Chesapeake Bay

estuary in the U.S. states of Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia, and Virginia
Coordinates: 36°59′45″N 75°57′34″W / 36.99583°N 75.95944°W / 36.99583; -75.95944

The Chesapeake Bay (pronounced /'tʃɛsəpi:k/) is the largest estuary in the United States.[1] It lies off the Atlantic Ocean and is surrounded by Maryland and Virginia. The bay's watershed 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.[1] More than 150 rivers and streams drain into it.

Chesapeake Bay
The Chesapeake Bay – Landsat photo
Name origin: Chesepiooc, Algonquian for village "at a big river"
Country United States
States Maryland, Virginia
 - left Chester River, Choptank River, Nanticoke River, Pocomoke River
 - right Patapsco River, Patuxent River, Potomac River, Rappahannock River, York River, James River
Source Susquehanna River
 - location Havre de Grace, MD
 - elevation ft (0 m)
 - coordinates 39°32′35″N 76°04′32″W / 39.54306°N 76.07556°W / 39.54306; -76.07556
Mouth Atlantic Ocean
 - location Virginia Beach, VA
 - elevation ft (0 m)
 - coordinates 36°59′45″N 75°57′34″W / 36.99583°N 75.95944°W / 36.99583; -75.95944
Length 200 mi (322 km)
Width 30 mi (48 km)
Depth 46 ft (14 m)
Basin 64,299 sq mi (166,534 km²)
Area 4,479 sq mi (11,601 km²)

The Chesapeake Bay is about 200 miles (300 km) long, from the Susquehanna River in the north to the Atlantic Ocean. At its narrowest point between Kent County's Plum Point (near Newtown) and the Harford County shore near Romney Creek, the bay isabout 2.8 miles (4.5 km) wide. At the widest location, it is 30 miles (50 km) wide. The bay is 46 feet (14 m) deep on average.

The bay has two bridges over it. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge crosses the bay in Maryland from Sandy Point (near Annapolis) to Kent Island. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in Virginia connects Virginia Beach to Cape Charles.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Fact Sheet 102-98 - The Chesapeake Bay: Geologic Product of Rising Sea Level". U. S. Geological Survey. 1998-11-18. Retrieved 2008-01-13.

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