Virginia

Earthquakes Around the Bay?

Earthquakes Around the Bay?

Throughout the years, scientists were not sure why they were unable to find freshwater in the area, and they also wondered why rivers took unusual 90- degree turns toward a specific location. The crater below the waters of the Chesapeake Bay left a lasting depression in the Earth’s surface. This is because the fractured and broken rock fragments the fill the crater depression have been compacting and subsiding at a greater rate than the rocks outside the crater, and this creates a permanent low spot over the crater. As millions of years passed, even though thick layers of sedimentary rocks buried the crater, its low elevation has been maintained, which ultimately predetermined the course of present-day rivers, such as the York, James, Potomac, Susquehanna and Rappahannock. Even though these rivers developed millions of years after the crater was initially formed, they naturally began to converge toward this single low spot along the coast. Over the years it was found that rivers along the East Coast “normally” tend to flow southeast toward the Atlantic Ocean. However, this was not the case for the York, James, Potomac, Susquehanna and Rappahannock. These rivers began flowing in the general southeast direction until their waters suddenly change direction and head straight for the low spot in the ocean’s floor, which eventually becomes the Chesapeake Bay. Geologists like Poag do not believe that the Chesapeake Bay impact crater is solely responsible for the formation of the Chesapeake Bay, although Poag explains, “The impact did serve as a template for later development of the bay.” There are important places that exist today that would not exist if not for the crater’s location. Without the crater, the port of Hampton Roads, which is known as the “world’s greatest natural harbor,” would not exist, and the shores of one of the world’s largest naval bases would probably have been sliced through by the drain of the James River on its way to the sea.   

  It is almost as if the crater that lay unknown for millions of years was determined to show everything above it that it did exist. Records dating back to 1775 document small earthquakes in and around the Hampton Roads area. Scientists note, without a doubt, that earthquakes occurred before 1775, but no one knew how to measure them or figure out where they were coming from. Scientists now know that the bolide plunged into the water, smashed through the crust and sent an immense amount of energy rippling through the Earth’s interior, creating numerous faults and cracks. Scientists also determined that cracks and faults spidered out toward the edges of the remaining crater, intersecting with each other and never allowing the fractured Earth to heal. So, the small earthquakes that have occurred in the area for more than 200 years can now be explained, because the ground over the buried crater is more likely to be shaken by earthquakes than areas outside the crater.