Marine geophysical and geological investigation, Boston Harbor

Shipping is vital to international commerce. The newest container ships are larger than ever and have a draft of 48ft. The United States Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, is deepening Boston Harbor to accommodate this new generation of ships.

To characterize the channel material in advance of dredging, e4sciences conducted borings, sample analyses, sonar imaging, and reflection seismology. e4sciences determined that the channel floor is composed of a variety of materials from fine-grained organic-rich sediments to Neoproterozoic rock, and also quantified physical properties of the sediments and rock. These physical properties govern the ease with which dredgers can remove the material. Additionally, e4sciences mapped debris and infrastructure such as pipes and cables on the channel floor that could pose obstacles to dredging.

e4sciences calculated the volume of material that would need to be removed by dredging to achieve the desired depths throughout Boston Harbor. These estimates allowed the client to make educated forecasts about the dredging program cost and duration.