This paper describes a rapid procedure that allows precise analysis of Mo, Cd, U and Th in sediment samples as small as 10 mg by using a novel approach that utilizes a "pseudo" isotope dilution for Th and conventional isotope dilution for Mo, Cd and U by ICP-MS. Long-term reproducibility of the method is between 2.5 and 5% with an advantage of rapid analysis on a single digestion of sediment sample and the potential of adding other elements of interest if so desired. Application of this method to two piston cores collected near the mouth of the Patuxent River in Chesapeake Bay showed that the accumulation of authigenic Mo and Cd varied in response to the changing bottom water redox conditions, with anoxia showing consistent oscillations throughout both pre-industrial and industrial times. Accumulation of authigenic U shows consistent oscillations as well, without any apparent increase in productivity related to anoxic trends. Degrees of Mo and Cd enrichment also inversely correlate to halophilic microfaunal assemblages already established as paleoclimate proxies within the bay indicating that bottom water anoxia is driven in part by the amount of freshwater discharge that the area receives. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.