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USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program

Recent News

Recent News - stories from the last 14 days.

For information about a story, contact Ann Tihansky (202) 208-3342.

USGS scientists attend annual GSA meeting in Denver, Colorado

Several USGS scientists from the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center will attend the annual Geological Society of America (GSA) meeting taking place in Denver, Colorado, September 25–28, and some will present poster sessions. Terry McCloskey (Mendenhall Post-Graduate Fellow) will present "Using the Sedimentary Signature of Hurricane Katrina in the Pearl River Marsh, Louisiana to Infer Provenance of the Deposited Sediments: Implications for Accretion." Lisa Osterman (Research Geologist) will present "Seasonal and Environmental Trends of Benthic Foraminifera in Chincoteague Bay, Delmarva Peninsula, USA." Christian Haller (student intern, University of South Florida St. Petersburg) will present "Channel to Upland Transition: Modern Salt-Marsh Foraminifera from Grand Bay, Mississippi Sound." Nicole Khan (Research Geologist) and Elsie McBride (researcher) will also be attending.

posted: 2016-08-24

USGS Southeast Region Mapping Innovation Workshop co-hosted by SPCMSC and WARC

Xan Fredericks (Cartographer/Lidar Coordinator, SPCMSC) and Thomas Doyle (Deputy Director, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center (WARC)) are co-hosting the Southeast Region Mapping Innovation Workshop on Friday, August 26, 2016 in St. Petersburg, Florida and Lafayette, Louisiana. This simulcast Workshop is one of sixteen being held as part of the USGS Mapping Innovation Series. The goal is to engage employees in discussion on the opportunities and challenges for mapping innovation at the USGS, and to provide input and recommendations that will be summarized in a report on the Mapping Innovations Series.

For more information, please contact Xan Fredericks,, 727-502-8086.

posted: 2016-08-24

USGS Research Oceanographer attends Governors' South Atlantic Alliance meeting

Hilary Stockdon (Research Oceanographer, SPCMSC) will be attending a meeting for the Governors' South Atlantic Alliance (GSAA) on August 31, 2016. GSAA, a regional partnership consisting of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina leadership and their partners, is focused on ocean and coastal challenges and opportunities; promoting environmental sustainability, disaster preparedness, and strong economies. The GSAA Celebration and Transition Meeting goal is to envision a revitalized regional network that builds on the group's successes in understanding coastal vulnerabilities, assessing the health of coastal watersheds, and building community resilience through creative solutions (e.g. living shorelines, and clean and resilient marinas). Hilary will be representing USGS coastal research in the southeast, particularly coastal change hazards. One of the GSAA's two main projects is a Coastal Hazards Vulnerability Analysis.

posted: 2016-08-24

Epicenter of magnitude 7.2 earthquake that generated a small tsunami in the southwest Pacific Ocean on August 12, 2016.Christian Science Monitor interviews USGS scientist about earthquake and tsunami in the southwest Pacific

Rowena Lindsay of the Christian Science Monitor interviewed research geophysicist Eric Geist of the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center on Friday, August 12, about a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that generated a small tsunami when it hit the Pacific Ocean near New Caledonia the previous day. Her article, posted August 12, quotes Geist explaining how undersea earthquakes produce tsunamis. He also observed that the tsunami was larger than expected for a strike-slip earthquake of magnitude 7.2 and noted that a quake-triggered landslide or movement of a steep slope might explain the tsunami’s size.
Learn more about the earthquake on the USGS event page.

Contact: Eric Geist,, 650-329-5457.

posted: 2016-08-23

Tim Elfers, USGS, preparing to launch a personal watercraft equipped with GPS and sonar for mapping the bottom close to shore. Photograph by Andrew Stevens, USGS.Monitoring coastal change on Pacific beaches near the Columbia River

In the last two weeks of August 2016, USGS scientists from the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center will collect bathymetric (seafloor depth) and topographic (land elevation) data from Washington and Oregon beaches near the mouth of the Columbia River. The data will help them document the effect of the recent El Niño on Pacific Northwest beaches as well as monitor long-term coastal changes. One goal of monitoring is to determine whether sediment dredged from the river's navigation channel and placed on the seabed is helping to counter beach and jetty erosion. The USGS is working closely with the states of Washington and Oregon, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Oregon State University to provide decision makers with the best available scientific information on sediment management. [See a larger version of this photo.]

Contact: Guy Gelfenbaum,, 831-460-7417.

posted: 2016-08-19

Photograph looking north toward the Fairweather Range during 2015 mapping of the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault off Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. The fault is directly beneath the vessel upon which the photographer, Danny Brothers, is standing.Mapping an offshore earthquake fault in southeast Alaska

Scientists from the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center are mapping shallow sediment layers along the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault offshore southeast Alaska from August 8-24 (details on the Field Activity page). The seaward side of this major earthquake fault moves northwest relative to the landward side at an average rate of about 2 inches per year. This fast slip rate provides a rare opportunity to document deformation caused by individual earthquakes, and examine fault evolution in areas that have generated large historical earthquakes. In May and June, USGS scientists mapped approximately 200 miles of the seafloor along the fault for the first time. They used data from that survey to choose targets for the current survey. [See a larger version of this photo.]

Contact: Danny Brothers,; or Bob Rosenbauer,, 831-460-7401.

posted: 2016-08-19

Dan and Jackson work on the research vessel Norseman amid thick fog on Resurrection Bay. They are preparing equipment that will be towed behind the vessel to image sediment layers beneath the seafloor.Boaters rescued during USGS research cruise in southern Alaska

Scientists from the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center were testing equipment in Resurrection Bay, Alaska, on August 8 when their research vessel received a distress signal from a small boat about 3 miles away. The privately owned R/V Norseman steamed to the location and found three people stranded on a rocky beach after capsizing a skiff in the surf. Three Norseman crewmembers deployed a rubber raft to rescue the boaters. Due to the large swells, one of the crew swam to the beach and pulled the victims to the raft one by one in survival suits. Soon the boaters were aboard Norseman, wrapped in blankets and drinking hot coffee. After dropping the boaters off in Seward, the scientists departed for their two-week cruise to map a major earthquake fault off southeast Alaska. Learn more about the USGS research cruise. [See a larger version of this photo.]

Contact: Danny Brothers,; or Bob Rosenbauer,, 831-460-7401.

posted: 2016-08-19

USGS scientists travel to Florida Keys for a reef-coring expedition

Lauren Toth (Mendenhall postdoctoral scholar, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC)) will be leading a research team August 16–26 on a ten-day expedition to collect core records of Holocene coral-reef framework from Western Sambo and Sand Key reefs off Key West, Florida. The new samples collected on this expedition will be added to the extensive archive of reef cores at SPCMSC ( and analyzed to answer critical questions about the long-term history of Florida's reefs. Toth will be joined by Anastasios Stathakopoulos, BJ Reynolds, and Hunter Wilcox, all from SPCMSC. Rex Sanders (Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center) will also join the team in Key West to highlight the research expedition for a USGS Sound Waves article and video-feature.

posted: 2016-08-18

USGS researcher attends 6th International Symposium on Deep-Sea Corals

Christina Kellogg (Research Microbiologist, SPCMSC) will attend the 6th International Symposium on Deep-Sea Corals (, September 11–16, 2016, in Boston, Mass. The symposium will bring together scientists, industry specialists, students, and managers with recent, state-of-the-art knowledge on the distribution, linkages, ecosystem function, and biodiversity of cold-water corals and their habitats. Christina will give a talk, "Comparison of the Microbiomes of Seven Species of Deep-Sea Corals." Other USGS researchers from the DISCOVRE project will also be attending and presenting: Cheryl Morrison (Leetown, SC), Nancy Prouty (Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center), Jill Bourque (Wetland and Aquatic Research Center - WARC), and Amanda Demopoulos (WARC). Amy West (Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center) is also attending to do outreach and communications. The USGS joins BOEM, NOAA and academic institutions in sponsoring this meeting.

posted: 2016-08-18

USGS to hold Gulf Restoration Coastal Resiliency Workshop

Nathaniel Plant and Soupy Dalyander, Research Oceanographers from the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, are organizing a working group of USGS scientists (Neil Ganju and Erika Lentz of the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center; Ana Garcia of the North Carolina Water Science Center; Elise Irwin of the Alabama Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Joseph Long and Davina Passeri of the SPCMSC; Stephanie Romanach and Don DeAngelis of the Wetlands and Aquatic Research Center; and Greg Steyer of the Southeast Region) and representatives of the coastal management community (Elizabeth Godsey of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Brian Spears of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Darin Lee of the state of Louisiana). The objectives of this team, which may expand in the future, are to brainstorm ways in which USGS science can more effectively support projects to restore and preserve resilient coastal ecosystems; build a network of people to coordinate USGS support for management decisions in the northern Gulf of Mexico; and consider how USGS expertise can be brought to bear to improve decisions made in specific restoration projects. Members of the team will have their first workshop at the Five Rivers Delta Resource Center in Spanish Fort, Alabama, from August 30 to September 1.

For more information, please contact Soupy Dalyander,, 727-502-8124.

posted: 2016-08-18

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Page Last Modified: February 19, 2016 11:58 AM (JSG)