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Arroyo el Mimbral, Mexico, K/T unit: Origin as debris flow/turbidite, not a tsunami depositCoarse, spherule-bearing, elastic units have been discovered at 10 marine sites that span the K/T boundary in northeastern Mexico. We examined one of the best exposed sites in Arroyo el Mimbral, northwest of Tampico. The Mimbral outcrop displays a layered elastic unit up to 3 m thick enclosed by marly limestones of the Mendez (Latest Maastrichian) and Velasco (Earliest Danian) Formations. At its thickest point, this channelized elastic unit is comprised of 3 subunits: (1) a basal, poorly-sorted, ungraded calcareous spherule bed 1 m thick containing relict impact glass and shocked mineral grains, (2) a massive set of laminated calcite-cemented sandstones up to 2 m thick with plant debris at its base, (3) capped by a thin (up to 20 cm) set of rippled sandstone layers separated by silty mudstone drapes containing a small (921 pg/g) iridium anomaly. This tripartite elastic unit is conformably overlain by marls of the Velasco Formation. We also visited the La Lajilla site east of Ciudad Victoria; its stratigraphy is similar to Mimbral's, but its elastic beds are thinner and less extensive laterally. The Mimbral elastic unit has been interpreted previously as being deposited by a megawave or tsunami produced by an asteroid impact on nearby Yucatan (Chicxulub crater). However, a presumed 400-m paleodepth of water at the Mimbral site, channeling of the spherule subunit into the underlying Mendez Formation marls, and the overtopping of the basal, spherule-bearing subunit by the laminated sandstone subunit, all suggest a combined debris flow/turbidite origin for this elastic unit similar to that proposed for Upper Pleistocene sand/silt beds occurring elsewhere in the Gulf of Mexico. In this latter model, the sediment source region for the elastic unit is the lower continental shelf and slope escarpment. For the K/T unit at Mimbral, we propose that thick ejecta blanket deposits composed mostly of spherules were rapidly loaded onto the lower shelf and slope from an impact-generated ejecta curtain.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Bohor, Bruce F.
(Geological Survey Denver, CO, United States)
Betterton, William J.
(Geological Survey Denver, CO, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Twenty-fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 1: A-F
Subject Category
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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