The ICDP–USGS Eyreville drill cores in the Chesapeake Bay impact structure reached a total depth of 1766 m and comprise (from the bottom upwards) basement-derived schists and granites/pegmatites, impact breccias, mostly poorly lithified gravelly sand and crystalline blocks, a granitic slab, sedimentary breccias, and postimpact sediments. The gravelly sand and crystalline block section forms an approximately 26 m thick interval that includes an amphibolite block and boulders of cataclastic gneiss and suevite. Three gravelly sands (basal, middle, and upper) are distinguished within this interval. The gravelly sands are poorly sorted, clast supported, and generally massive, but crude size-sorting and subtle, discontinuous layers occur locally. Quartz and K-feldspar are the main sand-size minerals and smectite and kaolinite are the principal clay minerals. Other mineral grains occur only in accessory amounts and lithic clasts are sparse (only a few vol%). The gravelly sands are silica rich (~80 wt% SiO2). Trends with depth include a slight decrease in SiO2 and slight increase in Fe2O3. The basal gravelly sand (below the cataclasite boulder) has a lower SiO2 content, less K-feldspar, and more mica than the higher sands, and it contains more lithic clasts and melt particles that are probably reworked from the underlying suevite. The middle gravelly sand (below the amphibolite block) is finer-grained, contains more abundant clay minerals, and displays more variable chemical compositions than upper gravelly sand (above the block). Our mineralogical and geochemical results suggest that the gravelly sands are avalanche deposits derived probably from the nonmarine Potomac Formation in the lower part of the target sediment layer, in contrast to polymict diamictons higher in the core that have been interpreted as ocean-resurge debris flows, which is in agreement with previous interpretations. The mineralogy and geochemistry of the gravelly sands are typical for a passive continental margin source. There is no discernible mixing with marine sediments (no glauconite or Paleogene marine microfossils noted) during the impact remobilization and redeposition. The unshocked amphibolite block and cataclasite boulder might have originated from the outer parts of the transient crater.
Additional publication details
Petrography, mineralogy, and geochemistry of deep gravelly sands in the Eyreville B core, Chesapeake Bay impact structure