Field guide to Cretaceous-tertiary boundary sections in northeastern Mexico

TitleField guide to Cretaceous-tertiary boundary sections in northeastern Mexico
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsKeller, G, Stinnesbeck, W, Adatte, T, MacLeod, N, Lowe, DR
Series TitleLPI Contribution No 827
PublisherLunar and Planetary Institute

This guide was prepared for the field trip to the KT elastic sequence of northeastern Mexico, 5-8 February 1994, in conjunction with the Conference on New Developments Regarding the KT Event and Other Catastrophes in Earth History, held in Houston, Texas. The four-day excursion offers an invaluable opportunity to visit three key outcrops: Arroyo El Mimbral, La Lajilla, and El Pinon. These and other outcrops of this sequence have recently been interpreted as tsunami deposits produced by the meteorite impact event that produced the 200 to 300-km Chicxulub basin in Yucatan, and distributed ejecta around the world approximately 65 m.y. ago that today is recorded as a thin clay layer found at the K/T boundary. The impact tsunami interpretation for these rocks has not gone unchallenged, and others examining the outcrops arrive at quite different conclusions: not tsunami deposits but turbidites; not KT at all but 'upper Cretaceous.' Indeed, it is in hopes of resolving this debate through field discussion, outcrop evaluation, and sampling that led the organizers of the conference to sanction this field trip. This field guide provides participants with background information on the KT clastic sequence outcrops and is divided into two sections. The first section provides regional and logistical context for the outcrops and a description of the clastic sequence. The second section presents three representative interpretations of the outcrops by their advocates. There is clearly no way that these models can be reconciled and so two, if not all three, must be fundamentally wrong. Readers of this guide should keep in mind that many basic outcrop observations that these models are based upon remain unresolved. While great measures were taken to ensure that the information in the description section was as objective as possible, many observations are rooted in interpretations and the emphasis placed on certain observations depends to some degree upon the perspective of the author.