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Geochemical Journal
Geochemical Journal An open access journal for geochemistry
Published for geochemistry community from Geochemical Society of Japan.

Iridium concentration and noble gas composition of Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary clay from Stevns Klint, Denmark

TAKAHITO OSAWA, YUICHI HATSUKAWA, KEISUKE NAGAO, MITSUO KOIZUMI, MASUMI OSHIMA, YOSUKE TOH, ATSUSHI KIMURA, KAZUYOSHI FURUTAKA
Geochemical Journal, Vol. 43, No. 6, P. 415-422, 2009

ABSTRACT

The Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary about 65 million years ago records a mass extinction event caused by a bolide impact. K-T boundary clay collected from Stevns Klint, Denmark was investigated in this work. Iridium concentrations of eight clays across the K-T boundary were determined using a multiple gamma-ray analysis system after neutron activation. Anomalously high Ir concentrations were detected in five marl samples, with the highest concentration being 29.9 ppb. Four samples were analyzed for all noble gases. No extraterrestrial Ar, Kr, and Xe were discovered in any of the samples, although most of the 3He which was detected was extraterrestrial. Solar-like Ne was observed only in the sample SK4, which had an Ir concentration of 14.3 ppb, indicating the presence of micrometeorites. The solar-like Ne clearly did not originate from an asteroid/comet associated with the bolide impact, as that asteroid is thought to have been extremely large. Also, because there was no sign of a high accretion rate of micrometeorites at the boundary it could not be ascertained whether the solar-like Ne was related to a catastrophic event that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

KEYWORDS

K-T boundary, iridium, noble gas

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