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Carolina bays identified as hydrogen seeps in new paper
event October 19, 2015 comment 34 Comments

I heard have from this group of researchers on and off as they have tested for anomalous hydrogen in Carolina bays based on their work on similar features in Russia. They are very professional and quite certain their test data supports the hypothesis that bays are surficial expressions of hydrogen seeps from down under — not cosmic, mind you — but fascinating nonetheless. They even identify what they suggest is the birth of a new bay at iconic Jones Bay State Park. This is the first time I know of anyone identifying a bay in the making over non-geological times.

See the baby bay below? Trees are down and it looks like someone cut a circular timber plot in a state park, and left the timber. Unlikely but not impossible. Since they include data indicating a significant hydrogen spike from the baby bay in their paper, I am curious why they did not include any ground photos of the feature, since it was apparently hiked to — with instruments.

Come to think of it, this baby bay would be great candidate for some drone footage with my latest craft. I have been meaning to ‘drone’ bay country and it is certainly the season. I will reach out to them and see if some photos of the ‘little baybito’ might be helpful.

Finally, since hydrogen is a relatively valuable commodity, perhaps this could be good news for southeastern North Carolina. Bay country could use a natural resource, other than hogs and turkeys.

Evidence for natural molecular hydrogen seepage associated with Carolina bays (surficial, ovoid depressions on the Atlantic Coastal Plain, Province of the USA)


A study of soil gases was made in North Carolina (USA) in and around morphological depressions called “Carolina bays.” This type of depression is observed over the Atlantic coastal plains of the USA, but their origin remains debated. Significant concentrations of molecular hydrogen (H 2 ) were detected, notably around the bays. These measurements suggest that Carolina bays are the surficial expression of fluid flow pathways for hydrogen gas moving from depth to the surface. The potential mechanisms of H 2 production and transport and the geological controls on the fluid migration pathways are discussed, with reference to the hypothesis that Carolina bays are the result of local collapses caused by the alteration of rock along the deep pathways of H 2 migrating towards the surface. The present H 2 seepages are comparable to those in similar structures previously observed in the East European craton.


Carolina bays are surficial, consistently oriented, oval-shaped depressions that occur widely across the southeastern Atlantic Coastal Plain, Province of eastern North America (Brooks et al. [2010]). They are well defined on satellite images (Figs. 2, 3, and 4) and densely cover parts of the Coastal Plain in North Carolina (NC) and South Carolina (SC). They vary in size, ranging from ~100 m to 8 km in diameter (Lake Waccamaw, NC, USA). Slightly elevated rims (~1–3 m), commonly consisting of sand, surround these features. Although some bays have continuous elevated rims, the rims do not usually completely encircle the bays but often form a crescent. The long axes of these elliptical features are preferentially oriented NW–SE (Figs. 1, 2, 3, and 4). Bays of various sizes may overlap, and small bays are frequently present inside larger bays (Fig. 2). In areas undisturbed by anthropogenic activities, these bays can include densely vegetated wetlands or open water lakes. These features were originally called “bays” because of the bay trees that inhabit these wet depressions or pocosins. Now, the term “bay” indicates a wet oval-shaped depression. Locally, these features are also called cypress domes, Grady ponds, citronelle ponds, wet prairies, sandhill ponds, etc. (Folkerts [1997]). In anthropogenically modified areas, the bays are commonly drained and cleared for agriculture or other purposes. Even when modified, most of the bays are still easily discernable in satellite and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) images because of their characteristic morphology and relief and the soil bleaching on their rims. Hundreds of thousands of bays occur along the Atlantic Coastal Plain from New Jersey to Florida (Prouty [1952]), and in NC, the bays cover as much as 65 % of the land surface of the Coastal Plain (Prouty [1952]). Eyton and Parkhurst ([1975]) summarized the physical characteristics of Carolina bays.