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Cafe Scientifique

July 27, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Annapolis Cafe Scienitfique: A place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. At 49 West, CoffeeHouse, Winebar and Gallery

Please call 49 West to reserve your seat at 410-626-9796, or to release your seat if you will not be able to attend; thanks!

Title: An Asteroid, An Ice Age, and finally the Chesapeake! 

Speaker: Peter Wasilewski,  Scientist Emeritus, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center


Abstract: 35 million years ago, near what is now the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia, an asteroid 2 miles in diameter punched a deep hole in the mud and rock beneath a shallow sea that existed at the time. The impact created an enormous tsunami possibly reaching as far as the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The event created the largest known impact crater in the United States and had permanent consequences for the setting of the Chesapeake Bay.  The crater was 52 miles wide and over 1 mile deep – bigger than Rhode Island and as deep as the Grand Canyon.  Rock was fractured as deep as 7 miles. The crater influenced river flow and defined the mouth of the Bay.  Ice age cycles since the impact have caused the ocean levels to vary by almost 400 feet helping to sculpt the Susquehanna River valley.  The Chesapeake Bay is basically the drowned Susquehanna River valley.  Dr. Wasilewski will describe how plate tectonics, an asteroid, and the ice age have created the Chesapeake Bay.

About the Speaker: As a NASA scientist, Dr. Peter Wasilewski had a career dedicated to studying magnetic properties of solar system materials including moon rocks, meteorites and earth rocks.  His passion for scientific quests led him to turn down a contract to play professional football for the Baltimore Colts so that he could participate in an expedition to the world’s largest piece of ice – Antarctica.  He returned to Antarctica six times to tread at times where no human had previously set foot.  Near the base of the Antarctic Peninsula stands an ancient volcano that bears his name – Mount Wasilewski. Building on this experience, he was instrumental in the development and execution of NASA educational programs for science teachers from across the country to enhance their teaching expertise through experiential activities with ice and snow.  His interests in combining science and art resulted in the creation of Frizion, an art form using photographs using polarized light as water begins to freeze and then melt (www.frizion.com).  He currently lectures on cruise ships, on topics relating to various destination and science-based topics. Dr. Wasilewski has a Doctor of Science degree from the University of Tokyo.

And coming up for August and September:

August 31: An Idea for a Global Greenhouse Gas Initiative, by Will Chandler

September 28: Ping, Boom & Growl: How human-produced underwater sounds affect marine animals, by Adam S. Frankel, Ph.D., Biological Oceanography, Marine Acoustics, Inc., Hawai‘i Marine Mammal Consortium.

Hope to see you next Thursday!

Tracy Gill & Andy Loftus


July 27, 2017
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
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