In 1868, engineer G. B. Brainerd, reported in The American Naturalist on the sedimentary layers under the Erie Basin. He found beneath 10 feet of water at low tide:
1. Two feet of mud, the ordinary sediment of the bay
2. One foot of yellow sand
3. Six inches of aluminous deposit, quite hard
4. Ten feet of compound decayed peaty meadow
5. Layer of extremely hard micacious clay and sand beneath which was found soft mud.
Dredging and fill was not discussed, but the article concluded that much of the immediate coast had once not been permanently submerged, but swamp and meadow