Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Textural characteristics — mean, dispersion, and skewness — and heavy metal concentrations — Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, and Hg — were determined for 41 bottom grab samples collected during July, 1973, at the mouth of the Fox River proximate to a coal-fired electric generating plant. The principal sediment types identified were very fine sand $$(\bar x = 3.08\phi )$$ and medium silt $$(\bar x = 5.54\phi )$$ . Irregular sediment distribution patterns along the western bank of the river reflect the complex interaction of the river currents and the orthogonally injected thermal effluent. Beyond the influence of the discharge plume, a more regular trend of sediment dispersal was identified. Sedimentary processes operative within this shallow environment are subject to considerable modification by wind-induced turbulence. The levels of Cr, Cu, Zn, and Cd were two to four times more concentrated in the Recent sediments than in the underlying glaciolacustrine deposits of red (Valders) clay. Ni concentrations were generally low while Hg was 15 to 35 times higher than background levels. Heavy metals were more concentrated in the fine-grained sediments of the river and shipping channel than in the coarser fractions along the river banks and nearshore environments of the lower Bay. The thermal effluent of the power plant has local but significant physical effects on the sediments in the vicinity of the discharge outlet. The chemical character of the sediments is established principally through upstream sources in the Fox River.
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