Coring and compaction: best practice in blue carbon stock and burial estimations

Craig Smeaton, Natasha Barlow, William Austin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


A comparison of gouge and hammer coring techniques in intertidal wetland soils highlights a significant effect of soil compaction of up to 28% associated with the widely applied hammer coring method employed in Blue Carbon research. Hammer coring reduces the thickness of the soil profile and increases the dry bulk density, which results in an overestimation of the soil OC stock of up to 22%. In saltmarshes with multiple different soil units, we show that hammer coring is unsuitable for the calculation of OC stocks and should be avoided in favour of Russian or gouge cores. Compaction changes both soil dry bulk density and porosity and we show that resultant radiometric chronologies are compromised, almost doubling mass accumulation rates. While we show that the OC (%) content of these sediments is largely unchanged by coring method, the implication for OC burial rates are profound because of the significant effect of hammer coring on soil mass accumulation rates.
Original languageEnglish
Article number114180
Issue numberC
Early online date21 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • Saltmarsh
  • Compaction
  • Coring
  • Gouge
  • Hammer
  • Age model
  • Soil
  • Blue carbon
  • Sediment
  • Intertidal


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