. Analyses of vertebrates at the species level indicate a differential extinction in which the terrestrial biota underwent far more extinction than its aquatic counterpart. There is no evidence for changing environments in the upper HC, and there is circumstantial evidence that the latest Cretaceous was a time of renewed transgression rather than regression. Likewise, biotic patterns do not accord with gradual, environmentally driven extinctions. While the paleoenvironmental change that marks the K-T transition in eastern Montana accounts for some of the extinctions, the pattern of differential extinction is concordant with an asteroid impact. In this scenario, aquatic ecosystems and some land-based food chains would be buffered by detritus-based feeding. Terrestrial systems, dependent upon primary productivity, would undergo a short-term loss of resources causing extinctions.

  3. Iridium enrichment in volcanic dust from blue ice fields, Antarctica, and possible relevance to the K/T boundary event

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Koeberl, Christian

    1989-01-01

    The analysis of samples of volcanic ash dust layers from the Lewis Cliff/Beardmore Glacier in Antarctica shows that some of the samples contain Ir concentrations up to 7.5 ppb. It is shown that the Ir is positively correlated with Se, As, Sb, and other volcanogenic elements. The results show that Ir may be present in some volcanic ash deposits, suggesting that the Ir in the K/T boundary clays is not necessarily of cosmic origin, but may have originated from mantle reservoirs tapped during extensive volcanic eruptions possibly triggered by impact events.

  4. U-Pb provenance ages of shocked zircons from the K-T boundary, Raton Basin, Colorado

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Premo, W. R.; Izett, G. A.

    1993-01-01

    U-Pb isotopic systematics from analyses of single zircons identify at least two provenance ages, approximately 575 Ma and approximately 330 Ma, for zircons from the impact layer of the K-T boundary, Raton Basin, Colorado. These data are a preliminary confirmation of results reported from the same layer. The zircon provenance ages provide a unique signature for identification of the source crater since igneous rocks of these ages (or sedimentary rocks derived from them) must characterize part of the impact stratigraphy.

  5. Geochemistry of K/T-boundary Chicxulub ejecta of NE-Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harting, M.; Deutsch, A.; Rickers, K.

    2003-12-01

    Many K/T sections all over the world contain impact spherules supposed related to the Chicxulub event. This study focus on ejecta layers in NE-Mexican profiles. We carried out systematic XRF and synchrotron radiation measurements on such spherules at the HASYLAB and ANKA facilities as well as microprobe analyses (CAMECA SX50). Area scans on tektite-like material of the Bochil section reveal a pronounced zonation in the inner part, dominated by Ba and Sr whereas secondary CaCO3 dominates in the altered margin. The composition of the spherules from the Mesa-Juan Perez section differ significantly from the Beloc (Haiti) and Bochil tektite glasses. At Mesa-Juan Perez, spherules are either extremely rich in Fe and Ca or consist of smectite, some of those carry carbonate inclusions. Yttrium, La and Ce are zoned within the smectite with concentrations below the detection limit and up to 20 æg/g The Ca-rich inclusions are enriched in Y (up to 35 æg/g) and La (18 æg/g) and, compared to the surrounding smectite, also in Ce (up to 34 æg/g). The Ce enrichment in spherules from the Mesa-Juan Perez section indicates impact-melted carbonates of the Yucatan carbonate platform as possible precursor rocks. Recent investigations focus on the chemistry of melt rock samples from the PEMEX wells Yucatan-6 and Chicxulub-1: Their average composition (mean of 250 data points in wt-percent ) is 61.6 for SiO2, 0.16 for TiO2, 18.07 for Al2O3, 0.01 for Cr2O3, 1.98 for Na2O, 1.5 for FeO, 0.05 for MnO, 0.01 for NiO, 0.31 for MgO, 9.14 for K2O, 3.44 for CaO, and 0.01 for SO2. These results are in some cases comparable to the geochemistry of ejecta glasses, e.g. from Beloc (Haiti).

  6. Carbon and Oxygen Isotopic Measurements of K/T Boundary Spherules from Haiti

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hough, R. M.; Sigurdsson, H.; Franchi, I. A.; Wright, I. P.; Pillinger, C. T.; Gilmour, I.

    1993-07-01

    Glass spherules thought to be tektites from Haiti have previously been analyzed for their mineralogy and chemical composition to identify their origin and mode of formation [1]. They contain bubbles and occur in various colors dependent upon the original target rock. To investigate these spherules and the nature of any gas phase, several dark brown glasses have been analyzed for their carbon content and isotope composition, using stepped combustion analysis and static mass spectrometry. Both brown and yellow spherules were analyzed for oxygen isotope composition using laser fluorination and conventional dynamic gas-source mass spectrometry. Some spherules were analyzed whole for carbon but one was broken into fragments for the purpose of replication. Individual fragments were initially analyzed and found to yield a total of 0.2 wt% carbon in two components of different isotopic composition. The first, released between 350-400 degrees C had a delta^13C of -22 per mil whereas the second, between 500-600 degrees C had a delta^13C of -6.3 per mil. As the lower temperature release was presumed to be contaminated, other spherule fragments were pre- treated with 0.1M chromic acid to remove organic and carbonate components. Analyses of cleaned fragments indicated a variable carbon content from 0.005 to 2.6 wt% carbon but still with two isotopically different components. The first with a delta^13C of -0.8 per mil and the second, a delta^13C of -19.0 per mil. The spherules are both variable and heterogeneous. The -19 per mil component is apparently present in most of the spherules and released by 600 degrees C. A component with a similar combustion temperature and delta^13C has been encountered in K/T residues containing nanodiamonds [2]. There is currently no information available confirming its identity, but it does not appear to be surficial or an oxidizable organic. Identification of these carbon components by future work may reveal a possible source and mode of

  7. Cosmic Genes in the Cretaceous-Tertiary transition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wallis, M. K.

    2003-07-01

    It is proposed that genes coding for Aib-polypeptides arose early on in the K/T transition, presumed from the Earth's accretion of interplanetary (comet) dust. Aib-fungi flourished because of the evolutionary advantage of novel antibiotics. The stress on Cretaceous biology led directly and indirectly to mass species extinctions, including many dinosaur species, in the epoch preceding the Chicxulub impact.

  8. Altered spherules of impact melt and associated relic glass from the K/T boundary sediments in Haiti

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kring, David A.; Boynton, William V.

    1991-01-01

    Partially to wholly altered glass spherules produced by impact-induced shock melting have been found in the K/T boundary sediments of Haiti which also contain grains of shocked quartz. The relic glass has an approximately dacitic composition, and although grossly similar in composition to most previously described tektite glasses, it is slightly enriched in Ca and slightly depleted in Si, suggesting the Haitian glass was produced either from a target with a greater fraction of carbonate and anhydrite lithologies and fewer silicate units than the targets from which most other tektites were produced, and/or from one with a significant mafic component. The composition of the glass can best be reconciled with a continental margin terrane, consistent with studies of shocked mineral phases reported elsewhere. The thickness of the deposit in which the impact spherules occur indicates the source of the ejecta was in the proto-Caribbean region.

  9. Altered spherules of impact melt and associated relic glass from the K/T boundary sediments in Haiti

    SciTech Connect

    Kring, D.A.; Boynton, W.V. )

    1991-06-01

    Partially to wholly altered glass spherules produced by impact-induced shock melting have been found in the K/T boundary sediments of Haiti which also contain grains of shocked quartz. The relic glass has an approximately dacitic composition, and although grossly similar in composition to most previously described tektite glasses, it is slightly enriched in Ca and slightly depleted in Si, suggesting the Haitian glass was produced either from a target with a greater fraction of carbonate and anhydrite lithologies and fewer silicate units than the targets from which most other tektites were produced, and/or from one with a significant mafic component. The composition of the glass can best be reconciled with a continental margin terrane, consistent with studies of shocked mineral phases reported elsewhere. The thickness of the deposit in which the impact spherules occur indicates the source of the ejecta was in the proto-Caribbean region.

  10. Major Marine Seaway Across India During the K-T Transition: Evidence From Deccan Traps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sunil, B.; Keller, G.; Adatte, T.; Mohabey, D.; Widdowson, M.; Khosla, A.; Sharma, R.; Khosla, S. C.; Gertsch, B.; Fleitmann, D.; Sahni, A.

    2008-12-01

    Intertrappean beds in the main part of the Deccan Traps volcanic province of peninsular India are generally considered to be terrestrial deposits of late Maastrichtian age, lthough the precise position of the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary event has remained speculative. Recent investigations of the outlying Deccan Traps exposures around Rajahmundry near the southeastern coast, however, revealed the K-T event in intertrappean beds overlying the end of the main Deccan volcanic phase with the last phase of volcanic eruptions at the C29R/C29N transition (Keller et al., 2008). Further investigations in central India confirm these results and indicate that a major marine seaway existed across India during the K-T transition. The new evidence is from Deccan Traps at Jhilmili, Chhindwara District of central India, located about 800 km from the nearest ocean. Intertrappean sediments in this area have been considered as terrestrial deposition. Our multi-disciplinary investigations, including biostratigraphic, sedimentologic, mineralogic, chemo- and magnetostratigraphic analyses of the Deccan Traps and intertrappean sediments revealed: i) predominantly terrestrial to fresh water (lacustrine, palustrine) deposition with short marine incursions transporting planktic foraminifera and forming brackish-marine environments; ii) planktic foraminiferal assemblages that indicate an early Danian zone P1a age for these marine incursions; iii) the K-T boundary is above the last reversely magnetized (C29R) basalt flow, and iv) the upper basalt flow occurs near the C29R/C29N transition. These biostratigraphic and magnetostratigraphic ages corroborate the previous results from Rajahmundry and place the K-T boundary at the end of the main phase of Deccan Traps volcanism. Deposition at Jhilmili during the K/T transition thus occurred in predominantly terrestrial semi-humid to arid environmental settings with short aquatic intervals of fresh water ponds and lakes, followed by shallow

  11. Mineralogy and phase-chemistry of the Cretaceous/Tertiary section in the Lattengebirge, Bavarian Alps

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Graup, G.

    1988-01-01

    The Lattengebirge K/T section reveals three distinct Ir spikes. Two of them are contained in the K/T transition zone sensu-strictu termed clayey interval, with 4.4 ppb Ir at the actual K/T boundary, and 2.8 ppb Ir 10 cm above the boundary. The highest Ir enrichment of 9 ppb, however, was detected in semi-cleaned organic material from a thin sandstone layer of Upper Maastrichtian age at 16 cm below the boundary. In this layer various discernible phases are preserved, contrasting with the worldwide observed K/T transition zones which are generally entirely composed of diagenetically altered materials. Given that, important clues to understanding the Cretaceous terminal events may be provided. The phases of the Cretaceous Ir bearing layer at Lattengebirge consist of: sandstone fragmental minerals in a carbonate matrix, coal which is partly burnt, melt glasses presumably of combustion-metamorphic origin, and sulfides, mainly chalcopyrite, contained in the coal. Like many known K/T sections and the Lattengebirge boundary sensu-strictu, the Cretaceous horizon is enriched in Ir and chalcophile elements as well. Although the Lattengebirge section offers the freshest materials, including melt glasses, of all K/T localities investigated, no unequivocal evidence of formation by impact has been found there.

  12. Strontium and oxygen isotope study of M-1, M-3 and M-4 drill core samples from the Manson impact structure, Iowa: Comparison with Haitian K-T impact glasses

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blum, Joel D.; Chamberlain, C. Page; Hingston, Michael P.; Koeberl, Christian

    1993-01-01

    Strontium and oxygen isotope analyses were performed on 8 samples from the M-1, M-3, and M-4 cores recently drilled at the Manson impact structure. The samples were three elastic sedimentary rocks (of probable Cretaceous age) which occurred as clasts within the sedimentary clast breccia, two samples of crystalline rock breccia matrix, and three samples of dolomite and limestone. The Sr-87/Sr-86 (corrected to 65 Ma) ratios were much higher than those in impact glasses from the Haitian Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary. Isotope mixing calculations demonstrate that neither the silicate or carbonate rocks analyzed from the Manson crater, or mixtures of these rocks are appropriate source materials for the Haitian impact glasses. However, the Sr-87/Sr-86 (65Ma) ratio and delta O-18 value of the Ca-rich Haitian glasses are well reproduced by mixtures of Si-rich Haitian glass with platform carbonate of K-T age.

  13. Strontium and oxygen isotope study of M-1, M-3 and M-4 drill core samples from the Manson impact structure, Iowa: Comparison with Haitian K-T impact glasses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blum, Joel D.; Chamberlain, C. Page; Hingston, Michael P.; Koeberl, Christian

    1993-03-01

    Strontium and oxygen isotope analyses were performed on 8 samples from the M-1, M-3, and M-4 cores recently drilled at the Manson impact structure. The samples were three elastic sedimentary rocks (of probable Cretaceous age) which occurred as clasts within the sedimentary clast breccia, two samples of crystalline rock breccia matrix, and three samples of dolomite and limestone. The Sr-87/Sr-86 (corrected to 65 Ma) ratios were much higher than those in impact glasses from the Haitian Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary. Isotope mixing calculations demonstrate that neither the silicate or carbonate rocks analyzed from the Manson crater, or mixtures of these rocks are appropriate source materials for the Haitian impact glasses. However, the Sr-87/Sr-86 (65Ma) ratio and delta O-18 value of the Ca-rich Haitian glasses are well reproduced by mixtures of Si-rich Haitian glass with platform carbonate of K-T age.

  14. Impact mechanics of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction bolide

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Okeefe, J. D.; Ahrens, T. J.

    1982-01-01

    An examination of the mechanics of asteroidal, cometary, and meteor swarm impact on the earth determined if the enrichment of projectile material in the K-T layer is consistent with melts and impact breccias on the earth and moon, the size of the impacters, the distribution of the kinetic energy, and the sequence of impacts that could give rise to observed extinction phenomena. Flows resulting from spherical projectile impacts onto layers of air, water, and silicates were modeled and Eulerian finite difference algorithms were employed to solve conservation equations and equations of state. A range of speeds and impacter densities were considered, along with sizes from 0.17 km, which would be consumed in the atmosphere, to a 10 km object, which would have had a diameter greater than a reference 7.1 km atmosphere depth. It is concluded that an impact of the K-T bolide could result in global biotic extinction and worldwide material deposition.

  15. Trace-element composition of Chicxulub crater melt rock, K/T tektites and Yucatan basement

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hildebrand, A. R.; Gregoire, D. C.; Attrep, M., Jr.; Claeys, P.; Thompson, C. M.; Boynton, W. V.

    1993-01-01

    The Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary Chicxulub impact is the best preserved large impact in the geologic record. The Chicxulub crater has been buried with no apparent erosion of its intracrater deposits, and its ejecta blanket is known and is well preserved at hundreds of localities globally. Although most of the molten material ejected from the crater has been largely altered, a few localities still preserve tektite glass. Availability of intra- and extracrater impact products as well as plausible matches to the targeted rocks allows the comparison of compositions of the different classes of impact products to those of the impacted lithologies. Determination of trace-element compositions of the K/T tektites, Chicxulub melt rock, and the targeted Yucatan silicate basement and carbonate/evaporite lithologies have been made using instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Some sample splits were studied with both techniques to ensure that inter-laboratory variation was not significant or could be corrected. The concentration of a few major and minor elements was also checked against microprobe results. Radiochemical neutron activation analysis (RNAA) was used to determine Ir abundances in some samples.

  16. Avian evolution, Gondwana biogeography and the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction event.

    PubMed Central

    Cracraft, J.

    2001-01-01

    The fossil record has been used to support the origin and radiation of modern birds (Neornithes) in Laurasia after the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction event, whereas molecular clocks have suggested a Cretaceous origin for most avian orders. These alternative views of neornithine evolution are examined using an independent set of evidence, namely phylogenetic relationships and historical biogeography. Pylogenetic relationships of basal lineages of neornithines, including ratite birds and their allies (Palaleocognathae), galliforms and anseriforms (Galloanserae), as well as lineages of the more advanced Neoves (Gruiformes, (Capimulgiformes, Passeriformes and others) demonstrate pervasive trans-Antarctic distribution patterns. The temporal history of the neornithines can be inferred from fossil taxa and the ages of vicariance events, and along with their biogeographical patterns, leads to the conclusion that neornithines arose in Gondwana prior to the Cretaceous Tertiary extinction event. PMID:11296857

  17. Weathering and precipitation after meteorite impact of Ni, Cr, Fe, Ca and Mn in K-T boundary clays from Stevns Klint

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miyano, Yumiko; Yoshiasa, Akira; Tobase, Tsubasa; Isobe, Hiroshi; Hongu, Hidetomo; Okube, Maki; Nakatsuka, Akihiko; Sugiyama, Kazumasa

    2016-05-01

    Ni, Cr, Fe, Ca and Mn K-edge XANES and EXAFS spectra were measured on K-T boundary clays from Stevns Klint in Denmark. According to XANES spectra and EXAFS analyses, the local structures of Ni, Cr and Fe in K-T boundary clays is similar to Ni(OH)2, Cr2O3 and FeOOH, respectively. It is assumed that the Ni, Cr and Fe elements in impact related glasses is changing into stable hydrate and oxide by the weathering and diagenesis at the surface of the Earth. Ca in K-T boundary clays maintains the diopside-like structure. Local structure of Ca in K-T clays seems to keep information on the condition at meteorite impact. Mn has a local structure like MnCO3 with divalent state. It is assumed that the origin on low abundant of Mn in the Fe-group element in K-T clays was the consumption by life activity and the diffusion to other parts.

  18. Cretaceous - Tertiary Hoploparia species: Occurrence, paleobiogeography and predation context

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    El-Shazly, Soheir

    2015-12-01

    The study of Hoploparia species in 25 localities in Northern and Southern Hemispheres from Early Cretaceous to Early Miocene reveals the appearance of 51 species in Early Cretaceous, mostly in Northern Hemisphere, 46 species from Late Cretaceous (42 and 4 carryover from the Early Cretaceous), 7 species from Danian (4 plus 3 carryover from the Late Cretaceous), 7 species from Eocene (6 plus one from the Early Cretaceous), 2 species from Lower Oligocene and the last recorded species Hoploparia persisted in the Early Miocene of Antarctica. The oldest Hoploparia was recorded from Europe and distributed through the Northern and Southern Hemispheres with the facilitation of the Indo-Madagascar sea-way and Hispanic corridor. The tolerance for temperature and water depth as well as the morphological changes in genus Hoploparia in the Late Cretaceous and Tertiary periods, helped some species to survive the K/T event. Drill-hole predation in Hoploparia longimana (Sowerby, 1826) was recorded for the first time from the Lower Cretaceous (Albian) of Egypt.

  19. RESULTS OF A DATING ATTEMPT -CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL MEASUREMENTS RELEVANT TO THE CASE OF THE CRETACEOUS TERTIARY EXTINCTIONS

    SciTech Connect

    Asaro, Frank; Michel, Helen V.; Alvarez, Luis W.; Alvarez, Walter

    1980-09-01

    In Gubbio, Italy, a l em layer of clay between extensive limestone formations marks the boundary between the Cretaceous and Tertiary Periods. This clay layer was known to have been deposited about 65 million years ago when many life forms became extinct, but the length of time associated with the deposition was not known. In an attempt to measure this time with normally deposited meteoritic material as a clock, extensive measurements of iridium abundances (and those of many other elements) were made on the Gubbio rocks. Neutron activation analysis was the principal tool used in these studies. About 50 elements are searched for in materials like the earth's crust, about 40 are detected and about 30 are measured with useful precision. We were not able to determine exactly how long the clay deposition took. Instead the laboratory studies on the chemical and physical nature of the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary led to the theory that an asteroid collision with the earth was responsible for the extinction of many forms of life including the dinosaurs.

  20. Stratigraphy of the Cretaceous-Tertiary and Paleocene-Eocene transition rocks of Big Bend National Park, Texas

    SciTech Connect

    Schiebout, J.A.; Rigsby, C.A.; Rapp, S.D.; Hartnell, J.A.; Standhardt, B.R.

    1987-05-01

    The marine to terrestrial transition in the Big Bend area falls within the Late Cretaceous Aguja Formation, and, in light of new biostratigraphic data resulting from screening for small vertebrates and magneto-stratigraphic data, the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary falls within the Javelina Formation, which includes the first red banding produced by oxidation of overbank fluvial mudstones. No record of a catastrophic event is apparent in the Javelina Formation. The Javelina, Black Peaks, and Hannold Hill Formations and the Big Yellow Sandstone Member of the Canoe Formation record increasing uplift in the region, culminating in uplift and volcanism in the Chisos mountains, the source for upper Canoe Formation sediments. The sequence of changes produced by this trend and by unroofing in source highlands to the west is sufficiently gradual that the Javelina through Black Peaks units are not lithostratigraphically distinct at the formation level and therefore are reduced to member status, and placed, along with the Big Yellow Sandstone Member, within the redefined Tornillo Formation. The Aguja Formation and the Tornillo Formation are united in the Chilicotal Group (new), which spans the deposits from the first significant influxes of terrestrial sediments, formed as the Cretaceous sea retreated, up to the beginning of local volcanism in the Chisos. The volcanic strata of the upper Canoe Formation are reassigned to the Chisos Formation. 46 references.

  1. Plants with double genomes might have had a better chance to survive the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event.

    PubMed

    Fawcett, Jeffrey A; Maere, Steven; Van de Peer, Yves

    2009-04-01

    Most flowering plants have been shown to be ancient polyploids that have undergone one or more whole genome duplications early in their evolution. Furthermore, many different plant lineages seem to have experienced an additional, more recent genome duplication. Starting from paralogous genes lying in duplicated segments or identified in large expressed sequence tag collections, we dated these youngest duplication events through penalized likelihood phylogenetic tree inference. We show that a majority of these independent genome duplications are clustered in time and seem to coincide with the Cretaceous-Tertiary (KT) boundary. The KT extinction event is the most recent mass extinction caused by one or more catastrophic events such as a massive asteroid impact and/or increased volcanic activity. These events are believed to have generated global wildfires and dust clouds that cut off sunlight during long periods of time resulting in the extinction of approximately 60% of plant species, as well as a majority of animals, including dinosaurs. Recent studies suggest that polyploid species can have a higher adaptability and increased tolerance to different environmental conditions. We propose that polyploidization may have contributed to the survival and propagation of several plant lineages during or following the KT extinction event. Due to advantages such as altered gene expression leading to hybrid vigor and an increased set of genes and alleles available for selection, polyploid plants might have been better able to adapt to the drastically changed environment 65 million years ago. PMID:19325131

  2. Cretaceous Tertiary phenomena in the context of seafloor rearrangements and P(CO 2) fluctuations over the past 100 m.y.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Y.-G.; Schmitt, R. A.

    1996-03-01

    Both the bolide impact hypothesis and the volcanism hypothesis suggest, as one of the major environmental consequences, the release of large amounts of SO 2 and CO 2 into the atmosphere, with consequent lowering of the pH of ocean water. In the study of rare earth elements (REEs) in seawater and in carbonate sediments, we found that the Ce in seawater is depleted relative to other REEs due to the partial oxidation of Ce 3+ to Ce 4+ by dissolved oxygen. This oxidation is enhanced by the formation of highly insoluble Ce(OH) 4 and its removal from seawater. The relative Ce depletion is expressed as the Ce anomaly, Ce A*. A quantitative expression for relating Ce A* with pH and PO 2 has been derived. Owing to the involvement of OH - in this process, Ce A* is essentially controlled by the pH of seawater. The REE pattern in seawater is preserved in carbonate sediments. Therefore, the Ce anomalies in marine carbonate sediments provide a unique tool for recording pH changes in paleo-ocean water. Furthermore, the pH of ocean water is controlled by the partial pressure of CO 2, PCO 2, in the atmosphere; therefore, the corresponding PCO 2 changes are derived. About 340 Pacific carbonate sediment samples have been studied by INAA (Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis). Three major Ce A* peaks at ~17, ~53, and ~63 Ma, as well as two minor peaks at 64.6 and 65.2 Ma, were found. The correspondence between observed Ce A* major peaks and the enhanced hydrothermal activity associated with tectonic seafloor rearrangements at these times suggests that the pH of the deep (>600 m) Pacific water was lowered by CO 2 generated by enhanced hydrothermal activity. Manganese and Co, which are highly enriched in hydrothermal solutions, closely follow the Ce A* pattern. This is strong evidence that the Ce A* peaks are related to the elevated levels of hydrothermal activity. The absence of Ce A* changes at the K/T (Cretaceous/Tertiary)-Ir boundary (≡65.0 Ma) suggests that the proposed

  3. Paleosols and the Cretaceous/Tertiary transition in the Big Bend region of Texas

    SciTech Connect

    Lehman, T.M. )

    1990-04-01

    A marked change in paleosols coincides with Cretaceous/Tertiary transition in fluvial sediments of the Big Bend region in Texas. Early Paleocene paleosols exhibit thick, black epipedons and a greater depth to the argillic and petrocalcic horizons compared to Late Cretaceous paleosols. These features and comparison with modern soils suggest that early Paleocene soils developed under conditions of higher rainfall and cooler temperatures than did Late Cretaceous soils. The change in paleosols occurs abruptly at the highest occurrence of dinosaur bones in the section.

  4. Dynamics of exploding magma chambers: Implications for K-T volcanism and mass extinctions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rice, A. R.

    1988-01-01

    Although it is well known that unconfined chemical explosives may yield pressures to several megabars on detonation in air, the explosive literature has yet to be accessed by some contributors to the volcanological literature who've indicated that pressures in excess of the overburden and/or tensile cannot be obtained. Idealized ballistic assessments of pressures internal to volcanoes yield pressures in the hundreds of kilobar range upon correction by addition of friction, etc. Previous assessments of exploding magma chamber pressure have been made from the characteristics of the Mt. St. Helens explosion. A variety of methods yield pressures of similar value: at least hundreds of kilobars. Such results are consistent with free energy requirements for quench supersaturation explosion, a process occurring in solidifying industrial melts. Several reviews of geochemical literature emphasize the carbon event at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary as being an indicator of a massive dump of CO2 derived from the mantle and entering the atmosphere by extensive global volcanism. Oxygen isotope data indicates extreme warming at the end of the Cretaceous which is consistent with a greenhouse effect attending the CO2 event. Reaction rate equations for the quench supersaturation explosion mechanism indicated, are consistent with the rise in pressure to 30 kbar on solidification of magmatic melts, these pressures limited by the strength of the experimental apparatus.

  5. Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources in Cretaceous-Tertiary Coal Beds of the Gulf Coast Region, 2007

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Warwick, Peter D.

    2007-01-01

    Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated a mean of 4.06 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas in Cretaceous-Tertiary coal beds of the onshore lands and State waters of the Gulf Coast.

  6. Mass Wasting during the Cretaceous/Tertiary Transition in the North Atlantic: Relationship to the Chicxulub Impact?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mateo, Paula; Keller, Gerta; Adatte, Thierry; Spangenberg, Jorge

    2015-04-01

    Deep-sea sections in the North Atlantic are claimed to contain the most complete sedimentary records and ultimate proof that the Chicxulub impact is Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) in age and caused the mass extinction. A multi-disciplinary study of North Atlantic DSDP Sites 384, 386 and 398, based on high-resolution planktonic foraminiferal biostratigraphy, carbon and oxygen stable isotopes, clay and whole-rock mineralogy and granulometry, reveals the age, stratigraphic completeness and nature of sedimentary disturbances. Results show a major KTB hiatus at Site 384 with zones CF1, P0 and P1a missing, spanning at least ~540 ky, similar to other North Atlantic and Caribbean localities associated with tectonic activity and Gulf Stream erosion. At Sites 386 and 398, discrete intervals of disturbed sediments with mm-to-cm-thick spherule layers have previously been interpreted as KTB age impact-generated earthquakes destabilizing continental margins prior to settling of impact spherules. However, improved age control based on planktonic foraminifera indicates deposition in the early Danian zone P1a(2) (upper Parvularugoglobigerina eugubina zone) more than 100 ky after the KTB. At Site 386, two intervals of white chalk contain very small (<63 μm) early Danian zone P1a(2) (65%) and common reworked Cretaceous (35%) species, in contrast to the in situ red-brown and green abyssal clays that are devoid of carbonate. In addition, high calcite, mica and kaolinite and upward-fining are observed in the chalks, indicating downslope transport from shallow waters and sediment winnowing via distal turbidites. At Site 398, convoluted red to tan sediments with early Danian and reworked Cretaceous species represent slumping of shallow water sediments as suggested by dominance of mica and low smectite compared to in situ deposition. We conclude that mass wasting was likely the result of earthquakes associated with increased tectonic activity in the Caribbean and the Iberian Peninsula

  7. Did Deccan Volcanism or the Chicxulub Impact Cause the K-T Mass Extinction?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, G.; Reddy, A. N.; Jaiprakash, B. C.; Gertsch, B.; Adatte, T.; Upadhyay, H.; Bhowmick, P. K.; Pande, D. K.

    2008-12-01

    It is generally believed that the Chicxulub impact caused the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) mass extinction. However, strong evidence from Mexico and Texas shows that this impact predates the K-T boundary and caused no species extinctions or any other significant environmental effects (Keller et al., 2003, 2007). The Chicxulub impact and K-T mass extinction are thus two separate and unrelated events and the biotic effects of this impact have been vastly overestimated. The real cause for the K-T mass extinction may now have been discovered in the Deccan volcanic eruptions of India. Recent discoveries reveal Deccan volcanism as the most likely cause for the K-T mass extinction for several reasons detailed in Chenet et al. (2007), Keller et al. (2008) and Self et al. (2008): (1) The main phase of Deccan Trap eruptions may have occurred over as little as 10,000 to 100,000 years. (2) The K-T mass extinction coincides with the end of this main phase of volcanism. (3) The longest lava flows (megaflows), spanning 1000 km across India and out to the Gulf of Bengal, mark this phase of Deccan volcanism and the mass extinction. (4) SO2 emissions associated with just one of these major volcanic pulses, or megaflows, are on the order of SO2 emissions estimated from the Chicxulub impact. (5) The total SO2 emissions during the main phase of Deccan volcanism are estimated at 30 to 100 times that of the Chicxulub impact. Thus, the short duration of volcanism and the repeated massive SO2 injections may have caused a deadly runaway effect that lead to the K-T mass extinction. Critical new data on the K-T mass extinction comes from investigations of Deccan Traps outcrops at Jhilmili, Madhya Pradesh, central India, quarry outcrops in Rajahmundry and subsurface cores drilled in the Krishna-Godavari Basin, eastern India, by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India (ONGC). In eight subsurface cores examined, a total of 9 volcanic megaflows have been identified as occurring in very rapid

  8. Evidence of volcanic ash at a K-T boundary section: Ocean drilling program hole 690 C, Maud Rise, Weddell Sea off East Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wise, S. W.; Hamilton, N.; Pospichal, J.; Barker, P. F.; Kennett, James P.; Oconnell, S.; Bryant, W. R.; Burckle, L. H.; Egeberg, P. K.; Futterer, D. K.

    1988-01-01

    Rare vitric volcanogenic ash but more abundant clay minerals considered volcanogenic in origin are associated with an expanded and essentially complete K-T boundary sequence from Ocean Drilling Project (ODP) Hole 690 C on Maud Rise in the Weddell Sea off East Antarctica. Results at this writing are preliminary and are still based to some extent on shipboard descriptions. Further shore-based studies are in progress. It would appear, however, that the presence of volcanic ash and altered ash in the Danian section beginning at the biostratigraphically and paleomagnetically determined K-T boundary on Maud Rise can be cited as evidence of significant volcanic activity within the South Atlantic-Indian Ocean sector of the Southern Ocean coincident with the time of biotic crises at the end of the Maestrichtian. This is a postulated time of tectonic and volcanic activity within this Southern Hemisphere region, including possible initiation of the Reunion hot spot and a peak in explosive volcanism on Walvis Ridge (1) among other events. A causal relationship with the biotic crisis is possible and volcanism should be given serious consideration as a testable working hypothesis to explain these extinctions.

  9. The K-T Transition in Meghalaya, NE India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gertsch, B.; Keller, G.; Adatte, T.; Garg, R.; Prasad, V.; Berner, Z.; Ateequzzaman, K.; Stueben, D.

    2008-12-01

    produced in the hypolimnion. Sedimentological, mineralogical, geochemical, biostratigraphic and paleoecological studies of the Um Sohryngkew Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) transition in the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, India, reveal biotic and environmental changes about 800 km from the Deccan volcanic province (DVP). Upper Cretaceous sediments consist mainly of conglomerates, glauconitic sandstone, sandy shale, calcareous shale with a few shell beds and rare coal pockets, all of which indicate deposition in a shallow marine environment with high detrital influx from nearby continental terrains. High kaolinite and illite indicate high humidity and high runoff. The K-T transition is in calcareous silty shale and marked by a 1 cm thin "rust colored" layer with high anomalies in Ir (11.8 ppb), Ru (108 ppb), Rh (93 ppb) and Pd (75 pbb). In the Danian, kaolinite remains the dominant clay mineral, suggesting humid climatic conditions. In contrast, semi-arid climate conditions prevailed in the contemporaneous Deccan Traps province, which appears to be linked to "mock aridity" (Harris and Van Couvering, 1995, Khadkikar et al., 1999). Microfossil assemblages define the K-T boundary. Nannofossils are common throughout the Upper Maastrichtian interval. Assemblages dominated by Micula decussata and Watzenueria barnesae along with common Ceratolithioides kampteneri and Lithraphidites quadratus are typical of the low latitude Tethys and Micula prinsii attests to the presence of the terminal Maastrichtian. Dinoflagellate cysts are common to abundant with increased frequencies of peridiniods, terrestrial organic matter and framboidal pyrite in the uppermost Maastrichtian. This suggests high nutrient loading possibly leading to stressful eutrophic conditions. Dinogymnium and Alisogymnium species have their last occurrences at the K-T boundary. The first appearence of Danian nannofossil species Neobiscutum romeinii and Biantholithus sparsus appear at 5 cm and 15 cm above the K-T boundary

  10. Geochemistry of impact glasses from the K/T boundary in Haiti - Relation to smectites and a new type of glass

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Koeberl, Christian; Sigurdsson, Haraldur

    1992-01-01

    Detailed element analyses were carried out on 12 black and seven yellow glasses from the K/T boundary section at Beloc (Haiti), and of three samples from smectite mantles around black glasses. The results obtained for bulk black and yellow glasses show differences between these, confirming the results of Sigurdsson et al. (1991) and Izett (1991), and the results obtained on individual spherules and shards are in agreement with bulk data. The present data also demonstrate, for the first time, the existence of yellow glass samples with high CaO but low S contents, which might have formed by fusion of various proportions of carbonates and evaporites or carbonates alone. One of the black glasses was found to have higher than average SiO2 and K2O abundances but lower concentrations of all other major elements. This suggests the existence of a third glass type, named the high Si-K variety (HSi,K) glass.

  11. An iridium abundance anomaly at the palynological Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in northern New Mexico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Orth, C.J.; Gilmore, J.S.; Knight, J.D.; Pillmore, C.L.; Tschudy, R.H.; Fassett, J.E.

    1981-01-01

    An iridium abundance anomaly, with concentrations up to 5000 parts per trillion over a background level of 4 to 20 parts per trillion, has been located in sedimentary rocks laid down under freshwater swamp conditions in the Raton Basin of northeastern New Mexico. The anomaly occurs at the base of a coal bed, at the same stratigraphic position at which several well-known species of Cretaceous-age pollen became extinct. Copyright ?? 1981 AAAS.

  12. Bolide impacts, acid rain, and biospheric traumas at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Prinn, Ronald G.; Fegley, Bruce, Jr.

    1987-01-01

    Two plausible projectiles are considered: an ice-rich long-period comet and a much smaller rock-metal asteroid. In the framework of a proposal addressed by Lewis et al. (1982), it is shown that, while the impact projectiles themselves do not shock-heat the atmosphere very extensively, the supersonic plume of water vapor and rock produced on impact does shock the atmosphere up to global scales and the shock is of sufficient intensity to produce abundant nitric oxide. For example, an ice-rich long-period comet with a mass of 1.25 x 10 to the 16th kg and a velocity of 65 km/s striking the earth would produce about 7 x 10 to the 40th molecules NO through shock-heating of the atmosphere by the high-velocity ejecta plume fragments. Specific attention is given to the fraction of the atmosphere shock-heated, the global circulation of the nitrogen oxides, the effects of the ejecta plume water on acid rain (AR) predictions, the effects of AR on continental soils, the relationship between AR production rates and the total amount of acid needed to acidify the surface oceans, and the longevity of the oceanic acidity event and the exhaled CO2 event and their implications for the environment in the first millenia or so after the impact.

  13. Seawater strontium isotopes, acid rain, and the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Macdougall, J. D.

    1988-01-01

    A large bolide impact at the end of the Cretaceous would have produced significant amounts of nitrogen oxides by shock heating of the atmosphere. The resulting acid precipitation would have increased continental weathering greatly and could be an explanation for the observed high ratio of strontium-87 to strontium-86 in seawater at about this time, due to the dissolution of large amounts of strontium from the continental crust. Spikes to high values in the seawater strontium isotope record at other times may reflect similar episodes.

  14. Nature and timing of extinctions in Cretaceous-Tertiary planktic foraminifera preserved in Deccan intertrappean sediments of the Krishna-Godavari Basin, India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, G.; Adatte, T.; Bhowmick, P. K.; Upadhyay, H.; Dave, A.; Reddy, A. N.; Jaiprakash, B. C.

    2012-08-01

    In C29r below the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) massive Deccan Trap eruptions in India covered an area the size of France or Texas and produced the world’s largest and longest lava megaflows 1500 km across India through the Krishna-Godavari (K-G) Basin into the Bay of Bengal. Investigation of ten deep wells from the K-G Basin revealed four lava megaflows separated by sand, silt and shale with the last megaflow ending at or near the KTB. The biologic response in India was swift and devastating. During Deccan eruptions prior to the first megaflow, planktic foraminifera suffered 50% species extinctions. Survivors suffered another 50% extinctions after the first megaflow leaving just 7-8 species. No recovery occurred between the next three megaflows and the mass extinction was complete with the last mega-flow at or near the KTB. The last phase of Deccan volcanism occurred in the early Danian C29n with deposition of another four megaflows accompanied by delayed biotic recovery of marine plankton. Correlative with these intense volcanic phases, climate changed from humid/tropical to arid conditions and returned to normal tropical humidity after the last phase of volcanism. The global climatic and biotic effects attributable to Deccan volcanism have yet to be fully investigated. However, preliminary studies from India to Texas reveal extreme climate changes associated with high-stress environmental conditions among planktic foraminifera leading to blooms of the disaster opportunist Guembelitria cretacea during the late Maastrichtian.

  15. The high oxygen atmosphere toward the end-Cretaceous; a possible contributing factor to the K/T boundary extinctions and to the emergence of C(4) species.

    PubMed

    Gale, J; Rachmilevitch, S; Reuveni, J; Volokita, M

    2001-04-01

    Angiosperm plants were grown under either the present day 21 kPa O(2) atmosphere or 28 kPa, as estimated for the end-Cretaceous (100-65 MyBP). CO(2) was held at different levels, within the 24-60 Pa range, as also estimated for the same period. In C(3) Xanthium strumarium and Atriplex prostrata, leaf area and net photosynthesis per unit leaf area, were reduced by the high O(2), while the whole-plant respiration/photosynthesis ratio increased. The high O(2) effects were strongest under 24 Pa, but still significant under 60 Pa CO(2). Growth was reduced by high O(2) in these C(3) species, but not in Flaveria sp., whether C(3), C(4), or intermediary grown under light intensities <350 micromol m(-2) s(-1) PPF. Photosynthesis of C(3) Flaveria sp. was reduced by high O(2), but only at light intensities >350 micromol m(-2) s(-1) PPF. It is concluded that the high O(2) atmosphere at the end-Cretaceous would have reduced growth of at least some of the vegetation, thus adversely affecting dependent fauna. The weakened biota would have been predisposed to the consequences of volcanism and the K/T boundary bolide impact. Conversely, photosynthesis and growth of C(4) Zea mays and Atriplex halimus were little affected by high, 28 kPa, O(2). This suggests an environmental driver for the evolution of C(4) physiology. PMID:11413216

  16. The Talara Basin province of northwestern Peru: cretaceous-tertiary total petroleum system

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Higley, Debra K.

    2004-01-01

    More than 1.68 billion barrels of oil (BBO) and 340 billion cubic feet of gas (BCFG) have been produced from the Cretaceous-Tertiary Total Petroleum System in the Talara Basin province, northwestern Peru. Oil and minor gas fields are concentrated in the onshore northern third of the province. Current production is primarily oil, but there is excellent potential for offshore gas resources, which is a mostly untapped resource because of the limited local market for gas and because there are few pipelines. Estimated mean recoverable resources from undiscovered fields in the basin are 1.71 billion barrels of oil (BBO), 4.79 trillion cubic feet of gas (TCFG), and 255 million barrels of natural gas liquids (NGL). Of this total resource, 15 percent has been allocated to onshore and 85 percent to offshore; volumes are 0.26 BBO and 0.72 TCFG onshore, and 1.45 BBO and 4.08 TCFG offshore. The mean estimate of numbers of undiscovered oil and gas fields is 83 and 27, respectively. Minimum size of fields that were used in this analysis is 1 million barrels of oil equivalent and (or) 6 BCFG. The Paleocene Talara forearc basin is superimposed on a larger, Mesozoic and pre-Mesozoic basin. Producing formations, ranging in age from Pennsylvanian to Oligocene, are mainly Upper Cretaceous through Oligocene sandstones of fluvial, deltaic, and nearshore to deep-marine depositional origins. The primary reservoirs and greatest potential for future development are Eocene sandstones that include turbidites of the Talara and Salinas Groups. Additional production and undiscovered resources exist within Upper Cretaceous, Paleocene, and Oligocene formations. Pennsylvanian Amotape quartzites may be productive where fractured. Trap types in this block-faulted basin are mainly structural or a combination of structure and stratigraphy. Primary reservoir seals are interbedded and overlying marine shales. Most fields produce from multiple reservoirs, and production is reported commingled. For this

  17. K-T magmatism of western Rajasthan, India: Manifestation of Reunion plume activity or extensional lithospheric tectonics?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharma, K.

    2004-12-01

    A number of alkaline plutons have been recorded at the K-T (Cretaceous-Tertiary) boundary in western Rajasthan, India. Significant magmatism occurred at Mundwara, Barmer, Sarnu-Dandali and Tavider. The evolution of the Cambay-Sanchor-Barmer rift during the K-T period resulted in these alkaline complexes at the rift margins. Sedimentary basins are developed in the Barmer and Jaiselmer regions. The magmatism of Mundwara and Sarnu-Dandali is dated at 68.50 Ma and considered as an early pulse of Deccan volcanism. Several workers correlated K-T sedimentary basin evolution, magmatism and other tectonic features of western Rajasthan with the Reunion plume-interaction in the northwestern Indian shield. Alkaline igneous complexes along the rift from the southern part are reported from Phenai Mata, Amba Dongar and Seychelles. The Seychelles was part of the northwestern Indian shield prior to Deccan volcanism. The Mundwara igneous complex represents three distinct circular plutonic bodies - Toa, Mer and Mushala, which are situated in the periphery of an area three kilometers in radius. Besides these, there are numerous concentric and radial dykes of lamprophyre, carbonatite, dolerite and amphibolite. All these three bodies represent different phases of intrusion and are not similar to each other. The alkaline rocks of Sarnu-Dandali occur as dykes and isolated plugs in the desert sand. Carbonatite dykes are also reported from southeast of Barmer. The Tavider outcrop is devoid of any plutonic rock and consists of rhyolite, andesite and basalt. These rocks occur along the Precambrian Malani magmatic lineaments. The development of the Cambay-Sanchor-Barmer rift caused reactivation of Precambrian fractures and resulted in magmatism at the basin margin. The Gondwanaland fragmentation during the Mesozoic era caused extensional tectonics in the northwestern Indian shield. This led to the development of rift basins in Gujarat and western Rajasthan. Deccan volcanism, separation of the

  18. Strangelove ocean at era boundaries, terrestrial or extraterrestrial cause

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hsue, Kenneth J.

    1988-01-01

    Negative perturbations in carbon-isotope value of calcite in pelagic sediments were found at times of biotic crisis, marking horizons which are, or were proposed as era boundaries: Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T), Permian/Triassic (P/T), and Precambrian/Cambrian (PreC/C). The anomaly was also found at several other mass-extinction horizons, such as terminal Ordovician, Frasnian-Famenian, etc. Studies of K/T boundary indicate that only the planktic fraction of the sediments has the negative isotope anomaly, whereas the benthic fraction has the same value across the boundary. This geochemical signal is thus considered a record of strangelove ocean, or an ocean where isotope fractionation of dissolved carbonate ions in surface waters (by biotic function of planktic organisms) has been significantly reduced because of the drastic reduction of the biomass in the oceans. The reduction of marine biomass at each of the era boundaries was related to chemical pollution of the oceans as a consequence of a catastrophic event; a pH decrease of 0.5 could inhibit the fertility of planktons. Studies of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and meteorite-impact occurrences have indicated a linearly inverse log/log relationship between the magnitude and frequency of events. The frequency of era boundaries in geologic history supports the postulate that the rare events causing those biotic crises were large bolide-impacts.

  19. Placental mammal diversification and the Cretaceous–Tertiary boundary

    PubMed Central

    Springer, Mark S.; Murphy, William J.; Eizirik, Eduardo; O'Brien, Stephen J.

    2003-01-01

    Competing hypotheses for the timing of the placental mammal radiation focus on whether extant placental orders originated and diversified before or after the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) boundary. Molecular studies that have addressed this issue suffer from single calibration points, unwarranted assumptions about the molecular clock, and/or taxon sampling that lacks representatives of all placental orders. We investigated this problem using the largest available molecular data set for placental mammals, which includes segments of 19 nuclear and three mitochondrial genes for representatives of all extant placental orders. We used the Thorne/Kishino method, which permits simultaneous constraints from the fossil record and allows rates of molecular evolution to vary on different branches of a phylogenetic tree. Analyses that used different sets of fossil constraints, different priors for the base of Placentalia, and different data partitions all support interordinal divergences in the Cretaceous followed by intraordinal diversification mostly after the K/T boundary. Four placental orders show intraordinal diversification that predates the K/T boundary, but only by an average of 10 million years. In contrast to some molecular studies that date the rat–mouse split as old as 46 million years, our results show improved agreement with the fossil record and place this split at 16–23 million years. To test the hypothesis that molecular estimates of Cretaceous divergence times are an artifact of increased body size subsequent to the K/T boundary, we also performed analyses with a “K/T body size” taxon set. In these analyses, interordinal splits remained in the Cretaceous. PMID:12552136

  20. Multielement geochemical investigations by SRXRF microprobe studies on tectite material: Evidence from the NE-Mexican Cretaceous/Tertiary record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harting, M.; Rickers, K.; Kramar, U.; Simon, R.; Staub, S.; Schulte, P.

    2002-12-01

    The K/T boundary is long known as one of a few mass extinctions in earth history. The impact of a big meteorite at the Chicxulub on the northern Yucatan peninsula in Mexico is discussed to have triggered the faunal mass extinction and the rapid change of the palaeoenvironmental conditions near the K/T boundary. Tectite material, especially spherules are explained from many of the sections in correlation to the K/T-boundary event. This rare, glassy or alterated material is extremely variable in its major element chemistry, morphology and stratigraphic position in K/T transitions worldwide. For the first time, we perfom trace element analysis on tectites from the K/T boundary using synchrotron radiation XRF (SRXRF). Measurements were performed at the Hamburger Strahlungssynchrotronlabor HASYLAB at DESY (Hamburg, Germany) and at the ANKA (Karlsruhe, Germany) with polychromatic and monochromatic excitation, respectively collimating the beam to 15 æm by capillary optics. Based on results from SRXRF microprobe determinations, these structures are to be interpreted as mixing of several melts with different chemical composition. The different components may represent melts from different sediment layers and possibly of basement material excavated by the Chicxulub impact. Igneous rocks with andesitic composition in cores at Chicxulub are considered to be impact melt rocks and are correlated mainly by the composition of major elements with the glass spherules found in the surrounding. Our investigations show that it is possible to trace elements with high sensitivity and a high spatial resolution. Some of the samples show clearly zonation and alteration parts, as well as carbonate inclusions, triggered by the Chicxulub impact event. In general, the results from the SRXRF show that the tectite material have different trace element patterns, formed by mixing of melts with different chemical composition derived from different sediment layers and possibly of basement material

  1. Formation of the Shelf-edge Cretaceous-Tertiary contact off the southeastern U.S. Coast

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Poppe, L.J.; Hathaway, J.C.; Hall, R.E.; Commeau, R.F.

    1986-01-01

    Submarine erosion, associated with changes in position of the proto-Gulf Stream, was the dominant mechanism controlling the formation of the Cretaceous-Tertiary unconformity in AMCOR borehole 6004. Paleontologic evidence indicates that this unconformity, which is marked by a gravelly-sand enriched in glauconitic and phosphoritic concretions, represents a hiatus of about 7 m.y. Both Cretaceous and Paleocene sediments contain middle-outer neritic foraminiferal assemblages that become more diverse with distance from the contact. Of the elemental abundances measured, Al, Ba, Co, Fe, Ga, K, Mg/Ca, Mo, Ni, P, Sr/Ca, V, Y, and Zn show a strong positive correlation with proximity to the contact, probably as a result of the concentration of authigenic and heavy minerals present as lag sediments on the erosion surface. ?? 1986.

  2. An asteroid breakup 160 Myr ago as the probable source of the K/T impactor.

    PubMed

    Bottke, William F; Vokrouhlický, David; Nesvorný, David

    2007-09-01

    The terrestrial and lunar cratering rate is often assumed to have been nearly constant over the past 3 Gyr. Different lines of evidence, however, suggest that the impact flux from kilometre-sized bodies increased by at least a factor of two over the long-term average during the past approximately 100 Myr. Here we argue that this apparent surge was triggered by the catastrophic disruption of the parent body of the asteroid Baptistina, which we infer was a approximately 170-km-diameter body (carbonaceous-chondrite-like) that broke up 160(-20)+30Myr ago in the inner main asteroid belt. Fragments produced by the collision were slowly delivered by dynamical processes to orbits where they could strike the terrestrial planets. We find that this asteroid shower is the most likely source (>90 per cent probability) of the Chicxulub impactor that produced the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) mass extinction event 65 Myr ago. PMID:17805288

  3. Biogeochemical modeling at mass extinction boundaries

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rampino, M. R.; Caldeira, K. G.

    1991-01-01

    The causes of major mass extinctions is a subject of considerable interest to those concerned with the history and evolution of life on earth. The primary objectives of the proposed plan of research are: (1) to develop quantitative time-dependent biogeochemical cycle models, coupled with an ocean atmosphere in order to improve the understanding of global scale physical, chemical, and biological processes that control the distribution of elements important for life at times of mass extinctions; and (2) to develop a comprehensive data base of the best available geochemical, isotopic, and other relevant geologic data from sections across mass extinction boundaries. These data will be used to constrain and test the biogeochemical model. These modeling experiments should prove useful in: (1) determining the possible cause(s) of the environmental changes seen at bio-event boundaries; (2) identifying and quantifying little-known feedbacks among the oceans, atmosphere, and biosphere; and (3) providing additional insights into the possible responses of the earth system to perturbations of various timescales. One of the best known mass extinction events marks the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary (66 Myr ago). Data from the K/T boundary are used here to constrain a newly developed time-dependent biogeochemical cycle model that is designed to study transient behavior of the earth system. Model results predict significant fluctuations in ocean alkalinity, atmospheric CO2, and global temperatures caused by extinction of calcareous plankton and reduction in the sedimentation rates of pelagic carbonates and organic carbon. Oxygen-isotome and other paleoclimatic data from K/T time provide some evidence that such climatic fluctuations may have occurred, but stabilizing feedbacks may have acted to reduce the ocean alkalinity and carbon dioxide fluctuations.

  4. Assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources of the Cretaceous-Tertiary Composite Total Petroleum System, Taranaki Basin Assessment Unit, New Zealand

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wandrey, Craig J.; Schenk, Christopher J.; Klett, Timothy R.; Brownfield, Michael E.; Charpentier, Ronald R.; Cook, Troy A.; Pollastro, Richard M.; Tennyson, Marilyn E.

    2013-01-01

    The Cretaceous-Tertiary Composite Total Petroleum System coincident Taranaki Basin Assessment Unit was recently assessed for undiscovered technically recoverable oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids resources as part of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) World Energy Resources Project, World Oil and Gas Assessment. Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the USGS estimated mean volumes of 487 million barrels of oil, 9.8 trillion cubic feet of gas, and 408 million barrels of natural gas liquids.

  5. Comparison of the magnetic properties and Mossbauer analysis of glass from the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, Beloc, Haiti, with tektites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thorpe, A. N.; Senftle, F. E.; May, L.; Barkatt, A.; Adel-Hadadi, M. A.; Marbury, G. S.; Izett, G. A.; Maurrasse, F. R.

    1994-01-01

    The magnetic properties of black Beloc glass have been measured. The Curie constant, the magnetization, and the magnetic susceptibility of the Beloc glass fall within the known ranges observed for tektites. However, the temperature-independent component of the magnetic susceptibility is slightly higher than that found for tektites. Moreover, it is not possible to match the experimental magnetic data for the Beloc glass with the calculated values using the previously reported Fe(3+)/Fe(2+) ratio of 0.7. The oxidation state of Fe was therefore redetermined by Mossbauer measurements, and the Fe(3+)/Fe(2+) ratio was found to be 0.024 plus or minus 0.015. Using the redetermined value of the ratio, the magnetic parameters were again calculated using formulas that are applicable to tektites, and good agreement was found between the calculated and experimental values. The experimental magnetic measurements and the redetermined Fe(3+)/Fe(2+) ratio of the Beloc glass specimens are essentially the same as those found for tektite glass.

  6. Patterns of megafloral change across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in the Northern Great Plains and Rocky Mountains

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, Kirk R.; Hickey, Leo J.

    1988-01-01

    The spatial and temporal distribution of vegetation in the terminal Cretaceous of Western Interior North America was a complex mosaic resulting from the interaction of factors including a shifting coastline, tectonic activity, a mild, possibly deteriorating climate, dinosaur herbivory, local facies effects, and a hypothesized bolide impact. In order to achieve sufficient resolution to analyze this vegetational pattern, over 100 megafloral collecting sites were established, yielding approximately 15,000 specimens, in Upper Cretaceous and lower Paleocene strata in the Williston, Powder River, and Bighorn basins in North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming. These localities were integrated into a lithostratigraphic framework that is based on detailed local reference sections and constrained by vertebrate and palynomorph biostratigraphy, magnetostratigraphy, and sedimentary facies analysis. A regional biostratigraphy based on well located and identified plant megafossils that can be used to address patterns of floral evolution, ecology, and extinction is the goal of this research. Results of the analyses are discussed.

  7. Evolutionary Events and Phytoplankton Recovery After the K/T Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fuqua, L. M.; Bralower, T. J.

    2004-12-01

    The recovery of the open ocean ecosystem after the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary mass extinction (65 Ma) was extremely slow. The surface to deep carbon isotopic gradient remained below latest Cretaceous levels for more than three million years after the boundary event, suggesting suppressed rates of carbon cycling and low phytoplankton productivity. There is a rapid change in the carbon isotopic gradient between 62 and 61 Ma, indicating the final recovery of surface water production levels (D'Hondt et al., 1998). We are investigating nannoplankton communities in the interval from 61.5 to 62.5 Ma to determine the relationship between the recovery and changes in productivity and carbon cycling. Samples were collected at high resolution from Ocean Drilling Program Site 1209 in the western Pacific, and Deep Sea Drilling Project Sites 384 in the North Atlantic and 528 in the South Atlantic. Results show major diversification of two dominant Cenozoic nannoliths (non-coocolith bearing, calcite-secreting nannoplankton), Fasciculithus and Sphenolithus, occurred shortly after carbon gradients were restored. The first occurrences of these two genera are associated with significant changes in calcareous nannoplankton communities, indicative of abrupt changes in surface water circulation. A rapid evolutionary sequence of early forms of Fasciculithus has been identified at Sites 1209 and 384. Two unidentified taxa were found before the first occurrence of the earliest documented species, F. pileatus. SEM work currently underway is designed to elucidate the evolution of this genus. At the Pacific site, the diversification is associated with an interval of dissolution, presumably resulting from a change in deep water circulation. The significance of this relationship is currently not understood. D'Hondt, S. et al., Organic carbon fluxes and ecological recovery from the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction, Science, 282, 276-279, 1998.

  8. The K/T-boundary carbonate breccia succession at the Cantarell Field, Campeche Bay area: a representative example of the influence of the Chicxulub meteorite-impact event on the formation of extraordinary petroleum reservoirs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murillo-Muñeton, G.; Grajales-Nishimura, J. M.; Velasquillo-Martínez, L. G.; García-Hernández, J.

    2013-05-01

    Over the last decade, intense petroleum exploration and exploitation activities have been conducted in the Campeche Bay area. Detailed stratigraphic studies in this region based on seismic, well logs, and core data have allowed the documentation of numerous deep-water carbonate breccia deposits throughout the Cretaceous stratigraphic column. However, the uppermost carbonate breccia succession is very distinctive in terms of its sedimentological properties compared to the underlying and older calcareous breccia layers. The unique characteristics of this deposit include: its unusual thickness, stratigraphic position, distribution, and content of impact-metamorphic constituents. At the Cantarell field, this carbonate breccia sedimentary package is a representative example of how the Chuxulub meteorite-impact event influenced the formation of a remarkable carbonate reservoir. This deposit was the most important oil-producing stratigraphic horizon for long time in that field. Nevertheless, this reservoir is still important not only in that field but also in other fields in offshore Campeche. The K/T boundary carbonate breccia succession is a typical fining-upward deposit made up, from base to top, of three units. The 50 to 300-m thick, basal Unit 1 consists of a coarse-grained carbonate breccia. Unit 2 is a 10 to 20 m-thick, fine-grained carbonate breccia. The 25 to 30 m-thick, uppermost Unit 3 is a greenish interval of friable sand, silt and clay-sized constituents with abundant ejecta material. In some wells, a 10 to 20 m-thick, non-oil producing fine-grained calcareous breccia occurs interbedded within Unit 3. The K/T boundary carbonate sedimentary package is underlain and overlain by deep-water shaly calcareous facies of Upper Maastrichtian and Lower Paleocene age, respectively. Studies of cronostratigraphic-equivalent outcrop analogs of this K/T boundary carbonate reservoir carried out by the authors in the Sierra de Chiapas (El Guayal, Tabasco and Bochil, Chiapas

  9. K-T impact(s): Continental, oceanic or both

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sharpton, V. L.; Schuraytz, B. C.; Murali, A. V.; Ryder, G.; Burke, K.

    1988-01-01

    Although geochemical and mineralogical evidence indicate that a major accretionary event occurred at the K-T boundary, no impact crater of suitable size and age was recognized. The 35 km Manson Structure, Iowa, was suggested recently as a possibility and Ar-40/Ar-39 determinations indicate that its formation age is indistinguishable from that of the K-T boundary. In order to test a possible association between Manson and the K-T boundary clay, the geochemistry and mineralogy of the K-T boundary clays at the Scollard Canyon section, Alberta and the Starkville South section, Colorado are compared with three dominant lithologies affected by the Manson impact: Proterozoic red clastics, underlying late-state granites, and gneisses. The chemical and mineralogical makeup of the Scollard Canyon boundary clay and its clastic constituents are presented, commenting on the implications for impact models. An impact into crystalline material of continental affinity appears to be required to explain the mineralogy and chemistry of the Scollard Canyon (and other Western N. American K-T sections). The low REE abundances of some K-T boundary layers are unusual but perhaps attempts should be made to understand the contributions of individual crustal components (e.g., carbonates, arkoses) as well as the potential for alteration involving these and other elements during and after impact-induced vaporization, before mantle excavation is invoked. If further studies confirm the results of published studies of marine boundary clays that indicate an oceanic target, attention must be paid to the possibility that multiple impacts occurred at the K-T boundary - one or more on the continents and one or more in the ocean.

  10. The role of Deccan volcanism during the K-T mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adatte, T.; Keller, G.; Gertsch, B.

    2012-12-01

    The potential role of major volcanic provinces has long been neglected as potential cause for major mass extinctions in Earth's history. This is despite the fact that volcanic activity is implicated in four of the five Phanerozoic mass extinctions, whereas a large asteroid impact is only associated with the K-T mass extinction. After 28 years of nearly unchallenged perception that a large impact (Chicxulub) on Yucatan caused the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, this theory is facing its most serious challenge from Deccan volcanism in India. Recent advances in Deccan volcanic studies show that Deccan Trap volcanism began with a relatively minor eruption phase (~6% of total volume) during the late Maastrichtian magnetic polarity C30n. The main eruption phase (~80%) occurred over a short period in C29r just below the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) and the last Deccan phase (~14%) erupted in the early Danian C29n. Multiproxy studies from sections in Meghalaya (NE India), Jhilmili in central India (Madhya Pradesh), 6 quarry outcrops from Rajahmundry (SE India), 10 deep wells from the Krishna-Godavari Basin (K-G) (Andhra Pradesh) place the KTB mass extinction near the end of the main Deccan phase coincident with the mass extinction. These studies show that the second and third phase of eruptions each produced the world's largest and longest lava megaflows ~1500 km across India through the K-G Basin into the Bay of Bengal. These megaflows are separated by sand, silt and shale which record the mass extinction across an interval that spans zones CF1-CF2 and most of the nannofossil Micula prinsii zone and is correlative with the rapid global warming and subsequent cooling near the end of the Maastrichtian. The mass extinction began preceding the first of the four mega-flows in C29r. Planktic foraminifera suffered a 50% drop in species richness. Survivors suffered another 50% drop after the first mega-flow, leaving just 7 to 8 survivor species. No recovery occurred between