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U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012-1157

Shallow Geology, Seafloor Texture, and Physiographic Zones of the Inner Continental Shelf from Nahant to Northern Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts

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By Elizabeth A. Pendleton, Wayne E. Baldwin, Walter A. Barnhardt, Seth D. Ackerman, David S. Foster, Brian D. Andrews, and William C. Schwab


The Massachusetts inner continental shelf between Nahant and northern Cape Cod Bay has been profoundly affected by the occupation and retreat of glacial ice sheets and relative sea-level change during the Quaternary. Marine geologic mapping of this area is a component of a statewide cooperative effort involving the U.S. Geological Survey and the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management. Interpretation of high-resolution geophysical data (interferometric and multibeam swath bathymetry, lidar, backscatter, and seismic reflection), sediment samples, and bottom photographs was used to produce a series of maps that describe the distribution and texture of seafloor sediments, shallow geologic framework, and physiographic zones of this inner-shelf region. These data and interpretations are intended to aid efforts to inventory and manage coastal and marine resources, and provide baseline information for research focused on coastal evolution and environmental change.

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