Proximal Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary Impact Deposits in the Caribbean

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Science  18 May 1990:
Vol. 248, Issue 4957, pp. 843-847
DOI: 10.1126/science.248.4957.843


Trace element, isotopic, and mineralogic studies indicate that the proposed impact at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary occurred in an ocean basin, although a minor component of continental material is required. The size and abundance of shocked minerals and the restricted geographic occurrence of the ejecta layer and impact-wave deposits suggest an impact between the Americas. Coarse boundary sediments at sites 151 and 153 in the Colombian Basin and 5- to 450-meter-thick boundary sediments in Cuba may be deposits of a giant wave produced by a nearby oceanic impact. On the southern peninsula of Haiti, a ∼50-centimeter-thick ejecta layer occurs at the K-T boundary. This ejecta layer is ∼25 times as thick as that at any known K-T site and suggests an impact site within ∼1000 kilometers. Seismic reflection profiles suggest that a buried ∼300-km-diameter candidate structure occurs in the Colombian Basin.

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