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Isotopic ratios and trace element abundances were measured on samples of Ir-enriched clay at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, and in carbonate and marl from 5 cm below and 3 cm above the boundary. Samples were leached with acetic acid to remove carbonate, and with hydrochloric acid. Leachates and residues were measured. The Sr, Nd, O and H isotopic compositions of the boundary clay residues are distinct from those of the stratigraphically neighboring materials. The data indicate that most of the clay material was derived from a terrestrial source with relatively low 87Sr/86Sr and high 143Nd/144Nd ratios. The ??18O data suggest that the detritus has been modified by submarine weathering. K-Ca and Rb-Sr systematics, as well as O isotope ratios of K-feldspar spherules within the boundary clay, suggest that they are predominantly authigenic and may have formed after the time of deposition. However, Sm-Nd and Rb-Sr isotopic data indicate that the spherules contain relict material that provides information on the nature of the original detritus. The isotopic evidence for foreign terrestrial detritus in the boundary clay, the low rare earth element concentrations and high Ni concentration, support the hypothesis of a terminal Cretaceous asteroidal impact that produced a global layer of fallout. The data are most easily explained if the impact site was on oceanic crust rather than continental crust, and if a substantial fraction of the fallout was derived from relatively deep within the lithosphere (>3 km). This would probably require a single large impactor. ?? 1983.
Additional Publication Details
Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd, K-Ca, O, and H isotopic study of Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sediments, Caravaca, Spain: evidence for an oceanic impact site