Determining the nature and age of the 200-km-wide Chicxulub impact target rock is an essential step in advancing our understanding of the Maya Block basement. Few age constraints exist for the northern Maya Block crust, specifically the basement underlying the 66 Ma, 200 km-wide Chicxulub impact structure. The International Ocean Discovery Program-International Continental Scientific Drilling Program Expedition 364 core recovered a continuous section of basement rocks from the Chicxulub target rocks, which provides a unique opportunity to illuminate the pre-impact tectonic evolution of a terrane key to the development of the Gulf of Mexico. Sparse published ages for the Maya Block point to Mesoproterozoic, Ediacaran, Ordovician to Devonian crust are consistent with plate reconstruction models. In contrast, granitic basement recovered from the Chicxulub peak ring during Expedition 364 yielded new zircon U-Pb laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) concordant dates clustering around 334 ± 2.3 Ma. Zircon rare earth element (REE) chemistry is consistent with the granitoids having formed in a continental arc setting. Inherited zircon grains fall into three groups: 400−435 Ma, 500−635 Ma, and 940−1400 Ma, which are consistent with the incorporation of Peri-Gondwanan, Pan-African, and Grenvillian crust, respectively. Carboniferous U-Pb ages, trace element compositions, and inherited zircon grains indicate a pre-collisional continental volcanic arc located along the Maya Block’s northern margin before NW Gondwana collided with Laurentia. The existence of a continental arc along NW Gondwana suggests southward-directed subduction of Rheic oceanic crust beneath the Maya Block and is similar to evidence for a continental arc along the northern margin of Gondwana that is documented in the Suwannee terrane, Florida, USA, and Coahuila Block of NE México.
Evidence of Carboniferous arc magmatism preserved in the Chicxulub impact structure
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Catherine H. Ross, Daniel F. Stockli, Cornelia Rasmussen, Sean P.S. Gulick, Sietze J. de Graaff, Philippe Claeys, Jiawei Zhao, Long Xiao, Annemarie E. Pickersgill, Martin Schmieder, David A. Kring, Axel Wittmann, Joanna V. Morgan; Evidence of Carboniferous arc magmatism preserved in the Chicxulub impact structure. GSA Bulletin 2021; doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/B35831.1
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