Suspended matter collected in the Middle Atlantic Bight (the coastal segment of the United States between Cape Cod and Cape Hatteras) in September 1969 was predominantly organic: an average of 80% combustible organic matter in surface waters and 40)% near bottom. Total suspended concentrations decreased between the inner shelf and the shelf break by an order of magnitude in both near-surface and near-bottom waters. The noncombustible (ash) fraction of the suspended matter decreased over the same distance by one order of magnitude in the near-bottom waters and two orders of magnitude in surface waters. Recently contributed river sediment is not a significant constituent of the suspended matter in the waters of the shelf, particularly the outer shelf. Most of the inorganic material in suspension represents resuspended bottom sediments (at least some of which are relict) whose suspended concentrations are increased noticeably by storms.

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