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Chicxulub Project Watched Around the World

scientific research

 

With the successful conclusion of the high-profile Chicxulub Crater project last month, we are sharing here the kudos the project team received from around the world.  The Chicxulub core drilling project sought to shed light on the crater left by the asteroid that led to a global mass extinction—what geophysicist and expedition leader Joanna Morgan called “The most important event in the last 100 million years.” The drilling was recognized and photographed by journalists and scientists from around the world, the Governor of Yucatan, and even an astronaut orbiting the earth.  

 

You can read more about the project here.

www.dosecc.com/chicxulub-yucatan-mexico

 

Here are just a few excerpts of the coverage:

Discover Magazine: How We Found the Dinosaur Doomsday Site (March 23, 2016)

“In the coming weeks, a team of scientists will begin drilling Chicxulub’s central peak ring for the first time. Discover will be on site in Mexico as the team tries to answer some of those questions.”

 

NATURE: Geologists Drill into Heart of Dinosaur-Killing Impact (March 31, 2016)

“‘All of this happened in the span of several devastating minutes, says Joanna Morgan, a geophysicist at Imperial College London and the project’s co-chief scientist. ‘It’s astounding.’”

 

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN: What Really Killed the Dinosaurs? (April 4, 2016)

“An extraordinary vessel—part ship and part drilling rig —is being equipped in the port of Progreso, Mexico, to drill into Earth’s past. This spring and summer it will attempt to recover a thin cylinder of rock, 3 ¼ inches wide by 3,300 feet long, starting in the Eocene world about 50 million years ago, drilling all the way back into rocks created and contorted by an asteroid impact, 66 million years ago, when the dinosaurs disappeared.”

 

WASHINGTON POST: 66 million years ago an asteroid destroyed the dinosaurs. Now scientists are drilling into the crater it made to understand how.  (April 6, 2016)

“The Chicxulub crater, as the site is known, is buried in sediment and hidden beneath some 1,500 feet of water. That makes it very hard to study, even though it’s ground zero of one of the worst mass extinctions in Earth’s history, one of just five times when life itself out on the planet was in danger of being snuffed.”

 

NPR: Scientists Set To Drill Into Extinction-Event Crater In Mexico (April 8, 2016)

“In addition to being interesting from an extinction element, it’s also interesting because it’s a well-preserved, very large crater that we can access without leaving the planet. It’s equivalent to studying the really big craters with peak rings, for instance, on the moon, on Mercury, on Mars — but obviously at a fraction of the cost.”

—Sean Gulick, University of Texas at Austin geophysicist, team co-lead

 

PHYS.ORG: How Does an Invisible Underwater Crater Prove an Asteroid Killed the Dinosaurs? (April 14, 2016)

“A team of scientists recently set off to drill a 1,500m-deep hole into the seabed off the coast of Mexico. Their goal is to learn more about the asteroid impact some 66m years ago that many scientists believe killed the dinosaurs.”

 

YUCATAN TIMES: International Scientific Expedition Drilling off the Yucatan Coast (April 2016)

“Drillers will quickly bore their way through the top 500 metres of sediments, and then collect core samples more carefully as they go deeper…At about 600 metres, the core will pass through rock from the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum, when temperatures spiked about 55 million years ago, creating a greenhouse world. At 650 metres the core should hit the peak ring.”

 

NPR: Geologists Find Clues In Crater Left By Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid (May 6, 2016)

“We went through a remarkable amount of the post-impact world. All the way into the Eocene times — so between 50 and 55 million years ago.”

—Sean Gulick, University of Texas at Austin geophysicist, team co-lead

 

YUCATAN.COM  There’s Life in the Chicxulub Crater (May 17, 2016)
“The first results of the Chicxulub crater project are encouraging with valuable clues, say scientists of Mission 364.” English version here –

www.dosecc.com/chicxulub-project-report-from-the-yucatan-2/

 

BBC: Chicxulub ‘Dinosaur’ Crater Drill Project Declared a Success (May 25, 2016)

“”It’s been a remarkable success. We’ve got deeper than I thought we might do,”
—Dave Smith, British Geological Survey

 

TIM PEAKE, Astronaut at the International Space Station, Facebook

“66 million years ago a 14-km wide asteroid struck this part of Mexico and wiped out the dinosaurs. Asteroid Day. Looking north-east at the most eastern part of Mexico, Yucatan and Cancún.”


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   Credit: Tim Peake

 

“Outstanding job and congratulations to the DOSECC folks!”

—Javier Zevallos – General Manager Mexico & Central America, AMC Drilling Fluids & Products

 

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Chicxulub, Yucatan, Mexico

Chicxulub Scientific Core Drilling Services Project

 

Chicxulub

 

During April and May 2016, DOSECC participated as part of a joint IODP-ICDP Mission Specific Platform on Expedition 364 on the L/B Myrtle in the Chicxulub Crater as part of the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling.  The team was tasked with drilling to 1,500 m below the bottom of the ocean to obtain the first offshore core samples from the peak ring in the central zone of the crater.  

The Chicxulub Crater is an impact crater straddling land and sea on the Mexican Yucatán Peninsula.  The estimated date of the impact which created the crater is now widely accepted as the event that triggered the mass extinction of over 70% of life on earth during the the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary (K–Pg boundary), approximately 66 million years ago, including the global extinction of non-avian dinosaurs.

The crater itself is believed to have been created by an asteroid with an estimated diameter of 60 km, leaving a crater over 180 km in diameter and 20 km deep. After its discovery in the 1970s, it was confirmed in 1991 as an impact crater due to the discovery of shocked quartz, a gravity anomaly, and tektites in surrounding areas, including samples high in iridium. The minerals around the crater layer include limestone and marl to a depth of almost 1,000 m (3,300 ft) and date to the Paleocene era.  Underneath this layer, another 500 m of andesite glass and breccia are found.  However, within the crater, these andesitic igneous rocks were only found as shocked quartz and the K–Pg boundary is depressed to 600 to 1,100 m (average depth is about 500 m surrounding the crater).

The Chicxulub Crater is the only known crater on the planet with a remaining impact peak ring.  However, the ring is located under 600 m of sediment.  This project revealed the peak ring to be a thick layer of broken, melted rock just beneath a layer of sandstone, which may point to the possibility of an enormous tsunami triggered by the impact.

Upon the successful completion of the project, the samples were shipped to Bremen, Germany, where ECORD Science Party members will then analyze the samples to determine the formation of the peak ring and to calculate total impact energy. Samples taken reflect the post-impact conditions from the Eocene era, between 50 and 55 million years ago, and will likely reveal through the sediment and fossil record new information about how the environment and life began to recover after the cataclysm.

Read related blog posts:

Preparing for Chicxulub: Time Lapse of the Load

A Birds-Eye View of the Rig at Chicxulub, DOSECC Core Drilling Services

Chicxulub Project Watched Around the World

Chicxulub Project Report from the Yucatan

DOSECC Recognized by ESO Expedition 364 at the Chicxulub Impact Crater

DOSECC Chicxulub Project Covered on MSN

NPR Coverage of DOSECC Drilling Project in Chicxulub

Shattered Earth Making Rock Flow – ESO Expedition 364

BBC Coverage on how cores from this project are being studied