Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

William Fitzgerald (Committee Member), Chad Hammerschmidt (Advisor), Chad Hammerschmidt (Committee Chair), Carl Lamborg (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Trace metals in the ocean are derived from natural and anthropogenic sources. Despite increased human impact on the marine environment and biological productivity of continental margins, trace metal studies in marine sediments have focused primarily on near-shore regions. I investigated 22 metals in sediments on the continental margin of the northwest Atlantic Ocean to calculate enrichment factors (EF) relative to upper continental crust and identify spatial variations with distance from shore and depth below the sediment-seawater interface. Metals were well correlated with Al, Fe, organic matter, or CaCO3. No clear trends in metal EFs with distance from shore were evident on a station by station basis, but consistent differences among regions of the continental margin were evident. Significant near-shore enrichment was observed. Enrichment was also evident for As, Hg, Mn, and Ni in sediments farther off-shore, suggesting the influence of human activities or hydrothermal vent emissions have enriched deep ocean sediments.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Year Degree Awarded