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Pore waters from the Chesapeake Bay impact structure cores recovered at Eyreville Farm, Northampton County, Virginia, were analyzed to characterize the dissolved organic carbon. After squeezing or centrifuging, a small volume of pore water, 100 μL, was taken for analysis by electrospray ionization–mass spectrometry. Pore-water samples were analyzed directly without filtration or fractionation, in positive and negative mode, for polar organic compounds. Spectra in both modes were dominated by low-molecular-weight ions. Negative mode had clusters of ions differing by ~60 daltons, possibly due to increasing concentrations of inorganic salts. The number-average molecular weight and weight-average molecular weight values for the pore waters from the Chesapeake Bay impact structure are higher than those reported for other aquatic sources of natural dissolved organic carbon as determined by electrospray ionization–mass spectrometry. In order to address the question of whether drilling mud fluids may have contaminated the pore waters during sample collection, spectra from the pore waters were compared to spectra from drilling mud fluids. Ions indicative of drilling mud fluids were not found in spectra from the pore waters, indicating there was no detectable contamination, and highlighting the usefulness of this analytical technique for detecting potential contamination during sample collection.

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