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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.

Tampa Bay Times interviews USGS researcher about sea level rise

Davina Passeri (SPCMSC Mendenhall Post-Graduate Fellow) was interviewed by Justine Griffin, a business reporter at the Tampa Bay Times, for a story about obstacles that stand in the way of proposed development in Tampa, Florida, including sea level rise. The article was published on Sunday, August 11, and can be found online:

posted: 2017-08-17

Bruce Richmond clowns for the camera during the closing credits of Peeking into Permafrost. In the background are Cordell Johnson, left, and Peter Swarzenski, on the groundUSGS video selected for Goldschmidt film festival in Paris

The USGS video Peeking into Permafrost has been selected for this year’s Goldschmidt Wild Orbit Cinema week in Paris, August 12–18. Produced by USGS contractor Amy West, the film is one of 15 chosen from nearly 100 entries. It follows a USGS team led by geologist Bruce Richmond as they investigate bluff erosion on Barter Island on Alaska’s Arctic coast. The video conveys the challenging conditions under which the scientists collect samples of permafrost and a range of data—from repeat photographs of the shore, to radon content in groundwater, to the composition and structure of the bluffs—to examine what’s controlling erosion of Arctic coasts. Such erosion threatens villages and infrastructure in many parts of northern Alaska. The annual film festival is a “week long celebration of the very best in science communication” held in conjunction with the prestigious Goldschmidt geochemistry conference.
View all 15 films.
Contact: Bruce Richmond,, 831-460-7531, or Amy West,, 831-460-7428

posted: 2017-08-15

Underwater photograph shows instrument package on the seaward slope of the coral reef off Puerto Rico.Deep deployment of instruments to study coral reef structure and health off Puerto Rico

An instrument package developed by the USGS was placed on the seaward slope of a coral reef off southwestern Puerto Rico on July 27. Collaborators from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez deployed the instrument package at a depth of 177 feet—the deepest deployment yet of instruments to measure currents and suspended sediment in a coral reef environment. The researchers want to measure how much volcanic sediment (derived from land) and carbonate sediment (derived from the reef) are moving off the reef. They are also exploring how deep currents move cool, nutrient-rich water up the slope. This water can offset stress caused by global warming of surface waters and provide food for stressed corals. USGS scientist Cordell Johnson designed and built the instrument mount for delicate emplacement by technical divers. Contact: Curt Storlazzi,, 831-460-7521

posted: 2017-08-10

Two stills from video showing animation of tsunami approaching the shore, from video produced by Physics World.Physics World videos feature USGS tsunami and earthquake scientists

USGS geophysicists are featured in two videos published by Physics World, magazine of the Institute of Physics. In the first video, Eric Geist explains his studies of the mechanics of tsunamis, particularly those triggered by earthquakes occurring at subduction zones on the seafloor, where oceanic plates slide underneath continental plates. (See Geist’s animations of historical tsunamis.) A second, companion video covers the work of Brian Kilgore, who triggers mini-earthquakes in a USGS lab to study their characteristics, and David Lockner, who works in a rock deformation and friction lab to recreate conditions in the Earth under which earthquakes occur. Journalist James Dacey filmed the interviews a year and a half ago at the USGS center in Menlo Park, California. The videos and accompanying article were published in July 2017 on Contact: Eric Geist,, 650-329-5457

posted: 2017-08-10

USGS Corals and Paleoclimate Group Tours New Florida Aquarium Facility in Apollo Beach, FloridaUSGS Corals and Paleoclimate Group Tours New Florida Aquarium Facility

A group of SPCMSC researchers, staff scientists, and visiting students visited The Florida Aquarium Center for Conservation's brand-new facilities currently being built in Apollo Beach, Florida. The new buildings presently under construction will include state-of-the-art coral arks (greenhouses) to protect and restore coral genetic diversity and stocks of Florida's threatened corals. Scott Graves, director of the Florida Aquarium Center for Conservation (CFC), led the tour of the partially built main building, showed plans for future buildings, and explained the mission and vision of the Center. Keri O'Neil, (CFC, marine invertebrate specialist), explained the logistics of coral husbandry while leading the tour of the temporary coral facility that presently holds 92 specimens of the threatened pillar coral rescued from an ongoing disease outbreak in the Florida Keys. Collaboration between USGS and CFC could provide opportunity for scientific advancement in understanding the environmental determinants of coral growth, as well as providing data critical to optimizing the strategies for restoring populations of threatened coral species in the Florida Keys.

posted: 2017-08-09

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Page Last Modified: December 05, 2016 11:14 AM (JSG)