Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Benjamin Green, University of Iowa

Class Year: 

Project Title: 

Sedimentation Trends and Their Effect on Nitrogen Burial in the Lower Potomac River


Nitrogen burial through sediment accumulation is a major sink within the proposed nitrogen cycle for the Potomac River. This study explored the relationship between nitrogen concentration and deposition patterns. 210Pb geochronology was used to calculate sedimentation rates for sediment cores collected in the Potomac River. There were examples of both steady-state accumulation and event-layer deposition at different points along the river. Upon further analysis, it was found that sediment deposition patterns have a direct relationship to the rates of nitrogen burial. It is postulated that either channel location or river position affects dominant deposition patterns, with differences also noted in profiles of median grain size profiles and nitrogen concentration profiles.