Pacific Sea-Floor Mapping

[US Map]

  [Lake Tahoe]  [San Francisco]  [Los Angeles]
  [Hawaiian Islands]  [San Diego]  [Gulf of Mexico]

The Pacific Seafloor Mapping Project has conducted a number of surveysin the eastern Pacific Ocean, Hawaii, Gulf of Mexico, and Lake Tahoe, whichis on the border of California and Nevada. The two types of data collectedinclude;

  • Bathymetry - Sea-floor depth
  • Backscatter - The amount of sound returned off the ocean floor. This type of data can provide insight into the geologic makeup of the sea floor.

These data are of critical importance to groups as diverse as marinehabitat biologists, state and local authorities setting regulations on sea-flooruses, school children and their teachers. The new high-resolution base mapsproduced by this project will be used for:

  • identifying areas of erosion and deposition on the continental shelf
  • locating areas of geohazards (such as slumps and faults)
  • locating pathways for movement of sediment and pollutants

Ongoing research is attempting to derive better relationships betweenthe backscatter collected from a multibeam mapping system and the sea-floorgeology. The ultimate goal of this research is to convert the backscattermaps into geologic maps.

For more in-depth information about Multibeam mapping technology seeUSGS Open File Report 98-509, The Bathymetry of LakeTahoe, California-Nevada or mapping history andtechnology.

USGS Cooperators:

University of New Brunswick, Canada

USGS Water Resources Division, Menlo Park

US Army Corps of Engineers

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

University of Hawaii, Manoa

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

USGS East Coast Sea-Floor Mapping

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)

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