Trace elements in coastal environments are derived from three major sources: (1) the bordering watershed; (2) the offshore marine environment; and (3) industrial and/or urban effluent. The site of deposition, however, is controlled by physical and chemical processes in the coastal zone. In many cases, these processes are controlled by climate and can vary seasonally. In the harbor at Corpus Christi, Texas, the summer climate creates an oxygen-poor environment in the water column near the sediment-water interface. This causes chalcophilic metals to precipitate from the water, resulting in high concentrations in the sediments near the source. During the winter, turbulence created by strong winds causes the entire water mass to become aerated and oxidizing, and remobilization of some metals results. In addition, this turbulence accelerates circulation which transports the metal-enriched waters from the harbor. On the outer continental shelf of south Texas, the infaunal activity varies seasonally with bottom water temperatures. As this infaunal activity has an effect on the chemical environment within the sediment near the sediment-water interface, the observed trace metal content at the interface also appears to change with the seasons. ?? 1986.
Additional publication details
Trace metal seasonal variations in Texas marine sediments