Coeval 40Ar/39Ar Ages of 65.0 Million Years Ago from Chicxulub Crater Melt Rock and Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary Tektites

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Science  14 Aug 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5072, pp. 954-958
DOI: 10.1126/science.257.5072.954


40Ar/39Ar dating of drill core samples of a glassy melt rock recovered from beneath a massive impact breccia contained within the 180-kilometer subsurface Chicxulub crater in Yucatán, Mexico, has yielded well-behaved incremental heating spectra with a mean plateau age of 64.98 ± 0.05 million years ago (Ma). The glassy melt rock of andesitic composition was obtained from core 9 (1390 to 1393 meters) in the Chicxulub 1 well. The age of the melt rock is virtually indistinguishable from 40Ar/39Ar ages obtained on tektite glass from Beloc, Haiti, and Arroyo el Mimbral, northeastern Mexico, of 65.01 ± 0.08 Ma (mean plateau age for Beloc) and 65.07 ± 0.10 Ma (mean total fusion age for both sites). The 40Ar/39Ar ages, in conjunction with geochemical and petrological similarities, strengthen the recent suggestion that the Chicxulub structure is the source for the Haitian and Mexican tektites and is a viable candidate for the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary impact site.