The Chicxulub Crater study and research was carried out by a team of scientists gathered from over a dozen countries. The results were published on November 18 in the Science journal.
The crater is located just off the Mexican coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Research was carried out into the very insides of the impact spot as scientists drilled into the peak ring.
A peak ring is the name given to the innermost rock ridge, which is usually tossed up during impact, with scientists stating that the current crater some surprising data.
Researchers were led to believe that the impact was so powerful as to have dragged up and brought to the surface rock located deep beneath our planet’s crust.
According to team co-leader and Imperial College London geophysicist, Joanna Morgan, the Chicxulub Crater rocks behaved, albeit for a reduced period of time, like fluids.
The Chicxulub Crater is the only such preserved asteroid collision site on Earth but is more common on the Moon or other planets and space objects.
Although the team’s crater formation models are unusual, they have been proven to be true by the study of the impact site.
As such, they have discovered that during a powerful surface collision, a high quantity of debris, probably higher than Mount Everest, is believed to have piled up.
This debris mountain would have then collapsed again and led to a series of smaller peak chains. This discovery could help better understand both Earth’s as well as other planet’s climate changes.
The study of the Chicxulub Crater was funded by the IODP or the International Ocean Discover Program and also the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program.
Although the crater is located both on dry as well land as well as underwater, both location posed logistic challenges.
Besides the layer of sediments which goes to back to approximately 66 million years ago, the land location is currently covered by a rainforest.
The other parts of the crater, which include its center, are located under the Gulf of Mexico waters and were the designated drilling places.
Sean Gulick, study co-lead author and University of Texas, Austin marine geophysicist went to give detail on the drill which began in April, this year.
According to Gulick, they had to drill through about 60 feet of water and another 2,000 feet of earth before the team hit paydirt.
During the drill, the team kept encountering and pulling out fragments of limestone and melted rock or breccia.
After significant amounts of limestone and some breccia, they finally hit a layer of pink granite. The granite slabs showed significant fractures and deformation, which were visible to the naked eye.
These fractured pointed towards a previous intense stress, which according to the same Gulick, also seems to confirm that the peak ring did not originate from shallow materials.
As the Chicxulub Crater peak rink is made up of crustal rocks that were deeply buried but are now at the surface, this means that it does not have a shallow origin.
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