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Microbial life in the nascent Chicxulub crater

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Title: Microbial life in the nascent Chicxulub crater
Authors: Schaefer, B
Grice, K
Coolen, MJL
Summons, RE
Cui, X
Bauersachs, T
Schwark, L
Böttcher, ME
Bralower, TJ
Lyons, SL
Freeman, KH
Cockell, CS
Gulick, SPS
Morgan, JV
Whalen, MT
Lowery, CM
Vajda, V
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: The Chicxulub crater was formed by an asteroid impact at ca. 66 Ma. The impact is considered to have contributed to the end-Cretaceous mass extinction and reduced productivity in the world’s oceans due to a transient cessation of photosynthesis. Here, biomarker profiles extracted from crater core material reveal exceptional insights into the post-impact upheaval and rapid recovery of microbial life. In the immediate hours to days after the impact, ocean resurge flooded the crater and a subsequent tsunami delivered debris from the surrounding carbonate ramp. Deposited material, including biomarkers diagnostic for land plants, cyanobacteria, and photosynthetic sulfur bacteria, appears to have been mobilized by wave energy from coastal microbial mats. As that energy subsided, days to months later, blooms of unicellular cyanobacteria were fueled by terrigenous nutrients. Approximately 200 k.y. later, the nutrient supply waned and the basin returned to oligotrophic conditions, as evident from N2-fixing cyanobacteria biomarkers. At 1 m.y. after impact, the abundance of photosynthetic sulfur bacteria supported the development of water-column photic zone euxinia within the crater.
Issue Date: 22-Jan-2020
Date of Acceptance: 27-Nov-2019
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/77513
DOI: 10.1130/g46799.1
ISSN: 0091-7613
Publisher: Geological Society of America
Start Page: 328
End Page: 332
Journal / Book Title: Geology
Volume: 48
Issue: 4
Copyright Statement: © 2020 The Authors. Gold Open Access: This paper is published under the terms of the CC-BY license.
Sponsor/Funder: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Funder's Grant Number: NE/P005217/1
Keywords: Geochemistry & Geophysics
04 Earth Sciences
Publication Status: Published online
Open Access location: https://doi.org/10.1130/G46799.1
Online Publication Date: 2020-01-17
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Engineering
Earth Science and Engineering