A steeply-inclined trajectory for the Chicxulub impact

41Citations
Citations of this article
78Readers
Mendeley users who have this article in their library.

This article is free to access.

Abstract

The environmental severity of large impacts on Earth is influenced by their impact trajectory. Impact direction and angle to the target plane affect the volume and depth of origin of vaporized target, as well as the trajectories of ejected material. The asteroid impact that formed the 66 Ma Chicxulub crater had a profound and catastrophic effect on Earth’s environment, but the impact trajectory is debated. Here we show that impact angle and direction can be diagnosed by asymmetries in the subsurface structure of the Chicxulub crater. Comparison of 3D numerical simulations of Chicxulub-scale impacts with geophysical observations suggests that the Chicxulub crater was formed by a steeply-inclined (45–60° to horizontal) impact from the northeast; several lines of evidence rule out a low angle (<30°) impact. A steeply-inclined impact produces a nearly symmetric distribution of ejected rock and releases more climate-changing gases per impactor mass than either a very shallow or near-vertical impact.

Cite

CITATION STYLE

APA

Collins, G. S., Patel, N., Davison, T. M., Rae, A. S. P., Morgan, J. V., Gulick, S. P. S., … Bralower, T. J. (2020). A steeply-inclined trajectory for the Chicxulub impact. Nature Communications, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-15269-x

Register to see more suggestions

Mendeley helps you to discover research relevant for your work.

Already have an account?

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free