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Book Chapter

Deep drilling in the Chesapeake Bay impact structure—An overview

By
Gregory S. Gohn
Gregory S. Gohn
U.S. Geological Survey, 926A National Center, Reston, Virginia 20192, USA
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Christian Koeberl
Christian Koeberl
Department of Lithospheric Research, University of Vienna, A-1090 Vienna, Austria
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Kenneth G. Miller
Kenneth G. Miller
Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854-8066, USA
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Wolf Uwe Reimold
Wolf Uwe Reimold
Museum für Naturkunde–Leibniz Institute at Humboldt University Berlin, Invalidenstrasse 43, 10115 Berlin, Germany
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Published:
January 01, 2009

The late Eocene Chesapeake Bay impact structure lies buried at moderate depths below Chesapeake Bay and surrounding landmasses in southeastern Virginia, USA. Numerous characteristics made this impact structure an inviting target for scientific drilling, including the location of the impact on the Eocene continental shelf, its three-layer target structure, its large size (~85 km diameter), its status as the source of the North American tektite strewn field, its temporal association with other late Eocene terrestrial impacts, its documented effects on the regional groundwater system, and its previously unstudied effects on the deep microbial biosphere.

The Chesapeake Bay impact structure Deep Drilling Project was designed to drill a deep, continuously cored test hole into the central part of the structure. A project workshop, funding proposals, and the acceptance of those proposals occurred during 2003–2005. Initial drilling funds were provided by the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Supplementary funds were provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Science Mission Directorate, ICDP, and USGS. Field operations were conducted at Eyreville Farm, Northampton County, Virginia, by Drilling, Observation, and Sampling of the Earth's Continental Crust (DOSECC) and the project staff during September–December 2005, resulting in two continuously cored, deep holes. The USGS and Rutgers University cored a shallow hole to 140 m in April–May 2006 to complete the recovered section from land surface to 1766 m depth.

The recovered section consists of 1322 m of crater materials and 444 m of overlying postimpact Eocene to Pleistocene sediments. The crater section consists of, from base to top: basement-derived blocks of crystalline rocks (215 m); a section of suevite, impact melt rock, lithic impact breccia, and cataclasites (154 m); a thin interval of quartz sand and lithic blocks (26 m); a granite megablock (275 m); and sediment blocks and boulders, polymict, sediment-clast–dominated sedimentary breccias, and a thin upper section of stratified sediments (652 m). The cored postimpact sediments provide insight into the effects of a large continental-margin impact on subsequent coastal-plain sedimentation.

This volume contains the first results of multidisciplinary studies of the Eyreville cores and related topics. The volume is divided into these sections: geologic column; borehole geophysical studies; regional geophysical studies; crystalline rocks, impactites, and impact models; sedimentary breccias; postimpact sediments; hydrologic and geothermal studies; and microbiologic studies.

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GSA Special Papers

The ICDP-USGS Deep Drilling Project in the Chesapeake Bay impact structure: Results from the Eyreville Core Holes

Gregory S. Gohn
Gregory S. Gohn
U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Christian Koeberl
Christian Koeberl
Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, Rutgers University, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Kenneth G. Miller
Kenneth G. Miller
Museum für Naturkunde–Leibniz Institute at Humboldt University Berlin, Germany
Search for other works by this author on:
Wolf Uwe Reimold
Wolf Uwe Reimold
Museum für Naturkunde–Leibniz Institute at Humboldt University Berlin, Germany
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Geological Society of America
Volume
458
ISBN print:
9780813724584
Publication date:
January 01, 2009

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