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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.

Map shows subduction zones around the Pacific Rim.Just published: “Reducing Risk Where Tectonic Plates Collide—A USGS Plan to Advance Subduction Zone Science”

Most of the world’s earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and volcanic eruptions are caused by the continuous motions of tectonic plates that make up the Earth’s outer shell. The most powerful of these natural hazards occur in subduction zones, where two plates collide and one is thrust over another. The U.S. Geological Survey’s “Reducing Risk Where Tectonic Plates Collide—A USGS Plan to Advance Subduction Zone Science” is a blueprint for building the crucial scientific foundation needed to inform the policies and practices that can make our Nation more resilient to subduction zone-related hazards. Read a USGS Fact Sheet summarizing the plan, or read the full report. Contact: Joan Gomberg,, 206-616-5581

posted: 2017-06-22

USGS Research Scientist quoted in Inside Climate News regarding prognosis of reef recovery following coral bleaching

USGS Research Marine Biologist Ilsa Kuffner (SPCMSC) was quoted in a June 21, 2017 article of Inside Climate News. The author of the article asked Kuffner to comment on a NOAA press release out this week regarding the winding down of the 3rd global coral bleaching event and the prognosis for recovery of coral reef ecosystems. Kuffner explained that, while temperatures have abated and some coral populations have survived the bleaching, many corals are now succumbing to disease outbreaks, including in the Florida Keys. Several coral species are trending quickly toward local extinction, forcing decisions and immediate management actions to preserve the remaining genetic diversity.

posted: 2017-06-22

USGS researcher presents research on coastal change assessments at NOAA workshop

Davina Passeri (SPCMSC, Mendenhall Post-Graduate Fellow) will be presenting on-going USGS research on coastal change assessments at the first annual workshop (Apalachicola, FL) of a four-year project called NGOM+N2E2 (, funded through NOAA's Ecological Effects of Sea Level Rise Program. The project is focused on evaluating the ability of natural and nature-based features to mitigate present and future effects of storm surge, nuisance flooding and sea level rise in the northern Gulf of Mexico. This is a transdisciplinary effort between researchers at Louisiana State University, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, University of Central Florida, and University of South Carolina. Resulting data products will be delivered to coastal resource managers and stakeholders to increase the integration of science into management decisions along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast.

posted: 2017-06-21

Graphic showing change in topography at the Big Sur landslide, from May 27 to June 13.New Land Created by Slide on Big Sur Coast is Eroding

USGS analysis of air photos collected June 13 shows that new land created by a May 20 landslide on California’s Big Sur coast is eroding. The large slide buried State Highway 1 beneath more than 65 feet of rock and dirt, and created about 13 acres of new land bulging into the ocean. Between May 27 and June 13, the seaward edge of the landslide retreated about 16 feet. USGS scientists collect air photos of the slide area weekly to biweekly as weather permits. They use “structure-from-motion” software to turn the photos into 3D maps from which they measure changes in ground elevation. View provisional imagery at the USGS Remote Sensing Coastal Change website. Contact: Jon Warrick,, 831-460-7569

posted: 2017-06-15

USGS Microbiologist interviewed as 'best of' Microbe2017 conference

Dr. Christina Kellogg, SPCMSC Research Microbiologist, was interviewed during a live online segment to highlight the best sessions of Microbe2017, the premiere meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, held June 1–5, 2017 in New Orleans, LA. Kellogg's work was chosen out of 500+ sessions at the meeting and focused on deep-sea coral microbiomes. The 40-minute interview has already been viewed >2,500 times.

(Note: You do not need to log in to Facebook to watch the video)

posted: 2017-06-14

Florida Region of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote SensingCMGP Lidar Coordinator and SPCMSC Scientists to attend FL-ASPRS/UF Summer 2017 Lidar Workshop

Xan Fredericks (Lidar Coordinator, Coastal and Marine Geology Program), Christine Kranenburg, and Karen Morgan (scientists, St Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center) will be attending the Florida Region of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS)/University of Florida (UF) Summer 2017 Lidar Workshop in Apopka, FL, June 22, 2017. The workshop agenda includes updates from attending agencies, an update on the Florida Statewide Lidar Assessment, and technical lidar presentations,with topics such as bathymetric lidar, ele-hydro, and the use of UAVs.

posted: 2017-06-14

Photograph of a mosque left standing amid the rubble in Banda Aceh, following the tsunami on December 26, 2004. Photograph by Guy Gelfenbaum, USGS, taken January 21, 2005.Global Tsunami Science: Past and Future

USGS research geophysicist Eric Geist is the lead scientific editor of a compilation of 25 papers on tsunamis, published by Springer as a special issue of Pure and Applied Geophysics (December 2016) and as a book (April 2017). Tsunami science has expanded significantly since the 26 December 2004 Sumatra tsunami killed approximately 230,000 people along the coasts of 14 countries in the Indian Ocean, and the 11 March 2011 Tohoku (Great East Japan) tsunami killed almost 20,000 people and destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The book, which is volume 1 of the journal’s topical issue “Global Tsunami Science: Past and Future,” highlights tsunami research by scientists around the world. The papers cover tsunami hazard and risk assessment, new methods for tsunami warning and detection, new methods for modeling tsunami hydrodynamics, and the generation of tsunamis by landslides and meteorological disturbances. Contact: Eric Geist,, 650-329-5457. See a larger version of the photo shown here, taken after the Sumatra tsunami of 2004.

posted: 2017-06-13

Photograph of Charles Lester, Patrick Barnard, Congressman Jimmy Panetta, and Gary Griggs.USGS coastal geologist discusses sea-level-rise impacts in roundtable organized by Congressman Jimmy Panetta

Patrick Barnard, coastal geologist with the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, joined University of California-Santa Cruz professor Gary Griggs, UCSC researcher and former executive director of the California Coastal Commission Charles Lester, and Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) for a roundtable discussion of sea-level rise impacts. Barnard leads the USGS Climate Change Impacts to U.S. Pacific and Arctic Coasts project. He explained how accelerated sea-level rise is likely to affect communities on California’s coast. Panetta, whose district includes the coasts of Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, organized the roundtable to discuss the causes of sea-level rise, issues associated with sea-level rise, and ways to address the problem in his district and nationwide. The roundtable took place at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories on June 1. Contact: Patrick Barnard,, 831-460-7556

posted: 2017-06-13

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