Location of the Chicxulub Crater in Yucatán. Location of the Chicxulub Crater in Yucatán.

Crater drilling shows ocean level has risen

Scientists are analyzing data produced by drilling at Chicxulub Crater last spring

The scientific expedition that went to work last spring 30 kilometers off the coast of the Yucatán peninsula to study the remnants of the Chicxulub Crater has long since left, but the results of the 65-day drilling project are now being released.


Made up of a team of 29 scientists from Mexico, the United States, Japan, Australia, Canada, China and several European countries, Expedition 364 set up in April off the Yucatán coast aboard the liftboat and drilling platform Myrtle.

The Chicxulub Crater was created by an asteroid or comet at least 10 kilometers in diameter 66 million years ago. The center of the crater, which is more than 180 kilometers in diameter, is located near the Yucatán town of Chicxulub, after which it was named.

The main source of analysis material for the scientists has been a thin length of geological strata obtained by drilling to a depth of 1.5 kilometers below the seabed.

While the central goal of the expedition was to uncover details about the demise of the dinosaurs and the evolution of life on Earth, one of the first inadvertent results obtained has been geological proof that during the last ice age the level of the ocean was far lower than what it is today.

The results were regarded as a surprise by Jaime Urrutia, a member of the scientific mission and president of the Mexican Academy of Sciences.


In the samples obtained during the drilling operations, the specialists discovered “circle-shaped structures . . . which can only be formed by carbonates dissolving, a process that can only happen in open air,” explained Urrutia.

He said that “between 18,000 and 23,000 years ago, the Yucatán peninsula was literally bigger.”

The scientists are now concluding that at the time of the asteroid’s impact the area of the crater was completely above the continental shelf, instead of being half-submerged as it now is.

The team of scientists continues to analyze the drilled samples at a laboratory at the Bremen Core Repository of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) in Germany.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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  • David Nichols

    The president of the Mexican Academy of Sciences was “surprised” the sea levels would have been lower during the great ice age…?
    So he didn’t realize that all that ice was frozen water…? This water, had there not been the ice age, would in the natural order of things, have found its way to the oceans…!
    It should be obvious, even to a layperson, that there is a finite amount of water on our planet and over time, if a very substantial portion of that water is landlocked and frozen, sea levels would drop…
    After all, they are now telling us global warming is MELTING the ice and raising sea levels…

    • michael

      Not if you are a conservative America, you just deny anything the scientists say Then you can continue to deny and post ignorant and stupid arguments against global warming like. “the earth is always changing.” or “there is no proof it is getting warmer.” .

      • David Nichols

        given your knee jerk response, I am not surprised that you failed to even attempt to address my statement…
        You are the one posting ignorant and stupid comments, but hey..! You can’t help it, you’re a Lie-beral….
        Grow up…