Biostratigraphy, Age of Chicxulub Impact, and Depositional Environment of the Brazos River KTB Sequences

TitleBiostratigraphy, Age of Chicxulub Impact, and Depositional Environment of the Brazos River KTB Sequences
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsKeller, G, Abramovich, T, Adatte, T, Berner, Z
Book TitleThe End-Cretaceous Mass Extinction and the Chicxulub Impact in Texas
VolumeNo. 100
EditionSEPM, Special Publication
PublisherSEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology)
KeywordsBiostratigraphy, Brazos, Chicxulub impact, Cretaceous-Tertiary, d13C shift, Evolution, Ir anomaly, mass extinction, Sandstone complex, Sea level, Texas

Integrated biostratigraphy, sedimentology and stable isotopes of 11 outcrops and wells along the Brazos River of Falls County, Texas, U.S.A., reveal the stratigraphic separation and sequential depositional history of the Chicxulub impact, followed by the sandstone complex and associated sea-level fall, which in turn was followed by the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB). The KTB was identified up to 1 m above the sandstone complex based on three global standard criteria: the mass extinction in planktic foraminifera, the evolution of first Danian species and the negative d13C shift. No Ir anomaly is associated with the KTB or the Chicxulub impact-ejecta layers. Late Maastrichtian sediment deposition occurred in a middle-shelf environment that shallowed to inner-shelf depth at the time of deposition of the sandstone complex. At this time, Brazos sections show distinct shallowing from inner neritic in the north to subtidal and lagoonal at Cottonmouth Creek, with further shallowing to intertidal swamp or marsh conditions in the Darting Minnow Creek area to the south. The sandstone complex is the most prominent feature of the Brazos sections. At the base of this unit are reworked Chicxulub impact spherules and lithified clasts with impact spherules and mud cracks that bear witness to erosion of an older primary spherule deposit. This primary Chicxulub impact-ejecta layer was discovered between 45 and 60 cm below the sandstone complex in a (3 cm thick) impact-glass layer that is diagenetically altered to yellow clay. The sandstone complex, the reworked impact spherules, the spherule-rich clasts, and the yellow clay layer all clearly predate the KTB. PDF