Western Coastal and Marine Geology
1U.S. Geological Survey, Patuxent Wildlife Science Center, Coastal Field Station, Department of Geosciences, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881
2U.S. Geological Survey, Pacific Science Center, 400 Natural Bridges Drive, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
3Department of Geosciences, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881
The U.S. Geological Survey has generated a comprehensive data clearinghouse of digital vector cliff edges and associated rates of cliff retreat along the open-ocean California coast. These data, which are presented herein, were compiled as part of the U.S. Geological Survey's National Assessment of Shoreline Change Project.
Cliff erosion is a chronic problem along many coastlines of the United States. As coastal populations continue to grow and community infrastructures are threatened by erosion, there is increased demand for accurate information including rates and trends of coastal cliff retreat. There is also a critical need for these data to be consistent from one region to another. One objective of this work is to a develop standard, repeatable methodology for mapping and analyzing cliff edge retreat so that periodic, systematic, and internally consistent updates of cliff edge position and associated rates of erosion can be made at a national scale.
This data compilation for open-ocean cliff edges for the California coast is a separate, yet related study to Hapke and others, 2006 documenting shoreline change along sandy shorelines of the California coast, which is itself one in a series that includes the Gulf of Mexico and the Southeast Atlantic coast (Morton and others, 2004; Morton and Miller, 2005). Future reports and data compilations will include coverage of the Northeast U.S., the Great Lakes, Hawaii and Alaska. Cliff edge change is determined by comparing the positions of one historical cliff edge digitized from maps with a modern cliff edge derived from topographic LIDAR (light detection and ranging) surveys. Historical cliff edges for the California coast represent the 1920s-1930s time-period; the most recent cliff edge was delineated using data collected between 1998 and 2002. End-point rate calculations were used to evaluate rates of erosion between the two cliff edges. Please refer to our full report on cliff edge erosion along the California coastline at http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1133/ for additional information regarding methods and results (Hapke and others, 2007).
Data in this report are organized into downloadable layers by region (Northern, Central and Southern California) and are provided as vector datasets with accompanying metadata. Vector cliff edges may represent a compilation of data from one or more sources and the sources used are included in the dataset metadata. This project employs the Environmental Systems Research Institute's (ESRI) ArcGIS as it's Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping tool and contains several data layers (shapefiles) that are used to create a geographic view of the California coast. The vector data form a basemap comprising polygon and line themes that include a U.S. coastline (1:80,000), U.S. cities, and state boundaries.
Data in this publication are intended to be integrated into a Geographical Information System (GIS). A GIS is defined as a system of hardware and software used to support the display, manipulation, and analysis of spatial data for mapping and data analysis. This integrated system provides researchers the ability to analyze and map the various datasets to help with research, and economic and social policy-making decisions regarding the environment.
All of the files necessary to conduct coastal cliff retreat analyses are provided. These include five GIS data layers (shapefiles) for each section of the California coast: one historical and one modern vector cliff edge, an offshore baseline used for generating shore-normal transects, shore-normal transects for cliff edge erosion rates, and transect/cliff edge intersection positions for cliff edge erosion rates as a point shapefile. The GIS data layers from this publication are cataloged below by region for easy access. Please refer to http://woodshole.er.usgs.gov/project-pages/dsas/ for information about the Digital Shoreline Analysis System (DSAS) used for the analysis of this data.
Hapke, C.J., and Reid, D., 2007, The National assessment of shoreline change: Part 4, Historical coastal cliff retreat along the California coast: U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 2007-1133 (http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1133)
Hapke, C.J., Reid, D., Richmond, B.M., Ruggiero, P., and List, J., 2006, The National assessment of shoreline change; Part 3, Historical shoreline change and associated coastal land loss along sandy shorelines of the California coast: U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 2006-1219 (http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2006/1219)
Morton, R.A., Miller, T.L., 2005, National assessment of shoreline change: Part 2, Historical shoreline change and associated land loss along the U.S. South East Atlantic coast: U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 2005-1401 (http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2005/1401)
Morton, R.A., Miller, T.L. and Moore, L.J., 2004, National assessment of shoreline change: Part 1, Historical shoreline change and associated land loss along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico: U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 2004-1043 (http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2004/1043)
The National Assessment of Shoreline Change: Part 4, Historical Coastal Cliff Retreat Along the California Coast
The National Assessment of Shoreline Change: A GIS Compilation of Vector Cliff Edges and Associated Cliff Erosion Data for the California Coast (this page)
The National Assessment of Shoreline Change: A GIS Compilation of Vector Shorelines and Associated Shoreline Change Data for the Sandy Shorelines of the California Coast
National Assessment of Shoreline Change: Part 3, Historical Shoreline Change and Associated Coastal Land Loss Along Sandy Shorelines of the California Coast
National Assessment Of Shoreline Change: Part 2, Historical Shoreline Changes And Associated Coastal Land Loss Along The U.S. Southeast Atlantic Coast
The National Assessment of Shoreline Change: A GIS Compilation of Vector Shorelines and Associated Shoreline Change Data for the U.S. Gulf of Mexico
National Assessment of Shoreline Change: Part 1, Historical Shoreline Changes and Associated Coastal Land Loss Along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico
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