A 30-km-long, radial seismic reflection and refraction survey completed across the northern part of the late Eocene Chesapeake Bay impact structure (CBIS) on the Delmarva Peninsula, Virginia, USA, confirms that the CBIS is a complex central-peak crater. We used a tomographic P wave velocity model and low-fold reflection images, constrained by data from two deep boreholes located on the profile, to interpret the structure and composition of the upper 5 km of crust. The seismic images exhibit well-defined structural features, including (with increasing radial distance) a collapsed central uplift, a breccia-filled moat, and a collapsed transient-crater margin (which collectively constitute a ???40-km-wide collapsed transient crater), and a shallowly deformed annular trough. These seismic images are the first to resolve the deep structure of the crater (>1 km) and the boundaries between the central uplift, moat, and annular trough. Several distinct seismic signatures distinguish breccia units from each other and from more coherent crystalline rocks below the central uplift, moat, and annular trough. Within the moat, breccia extends to a minimum depth of 1.5 km or a maximum of 3.5 km, depending upon the interpretation of the deepest layered materials. The images show ???350 to 500 m of postimpact sediments above the impactites. The imaged structure of the CBIS indicates a complex sequence of event during the cratering process that will provide new constraints for numerical modeling. Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.
Additional publication details
Anatomy of the Chesapeake Bay impact structure revealed by seismic imaging, Delmarva Peninsula, Virginia, USA