Curious scientists plan more drilling at Chicxulub crater site

The leader of the famous 2016 expedition is planning a followup

Scientists from around the world spent weeks on a the Myrtle, a liftboat off the Yucatan Peninsula, in 2016. Photo: Courtesy
Scientists from around the world spent weeks on the Myrtle, a liftboat off the Yucatan Peninsula, in 2016. Photo: Courtesy

Merida, Yucatan — Hungry for more clues to the earth’s history and the demise of the dinosaurs, the leader of a previous expedition wants to drill again to learn about the Chicxulub crater.

Jaime Urrutia Fucuguachi, a researcher at the UNAM Institute of Geophysics, confirmed that there is a strong possibility of a second expedition. A timeline is unknown, however, as scientists still pore over the samples obtained during the first excavations in April and May 2016.

International scientists spent weeks obtaining core samples from the Gulf of Mexico at the Chicxulub crater.

The infamous asteroid struck present-day Yucatan some 65 million years ago, leading to a catastrophic series of events that killed an estimated 70 to 80 percent of life on Earth.

Beyond blasting out a crater 200 kilometers / 124 miles across, the impact signaled an abrupt end to the Cretaceous Period. The impact and its aftermath have engrossed scientists and the public since it was first discovered.

Layers of sediment beneath the Gulf of Mexico are thought to contain clues to what the Earth was like before and after the asteroid hit Yucatan.

Urrutia Fucuguachi commanded the 2016 team of national and foreign researchers who participated in the Chicxulub Crater 364 Expedition. They spent their time aboard the Myrtle, a platform 30 kilometers from the coast of Sisal.

During the expedition, the drilling reached 1,335 meters below the seabed and 303 samples were collected from the nuclei of the crater.

Findings from the first expedition confirm the crater impact pushed surface rocks 10 kilometers / 6.2 meters beneath the earth’s surface.

With information from Sipse.

Staff Writer

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