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TRACES - Project 1

SP1: Sediment Transport and Pollutants I - Estuaries as Final Sinks

SP1 focusses on estuarine systems as final sinks for pollutants, nutrients and eroded soil using sedimentological and geochemical analyses. It provides spatial data of sediment (grab samples of sediment-water-interface) properties to investigate distribution and impacts of pollutants representing the current status of the systems. Additionally, sedimentological and geochemical parameters from short sediment cores are analysed to reconstruct system changes as well as to obtain reference conditions of the preindustrial status. A dense grid of surface samples will be recovered from each system. Each sample will be analysed for potential pollutants (e.g., heavy metals), eutrophication (e.g., TOC, P) and erosion indicators (e.g., mag. susc., Ti) to map the environmental conditions within the selected systems. Coring sites will be selected after seismic surveys performed by our South African counterpart. Dating of sediment cores by 137Cs/210Pb and radiocarbon will be supported by palaeomagnetic secular variation stratigraphy (esp. declination). This will be complemented by sampling in the catchment areas of the Mhlatuze and Mfule rivers which form the main tributaries to Richards Bay. Subsamples will be provided to all project partners.