The Effects of the Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater on the Geologic Framework and the Correlation of Hydrogeologic Units of Southeastern Virginia, South of the James River

Professional Paper 1622

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sat image of Chesapeake Bay

About 35 million years ago, a large comet or meteor slammed into the shallow shelf on the western margin of the Atlantic Ocean, creating the Chesapeake impact crater (CBIC). Virginia Coastal Plain sediments, the southern part of the Chesapeake Bay, and a small part of the Atlantic Ocean now cover the crater. The impact apparently affected pre-impact structures near the CBIC. Subsequent structural adjustments of these structures likely were influenced by the crater and by the regional post-rift stress regime typical of the passive margin scenario described for Atlantic Coastal Plain. Structural adjustments disrupted pre-impact sediments and basement rocks in the southern Chesapeake Bay region and influenced subsequent deposition, erosion, and preservation of sediments. Correlations of litho- and biostratigraphic data from borehole cores and cuttings and geophysical logs were used to identify the location and geometry of the CBIC and possible pre-impact structures. This report focuses on the Virginia Coastal Plain south of the James River and complements a recent study of the CBIC's effects on the geologic framework beneath the lower York-James Peninsula (see Professional Paper 1612).

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