Abstract

Over most of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean a hiatus is present between the lower upper Maastrichtian and lowermost Tertiary deposits; sedimentation resumed ∼200 ka (upper zone Pla) after the K-T boundary. Current-bedded volcaniclastic sedimentary rocks at Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) Sites 536 and 540, which were previously interpreted as impact-generated megawave deposits of K-T boundary age, are biostratigraphically of pre-K-T boundary age and probably represent turbidite or gravity-How deposits. The top 10 to 20 cm of this deposit at Site 536 contains very rare Micula prinsii, the uppermost Maastrichtian index taxon, as well as low values of Ir (0.6 pbb) and rare Ni-rich spinels. These indicate possible reworking of sediments of K-T boundary age at the hiatus. Absence of continuous sediment accumulation across the K-T boundary in the 16 Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean sections examined prevents their providing evidence of impact-generated megawave deposits in this region. Our study indicates that the most complete trans-K-T stratigraphic records may be found in onshore marine sections of Mexico, Cuba, and Haiti. The stratigraphic records of these areas should be investigated further for evidence of impact deposits.

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