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A transition from undifferentiated mud to estuarine sediment occurs in the bottom of the Rappahannock River estuary between the sediment-water interface and 100 centimeters in depth. Differentiation produces characteristic sequences of horizons that are analogous to those in terrestrial soil profiles. The sediment profiles and their chemical properties respond to a dynamic equilibrium between sedimentation rate, depositional rate of organic detritus, and microbiological activity. The equilibrium is influenced by the general bathymetry and intensity of physical processes near the bottom, the salinity and ventilation of the bottom water, the composition of organic detritus, and sediment compaction processes such as dewatering...

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