Date of Award

Summer 1972

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean & Earth Sciences



Committee Director

John C. Ludwick

Committee Member

William J. Hanna

Committee Member

Peter Fleischer

Committee Member

Gerald H. Johnson

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.O35M54


Seasonal and spatial variations in the surface water turbidity across the entrance to Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, have been monitored with an optical transmissometer for one year. The data indicate a suspended-sediment gradient across the entrance with higher turbidity on the south side. This condition suggests that the flooding and ebbing tidal currents are influenced by Coriolis force. Clearer ocean water is introduced into the bay on the north side; whereas highly turbid water from the major drainage systems exits on the south side. A salinity gradient with18 0/00 on the south side of the bay and approximately 32 0/00 on the north side supports this hypothesis.

The suspended-sediment gradient is modified by a two-season regime. The winter season extends from October through March, and the summer season from April through September. The winter season is characterized by a higher turbidity, is initiated by a fall diatom bloom, and is maintained by extended periods of high wind. The summer season is characterized by low turbidity, is initiated by the dying-off of a late winter-early spring diatom bloom, and is maintained by extended periods of calm weather.


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