Results from Chicxulub Crater drilling expedition shared

Scientists drill the Chicxulub crater site in April and May 2016. Photo: IODP
chicxulub crater drilling
Scientists analyze rock cores retrieved from the Chicxulub crater in a drilling expedition that began in April 2016. Photo: ECORD

Mérida, Yucatán — Around 60 researchers from more than 20 countries have returned to Yucatán to announce what they found when they drilled off the coast of Sisal and Progreso in 2016.

The confab begins Tuesday. By Thursday, they will determine what’s next in their research of the famous Chicxulub Crater asteroid impact 66 million years ago.

The asteroid’s impact caused a chain of environmental catastrophes that possibly wiped out the dinosaur population, setting Earth on a new path.

Hundreds of meters of core drilled from beneath the Gulf of Mexico went under the microscope at the University of Bremen, Germany, where they were cataloged, analyzed and archived.

The meeting was reported by Jaime Urrutia Fucugauchi, the UNAM researcher who led the project. The Mexican academic said that in this meeting, results of the research conducted by the working groups that participated in the drilling will be announced.

He recalled that in September and October, the same group met at the University of Bremen, where they distributed the rock samples to the academics to carry out laboratory analyzes.

“In Mérida we will present the results of what we were analyzing in this period,” Urrutia Fucugauchi said in an interview with Desde el Balcón.

The discussions — which will take place from today (Tuesday) to Thursday at an undisclosed hotel in the city — will culminate in a decision about their next steps in the research project.

The researchers will represent the United States, England, Japan, Sweden and Spain, among other countries, including those who participated directly in the 2016 drilling.

The 60-day excursion off the coast recovered 840 meters of rock, collectively weighing six tons. The core material serves as a record of environmental conditions over thousands of years, and even includes cell counts and some DNA.

Source: Desde el Balcón

Staff Writer

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