The Chesapeake Bay And The Bay

1875 WordsApr 12, 20178 Pages
The Chesapeake Bay, which derives from the Algonquin word Chesepiooc meaning “great shellfish bay”, has been around for a very long time. Approximately 35 million years ago, a rare bolide (a comet- or asteroid-like object) hit what is now the lower tip of the Delmarva Peninsula, creating a 55-mile-wide crater. The bolide created what geologists call the “Exmore Crater,” which they believe was as large as Rhode Island and as deep as the Grand Canyon. Although this bolide did not create the Chesapeake Bay, it helped determine that a bay would eventually be located there. Today, the Chesapeake Bay stretches from Havre de Grace, Maryland to Norfolk Virginia. The Bay is approximately 200 miles long, up to 35 miles wide, and has an average…show more content…
The Bay’s salinity varies widely from season to season and from year to year, depending on the amount of fresh water flowing from its rivers. The Bay tends to be fresher in spring, when snow melts and heavy rainstorms frequently fall. During the drier months, the Bay is usually saltier. Salinity also increases with depth. Fresh water remains at the surface because it is less dense than salt water. The water on the Bay’s eastern shore tends to be saltier than the water on the western side. This is due to two factors; most fresh water enters the Bay from its northern and western tributaries, and The Coriolis Force, a phenomenon caused by the earth’s rotation, pushes flowing water in the Northern Hemisphere to the right, causing saltier water to move up the Bay veers toward the eastern shore. The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. About half of the Bay’s water volume comes from salt water from the Atlantic Ocean. The other half drains into the Bay from its enormous 64,000-square-mile watershed. Estuaries are among the most productive environments on earth, creating more organic matter each year than similarly-sized forests and agricultural areas. Estuaries also provide diverse habitats for wildlife and aquatic life, protect our communities against flooding, reduce pollution of waterways, and support local economies through commercial and recreational activities. Thousands of species

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