Characteristics of resuspended sediment from Georges Bank collected with a sediment trap

Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
By: , and 



A sediment trap was deployed 3 m from the bottom at a water depth of 62 m on the southern flank of Georges Bank (41°02·2′N, 67°33·5′W) from 30 September 1978 to 10 March 1979 to qualitatively determine the size of sediments resuspended from the bottom by winter storms and to determine if seasonal changes in the phytoplankton could be observed in the trapped sediment.

Bulk X-ray analyses of the trapped sediment showed layers of distinctly different textures preserved in the collection vessel. The median grain size of sampled layers ranged from 2·7 to 6·5 φ (fine sand to silt), but all layers contained a pronounced mode in the 3 φ (fine sand) range. Nine layers containing relatively large amounts of sand were present. The sand content was 75% in the coarest layers and about 32% in the fine layers. The median grain size of bottom sediments at the deployment site was considerably coarser than the trap samples, although the dominant grain size was also 3 φ.

Average bottom-current speeds during the deployment period were about 30 cm s−1 with a range of 10 to 50 cm s−1. Bottom stress, computed from the observed currents and waves, suggest that 11 storms caused sufficient stress to resuspend 3 φ-sized sediments, in good agreement with the nine layers of relatively coarse sediments collected in the trap. Surface waves had to be included in the calculation of bottom stress because the bottom currents alone were insufficient to cause the resuspension of 3 φ-sized sediment.

The trapped sediments contain numerous diatoms and coccoliths that are typical of late fall and winter assemblages. No clear seasonal difference in the flora was noted among sampled layers, probably due to the large influx of resuspended material and a reduced primary flux during this period. An undescribed species of Thalassiosira (G. Fryxell, personal communication), and siliceous scales of unknown systematic position were observed at all levels.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Characteristics of resuspended sediment from Georges Bank collected with a sediment trap
Series title Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
DOI 10.1016/0272-7714(83)90004-5
Volume 17
Issue 5
Year Published 1983
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 13 p.
First page 521
Last page 533
Country United States
Other Geospatial Georges Bank
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