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Open-File Report 2015-1149

Sea-Floor Morphology and Sedimentary Environments in Southern Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island

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Multibeam echosounder data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration along with sediment samples and still and video photography of the sea floor collected by the U.S. Geological Survey were used to interpret sea-floor features and sedimentary environments in southern Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, as part of a long-term effort to map the sea floor along the northeastern coast of the United States. Sea-floor features include rocky areas and scour depressions in high-energy environments characterized by erosion or nondeposition, and sand waves and megaripples in environments characterized by coarse-grained bedload transport. Two shipwrecks are also located in the study area. Much of the sea floor is relatively featureless within the resolution of the multibeam data; sedimentary environments in these areas are characterized by processes associated with sorting and reworking. This report releases bathymetric data from the multibeam echosounder, grain-size analyses of sediment samples, and photographs of the sea floor and interpretations of the sea-floor features and sedimentary environments. It provides base maps that can be used for resource management and studies of topics such as benthic ecology, contaminant inventories, and sediment transport.

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