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Chicxulub Scientific Drilling Project



KT-boundary ChicxulubImpact structures in the solar system are mainly recognized and explored through remote sensing, and on Earth through geophysical deep sounding. To date, a continuous scientific sampling of large impact craters from cover rocks to target material has only seldom been performed. The first project to deep-drill and core into one of the largest and well-preserved terrestrial impact structures was executed in the winter of 2001/2002 in the 65 Myr old Chicxulub crater in Mexico using integrated coring sampling and in-situ measurements. The combined use of different techniques allows a three-dimensional insight and a better understanding of impact processes.
Conventional rotary drilling techniques were integrated with wireline mining coring technology that was applied to drill the 1510 m deep Yaxcopoil-1 (Yax-1) well about 40 km southwest of Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico. During the course of the project, approximately 900 m of intact core samples were recovered including the transitions of reworked ejecta to post-impact sediments, and that one from large blocks of tilted target material to impact-generated rocks, i.e., impact melt breccias and suevites. Coring was complemented by wireline geophysical measurements to obtain a continuous set of in-situ petrophysical data of the borehole walls. The data acquired is comprised of contents of natural radioactive element, velocities of compressional sonic waves, as well as electrical resistivity values. All digital data sets, including technical drilling parameters, initial scientific sample descriptions, and 360° core pictures, were distributed during the course of the operations via Internet and stored in the ICDP Drilling Information System (http://chicxulub.icdp-online.org), serving the global community of cooperating scientists as basic information service.

(Photo ©:ICDP - KT-boundary of Yaxcopoil-1)



Central America, Mexico, Yucatán Peninsula, Merida, Yaxcopoil



20° 44' 38.45'' N, 89° 43' 6.70'' W (Please scroll down to end of page for more information.)


Project Start and End
  • Begin of drilling December 28, 2001
  • End of drilling February 25, 2002


Programs and Funding


Principal Investigators
  • Jaime Urrutia Fucugauchi, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Geofísica
  • Dante Jaime Morán-Zenteno, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Geología, Departamento de Geoquímica
  • Virgil L.(Buck) Sharpton, University of Alaska at Fairbanks, Department of Geology and Geophysics, Geophysical Institute
  • Richard T. Buffler, University of Texas at Austin, Jackson School of Geosciences, Department of Geological Sciences, Institute of Geophysics
  • Dieter Stöffler, Museum fuer Naturkunde, Leibniz Institute for Research on Evolution and Biodiversity at the Humboldt University Berlin
  • Jan Smit, Free University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Section of Sedimentology and Marine Geology


Partners and Contractors



CHICXULUB, Cretaceous/tertiary Boundary, CSDP, ICDP-2001/15, Impact Crater, Merida, Mexico, Yaxcopoil, Yucatan


Current State



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