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Patterns of sediment accumulation in the tidal marshes of Maine

January 1, 1989

One year's measurements of surficial sedimentation rates (1986-1987) for 26 Maine marsh sites were made over marker horizons of brick dust. Observed sediment accumulation rates, from 0 to 13 mm yr-1, were compared with marsh morphology, local relative sea-level rise rate, mean tidal range, and ice rafting activity. Marshes with four different morphologies (back-barrier, fluvial, bluff-toe, and transitional) showed distinctly different sediment accumulation rates. In general, back-barrier marshes had the highest accumulation rates and blufftoe marshes had the lowest rates, with intermediate values for transitional and fluvial marshes. No causal relationship between modern marsh sediment accumulation rate and relative sea-level rise rate (from tide gauge records) was observed. Marsh accretionary balance (sediment accumulation rate minus relative sea-level rise rate) did not correlate with mean tidal range for this meso- to macro-tidal area. Estimates of ice-rafted debris on marsh sites ranged from 0% to >100% of measured surficial sedimentation rates, indicating that ice transport of sediment may make a significant contribution to surficial sedimentation on Maine salt marshes.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1989
Title Patterns of sediment accumulation in the tidal marshes of Maine
DOI 10.2307/1351903
Authors M.E. Wood, J. T. Kelley, D. F. Belknap
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Estuaries
Series Number
Index ID 70015427
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization