Carolina bay

Along the Atlantic shore, from the southern tip of New Jersey to northern Florida, the coastal plain is marked by marshy depressions known as Carolina bays. As the name suggests, these sinks—species of bay tree are the dominant vegetation—are most numerous in North and South Carolina. They all tend to be elliptical in shape, and, more curious, their long axes tend to parallel each other, suggesting they might have been created by a swarm of meteoroids plummeting to Earth on a slant, perhaps the fallout from an exploding comet. Carolina bays may be as short as fifty yards in length or as long as several miles. Swampy and crowded with shrubby evergreen vegetation, a Carolina bay is devilishly difficult to pass through and is a place where it is possible to wander in circles for hours. Over time these bays might slump even deeper, creating inland lakes. The cool, clear, and immensely popular White Lake and Lake Waccamaw, both in North Carolina, are flooded Carolina bays.

Jan DeBlieu