Chicxulub Crater and Ring of Cenotes

The topographic and geophysical features of the deep impact structure of the Chicxulub crater are reflected on the surface of the Yucatan Peninsula with an aligned arc of sinkholes, forming the “Ring of Cenotes”.

It has been known for almost 40 years that a large meteorite struck the Earth around 66 million years ago in a place in southern Mexico that we call Chicxulub, in the Yucatán Peninsula. It was about the same time that the large dinosaurs disappeared from the Earth. This was a most surprising discovery, since the meteorite crater is extremely well hidden under very thick 3,000 ft (1,000 m) of soft limestone rocks. However, we can see traces of the crater on the surface since there is a great number of very deep and large water filled sinkholes that are aligned along the edge of the crater basin. The local people call these sinkholes “cenotes” (pronounced say-no-tays) in a word tied to the Maya language (ts’ono’ot), meaning “a hole filled with water”.

Emiliano Monroy-Ríos