Chicxulub impact predates the K-T boundary mass extinction

Gerta Keller, Thierry Adatte, Wolfgang Stinnesbeck, Mario Rebolledo-Vieyra, Jaime Urrutia Fucugauchi, Utz Kramar, Doris Stüben

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102 Scopus citations


Since the early 1990s the Chicxulub crater on Yucatan, Mexico, has been hailed as the smoking gun that proves the hypothesis that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs and caused the mass extinction of many other organisms at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary 65 million years ago. Here, we report evidence from a previously uninvestigated core, Yaxcopoil-1, drilled within the Chicxulub crater, indicating that this impact predated the K-T boundary by ≈300,000 years and thus did not cause the end-Cretaceous mass extinction as commonly believed. The evidence supporting a pre-K-T age was obtained from Yaxcopoil-1 based on five independent proxies, each with characteristic signals across the K-T transition: sedimentology, biostratigraphy, magnetostratigraphy, stable isotopes, and iridium. These data are consistent with earlier evidence for a late Maastrichtian age of the microtektite deposits in northeastern Mexico.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3753-3758
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 16 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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