Sediment samples from nearshore sites in south San Francisco Bay and from streams flowing into that section of the Bay have been characterized in terms of their content of biogenic and anthropogenic molecular marker compounds. The distributions, input sources, and applicability of these compounds in determining sediment movement are discussed. By means of inspection and multivariate analysis, the compounds were grouped according to probable input sources and the sampling stations according to the relative importance of source contributions. A suite of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) dominated by pyrene, fluoranthene and phenanthrene, typical of estuarine environments worldwide, and suites of mature sterane and hopane biomarkers were found to be most suitable as background markers for the Bay. A homologous series of long-chain n-aldehydes (C12-C32) with a strong even-over-odd carbon number dominance in the higher molecular weight range and the ubiquitous n-alkanes (n-C24-C34) with a strong odd-over-even carbon number dominance were utilized as terrigenous markers. Several ratios of these terrigenous and Bay markers were calculated for each station. These ratios and the statistical indicators from the multivariate analysis point toward a strong terrigenous signal in the terminus of South Bay and indicate net directional movement of recently introduced sediment where nontidal currents had been considered to be minimal or nonexistent and tidal currents had been assumed to be dominant. ?? 1989.
Additional publication details
Organic markers as source discriminants and sediment transport indicators in south San Francisco Bay, California