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Sedimentary and geochemical variations in a salt marsh/mud flat environment from the mesotidal Hamble estuary, southern England

Sedimentary and geochemical variations in a salt marsh/mud flat environment from the mesotidal Hamble estuary, southern England
Sedimentary and geochemical variations in a salt marsh/mud flat environment from the mesotidal Hamble estuary, southern England
The sediment record in a salt marsh contains valuable information on anthropogenic and natural inputs. The reliability of this record for a single core depends on how representative the sample is for the whole marsh and whether the various indicator elements are immobile. A detailed radiometric and geochemical study has been carried out on a series of salt marsh cores from the Hamble estuary, southern England, a temperate mesotidal estuary. Cores have been taken in two transects to assess cross-marsh variations in sediment accretion, trace element deposition and early diagenesis. From this, conclusions are drawn about variations in sedimentary processes and marsh stability, trace element focusing and the effect of early diagenetic movement on historical pollution records. Sediment accumulation rates across the salt marsh vary between 4 and 8 mm yr?1 (137Cs and 210Pb dating) and are apparently independent of elevation in the marsh. 210Pb, 137Cs and anthropogenic Cu data show that the fronting mud flat is eroding, which may lead to increased wave attack and erosion at the marsh edge. The salt marsh itself, however, is accumulating at a rate significantly higher than the local rate of mean sea-level rise. The atmospheric deposition record of 210Pbxs is not well-preserved in the more organic-rich sediment at the rear of the salt marsh. 210Pb and Pb are apparently mobilised in highly reduced sediments beneath the permanent water table and precipitate in overlying partially reduced sediment with hydrous Mn and Fe oxides. Such diagenetic movement of 210Pb and Pb is localised and is not laterally continuous. At sites showing possible early diagenetic remobilisation of 210Pb the accuracy of 210Pb dating is reduced. Remobilisation of 210Pb does not preclude 210Pb dating, however, if peaks arising from redox mobility are identified and eliminated by comparison with other geochemical data (Fe, Pb, S, etc.). Of the trace elements examined, Cu shows a clear pollution spike. Anthropogenic Cu introduced into the Hamble estuary from the Esso refinery at Fawley, Southampton Water peaked around 1970 and has significantly reduced since 1971. Cu, 210Pbxs and 137Cs are focused to some degree at the front of the marsh due to input of material labelled with these elements which has been eroded from surrounding mud flat areas.
0304-4203
115-132
Cundy, Andrew B.
994fdc96-2dce-40f4-b74b-dc638286eb08
Croudace, Ian W.
24deb068-d096-485e-8a23-a32b7a68afaf
Cundy, Andrew B.
994fdc96-2dce-40f4-b74b-dc638286eb08
Croudace, Ian W.
24deb068-d096-485e-8a23-a32b7a68afaf

Cundy, Andrew B. and Croudace, Ian W. (1995) Sedimentary and geochemical variations in a salt marsh/mud flat environment from the mesotidal Hamble estuary, southern England. Marine Chemistry, 51 (2), 115-132. (doi:10.1016/0304-4203(95)00054-U).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The sediment record in a salt marsh contains valuable information on anthropogenic and natural inputs. The reliability of this record for a single core depends on how representative the sample is for the whole marsh and whether the various indicator elements are immobile. A detailed radiometric and geochemical study has been carried out on a series of salt marsh cores from the Hamble estuary, southern England, a temperate mesotidal estuary. Cores have been taken in two transects to assess cross-marsh variations in sediment accretion, trace element deposition and early diagenesis. From this, conclusions are drawn about variations in sedimentary processes and marsh stability, trace element focusing and the effect of early diagenetic movement on historical pollution records. Sediment accumulation rates across the salt marsh vary between 4 and 8 mm yr?1 (137Cs and 210Pb dating) and are apparently independent of elevation in the marsh. 210Pb, 137Cs and anthropogenic Cu data show that the fronting mud flat is eroding, which may lead to increased wave attack and erosion at the marsh edge. The salt marsh itself, however, is accumulating at a rate significantly higher than the local rate of mean sea-level rise. The atmospheric deposition record of 210Pbxs is not well-preserved in the more organic-rich sediment at the rear of the salt marsh. 210Pb and Pb are apparently mobilised in highly reduced sediments beneath the permanent water table and precipitate in overlying partially reduced sediment with hydrous Mn and Fe oxides. Such diagenetic movement of 210Pb and Pb is localised and is not laterally continuous. At sites showing possible early diagenetic remobilisation of 210Pb the accuracy of 210Pb dating is reduced. Remobilisation of 210Pb does not preclude 210Pb dating, however, if peaks arising from redox mobility are identified and eliminated by comparison with other geochemical data (Fe, Pb, S, etc.). Of the trace elements examined, Cu shows a clear pollution spike. Anthropogenic Cu introduced into the Hamble estuary from the Esso refinery at Fawley, Southampton Water peaked around 1970 and has significantly reduced since 1971. Cu, 210Pbxs and 137Cs are focused to some degree at the front of the marsh due to input of material labelled with these elements which has been eroded from surrounding mud flat areas.

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More information

Published date: October 1995
Organisations: Geochemistry

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 399541
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/399541
ISSN: 0304-4203
PURE UUID: 146d970f-09b2-409e-a6b0-2a155f604101
ORCID for Andrew B. Cundy: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4368-2569

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 18 Aug 2016 10:58
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 12:21

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