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Open-File Report 20151219

A Seasonal Comparison of Surface Sediment Characteristics in Chincoteague Bay, Maryland and Virginia, USA

By Alisha M. Ellis, Marci E. Marot, Cathryn J. Wheaton, Julie C. Bernier, and Christopher G. Smith



Photograph of Chincoteague Bay taken October, 2014.

Photograph of Chincoteague Bay taken October, 2014. Photograph by Alisha M. Ellis.

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center conducted a seasonal collection of surficial sediments from Chincoteague Bay and Tom's Cove, between Assateague Island and the Delmarva Peninsula in late March/early April 2014 and October 2014. The sampling efforts were part of a larger U.S. Geological Survey study to assess the effects of storm events on sediment distribution in back-barrier environments of the United States. By sampling during the spring and fall, a more complete understanding of seasonal variability in the area can help determine baseline conditions. The objective of this study was to characterize the sediments of Chincoteague Bay in order to create baseline conditions to incorporate with the hydrodynamic and sediment transport models used to evaluate pre- and post-storm change and compare with future field measurements.  

This report is an archive for sedimentological data derived from the surface sediment of Chincoteague Bay. Data are available for the spring (March/April 2014) and fall (October 2014) samples collected. Downloadable data are provided as Excel spreadsheets and as JPEG files. Additional files include ArcGIS shapefiles of the sampling sites, detailed results of sediment grain-size analyses, and formal Federal Geographic Data Committee metadata (data downloads).



This study was funded under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act 2013 supplemental funding from the U.S. Department of the Interior for projects that are part of the science plan “Meeting the Science Needs of the Nation in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy—A U.S. Geological Survey Science Plan for Support of Restoration and Recovery” (Buxton and others, 2013). The authors would like to thank Bill Hulslander and Neil Winn from the U. S. National Park Service, Kevin Holcomb from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Nicholas Nidezieko from Horn Point Marine Laboratory, and Ali Redman from the Chincoteague Bay Field Station for logistical support, vessel operation, and facility use during field collection. The authors would like to thank Alexis Beudin from the USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center for access to his model data and assistance with interpretation of the data. We appreciate the Web design assistance provided by Noreen Buster and Jolene Gittens and the field and laboratory assistance provided by Scott Adams. We would also like to thank Lisa Osterman and Joseph Long for their pre-release commentary and peer review.  

Information Statement

Although these data were processed successfully on a computer system at the U.S. Geological Survey, no warranty expressed or implied is made regarding the display or utility of the data on any other system, or for general or scientific purposes, nor shall the act of distribution imply any such warranty. The U.S. Geological Survey shall not be held liable for improper or incorrect use of the data described and (or) contained herein. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Suggested Citation

Ellis, A.M., Marot, M.E., Wheaton, C.J., Bernier, J.C., and Smith, C.G., 2015, A seasonal comparison of surface sediment characteristics in Chincoteague Bay, Maryland and Virginia, USA: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015-1219,

ISSN 23311258 (online)


Alisha M. Ellis
U.S. Geological Survey
St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center
600 4th Street South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 502-8056

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