Stable isotope record of post-impact fluid activity in the core of the Yaxcopoil-1 borehole, Chicxulub impact structure, Mexico

Lukas Zurcher, David A. Kring, Mark D. Barton, David Dettman, Mark Rollog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen isotope results from carbonate and silicate fractions of altered core samples from the Yaxcopoil-1 borehole drilled into the 65 Ma Chicxulub impact crater provide constraints on the physico-chemical parameters of the hydrothermal solutions, and their likely origin. Yaxcopoil-1 impactites were initially permeated with calcite and halite at ambient temperature. This was followed by thermal metamorphism (diopside after igneous augite) and widespread Na-K metasomatism (feldspar after igneous plagioclase), which were overprinted by abundant lower-temperature clay and calcite. Silicate fraction isotopic values have δ 18O SMOW values between 10 and 23% indicating important isotopic exchange between impact melt (∼8%) and Cretaceous limestone (∼26%). Heavier δ 18 O values occur over depth intervals with intense feldspar alteration (813-833 m and 864-872 m). The δD SMOW values (-34 to -54%) are chiefl y infl uenced by smectite abundance and roughly mirror δ 18 O values. Carbonate fraction δ 18 O SMOW values (22-30%) are controlled by calcite contents, and several exceed the limestone signature. Most δ0.13C PDB (-1 to +2%) values also cluster around that of local limestone, but a number are signifi cantly lighter (down to -7%). Isotopic and fluid inclusion results indicate hydrothermal fluid temperatures between 270 and 100 °C, high salinities (∼20%), and minor kerogen contents. These data are compatible with mineralogical constraints, which further support an increase in oxidation state with decreasing temperature. Isotopic data point to a saline CO 2 -bearing fluid mixed with small amounts of reduced carbon, and decarbonation and infi ltration processes. Combined results are most consistent with a basinal oilfi eld saline brine that was driven by impact-induced heat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-238
Number of pages16
JournalSpecial Paper of the Geological Society of America
StatePublished - 2005


  • Chicxulub impact crater
  • Fluid sources
  • Hydrothermal paragenesis
  • Mineral compositions
  • Saline oil-field brine
  • Stable isotopes
  • Yaxcopoil-1 impactite sequence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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