Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Zsolt Kormendy, University of Maine Orono

Class Year: 

Project Title: 

Sediment Chronology: Environmental Impacts in the Tidal Sassafras River


Three cores were collected from the shallow waters (<2m) of the tidal Sassafras River to examine the history of environmental pollution. Sediment dating and geochemical profiles were determined through analysis of 210Pb, total and inorganic phosphorus, iron and trace metals. Additionally, the cores were examined for algal induction and presence/absence of submerged aquatic vegetation seeds. Sedimentation rates were determined for 2 cores, with rates of 0.7 and 4 cm per year; the third core was not dateable. Moderate concentrations of trace metals were found with an indication of higher inputs in the past. Phosphorus concentrations were generally higher than observed in other Chesapeake Bay sediments.