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A seasonal and spatial comparison of metals, and stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes, in Chincoteague Bay and the marsh deposits of Assateague Island and the adjacent vicinity, Maryland and Virginia

November 28, 2017

After Hurricane Sandy, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center conducted a seasonal collection of estuarine, marsh, and sandy overwash surface sediments from Chincoteague Bay, Tom’s Cove, and the surrounding Assateague Island and Delmarva Peninsula in March–April and October 2014. Surplus surface sediment was analyzed for metals, percent carbon and nitrogen, δ13C, and δ15N as part of a complementary U.S. Geological Survey Coastal and Marine Geology Program Sea-level and Storm Impacts on Estuarine Environments and Shorelines project study. The geochemical subsample analyzed for metals and stable isotopes at each site may be used for comparison with past data sets, to create a modern baseline of the natural distribution of the area, to understand seasonal variability as it relates to the health of the local environment, and to assess marsh-to-bay interactions. The use of metals, stable carbon, and stable nitrogen isotopes allows for a more cohesive snapshot of factors influencing the environment and could aid in tracking environmental change.

This report serves as an archive for chemical data derived from the surface sediment. Data are available for a seasonal comparison between the March–April 2014 and October 2014 sampling trips. Downloadable data are available as Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. These additional files include formal Federal Geographic Data Committee metadata (data downloads).