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.