Over the past several decades, many thousands of sediment samples have been collected from the Hudson River, its tributaries and the New York/New Jersey (NY/NJ) Harbor complex (Fig. 26.1). This chapter will focus on insights gained from analyses on a very select subset of those samples - sections of dated sediment cores. While it may be fairly obvious that information about the period of deposition represented by any given sediment sample is useful, we would argue that for many important applications involving contaminant sources, transport, and behavior, it is essential. The importance of dating informationis derived from two inescapable characteristics of the system, the short-distance-scale heterogeneity of depositional environments (geographic variability) and the large range in contaminant levels in the system over time (temporal variability).
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