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Deep Biosphere

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Deep Biosphere Studies at the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure
Coring rig set up in Eyreville, VA. Photo credit: Mary Voytek, USGS
Coring rig set up in Eyreville, VA. Photo credit: Mary Voytek, USGS
Regional map showing the location of the ICDP-USGS Eyreville drill site in the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure (CBIS)
Regional map showing the location of the  ICDP-USGS Eyreville drill site in the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure (CBIS).

This project was funded by the USGS and the ICDP. In the fall of 2005, continuously cored sections were acquired from two holes drilled to a composite depth of 1,766 m at a site within the central part of the structure near Cape Charles, Virginia, USA. The buried CBIS is the seventh largest, and one of the best preserved, of the known impact structures on Earth. The primary objectives of this project are to: understand the deep subsurface biosphere at this unique site; obtain detailed information on the subsurface structure and crater fill of one of the best preserved large impact structures; to correlate these data with the geophysical studies that were recently completed or are in progress; to determine the presence and composition of melt bodies in the crater fill; and to perform comparative geochemical (including isotopic) and petrographical studies of the crater fill breccias, possible melt rocks and basement rocks.

Microbiological enumeration and culture and culture-independent methods coupled with geochemical data suggest the presence of three major microbiological zones. For details on the microbiology, visit the project summary Deep Biosphere Studies at the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure.

For more information view the following publication:

G. S. Gohn, C. Koeberl, K. G. Miller, W. U. Reimold, J. V. Browning, C. S. Cockell, J. W. Horton, Jr., T. Kenkmann, A. A. Kulpecz, D. S. Powars, W. E. Sanford, and M. A. Voytek. Deep Drilling into the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure. Science 27 June 2008: 1740-1745.

Also contact Mary Voytek, Voytek Microbiology.

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