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Drilling Finds Crater Beneath Va. Bay
AP via Yahoo ^ | Tue Jun 1 2004 | Staff

Posted on 06/01/2004 4:21:15 PM PDT by Rebelbase

CAPE CHARLES, Va. - Geologists drilling half a mile below Virginia's Eastern Shore say they have uncovered more signs of a space rock's impact 35 million years ago.

For more than two weeks, scientists drilled around the clock alongside a parking lot across the harbor from Cape Charles. They stopped at 2,700 feet.

From the depths came jumbled, mixed bits of crystalline and melted rock that can be dated, as well as marine deposits, brine and other evidence of an ancient comet or asteroid that slammed into once-shallow waters near the Delmarva Peninsula.

Cape Charles is considered Ground Zero for the resulting 56-mile-wide depression below what's now the Chesapeake Bay. The drilling project marks the first time the geologists explored the inner portion of the inverted-sombrero-shaped crater.

"We expected to see some pretty strange rocks because of the extreme pressure and temperatures that occurred" approximately 35 million years ago, said geologist Greg Gohn, who led the $180,000 project for the U.S. Geological Survey (news - web sites).


Over the past decade, USGS (news - web sites) and Virginia scientists have investigated indications that a 2-mile-wide brilliant ball traveling tens of thousands of miles per hour crashed off the Virginia coast, burrowing thousands of feet and depressing and fracturing the bedrock.


Billions of tons of ocean water vaporized. Millions of tons of debris spewed 30 miles high before collapsing back into the excavation. A train of giant waves inundated the land. The waves then dragged debris as they washed back into the crater, preserving it beneath a blanket of rock and sediment.

It probably took just a few minutes to create the largest crater in the United States and sixth-largest known on the planet, according to computer simulations.

The catastrophe squeezed freshwater from many of the aquifers of southeastern Virginia and filled others with briny water. Its legacy is well-known to residents who try to drill for drinkable groundwater and encounter the saltwater "wedge," pockets of brine nestled in an arc from the lower Eastern Shore to the Hampton Roads-Newport News area.

Geological research off the coast of New Jersey and in Virginia, begun in 1983, led to the crater's discovery a decade later. Drilling and further study of seismic data narrowed the location in the Chesapeake Bay.

"We're getting evidence about how hot this thing (was) and what was the energy," said USGS hydrologist David Powars, one of those credited with the crater's discovery.

More clues to the space rock's identity will come from cores taken in the drill's final 280 feet.

A $1.2 million proposal to dig 7,000 feet not far from Cape Charles is before the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program, which would then assist the USGS with funding.


TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: archaeology; barrens; catastrophism; chesapeakebay; crater; cretaceous; economic; geology; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; levy; permian; scablands; shoemaker; tertiary; triassic; usgs; velikovsky; virginia
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I never knew this!
1 posted on 06/01/2004 4:21:16 PM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: blam

ping


2 posted on 06/01/2004 4:21:29 PM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: Rebelbase

It has been known for a long time, but this confirmation is rather interesting.


3 posted on 06/01/2004 4:25:18 PM PDT by Hunble
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To: Rebelbase

Fascinating stuff!


4 posted on 06/01/2004 4:25:41 PM PDT by Clara Lou
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To: Rebelbase

Thanks for the post. I love science!


5 posted on 06/01/2004 4:32:41 PM PDT by Socratic (Yes, there is method in the madness.)
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To: Rebelbase

Do you think Bill Clinton knows about the "jumbled, mixed bits of crystalline and melted rock that can be dated"?


6 posted on 06/01/2004 4:35:53 PM PDT by Wally_Kalbacken
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To: Rebelbase
I did not know one hit there either, interesting story.
7 posted on 06/01/2004 4:37:35 PM PDT by No Blue States
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To: Rebelbase; hchutch

I'm waiting for Ted Kennedy to blame the asteroid impact on neo-conservatives and Halliburton...


8 posted on 06/01/2004 4:40:34 PM PDT by Poohbah (Four thousand throats may be cut in a single night by a running man -- Kahless the Unforgettable)
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To: Rebelbase

There are also huge natural gas deposits under the Continental shelf offshore from Atlantic City NJ to Fla.
Congress stopped exploration prior to drilling back in 1983. I know because I was one of the many drillers who had to be certified with the USGS for surface and sub-sea well control techniques prior to the industry being allowed to develop this field. Needless to say, I remember hearing a small blurb shortly thereafter stating Congress had placed the area "off limits" to offshore drilling. Guess it was the NIMBY syndrome. Let 'em produce it out West and pipe it to us. Then NE congressmen can gripe about the high cost. As I recall it was a who's who of Eastern liberals who killed this important clean energy source. Anyone else recall this event or know of any records of the vote? I wonder. Hmmm. Kerry again?


9 posted on 06/01/2004 4:42:44 PM PDT by 1ofmanyfree
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To: farmfriend
ping, and check out both:

http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/cbaymenu.html

http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/cbayint.html

I wonder if this eventhad anything to do with the Carolina Bays.

10 posted on 06/01/2004 4:43:57 PM PDT by Thud
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To: Rebelbase
Check this out:

The Chesapeake Bay Bolide: Modern Consequences of an Ancient Cataclysm - U.S. Geological Survey - Coastal and Marine Geology - Woods Hole Field Center

During the late Eocene, the formerly quiescent geological regime of the Virginia Coastal Plain was dramatically transformed when a bolide struck in the vicinity of the Delmarva Peninsula, and produced the following principal consequences:

- The bolide carved a roughly circular crater twice the size of the state of Rhode Island (~6400 km2), and nearly as deep as the Grand Canyon (1.3 km deep).
- The excavation truncated all existing ground water aquifers in the impact area by gouging ~4300 km3 of rock from the upper lithosphere, including Proterozoic and Paleozoic crystalline basement rocks and Middle Jurassic to upper Eocene sedimentary rocks.
- A structural and topographic low formed over the crater.
- The impact crater may have predetermined the present-day location of Chesapeake Bay.
- A porous breccia lens, 600-1200 m thick, replaced local aquifers, resulting in ground water ~1.5 times saltier than normal sea water.
- Long-term differential compaction and subsidence of the breccia lens spawned extensive fault systems in the area, which are potential hazards for local population centers in the Chesapeake Bay area.

11 posted on 06/01/2004 5:01:41 PM PDT by concentric circles
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To: Thud

el bumpo!!!

I love this stuff...


12 posted on 06/01/2004 5:02:32 PM PDT by MonroeDNA (Hillary was in charge of the FBI files, which went into a data base: WHoDB. Genious hackers, expose)
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To: concentric circles

Thanks. Nice maps.


13 posted on 06/01/2004 5:03:47 PM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: Rebelbase
The catastrophe squeezed freshwater from many of the aquifers of southeastern Virginia and filled others with briny water. Its legacy is well-known to residents who try to drill for drinkable groundwater and encounter the saltwater "wedge,"

And a third of the waters were made bitter...

14 posted on 06/01/2004 5:05:50 PM PDT by null and void (If you think more government is the solution to every problem, North Korea should be your paradise!)
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To: Rebelbase

First I heard of this discovery, also, although I was living in Virginia at the time and for years afterward.


15 posted on 06/01/2004 5:08:04 PM PDT by VadeRetro
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To: Thud; *Gods, Graves, Glyphs; A.J.Armitage; abner; adam_az; AdmSmith; Alas Babylon!; ...
Gods, Graves, Glyphs
List for articles regarding early civilizations , life of all forms, - dinosaurs - etc.
Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this ping list.
16 posted on 06/01/2004 5:11:52 PM PDT by farmfriend ( In Essentials, Unity...In Non-Essentials, Liberty...In All Things, Charity.)
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To: Rebelbase

Bush's fault.


17 posted on 06/01/2004 5:12:02 PM PDT by sionnsar (http://trad-anglican.faithweb.com/ ||| sionnsar: the part of the bagpipe where the melody comes out)
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To: Rebelbase

But actually, quite interesting. Thanks!


18 posted on 06/01/2004 5:12:44 PM PDT by sionnsar (http://trad-anglican.faithweb.com/ ||| sionnsar: the part of the bagpipe where the melody comes out)
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To: Rebelbase
I didn't either. My friend and I were talking about the fossils we find in his creek gravel in the hills of central KY. They're old, old looking sea shells, and other marine fossils that look like they've been embedded for forever and a day. We were hypothesizing that they were maybe brought there by tsunami or something, but this would make sense.

Does anyone know if they have an estimate for how far inland the waves came?

19 posted on 06/01/2004 5:12:56 PM PDT by TheLurkerX (Rats'll exit a sinking ship. Dems'd say holes are good, cut funding for lifeboats & go down smiling.)
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To: sionnsar

"Bush's fault"

fault...hahaha (geologist humor)


20 posted on 06/01/2004 5:13:20 PM PDT by Rebelbase
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