Geophysics

Looking Beneath the Surface

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Science  02 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5544, pp. 959
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5544.959d

The Chicxulub impact crater on the Yukutan Peninsula is thought to be the site where a large asteroid hit Earth 65 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous, causing widespread extinctions. The crater itself is buried beneath younger sediment, and discerning its size and thus some of the dynamics of the impact has required remote geophysical investigations and drilling. Christeson et al. report the results of a seismic and gravity study of the crater that provides further resolution of its structure and of several prominent features. A 1-kilometer-thick melt sheet, representing rocks that melted during the impact, extends about 50 km out from the crater center. Disruption is seen throughout the crust, which is about 35 km thick, and into the underlying mantle.—BH

J. Geophys. Res.106, 21751 (2001).

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