Thermal properties of rocks of the borehole Yaxcopoil-1 (Impact Crater Chicxulub, Mexico)

Yu Popov, R. Romushkevich, D. Korobkov, S. Mayr, I. Bayuk, H. Burkhardt, H. Wilhelm

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17 Citations (Scopus)


The results of thermal property measurements on cores from the scientific well Yaxcopoil-1 (1511 m in depth) drilled in the Chicxulub impact structure (Mexico) are described. The thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity, volumetric heat capacity, thermal anisotropy coefficient, thermal heterogeneity factor, and, in addition, porosity and density were measured on 451 dry and water-saturated cores from the depth interval of 404-1511 m. The acoustic velocities were determined on a subgroup of representative samples. Significant vertical short- and long-scale variations of physical properties related to the grade of shock-thermal metamorphism and correlations between thermal and other physical properties are established. Rocks of the post-impact and impact complexes differ significantly in heterogeneity demonstrating that the impact complex has larger micro- heterogeneity on sample scale. The pre-impact rocks differ essentially from the impact and post-impact rocks in the thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity, density and porosity. The thermal anisotropy of rocks of all structural-lithological complexes is very low (K = 1.02 ... 1.08), which is similar to the situation in the Puchezh-Katunk and Ries impact structures. Correlations are established between the thermal conductivity and elastic wave velocities measured in laboratory. For limestone-calcarenites, the thermal conductivity (λ) can be calculated from the compressional wave velocity (Vp) using the formula λ= 0.346 Vp + 0.844, and for dolomite-anhydrites this relation has the form λ= 0.998 Vp + 1.163 [for λ in W (m K)-1 and Vp in km s-1]. These correlations are used for downscaling of the sonic velocities to the decimetre scale. The effective medium theory is applied to invert the matrix thermal conductivity and pore/crack geometry from the thermal conductivity measured on the studied samples. Representative experimental data on the thermal properties for all lithological groups encountered by the Yaxcopoil-1 well essentially extend an existing database on the thermal properties of rocks of impact structures and can be used for determination of the heat flow density, interpretation of temperature logging data, theoretical modelling of heat and mass transfer processes and constructing thermal models of the Chicxulub impact structure as well as for the lithological interpretation. The research results confirm the necessity of dense sampling for the thermal property measurements to obtain reliable results in petrophysical and geothermal investigations of impact structure formations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-745
Number of pages17
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Acoustic properties
  • Crustal structure
  • Heat flow
  • Impact phenomena


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