Date of Award

Spring 1987

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean & Earth Sciences



Committee Director

Dennis A. Darby

Committee Member

Joseph H. Rule

Committee Member

Ronald E. Johnson

Committee Member

R. J. Bryne


Surficial sands deposited in the Chesapeake Bay are a mixture of sands derived from the bay's shorelines, from offshore, and from relict deposits. Direct fluvial input is probably minor except from the James River, which may serve as a local source of sands in the Thimble Shoals area. Sands in the western half of the bay are primarily derived from the erosion of the adjacent shoreline. In contrast, the eastern half of the bay has two major sources of sand. Shoreline erosion is the dominant source north of the town of Eastville, Virginia, while the offshore is the major source south of this area.

Some surficial sands in the Chesapeake Bay are relict. Sands in the upper mid-bay channel are the result of reworked deposits from the Paleo-Susquehanna River. Preservation of this older material is probably the result of its location in the deeper portions of the bay, where depositional rates are low.


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