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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances

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U.S. Geological Survey Toxic Substances Hydrology Program--Proceedings of the Technical Meeting, Colorado Springs, Colorado, September 20-24, 1993, Water-Resources Investigations Report 94-4015

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A Survey of Molecular Marker Compounds in Sediments of San Francisco Bay, California

by

Frances D. Hostettler (U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA), John B. Rapp (U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA), Wilfred E. Pereira (U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA),and Keith A. Kvenvolden (U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA)

Abstract

An areal survey of surficial sediments in San Francisco Bay has been conducted to evaluate the presence of extractable organic compounds. Molecular marker compounds studied include hydrocarbons (PAH's), chlorinated pesticides, and other organic compounds that provide information on sources of organic input into the Bay. Fairly uniform source profiles are seen throughout the Bay. Biomarker profiles contain mature constituents indicating anthropogenic influences and extensive sediment reworking. The dominant input signatures in San Francisco Bay sediment are those of anthropogenic PAH's from combustion and other sources, and long chain n-alkanes and n-aldehydes from terrigenous vascular plants. A comparison of the sums of the combustion PAH's and the terrigenous n-alkanes shows that an anthropogenic influence is dominant in the most urban parts of the Bay close to shore, and in mid-Bay channel areas, and a terrigenous signature is dominant nearshore in San Pablo Bay and at the southernmost station in South Bay.

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