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U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2013–1003

Sea-Floor Geology in Northeastern Block Island Sound, Rhode Island


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Click on figure for larger image
Thumbnail image of figure 1 and link to larger figure. A map showing the study area in relation to other survey areas in the region.
Figure 1. Map showing the location of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration survey H12023 offshore of Rhode Island in Block Island Sound.

Multibeam-echosounder (MBES) and sidescan-sonar data, originally collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) during hydrographic surveys, can be used to interpret sea-floor geology when combined with sediment samples and bottom photography. During 2009 and 2011, NOAA collected MBES and sidescan-sonar data as part of survey H12023, which covered 52 square kilometers (km²) adjacent to the shore of Rhode Island, from Green Hill to Point Judith, R.I., in northeastern Block Island Sound (fig. 1). The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) subsequently collected sea-floor sediment samples, still photographs, and sea floor (bottom) video at 26 stations within this survey area. The purpose of this report is (1) to interpret the sea-floor features and sedimentary environments in this area and (2) to make available the MBES, sidescan-sonar, sediment, and photographic data collected in the study area. This information can be used as a base map for future studies in areas such as benthic ecology and resource management.

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