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Open-File Report 2012–1172

Radioisotopic Data of Sediment Collected in Mobile and Bon Secour Bays, Alabama

By Marci E. Marot and Christopher G. Smith

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Introduction

The focus of this study was to determine the extent of natural and (or) anthropogenic impacts on the sedimentary records of Mobile and Bon Secour Bays, Alabama during the last 150 years. These bays are unique in that anthropogenic activities are generally widespread and span both the eastern and western shorelines. However, there is a clear distinction in the types of human development and infrastructure between the western and eastern shorelines. These activities and the differences in land-use and -change influence the overall supply and remobilization of sediment to and within the bay. These factors could subsequently threaten the health and integrity of these environments and their ability to mitigate against long-term processes associated with climate change. In an attempt to characterize long-term accretion rates within the Mobile Bay Estuarine System (MBES), seven box cores were collected and analyzed for excess lead-210 (210Pbxs, the difference between total and supported 210Pb) and cesium-137 (137Cs) activities. The MBES receives sediment and water from the Alabama and Tombigbee River watersheds, which converge into the Mobile-Tensaw River (MTR) system just prior to discharging into Mobile Bay. Riverine discharge from the MTR system to the bay is second only to the Mississippi River discharge to the Gulf of Mexico for the conterminous United States.

First posted August 30, 2012

For additional information contact:
Marci E. Marot
St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center
600 4th Street South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701


St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center

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Suggested citation:

Marot, M.E., and Smith, C.G., 2012, Radioisotopic data of sediment collected in Mobile and Bon Secour Bays, Alabama: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012–1172, 15 p.



Contents

Introduction

Data Collection and Processing

Collection and Processing of Box Cores

Gamma Spectroscopy Analyses

Alpha Spectroscopy Analyses

Results and Discussion

Acknowledgments

References Cited


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