Geochemistry and petrology of the ICDP core drilled in the Chicxulub crater (Yucatan): A clue to the amounts, and types of gas and dust released in the atmosphere and their potential effects on the K/T boundary mass extinction.

Project Details


The deep drilling of the 200-km in diameter Chicxulub crater by the International Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) began in 2001. This crater now buried under younger sediments of the Yucatan platform in Mexico is most likely responsible for the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KT) mass extinction, some 65 million years ago which led to the demise of the dinosaurs and > 50% of the Earth fauna and flora. The ± 10 km in size meteorite buried itself down to a depth of > 20 km and vaporised, melted and pulverised huge volumes of rock. It is believe that the large amount of dust and gases (H2O, CO2, SOx) released by the impact and rapidly injected into the atmosphere caused severe climatic perturbations that ultimately led to the biological crisis. However, the exact mechanisms of how the energy (1024 J) was transferred between impact and the global Earth system is so far not precisely documented. My goal in the framework of the Chicxulub ICDP program is to study the lithologies (breccia, melt rock) preserved in the crater, and the material ejected during the event to precisely reconstruct the target composition and infer the amount and chemical composition of the material injected into the atmosphere. Combined with the paleoclimatological and paleoceanographical information collected by study using stable isotope selected KT boundary site world-wide, this information should shed some light on the climatic and biologic consequences of the Chicxulub impact. Chicxulub is a young and well preserved large impact structure, it can thus be used as a case study to understand cratering events, a major process in the formation and evolution of Earth and the other rocky planets.

Effective start/end date1/01/0431/12/06


  • crater
  • comet
  • dinosaur
  • Yucatan
  • asteroid
  • impact

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Earth sciences
  • Astrobiology
  • Planetary science
  • Geochemistry not elsewhere classified


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • Projectile identification in terrestrial impact structures and ejecta material

    Goderis, S., Paquay, F. & Claeys, P., 2012, Impact Cratering: Process and Products. Osinski, G. R. & Pierazzo, E. (eds.). Wiley, p. 223-235 13 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    39 Citations (Scopus)
  • Formation of the mega-block zone during the Chicxulub cratering event

    Claeys, P. & Belza, J., 2010, Geological Society of America, Abstract with programs, Vol. 45, 5, p. 171, (paper 69-3, CD-ROM). (Geological Society of America, Abstract with programs, Vol. 45, 5, p. 171, (paper 69-3, CD-ROM)).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)

  • Response: Cretaceous Extinctions

    Schulte, P., Alegret, L., Arenillas, I., Arz, J., Barton, P., Brown, P. R., Bralower, T. J., Christeson, G., Claeys, P., Cockell, C., Collins, G., Deutsch, A., Goldin, T., Goto, K., Grajales-Nishimura, J. M., Grieve, R. A. F., Gulick, S. P., Johnson, K., Kiessling, W., Koeberl, C. & 21 others, Kring, D., Macleod, K., Matsui, T., Melosh, J., Montanari, A., Morgan, J., Neal, C. R., Nichols, D. J., Norris, R., Pierazzo, E., Ravizza, G., Rebolledo-Vieyra, M., Reimold, W. U., Robin, E., Salge, T., Speijer, R., Sweet, A., Urrutia-Fugugauchi, J., Vajda, V., Whalen, M. & Willumssen, P. S., 2010, In: Science. 328, p. 975-976 2 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)