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Title: The Habitat of the Nascent Chicxulub Crater

An expanded sedimentary section provides an opportunity to elucidate conditions in the nascent Chicxulub crater during the hours to millennia after the Cretaceous‐Paleogene (K‐Pg) boundary impact. The sediments were deposited by tsunami followed by seiche waves as energy in the crater declined, culminating in a thin hemipelagic marlstone unit that contains atmospheric fallout. Seiche deposits are predominantly composed of calcite formed by decarbonation of the target limestone during impact followed by carbonation in the water column. Temperatures recorded by clumped isotopes of these carbonates are in excess of 70°C, with heat likely derived from the central impact melt pool. Yet, despite the turbidity and heat, waters within the nascent crater basin soon became a viable habitat for a remarkably diverse cross section of the food chain. The earliest seiche layers deposited with days or weeks of the impact contain earliest Danian nannoplankton and dinocyst survivors. The hemipelagic marlstone representing the subsequent years to a few millennia contains a nearly monogeneric calcareous dinoflagellate resting cyst assemblage suggesting deteriorating environmental conditions, with one interpretation involving low light levels in the impact aftermath. At the same horizon, microbial fossils indicate a thriving bacterial community and unique phosphatic fossils including appendages of pelagic crustaceans, coprolites and bacteria‐tunneled fish bone, suggesting that this rapid recovery of the base of the food chain may have supported the survival of larger, higher trophic‐level organisms. The extraordinarily diverse fossil assemblage indicates that the crater was a unique habitat in the immediate impact aftermath, possibly as a result of heat and nutrients supplied by hydrothermal activity.

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Award ID(s):
1737087 1737199
Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
AGU Advances
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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