[CHALCO] CHALCO - MEXIDRILL: The Basin of Mexico Drilling Program


Climate & Ecosystems

Year of Application: 2014

Expedition ID: 5060

Current Status: completed

Master Data

Dr. Jens Kallmeyer (PI)
Prof. Dr. Frank Preusser (PI)
Prof. Dr. Antje Schwalb (PI)
Prof. Dr. Martin Trauth (PI)

Jochem Kück (OSG)
Prof. Dr. Lorenz Schwark (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Thomas Wonik (Scientific Participant)
Prof. Dr. Thorsten Bauersachs (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Christian Zeeden (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Henrike Baumgarten (Workshop Participant)

Projektstart: 1 January, 2015
Geologisches Alter: Quaternary

Latitude: 19°30'N

North America

Regionen & Städte:

Lake Chalco

Longitude: 99°'W



soft sediment

Drilling Data

Drilling Depth: 1250.16
Core Yield: 1042.3
Core Length: 1127.2
Amount of Drill Holes: 4
Amount of Drill Locations: 1

Core Length-Drill Depth-Ratio: 83.37
Core Yield-Core Length-Ratio: 92.47


We propose scientific drilling to recover a lacustrine sedimentary sequence contained in the Lake Chalco basin on the southern outskirts of Mexico City in the Valley of Mexico. These sediments have the potential to provide a >500,000 year record of North American climate—a unique climate archive that could develop into the “type sequence” for paleoclimate studies in the Americas. Chalco is well suited for reconstruction and investigation of interannual through orbital-scale variations in the North American monsoon and hydrologic variations of the neotropics. Indeed, ongoing work indicates that the system records environmental responses to both Milankovitch- and millennial-scale climate forcing. In addition to their potential to yield a unique and remarkable record of climate history, sediments from the Chalco Basin will provide histories of volcanic and seismic activity and the recent subsidence induced by groundwater extraction directly relevant to millions of people. Volcanic (recent Popocatépetl eruptions) and seismic (1985 magnitude 8.0 earthquake) hazards pose an ongoing threat to > 20 million people of the city of Mexico. The physical properties of these sediments are relevant to models of seismic wave propagation in the basin (and analogous basins worldwide) as well as understanding its intense subsidence and regional groundwater resources. Drilling for paleoenvironmental studies can be leveraged and complemented by continuous subsurface geophysical monitoring through instrumented boreholes that will provide additional insights into regional geologic hazards and better groundwater management. We have assembled an international team to oversee the drilling of Lake Chalco, led by PIs from the USA (Brown, Werne, Fawcett, Brudzinski, Noren), Mexico (Lozano, Ortega, Caballero, Cabral, Morales), Germany (Schwalb, Kallmeyer), Spain (Valero-Garces) and the UK (Smith, Watt). ICDP research themes addressed by the MEXIDRILL Program include: • The study of earthquakes and volcanoes and mitigation of their adverse effects. • The evaluation of the relative importance of anthropogenic versus natural forces in controlling climatic and environmental change. • The wise use of water resources. • The nature of critical interaction between the biosphere and the Earth's crust. • The nature of the changing parameters that control rates of ecosystem change and hence the evolution and extinction of species.

Related Publications

Mehrdad Sardar Abadi, Christian Zeeden, Arne Ulfers, Thomas Wonik (2022). "An astronomical age-depth model and reconstruction of moisture availability in the sediments of Lake Chalco, central Mexico, using borehole logging data" Quaternary Science Reviews 294 p12

Moguel, B., Pérez, L., Alcaraz, L., Blaz, J., Caballero, M., Muñoz-Velasco, I., Becerra, A., Laclette, J. P., Ortega-Guerrero, B., Romero-Oliva, C., Lozano, S., Herrera-Estrella, L. (2021). "Holocene life and microbiome profiling in ancient tropical Lake Chalco, Mexico" Scientific Reports 11 p15

Brown, E. T., Caballero, M., Cabral Cano, E., Fawcett, P. J., Lozano-García, S., Ortega, B., Pérez, L., Schwalb, A., Smith, V., Steinman, B. A., Stockhecke, M., Valero-Garcés, B., Watt, S., Wattrus, N. J., Werne, J. P., Wonik, T., Myrbo, A. E., Noren, A. J., O'Grady, R., Schnurrenberger, D., the MexiDrill, Team (2019). "Scientific drilling of Lake Chalco, Basin of Mexico (MexiDrill)" Scientific Drilling 26 p1-15

Franco-Gaviria, Felipe, Caballero-Rodriguez, Dayenari, Correa-Metrio, Alexander, Perez, Liseth, Schwalb, Antje, Cohuo, Sergio, Macario-Gonzalez, Laura (2018). "The human impact imprint on modern pollen spectra of the Maya lands" Boletin de la Sociedad Geologica Mexicana 70 p61-78

Friese, André, Kallmeyer, Jens, Kitte, Jan Axel, Montano Martinez, Ivan, Bijaksana, Satria, Wagner, Dirk (2017). "A simple and inexpensive technique for assessing contamination during drilling operations" Limnology and Oceanography: Methods 15 p200-211

Bücker, Matthias, Lozano García, Socorro, Ortega Guerrero, Beatriz, Caballero, Margarita, Peréz, Liseth, Caballero, Lizeth, Pita de la Paz, Carlos, Sánchez-Galindo, Alfredo, Villegas, Francisco Jesús, Flores Orozco, Adrián, Brown, Erik, Werne, Josef, Valero Garcés, Blas, Schwalb, Antje, Kemma, Andreas, Sánchez-Alvaro, Edgar, Launizar-Martínez, Norberto, Valverde-Placencia, Antonio, Garay-Jiménez, Fernando (2017). "Geoelectrical and Electromagnetic Methods Applied to Paleolimnological Studies: Two Examples from Desiccated Lakes in the Basin of Mexico" Boletín de la Sociedad Geológica Mexicana 69 p279-298

Lozano-García, Socorro, Brown, Erik T., Ortega, Beatriz, Caballero, Margarita, Werne, Josef, Fawcett, Peter J., Schwalb, Antje, Valero-Garcés, Blas L., Schnurrenberger, Douglas, O´Grady, Ryan, Stockhecke, Mona, Steinman, Byron, Cabral-Cano, Enrique, Caballero, Cecilia, Sosa-Nájera, Susana, Soler, Ana María, Pérez, Liseth, Noren, Anders, Myrbo, Amy, Bücker, Matthias, Wattrus, Nigel, Arciniega, Alejandra, Wonik, Thomas, Watt, Sebastian, Kumar, Dervla, Acosta, Carmen, Martínez, Ivan, Cossio, Rafael, Ferland, Troy, Vergara-Huerta, Filiberto (2017). "Perforación profunda en el lago de Chalco: reporte técnico" Boletín de la Sociedad Geológica Mexicana 69 p299-311

Brown, E., Lozano-Garcia, S., Caballero-Miranda, M., Ortega-Guerrero, B., Cabral-Cano, E., Morales-Casique, E., Perez, L., Schwalb, A., Smith, V., Werne, J., Fawcett, P., Stockhecke, M., Preusser, F., Kallmeyer, J., Watt, S., Noren, A., Myrbo, A., O`Grady, R., Steinman, B., Rawson, H., Wonik, T., Blaauw, M., Schnurrenberger, D., Arciniega-Ceballos, A., Vergara-Huerta, F., Valero-Garces, B., and the MexiDrill science team (2016). "ICDP MexiDrill the Basin of Mexico Drilling Project, Preliminary Report" unknown

Brown, Erik T, Werne, Josef P, Lozano-García, Socorro, Caballero, Margarita, Ortega-Guerrero, Beatriz, Cabral-Cano, Enrique, Valero-Garces, Blas L, Schwalb, Antje, Arciniega-Ceballos, Alejandra (2012). "Scientific drilling in the basin of mexico to evaluate climate history, hydrological resources, and seismic and volcanic hazards" Scientific Drilling 14 p72-75