Chicxulub Crater

Gravity anomaly map of Chicxulub impact crater. Coastline is shown as a white line. White dots represent cenotes (water-filled sinkholes). Image Source: USGS

Large (150-180 km wide and 20 km deep), partially submerged, multi-ringed impact crater straddling the northwest coastline of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. It is named after a village located near its center (21° 20′ N, 89° 30′ W).

The Chixculub Crater is believed to have formed 66 million years ago by impact of an asteroid measuring some 11 to 81 km across. Evidence for impact includes shocked quartz grains, elevated Ir and other platinum-group-element (PGE) abundances, impact melt and suevite. Environmental effects resulting from the impact are thought to have been responsible for the mass extinction as recorded at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary, now called the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-P) boundary because of a recent revision in stratigraphic terminology.

The name “Chicxulub” is derived from the Maya language and pronounced Chik-Shoo-Loob with the “oo” being pronounced as in the word “wood”.


Some or all content above used with permission from J. H. Wittke.