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