2009 PCMSC News
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- Catalina or Bust: USGS Group Maps Faults Offshore of Los Angeles
- A cabin along Alaska's Arctic coast was recently washed into the ocean because the bluff it was sitting on eroded away. Photograph by Benjamin Jones, USGS Alaska Science Center.
Studying Extreme Bluff Erosion Rates on Alaska’s North Slope
Li Erikson, Brian Collins (Earth Surface Processes team), Curt Storlazzi, Tom Reiss, and Gerry Hatcher spent August 12 through 25 on Alaska’s North Slope studying the processes responsible for some of the world's fastest coastal erosion, which threatens property, habitats, Native archaeological sites, and critical oil and gas infrastructure. This work, a combination of Li’s Mendenhall Postdoctoral Research Fellowship and the National Assessment of Shoreline Change Project, aims to collect baseline information on geologic and oceanographic processes that control coastal erosion and to provide insight for models to better predict rates and patterns of erosion under projected warmer air temperatures and higher sea levels in the future.
Learn more about rapid erosion along Alaska’s Arctic coast from a recent Sound Waves article.
- Arctic Coastline Imagery for Research on Shoreline Change
Geologists Bruce Richmond and Ann Gibbs spent July 15 through 23 flying out of Barrow, Alaska (the northernmost U.S. city), to collect oblique photographs and high-definition video of the Arctic coastline approximately between Cape Sabine (about 250 mi southwest of Barrow) and Cape Halkett (about 100 mi southeast of Barrow). This work is part of an ongoing study of the north coast of Alaska under the USGS National Assessment of Shoreline Change Project. The photographs, to be released as a USGS Data Series product, will be used in shoreline-change research and in a physical processes and modeling study being conducted in the Wainwright area by USGS Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow and coastal engineer Li Erikson. View previously collected images in Oblique Aerial Photography of the Arctic Coast of Alaska, Nulavik to Demarcation Point, August 7-10, 2006 (USGS Data Series 436).
“Scary Tsunamis” TV Show Features USGS WCMG Scientist
USGS tsunami scientist Bruce Jaffe appeared in one segment of a QUEST show, “Scary Tsunamis,” that premiered on television station KQED (Public Media for Northern California) on Tuesday, July 28, 2009. Jaffe was interviewed in early June 2009 for the segment, in which he explains video footage of the massive 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, demonstrates how scientists dig into beach sands to look for tsunami deposits, and answers various interview questions. In addition to Jaffe, the 9-minute segment includes Orville Magoon (formerly with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), Gary Griggs (University of California, Santa Cruz), and Tom Evans (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). It can be viewed online at KQED's web site.
- USGS and Canadian Scientists Are Planning a Second Cruise to Map the Arctic Sea Floor
- Department of the Interior Award Recognizes Coast Salish Tribal Journey Partnership
- Get to know WCMG's boat, R/V Snavely
- Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Sound Waves, 1999 to 2009
- Hot Ticket—USGS Open House in Menlo Park, California
- Paddling for a Purpose: Tribal Journey in the Salish Sea
Team member Eric Grossman will once more take part as the Coast Salish Nation and the USGS embark on their second Tribal Journey together from July 21-August 3, blending traditional knowledge with USGS science to study and improve water resources in the Salish Sea. A celebration will be held as canoes land at Suquamish, Washington, on August 3. Water quality has deteriorated significantly across the Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia in recent decades. Last year, water quality probes towed behind canoes identified areas with unexpected water quality patterns, which may threaten many habitats and ecosystem functions. This year, the project will study even more features and will collect information critical for identifying causes of water quality impacts and detecting trends during changes in land use and climate.
Corals in Decline
An estimated 20 percent of the world's coral reefs are damaged, perhaps irreparably. They could be progressively lost over the coming decades as they continue to face harmful fishing practices, disease, coastal developments, pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions, which lead to increased sea level, ocean acidification, and water temperatures. Coral ecosystems are worth hundreds of billions of dollars to the global economy, and millions of people rely on healthy coral ecosystems for food, recreation, storm protection and more. Some 25 percent of all marine life is also linked directly to coral ecosystems. Additional research is needed to more accurately explain natural processes and forecast human-induced change. The USGS provides decision makers with assessments of coral ecosystem history, ecology, vulnerability and resiliency to help them develop mitigation and adaptation strategies.
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