" . . . bangs have replaced whimpers and the geological record has become much more exciting than it was thought to be. " Derek Ager (1993) The New Catastro phism. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p xix Scientific and public interest in asteroids, comets, and meteorite impacts has never been more intense than right now. Much of this interest stems from the fervent debates surrounding the causes of the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinctions and their possible relationships to a giant bolide impact in Mexico's Yucatan Penin sula. Recent spectacular impacts on Jupiter, and several near misses of our own planet by Near-Earth Objects have intensified professional and popular discussion of society's imperative need to understand the process and effects of bolide im pacts. In the United States, the scientific community and the public, as well, were startled to learn, in 1994, that the largest impact structure in this country had been detected beneath Virginia's portion of the Chesapeake Bay. Seismic surveys and deep coring revealed a huge crater, 85 kilometers in diameter and more than a kilometer deep, stretching from Yorktown, Virginia, to 15 kilometers out onto the shallow continental shelf. Several of Virginia's major population centers, includ ing Norfolk, Hampton, and Newport News, are located on the western rim of the crater, and still experience residual effects of the original collision, 36 million years after the impact took place. Exploration and documentation of the Chesapeake Bay impact structure has proceeded in three phases.