Chesapeake Invader: Discovering America's Giant Meteorite Crater by C. Wylie PoagChesapeake Invader: Discovering America's Giant Meteorite Crater by C. Wylie Poag

Chesapeake Invader: Discovering America's Giant Meteorite Crater

byC. Wylie Poag

Paperback | March 21, 2017

Pricing and Purchase Info

$38.55 online 
$40.99 list price save 5%
Earn 193 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


Thirty-five million years ago, a meteorite three miles wide and moving sixty times faster than a bullet slammed into the sea bed near what is now Chesapeake Bay. The impact, more powerful than the combined explosion of every nuclear bomb on Earth, blasted out a crater fifty miles wide and one mile deep. Shock waves radiated through the Earth for thousands of miles, shaking the foundations of the Appalachians, as gigantic waves and winds of white-hot debris transformed the eastern seaboard into a lifeless wasteland.Chesapeake Invaderis the story of this cataclysm, told by the man who discovered it happened. Wylie Poag, a senior scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, explains when and why the catastrophe occurred, what destruction it caused, how scientists unearthed evidence of the impact, and how the meteorite's effects are felt even today. Poag begins by reviewing how scientists in the decades after World War II uncovered a series of seemingly inexplicable geological features along the Virginia coast. As he worked to interpret one of these puzzling findings in the 1980s in his own field of paleontology, Poag began to suspect that the underlying explanation was the impact of a giant meteorite. He guides us along the path that he and dozens of colleagues subsequently followed as--in true scientific tradition--they combined seemingly outrageous hypotheses, painstaking research, and equal parts good and bad luck as they worked toward the discovery of what turned out to be the largest impact crater in the U.S. We join Poag in the lab, on deep-sea drilling ships, on the road for clues in Virginia, and in heated debates about his findings. He introduces us in clear, accessible language to the science behind meteorite impacts, to life and death on Earth thirty-five million years ago, and to the ways in which the meteorite shaped the Chesapeake Bay area by, for example, determining the Bay's very location and creating the notoriously briny groundwater underneath Virginia. This is a compelling work of geological detective work and a paean to the joys and satisfactions of a life in science.

Originally published in 1999.

ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

Title:Chesapeake Invader: Discovering America's Giant Meteorite CraterFormat:PaperbackDimensions:168 pagesPublished:March 21, 2017Publisher:Princeton University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0691603065

ISBN - 13:9780691603063


Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xi

CHAPTER ONE Telltales 3

CHAPTER TWO Microfossil Magic 20


CHAPTER FOUR Toms Canyon 42

CHAPTER FIVE Super Tsunami 50

CHAPTER SIX Chesapeake Crater Revealed 53

CHAPTER SEVEN Proof in the Pudding 57

CHAPTER EIGHT A Perilous Path 67

CHAPTER NINE Mass Extinctions 80

CHAPTER TEN Eocene Environments 90

CHAPTER ELEVEN Sinking Sand 104

CHAPTER TWELVE Threatened Ground Waters 115


CHAPTER FOURTEEN Seaward Explorer 127

CHAPTER FIFTEEN Buried Treasure 138

CHAPTER SIXTEEN Subterranean Waste 143

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN Chicken Little's Dilemma 147

Glossary 157

Suggestions for Fuither Reading 163

Recommended Sites on the World Wide Web 165

Index 167

Editorial Reviews

"Chesapeake Invader is excitingly written.... Poag shows us how scientific discoveries are made and how there are many twists and turns along the way."-Donald Prothero, Occidental College