Expedition 364: Chicxulub K-Pg Impact Crater

Dates: Offshore drilling: April 5, 2016-June 6, 2016 Onshore core description: September 21-November, 2016
Port: Progreso, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Onshore Core Description: Bremen, Germany

Chief Scientists: Joanna Morgan< (Imperial College London) & Sean Gulick< (University of Texas at Austin)
Expedition Project Manager: Claire Mellet<

Drilling Platform: Liftboat Myrtle

Onboard Education Officer from May 10-13, 2016: Kevin Kurtz<, Children's Author< and Educator<

For the first time ever, scientists went to sea to drill into the crater from the asteroid impact that may have caused the non-avian dinosaurs and many other species to go extinct. This International Ocean Discovery Program expedition took place in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico on a mission specific platform, the Liftboat Myrtle (in other words, it was not actually on the JOIDES Resolution). The Chicxulub (which, by internet consensus, is pronounced "chick-shoe-lube") crater is 180 kilometers (110 miles) in diameter and is partially on land on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and partially underneath the Gulf of Mexico. The asteroid was at least 10 kilometers (6 miles) wide that struck the Earth 66 million years and whose impact coincided with (and most likely caused) the extinction of over 75% of species on Earth at that time.

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The expedition drilled in one site (identified in red on the map) and reacher 1,334.69 meters below the seafloor (about 4,375 feet). The primary scientific objectives of the expedition are to:

  • better understand how large impact craters are formed.
  • better understand the catastrophic results of a large impact from an astronomical object that result in extinctions.
  • discover how life comes back within an impact crater, with a particular focus on the microbes that are first to recolonize and return life to the crater.

Because the Liftboat Myrtle was not fully equipped to do scientific work, the science team for the expedition will meet in Bremen, Germany on September 21, 2016 to begin doing description and analysis of the Chicxulub Crater cores.

To follow along during the onshore core description phase:

Kevin Kurtz< will be joining the scientists in Germany as Education Officer from September 20th to October 4th, 2016, during which time he will be blogging<, tweeting<, and posting on Facebook<.

Chicxulub Crater scientists have a blog< about the expedition.

ECORD< (The European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling), who is overseeing this expedition, will be tweeting< and posting on Facebook< about it.

Learn more about the expedition

Check out the official expedition page< and read these articles in Nature< and Science<.

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