Archive for September, 2009
Last Wednesday afternoon, Ori and I took a ride in BMC’s Geology van to Tinicum Marsh with Don Barber and his sedimentology class. This site is of interest to us because of its natural environment as well as the historical anthropogenic activities in the area.
Tinicum marsh is a freshwater tidal marsh which is unique because it is influenced by ocean tides, but far enough from the coast to maintain a freshwater ecosystem. The marsh originally covered greater than 5,700 acres, but rapid urbanization following World War I reduced the marsh to fewer than 300 acres. Human activities include the nearby Interstate 95, Folcroft landfill (operational in the 1950s to the mid-1970s, when it was closed) as well as its proximity to the 2004 M/T Athos I Oil Spill, which spilled 265,000 gallons of crude oil into the Delaware river after hitting a submerged anchor while docking at Plainsboro, New Jersey.
We collected a sediment core, some surface sediment grab samples, marveled at the microbial mats and generally enjoyed being outside on a beautiful sunny afternoon. Back in the lab, we sectioned the core and are now ready to start working on this sediment to see what stories it may tell.
I am very pleased to report that the lab is up and running. Many thanks to Carl Aronson, Joanne Brown, Ron Tola and the facilities staff for their work in helping to create a great working environment for us. Sarah has been busily sieving marine sediments and today Casper began his first experiment to break apart organic carbon bonds in sediments. Ori and I went into the field last week with our colleague Don Barber at Bryn Mawr College and his sedimentology class (reported in next blog entry) so we now have new samples to investigate. Next on the agenda is a trip to the coast this coming weekend to collect more samples. Check back for updates!