Washington: Researchers have revealed that the seawater discovered near the Chesapeake Bay is up to 150 million years old.
An asteroid or huge chunk of ice slammed into Earth about 35 million years ago, splashing into the Early Cretaceous North Atlantic, sending tsunamis as far as the Blue Ridge Mountains and leaving a 56-mile-wide hole at the mouth of what is now the bay.
But a newly published research paper written by US Geological Survey scientists shows that wasn`t the end of it.
While drilling holes in southern Virginia to study the impact crater, the scientists discovered "the oldest large body of ancient seawater in the world," a survivor of that long-gone sea, resting about a half-mile underground near the bay, according to the USGS.
Ward Sanford, a USGS hydrologist said that they essentially discovered trapped water that`s twice the salinity of [modern] seawater.
In their attempt to find out the origin, they found it was Early Cretaceous seawater. It`s really water that`s from the North Atlantic.
The findings show that the water is probably between 100 million and 150 million years old, the Washington Post reported.
The Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater was discovered in 1999 by a tandem of USGS and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality scientists.
They theorized that a huge rock or chunk of ice slammed into an ancient ocean, sending enormous pieces of debris skyward and forcing monster tsunamis hundreds of miles inland.
Over centuries, the crater became hidden under 400 to 1,200 feet of sand, silt and clay, hampering its discovery for decades.
Five years after the Chesapeake crater`s discovery, Sanford`s USGS team started drilling at Cape Charles, Va., under a 1.5-million-dollar grant from the International Continental Drilling Program to study how the earth`s crust absorbed the blow.
The findings are published in the journal Nature.