Abstract

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.

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