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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.

Photograph of AGU participants outside of Moscone Convention Center in December, 2015. Photo by Rex Sanders, USGS.Watch free, online AGU 2016 Fall Meeting talks by USGS coastal and ocean scientists (and others)

The American Geophysical Union plans to live-stream three 2016 Fall Meeting sessions that include talks by USGS coastal and ocean scientists. AGU On-Demand provides free access to selected sessions via videos live-streamed during the meeting and archived for later viewing. Viewers do not have to be members to sign up. Visit the AGU Fall Meeting web site and click “AGU On-Demand.” The three sessions featuring USGS coastal and ocean science are:

Contact: Rex Sanders, 831-460-7555,

posted: 2016-12-02

SPCMSC scientist talks to families at the 2016 Great American Teach-InUSGS staff participate in the 21st annual Great American Teach-In

The Great American Teach-In, sponsored by Duke Energy since 1994, is part of Pinellas County Schools' annual American Education Week Celebration. The event encourages members of the community to visit Pinellas County schools for an hour, a few class periods, or an entire school day to share with students details of their careers or to teach a class. Students are exposed to new concepts and gain an understanding of the many career choices that are available. Kira Barrera, Ilsa Kuffner, Joe Long, BJ Reynolds, and Dave Thompson represented the USGS visiting four schools and presenting to 645 kindergarten through 8st grade students their work on climate change and its impacts, scientific diving, and coastal hazards and change.

posted: 2016-12-01

Top photo, Visitors on Santa Monica Pier look through Owls, virtual-reality viewers. Photo courtesy of USC Sea Grant. Bottom photo, View through the Owl: At today’s sea level, a big storm together with a high tide could cover almost the entire beach.Visualizing sea-level rise in Santa Monica, California

Visitors to the Santa Monica Pier in southern California can now see what the beach might look like when future storms and sea-level rise raise water levels. Two virtual-reality viewers, named “Owls” for their distinctive appearance, show the projected extent of flooding by a big storm at high tide, by sea-level rise, and by both together. The projections come from the USGS Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS). The viewers also show how communities can adapt to sea-level rise through nature-based coastal-planning projects, such as enhanced dunes. The City of Santa Monica developed the Owls (one ADA-accessible) in partnership with the USGS, Owlized, and the USC Sea Grant program. The Owls will operate from November 7, 2016, to January 7, 2017; a public celebration was held November 16 to coincide with “King” high tides. View more photographs on our Facebook page: USGS Coastal and Ocean Science; or view a larger version of the photos shown here. Contact: Juliette Finzi Hart,, 424-241-2457.

posted: 2016-11-28

Screenshot of Janet Watt from CBS This Morning news segment. Copyright CBSCBS This Morning features USGS scientists studying link between earthquake faults near San Francisco, California

A camera crew from CBS This Morning visited the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center on November 10, 2016, to interview Janet Watt about her discovery of a connection between the Hayward and Rodgers Creek faults, two of the most hazardous earthquake faults in California’s San Francisco Bay area. In addition to a sit-down interview, they filmed Watt and her team—Mary McGann, Katie Maier, and Tom Lorenson—processing sediment cores collected along the fault beneath San Pablo Bay. CBS News correspondent Mireya Villareal asked about what led to the discovery, what it means for Bay Area earthquake hazards, and how the team plans to use microfossils from the cores to date movement on the newly discovered fault strand. View the segment, which aired November 18. Contact: Janet Watt,, 831-460-7565.

posted: 2016-11-28

Photo of tripod holding instruments and cameras used to measure and study aspects of sediment movement in and around the reef.New video highlights major coral reef study by USGS and Australian scientists

A new video, “Breaking Down Reefs, Building Up Beaches,” follows coral reef experts from the USGS and the University of Western Australia as they conduct the largest-ever hydrodynamic study of how coral reefs shape coasts. The scientists spent two weeks in May 2016 installing instruments to measure currents and sediment movement in and around Australia’s largest fringing reef, in the Ningaloo Coast UNESCO World Heritage Site, Western Australia. Over the next two months, the instruments collected massive amounts of data that will give scientists great insight into the protective role of reefs and will help the USGS forecast what could happen to U.S. fringing reefs in the face of climate change and sea-level rise. View the video. Contact: Curt Storlazzi,, 831-460-7521.

posted: 2016-11-28

Computer-generated, three-dimensional graphic of western Santa Barbara Channel showing seafloor surface, sediment layers beneath the seafloor, landslides and long crack in seafloor, and a gas seep location.Looking for causes of underwater landslides near Santa Barbara

From September 11 to October 5, 2016, USGS scientists used high-resolution sonar to map the seafloor and image bubbles from natural gas seeps near Santa Barbara, California. They also collected high-resolution seismic profiles of sub-seafloor sediment layers. They are investigating the causes and history of underwater landslides, which can damage offshore oil platforms and pipelines, and generate local tsunamis. The scientists worked from two research vessels: the R/V Snavely (USGS) and the R/V Shearwater (NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary). They will combine the new data with older data to evaluate changes in seafloor topography and to map active faults, old and new landslides, and oil and gas pathways that could weaken slopes and set them up for future slides. The team plans to present preliminary results at the 2016 AGU Fall Meeting in December. Contact: Jared Kluesner,, 831-460-7547.

Graphic shows a three-dimensional view of western Santa Barbara Channel. Rainbow colors are seafloor surface, with red for shallowest depths. Cutaway is vertical view (seismic profile) of sediment layers (red lines) beneath the seafloor. Note landslides (far end) and long crack in seafloor. Gas seep location is based on sonar mapping of bubbles in the water column. View a larger version of the graphic in a new window.

Learn more on the USGS project page, "Underwater Landslides off Southern California."

posted: 2016-11-21

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Page Last Modified: December 02, 2016 11:23 AM (JSG)