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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Residents see little gain from famous Chicxulub Crater

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A modest monument to the dinosaurs in Chicxulub Puerto, Yucatán.
A modest monument to the dinosaurs in Chicxulub Puerto, Yucatán.

Chicxulub Puerto, Yucatán — One of the most talked-about natural features on the peninsula is associated with this small fishing village. Scientists study it, generating headlines around the world.

But its existence is barely perceptible, and residents complain they gain little out of their village’s place in history.

The wire service EFE takes note of the one tangible piece evidence that this is the site of the famed Chicxulub Crater: On the center square, a modest monolith depicts dinosaur fossils. Beneath it is a bone-shaped rock carved with misspelled text.

It’s not much to look at, but it reminds passers by of the giant meteor impact that changed the face of the earth 65.5 million years ago.

The Chicxulub Crater is thought to have initiated the massive extinction of Cretaceous-era species, most notably dinosaurs.

This municipality of 5,000 residents is on the Yucatan Peninsula’s Gulf coast, far away from the tourism hotspots of Cancun and Cozumel. Not even the Chicxulub Crater Museum is anywhere near Chicxulub.

Chixculub crater map
Graphic: Expedición 364

“I’d like to have this known more widely, so that more people would come to visit and for my children to have more information,” Abigail, resident of Chicxulub Puerto for the past seven years, told EFE. “But (the crater) has not received much attention.”

Agustin Figueroa, a local official, told the wire service that “many other towns invest in advertising.”

Lack of communication has its costs.

Chicxulub Puerto
Chicxulub Puerto. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Another resident, who is a tour driver, said that visitors often have the misconception that they will find a dramatic canyon where the meteor hit. But scientists have estimated the crater’s diameter at 200 kilometers (130 miles) and its depth at 16 kilometers (10 miles). Its epicenter is off the coast, where scientists recently drilled to learn more about the impact.

The EFE story was picked up by Fox News Latino and other media sources, bringing some attention and clarity to this charming coastal village some 35 kilometers — or 19 miles — north of Mérida.

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