Because lower Cook Inlet and Kodiak shelf are being explored and developed for their petroleum resources, it is essential for environmental reasons to understand the sediment dispersal routes and current patterns. The Susitna River flows into upper Cook Inlet and is the source of clay minerals in Holocene deposits found in western lower Cook Inlet. The Copper River, in the northern Gulf of Alaska, provides clay minerals to the Kodiak shelf and southeastern lower Cook Inlet. In addition, crosion of local bedrock outcrops on the shelf produces some clays that are deposited on the Kodiak shelf. Current patterns can be inferred from the clay-mineral distribution pattern. This is true even if the clay-size fraction is a minor sediment component, and in areas where coarse-grained relict deposits occur. Some potential dangers from offshore petroleum development include: (1) rapid and complete mixing of Cook Inlet waters, (2) adsorption of pollutants by clay deposited in quiet bays, and (3) ion-exchange and adsorption of chemical pollutants on clays that are part of the suspended sediment load in lower Cook Inlet. ?? 1979.
Additional publication details
Clay mineralogy, fine-grained sediment dispersal, and inferred current patterns, lower Cook Inlet and Kodiak shelf, Alaska