PubTalk 3/2007 — Impact!
Piecing together the story of a giant meteorite crater beneath the Atlantic coast
By David S. Powars, Geologist, and R.D. Catchings, Geophysicist
- Buried under Chesapeake Bay is a very well preserved impact structure 56 miles across and more than 2 miles deep
- Following clues from drill holes and seismic imagery, careful detective work in the 1990's identified this ancient buried crater
- When a meteorite 2 miles in diameter slammed into what was then ocean, it instantly blew out a crater 7 miles deep, splashed water and debris 30 miles up, and spawned tsunamis thousands of feet high
- Long-mysterious glass stones ("tektites") found in the eastern U.S. and the Caribbean are now recognized as ejecta from the Chesapeake Bay impact
- After 35 million years, the landscape, drainage patterns, and underground water in the Chesapeake Bay area are still affected by the impact event