Acid Zone in Chesapeake Bay Found

Scientists have identified a zone of water that is increasing in acidity in the Chesapeake Bay.

The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary in the U.S. states of Maryland and Virginia, lying inland from the Atlantic Ocean and surrounded to the west by the North American mainland and to the east by the Delmarva Peninsula.

Scientists have discovered a “pH minimum zone” that occurs at a depth of approximately 10-15 meters (~30-50 feet) in the Chesapeake Bay. The pH in this zone is roughly 7.4, nearly 10 times higher in acidity (or a unit lower in pH) than what is found in surface waters, which have an average pH of 8.2.

This zone is suspected to be due to a combination of factors, most importantly, from acids produced when bottom water rich in toxic hydrogen sulfide gets mixed upward.