Open-File Report 01-190
The STRATAFORM Project: U.S. Geological Survey Geotechnical Studies
By Diane L. Minasian, Homa J. Lee, Jaques Locat, Kevin M. Orzech, Gregory R. Martz,
|The Northern California study area, located off the coast of Eureka, between Cape Mendocino and Trinidad Head, is an ideal location to investigate the occurrence of mass wasting and sediment transport and deposition (Nittrouer and Kravitz, 1996). This seismically active area receives an abundant amount of fluvial sediment, primarily from the Eel River (mean sediment discharge >107 t/y). Moreover, sediment is reaching the slope and accumulating at a relatively rapid rate of 1-4 mmy-1 (Alexander, 1996). The combination of this rapid sedimentation with frequent earthquake activity can cause slope deposits to fail. Because many shelf and slope sedimentary processes are active in this region, it makes it an excellent area to study geotechnical impact on the strata (Nittrouer and Kravitz, 1996).|
The piston core device consists simply of a weight stand mounted above a length of stainless steel core barrel (Kullenburg, 1955). A plastic liner, housing a fitted piston, is inserted into the core barrel to contain the sample. The lifting cable is fitted into a trigger arm with a slack loop and tension is applied by a separate trigger weight. Then, the device is lowered to the sea floor at a constant velocity and the trigger weight is allowed to impact the sea floor releasing the trigger arm and allowing the corer to free-fall a calibrated distance to the sea floor. While penetrating, the piston creates a partial vacuum state within the core liner, thus improving the amount of sample recovered (Noorany, 1972). The device is then returned to the ship's deck, where the sediment core is removed from the core barrel. The sediment cores are then run through the multi-sensor logger. These physical property results have been used to develop a better understanding of spatial variability of marine sediment properties (Goff et al., 2002). They have also been used as a basis for developing a method for predicting the regional variability of submarine landslide susceptibility (Lee et al., 1999, 2000). Other investigators within the STRATAFORM Program use these physical property data to estimate variations in stratigraphic characteristics both with depth below the seafloor and over the Northern California study area.
Sediment cores were logged to gather data of physical properties in conjunction with four cruises to the Eel margin study area (Northern California study area): the first aboard the R/V Wecoma in 1995(W9509), the second from the R/V Thomas Thompson in 1996 (TNO62), the third aboard the R/V Melville in 1997 (M9707), and the latest again aboard the R/V Wecoma in 1998 (W9807A). Homa J. Lee was the principle investigator from the USGS on each of the cruises, accompanied by principle investigators from other institutions. Numerous USGS employees also participated in the cruises. The following, delineated by the respective STRATAFORM IDs of each cruise (USGS IDs are in parentheses), summarizes the goals and subsequent accomplishments of the cruises.R/V Wecoma in September 1995. Operated by Oregon State University, the cruise consisted of 17 scientists from several institutions involved in the project. Representing the USGS geotechnical team were Homa J. Lee and Kenneth Israel. Sampling was concentrated on obtaining box cores of the study area, along with several Kasten cores, CTDs, and a few piston cores. The cruise was separated into two legs, with sampling operations taking place on the second leg, starting on September 16 and continuing until September 24, 1995. During the cruise, one hundred and forty-eight box cores, ten Kasten cores, and five piston cores were successfully collected, along with ten CTD casts. R/V Thomas G. Thompson cruise took place in July 1996, departing from San Diego, CA on July 8, 1996 and arriving in Seattle, WA on July 22, 1996, with an intermediate port stop at Eureka, CA. The cruise was conducted in coordination with the University of Washington and consisted of several distinct scientific programs. The Chief Scientist for the cruise was Clark R. Alexander from the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography. He was joined by Homa J. Lee and Kenneth Israel from the USGS geotechnical team, as well as Jacques Locat and Marie-Claude Savoie from the University of Laval, Quebec, Canada. The objective of the cruise was to continue sampling the area through box and piston coring, along with mooring deployments and recoveries, Hydrosweep swath bathymetry, and CTD casts. Sampling operations commenced on July 13 and ended on July 18, with the above mentioned participants leaving the ship at the intermediate port stop. During the cruise, twenty box cores, twelve piston cores, and three Kasten cores were successfully collected, along with four CTD casts. R/V Melville of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Charles Nittrouer, STRATAFORM Program Coordinator, was the Chief Scientist. Representing the USGS geotechnical team were Homa J. Lee, Kenneth Israel, and Gregory Martz. The objectives of the cruise were to conduct a statistical variability study (Goff et al., 2002) of the area by collecting multiple samples at individual locations and to collect several box and piston cores at other locations on the shelf and slope. During the twelve day cruise, 158 box cores and 58 piston cores were collected successfully. R/V Wecoma in July 1998. The principle investigators were Homa Lee of the USGS and Clark R. Alexander from the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography. Also participating from the USGS were Gita Dunhill and Brad Carkin. Jacques Locat and Eric Boulanger from the University of Laval, Quebec, Canada, Harold Christian from GSC, and Brian McAdoo, of Vasser College, also participated in the cruise with their own scientific agendas. Sampling centered around obtaining box cores of the study area, along with Lehigh cores, CTDs, and piezometer readings. The cruise commenced on July 17 and was completed on July 24.
|CLICK HERE TO LINK WITH INDEX MAP OF STUDY AREA||To view the procedures used for editing, graphing, naming and working with STRATAFORM logger data CLICK HERE.|
The STRATAFORM program is a multi-investigator study that is primarily funded by the Office of Naval Research. The program began in 1994 with Joseph H. Kravitz as the ONR Program Director and Charles A. Nittrouer (presently of the University of Washington) as Program Coordinator. Roy Wilkins, Jill Karsten, Dawn Lavoie, Stephen Martin, and Thomas Drake have subsequently been ONR program directors. All of their support is gratefully acknowledged. Support for the USGS portion of the program was provided by the Office of Naval Research and the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program.
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U.S. Department of the Interior
SALLY JEWELL, Secretary
U.S. Geological Survey
Suzette M. Kimball, Acting Director