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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Journal of Sedimentary Research (SEPM)


Journal of Sedimentary Petrology
Vol. 38 (1968)No. 1. (March), Pages 79-86

Surficial Sediments Of Boston Harbor, Massachusetts (1)

Ely Mencher (2), R. A. Copeland, H. Payson, Jr.


A study was made of the composition, grain-size distribution, and organic content of 152 grab samples taken from the very poorly sorted black mud to sandy mud that forms the superficial sediments of Boston Harbor. The sand and silt-size fractions of the mud consist mainly of quartz with some muscovite, feldspar and garnet (?), quartzite and igneous rock fragments, and coke, coal, and other organic materials of industrial origin. The clay fractions contain chlorite, illite, and probably muscovite, some quartz and feldspar, and particulate organic matter.

In general, the coarsest mean grain sizes occur in channels scoured by dredging or tidal action, and the finest in areas where no dredging has taken place and where tidal velocities are at a minimum. A comparison of the distribution of the finely divided organic matter in the mud with that predicted from the location of sewage discharges and current circulation in the Harbor indicates that sewage is the source of the bulk of organic matter in the sediments.

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