Scientists drill into Chesapeake Bay impact crater and find 100M year old seawater

Nov 22, 2013
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Scientist have made an amazing discovery in the Chesapeake Bay. A team of researchers were drilling into the center of an ancient asteroid impact crater in the bay. The carter is known as the Chesapeake Bay impact crater and was formed when an asteroid hit the Earth about 35 million years ago.

The outer ring of the impact crater is 56 miles wide. The scientists weren't expecting to find ancient sea water when they began drilling into the crater. The team estimates that the water is in the area of 100 million to 145 million years old.

The reason the water is so much older than the crater that trapped it is because the seawater was in sediment long before the massive impact trapped it. The impact could have been rock or ice and was severe enough that scientists believe it would have caused tsunamis large enough to hit the Blue Ridge Mountains over 100 miles away.

The ancient seawater is trapped deep underground and is the size of a large lake measuring about 60 square miles. The seawater reservoir was drilled into in 2005, but it took years to gather data to date the water. The water was dated using the ratio of two compounds in the water, dissolved chloride, and bromide. The scientists also sampled helium in the ancient water and found concentrations to be about 100 times higher than other samples taken around the bay, indicating water under the crater was much older.

SOURCE: National Geographic


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