Spherules associated with the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary in Poland

Tomasz Brachaniec, Łukasz Karwowski, Krzysztof Szopa


The succession of the Lechówka section near Chełm in south-eastern Poland presents the first complete record of the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) boundary in Poland. Samples of the boundary clay were examined for microtektites and shocked minerals to confirm the impact origin of the sediment. The spheroidal fraction reveals morphological and mineralogical features, e.g., spherules, similar to material from the K–Pg boundary as described from elsewhere. The impact genesis of the spherules is confirmed by the presence of nickel-rich spinel grains on their surfaces. The spinels are considered to be primary microlites and, thus, the spherules at Lechówka can be classified as microkrystites. No shocked minerals were noted. The deposits with spherules comprise Aland Mg-rich smectite (Cheto smectite). This almost pure Mg-rich smectite, forming up to 100% of the clay fraction, derived from the weathering of the impact glass. It is proposed that the spherules isolated from the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary clay at Lechówka come from the Chicxulub crater in Mexico.


Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary; Poland; Spherule; Microkrystites; Impact origin; Ni-rich spinels; Smectite

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