Abstract

We suggest that a buried 180-km-diameter circular structure on the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico, is an impact crater. Its size and shape are revealed by magnetic and gravity-field anomalies, as well as by oil wells drilled inside and near the structure. The stratigraphy of the crater includes a sequence of andesitic igneous rocks and glass interbedded with, and overlain by, breccias that contain evidence of shock metamorphism. The andesitic rocks have chemical and isotopic compositions similar to those of tektites found in Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) ejecta. A 90-m-thick K/T boundary breccia, also containing evidence of shock metamorphism, is present 50 km outside the crater's edge. This breccia probably represents the crater's ejecta blanket. The age of the crater is not precisely known, but a K/T boundary age is indicated. Because the crater is in a thick carbonate sequence, shock-produced CO2 from the impact may have caused a severe greenhouse warming.

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