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Chesapeake Bay, the USA’s Largest Estuary – January 19th, 2012

37.5N 76.1W

January 19th, 2012 Category: Image of the day

USA - January 5th, 2012

This wide-swath ASAR image shows the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States. It lies off the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by Maryland and Virginia. The Chesapeake Bay’s drainage basin covers 64,299 square miles (166,534 km2) in the District of Columbia and parts of six states: New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. More than 150 rivers and streams drain into the bay.

The Chesapeake Bay is approximately 200 miles (300 km) long, from the Susquehanna River in the north to the Atlantic Ocean in the south. At its narrowest point between Kent County’s Plum Point (near Newtown) and the Harford County shore near Romney Creek, the bay is 2.8 miles (4.5 km) wide; at its widest point, just south of the mouth of the Potomac River, it is 30 miles (50 km) wide. Total shoreline for the bay and its tributaries is 11,684 miles (18,804 km), and the surface area of the bay and its major tributaries is 4,479 square miles (11,601 km2). Average depth of the bay is 46 feet (14 m) and the maximum depth is 208 feet (63 m).

Chesapeake Bay and Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, USA

39.2N 76.6W

November 13th, 2010 Category: Snapshots

USA - October 12th, 2010

The cities of Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, DC can be observed near the east coast of the United States of America, in the upper right quadrant. Baltimore is located along the Chesapeake Bay, while Washington is further inland to the south.

A series of bays can be seen along the coast. North of the Chesapeake Bay is Delaware Bay, lighter in color. To the south of the Chesapeake are the Albemarle Sound and the Pamlico Sound (below the former), in the state of North Carolina. Greenish sediments and algal growth can be seen in both.

Chesapeake Bay and Albemarle Sound by USA’s East Coast

38.5N 76.3W

October 3rd, 2010 Category: Snapshots

USA - September 14th, 2010

This late summer image focuses on several bays and estuaries on the central eastern coast of the USA. Near the top, between the states of Virginia (west) and Maryland (east), is the Chesapeake Bay. While its upper reaches appear dark blue, sediments give the lower part, closer to the Atlantic Ocean, a greenish tinge.

Further south is Albemarle Sound, a large estuary on the coast of North Carolina that is located at the confluence of a group of rivers, including the Chowan and Roanoke. Its waters are dark, appearing almost black in the full image. South of the Albemarle Sound is the Pamlico Sound, whose waters have a green tinge.

Contours of Chesapeake Bay Coastline, USA – May 30th, 2009

37.5N 76.1W

May 30th, 2009 Category: Fires, Image of the day, Rivers

Chesapeake Bay, USA - May 21st, 2009

Chesapeake Bay, USA - May 21st, 2009

The Chesapeake Bay (middle) is the largest estuary in the United States. It lies off the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by Maryland (above) and Virginia (below). Parts of the states of Delaware and New Jersey are also visible in the upper right quadrant. Also of note is a plume of smoke at the lower left, from a fire in Virginia.

The Chesapeake Bay stretches about 200 miles (300 km) from the Susquehanna River in the north to the Atlantic Ocean in the south. The Chesapeake Bay is the ria, or drowned valley, of the Susquehanna, meaning that it was where the river flowed when the sea level was lower.

Much of the bay is quite shallow. At the point where the Susquehanna River flows into the bay, the average depth is 30 feet (9 m), although this soon diminishes to an average of 10 feet (3 m) from the city of Havre de Grace for about 35 miles (56 km), to just north of Annapolis.

In this image, sun glint makes the water of the bay appear whitish, and thus highlights the contours of the coastline. However, despite the glint it is still possible to observe some greenish sediments flowing into the bay.

Since the bay is an estuary, it has fresh water and brackish water. Brackish water has three salinity zones — oligohaline (little salt, freshwater species able to survive), mesohaline (medium amount of salt), and polyhaline (very salty, sometimes as much as sea water).

In the Chesapeake Bay, the fresh water zone runs from the mouth of the Susquehanna River to north Baltimore.  The mesohaline zone reaches from the Bay Bridge to the mouth of the Rapahannock River, and the salty polyhaline zone runs from the mouth of the Rappahannock River to the mouth of the bay.

Chesapeake Bay and Albemarle Sound Estuaries – March 25th, 2009

March 25th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Rivers

USA - March 19th, 2009

USA - March 19th, 2009

Two large estuaries can be seen here on the East Coast of the United States of America. To the North is the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the USA; to the South is the Albemarle Sound. Sediments can be seen flowing into the estuaries from their respective tributaries.

The Chesapeake Bay lies off the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by Maryland (top) and Virginia (center).  More than 150 rivers and streams drain into it.

The Chesapeake Bay is about 200 miles (300 km) long, from the Susquehanna River in the north to the Atlantic Ocean in the south. At its narrowest point, the Bay is 2.8 miles (4.5 km) wide; at its widest point, just south of the mouth of the Potomac River, it is 30 miles (50 km) wide.

Total shoreline for the Bay and its tributaries is 11,684 miles (18,804 km), and the surface area of the bay and its major tributaries is 4479 sqmi.

Albemarle Sound is a large estuary on the coast of North Carolina (bottom) located at the confluence of a group of rivers, including the Chowan and Roanoke.

It is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the Outer Banks, a long barrier peninsula. Much of the water in the Albemarle Sound is brackish or fresh, as opposed to the saltwater of the ocean, as a result of river water pouring into the sound.