The Gulf of Saros in the northeastern Aegean Sea (Turkey) is a relatively unpolluted marine environment. There is almost no industry and only small settlements in the surrounding region. The main sources of fresh water and sediment to the Gulf are the Meric River in the northwest and the Kavak Creek in the east. It has an asymmetric bathymetry with a 10-km-wide shelf to the noah and up to 15-km-wide, 700-m-deep trough in the south. Water circulation in the Gulf is characterized by longshore currents and anticyclonic eddies. The Black Sea waters, leaving the Sea of Marmara through the Canakkale Strait, are known to enter the southern Gulf during the summer. The surface sediments on the northern shelf consist mainly of sand, whereas those on the slope and the deep trough are mainly silt and clay. The ranges of Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, Pb, Ni, and Hg contents of the surface sediments from the Gulf of Saros are 0.25-4.60%, 114-1740 ppm, 6-44 ppm, 23-154 ppm, 2-80 ppm, 14-145 ppm, and 10-130 ppb, respectively. These Values are low compared to those from the other neighboring marine environments, indicating the pristine nature of the Gulf in terms of metal pollution. However, most metal and organic carbon (C-org) distributions in the Gulf sediments show the effect of anthropogenic and natural inputs to the northwestern and eastern shelf areas from the Meric River and the Kavak Creek and to the deep trough from the Black Sea waters. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.