Carolina Bays

January 15, 2003


Provided by: George Howard
Summary authors & editors: George Howard; Jim Foster

Carolina bays are wetland areas, so named for the profusion of Bay trees they support. These "bays" typically appear as stretched, elliptical depressions in the ground, oriented along their long axis from the northwest to the southeast. Over 1,000,000 Carolina bays are found from Maryland to Florida with a highest concentration in North and South Carolina.

The above photo shows a portion of a Carolina bay in the Dover Bay Wetlands Restoration Site outside of Kinston, North Carolina. The cause of these natural eliptical features has long been in dispute, but they have nothing to do with crop circles. It may be that a number of terrestrial mechanisms operated together to form the bays, or perhaps a single encounter with a space borne object best accounts for their appearance. The linear features on the photo are backfilled drainage ditches, which have been filled in order to restore drained farmland to wetlands, as "compensatory mitigation" for the construction of the nearby Global Transpark Airport.

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