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Chicxulub Crater: Impact zone in Yucatán


The center of the Yucatán crater at latitude 21º30' N, longitude 89º50' W lies at the village of Chicxulub, near Progreso on the Caribbean coast. Determining the size and outer perimeters of the crater have been much aided by the clustering of secondary, erosional features including cenotes or sinkholes (Maya dz'onot), many providing water sources at Maya sites shown on the map.

The Yucatán peninsula is a low-lying limestone platform which rose out of shallow seas during the Pleistocene, 2 million years ago and later. The 65 million year old crater site is buried under Quaternary (Pleistocene and Holocene) carbonate sediments from 0.6 to 1.0 km thick, lying over Tertiary sandstones and volcanic rocks which, in turn, immediately overlie the impact site at the Cretaceous- Tertiary boundary. The northern half of the now-buried crater today lies in shallow waters of the Sea of Campeche.

[Fig.1: Location of Chicxulub crater in northern Yucatán, and major archaeological sites (Athena Review).]

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