Skip past header information
USGS - science for a changing world

Open-File Report 2014-1227

Core Data From Offshore Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Skip past contents information

Click on figure for larger image.

Thumbnail image for Figure 1, map depicting locations of all cores and bag samples.

Figure 1. Locations of all cores from United States Geological Survey cruise 2008–008–FA (SJ8), archive samples, and names of significant bathymetric features. The SJ8 cores are labeled by number (such as 11, rather than the full core name of SJ8–11GGC) and either a green circle (representing a sampled core) or a blue circle (representing bagged samples from core catcher only), whereas the archive cores are labeled by full core name and a red circle.


Analysis of the bathymetry of the submerged carbonate platform north of Puerto Rico has identified numerous submarine landslides that range in size from 0.009 to 28.5 cubic kilometers (km3; ten Brink, Geist, Lynett, and Andrews, 2006). These landslides, along with regional earthquakes, are thought to have potentially caused tsunamis that devastated the coastal communities of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (López-Venegas and others, 2008). Eight landslides in this area were of sufficient size to cause damaging tsunamis (ten Brink, Geist, and Andrews, 2006); however, the dates the landslides and earthquakes that occurred before the historical record are unknown. In an effort to establish temporal data for past tsunamigenic landslide and earthquake events, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), deployed the research vessel (RV) Seward Johnson on cruise 2008–008–FA (henceforth referred to as SJ8) to collect sediment cores from offshore Puerto Rico (in Mona Canyon and along the south wall of and within the Puerto Rico Trench) and the Virgin Islands (Virgin Islands and Whiting Basins) (fig. 1; Chaytor and ten Brink, 2014; Chaytor and ten Brink, 2014a,b). Sampling at 40 sites was attempted during cruise SJ8 by using the WHOI giant gravity corer; however, because of dense mud or coarse sediment at some sites and (or) mechanical issues, only 20 cores were recovered, with sediment in only the core catcher or cutting head collected at an additional 7 sites (fig. 1). Eleven cores archived at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) supplement the data collected from the SJ8 cores.

The purpose of this report is to release data collected from 31 cores (20 from SJ8 and 11 archived cores). The SJ8 gravity cores were sampled for grain-size (textural) analyses and radiocarbon dating, they underwent nondestructive testing, including measurements of wet-bulk density, magnetic susceptibility, and x-ray fluorescence (XRF) scanning, and they were x-radiographed. Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) carbon-14 radiocarbon age dates were determined for eight of the SJ8 cores and all the LDEO archive cores (19 in total) in order to constrain the timing of landslides and earthquakes around Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.


Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Contact USGS
Page Last Modified: Wednesday, December 07, 2016, 07:40:57 PM