We present high-resolution gravity and magnetic field survey results over the 85-km-diameter Chesapeake Bay impact structure. Whereas a continuous melt sheet is anticipated at a crater this size, shallow-source magnetic field anomalies of ∼100 nT instead suggest that impact melt pooled in kilometer-scaled pockets surrounding the base of a central peak. A central anomaly of ∼300 nT may represent additional melt or rock that underwent shock-induced remagnetization. Models predict that the total volume of the melt ranges from ∼0.4 to 10 km3, a quantity that is several orders of magnitude smaller than expected for an impact structure this size. However, this volume is within predictions given a transient crater of diameter of 20–40 km for a target covered with water and sedimentary deposits such that melt fragments were widely dispersed at the time of impact. Gravity data delineate a gently sloping inner basin and a central peak via a contrast between crystalline and sedimentary rock. Both features are ovoid, oriented parallel to larger preimpact basement structures. Conceptual models suggest how lateral differences in rock strength due to these preimpact structures helped to shape the crater's morphology during transient-crater modification.

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