Department or Program



This study examines the geologic and anthropogenic history of the Back River Creek Marsh (BRCM) in Woolwich, ME through a comparison of sediments from above and below Route 1. Using a combination of geochemical and visual analyses, observations about the BRCM reveal that the origins of the marsh may be more complex than initial theories suggested. Using a Pb age model to assign dates to the sediments at depth, it has been determined that the area has been a brackish or freshwater marsh since the late 1700s. The δ13C values from several cores across the marsh range between -24‰ and -30‰, falling well within the typical C3 plant range, thus indicating a fairly fresh marsh setting. The initial hypothesis was that the BRCM was originally a salt marsh that had become restricted by a dike and Route 1, but the geochemical analyses show little evidence suggesting a purely saltwater origin. This study has resulted in more questions about the BRCM, paving the way for further research to understand the complexities of its history.

Level of Access

Restricted: Embargoed [Bates Community After Expiration]

First Advisor

Beverly Johnson

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Number of Pages



Available to Bates Community via local IP address or Bates login on Wednesday, May 04, 2022.