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Data Series 552

Prepared in cooperation with the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County and the Orange County Sanitation District

Seafloor Geology and Benthic Habitats, San Pedro Shelf, Southern California

By Florence L. Wong, Peter Dartnell, Brian D. Edwards, and Eleyne L. Phillips


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Seafloor samples, videography, still photography, and real-time descriptions of geologic and biologic constituents at or near the seafloor of the San Pedro Shelf, southern California, advance the study of natural and man-made processes on this coastal area off the metropolitan Los Angeles area. Multibeam echo-sounder data collected by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1998 and 1999 guided sampling and camera work in 2004 resulting in a new seafloor character map that shows possible benthic habitats in much higher resolution (4- and 16-m pixels) than previously available. The seafloor is characterized by primarily muddy sand and sand with outcrops of Miocene and Pliocene bedrock along the Palos Verdes Fault Zone. Observed benthic populations indicate low abiotic complexity, low biotic complexity, and low biotic coverage. The data are provided for use in geographic information systems (GIS).


  • This report is available only on the Web.

For additional information:
Contact Information, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center,
U.S. Geological Survey
Pacific Science Center
400 Natural Bridges Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

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Suggested citation:

Wong, F.L., Dartnell, Peter, Edwards, B.D., and Phillips, E.L., 2012, Seafloor geology and benthic habitats, San Pedro Shelf, southern California: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 552. (Available at







Data Revisions and Updates


References Cited

Appendixes A–F

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