USGS - science for a changing world

Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center Multimedia

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Featured Photos and Video

Check out our spectacular photos and video featuring Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center scientists!


Science Videos

Thumbnail image of video, link to video.Running Rivers

What inspired a USGS geologist to study how dam removal changes rivers. Profile of Amy East.

thumbnail of videoExploring Causes of Coral Disease

The Hawaiian Islands’ beautiful ocean and beaches attract more than 8.5 million tourists each year. The USGS wants to help Hawaii preserve its underwater natural resources, and the agency’s ongoing efforts to trace the physical causes of coral disease will enrich future and past studies.

thumbnail of videoTime-lapse photography of Barter Island in Alaska

Time-lapse photography of Barter Island in Alaska during three summer months in 2014 showing the pack ice melting and subsequent impact to the beach and cliffs from storms.

thumbnail of videoPeeking into Permafrost

Barter Island sits at the top of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, and with the Arctic facing quickly rising temperatures, USGS is there to investigate what’s causing the North Slope bluffs to erode so quickly. This permafrost environment is complex, so USGS studies many facets of the frozen landscape.

thumbnail of videoExample of lidar data combined with elevation data

Once the point data from lidar are processed and overlaid with digital images, one can virtually “fly” through the scanned area. Landmarks like the Santa Cruz Main Beach volleyball nets, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and the mouth of the San Lorenzo River are visible.

Screen capture from the video.Deconstructing Dams: A Sediment Story

Review of science behind sediment transport following large dam removals. Video focuses on the Elwha, Glines Canyon, Marmot, and Condit Dams and the science done before, during, and after the dams were deconstructed.

Fly Over the Seafloor/Lake Bottom

Each video shows a virtual fly-through over the bottom of the seafloor or lake, as if the water was drained out.

Thumbnail of video.Lake Tahoe

Fly-by of the shaded-relief bathymetry and surrounding land of Lake Tahoe, California-Nevada. The colored region is the lake floor below lake level and the gray region (digital orthophotographs) shows the surrounding mountains and communities. The lake is approximately 34 km long and 18 km wide. The flight approaches from the south, flies around the lake floor in a clockwise direction, and leaves over the Truckee River.

thumbnail of videoCentral California — Bolinas to Pescadero

The movie flies out of San Francisco Bay pausing over a field of large sand waves west of the Golden Gate, and then up to the Bolinas area revealing folded and fractured bedrock. The movie then turns south flying down the coast past Pacifica and towards Half Moon Bay again revealing folded and fractured bedrock beneath the Maverick's surf break. The movie finishes by flying over very complex seafloor of folded bedrock, fault scarps, and ripple scour depressions south of Half Moon Bay and offshore San Gregorio State Beach. The seafloor is colored for depth with reds and oranges representing shallower regions and dark blues and purples representing deeper regions.

thumbnail of videoSan Francisco Bay

The movie flies through the south and central Bay, pausing over prominent seafloor features including, large sand waves, rock pinnacles, current scour pits, as well as many human impacts on the seafloor.

thumbnail of videoLower Elwha River, Ground-Based Lidar Fly-Through

This animation shows a virtual fly-through of a detailed, highly accurate three-dimensional map of the lower Elwha River. The data shown were collected using a ground-based lidar scanner, which uses pulses of light to accurately map the riparian environment.

thumbnail of videoTurbid Bay: Sediment in Motion

USGS scientists from the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center explore how sediment moves across San Francisco Bay tidal flats. The research team deploys a suite of large instrumented tripods to record sediment movements over a six-week period in early 2011. Answers from this work will help determine whether deposition of sediment at high tide is occurring quickly enough to preserve marshes in the face of sea-level rise.

The program also highlights the value and function of the USGS Mendenhall Fellowship Program. The Mendenhall Program at the USGS provides recent PhD graduates an opportunity to conduct cutting-edge research on pressing scientific questions with the guidance and mentoring of established scientists.

Thumbnail showing video and photo portal window.Coastal and Marine Geology Video and Photograph Portal

This portal contains USGS video and photography of the seafloor off of coastal California, Alaska, Hawaii, Puget Sound, and Massachusetts, and aerial imagery of the coastline along segments of the Gulf of Mexico and mid-Atlantic coasts. These data were collected as part of the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program:

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Tsunami Preparedness in California

U.S. Geological Survey General Information Product 91 (Requires Flash)

Tsunamis are a constant threat to the coasts of our world. Although tsunamis are infrequent along the West coast of the United States, it is possible and necessary to prepare for potential tsunami hazards to minimize loss of life and property. Community awareness programs are important, as they strive to create an informed society by providing education and training.

These videos about tsunami preparedness in California distinguish between a local tsunami and a distant event and focus on the specific needs of each region. They offer guidelines for correct tsunami response and community preparedness from local emergency managers, first-responders, and leading experts on tsunami hazards and warnings, who have been working on ways of making the tsunami affected regions safer for the people and communities on a long-term basis.

These videos were produced by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).

Please also visit our Tsunamis & Earthquakes web pages:

thumbnail of videoTsunami Preparedness in Northern California

Watch the video on YouTube, or view a Flash video: USGS General Information Product 91-A

thumbnail of videoTsunami Preparedness in Central California and the SF Bay Area

Watch the video on YouTube, or view a Flash video: General Information Product 91-B

thumbnail of videoTsunami Preparedness in Southern California

Watch the video on YouTube, or view a Flash video: General Information Product 91-C

thumbnail of videoTsunami Preparedness along the West Coast

Watch the video on YouTube, or view a Flash video: Watch the video on YouTube

Scary Tsunamis

thumbnail of videoVideo by Chris Bauer, KQED QUEST Northern California, first produced on July 28, 2009.
Is California at risk? In 2004, a massive tsunami struck the Indian Ocean. More than 225,000 people were killed. Bay Area researchers raced to the scene to learn everything they could about these deadly forces of nature. The information they gained provides a 'Rosetta stone' for helping to understand the geologic history of tsunamis and when and where they may strike again.

This video from 2009 was later reproduced, to include information and footage from the tsunami in Japan in 2011: On August 2011, a massive 9.0 earthquake generated a tsunami off the coast of Japan. In addition to causing a meltdown at a nuclear power plant and the loss of thousands of lives, the tsunami waves raced across the ocean and struck the California coast, causing tens of millions of dollars’ worth of damage to six counties. A network of buoys monitors signals of tsunami activity at sea.
Watch the video on KQED QUEST online.

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thumbnail of videoEarth.Science.Art Project

This collaborative project pairs artists from California’s Central Coast and San Francisco Bay Area with scientists from the Santa Cruz-based U.S. Geological Survey's Pacific Marine and Coastal Science Center. The artist create work inspired by scientific research.

Watch the video on YouTube

U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, CA

thumbnail of videoUSGS Menlo Park Open House, May 19 - 20th, 2012

Watch the video on YouTube

U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, 2010

thumbnail of videoThis short video gives an overview of the USGS Menlo Park Science Center in California. It briefly introduces you to the San Francisco Bay Area, shows the campus and facilities, and includes interviews with scientists describing their work.
Watch the video on YouTube

USGS Open House, May 2009

thumbnail of videoThis short movie provides event coverage of the May 15, 16, and 17, 2009 USGS Open House in Menlo Park, California. The movie is a peppy and fun presentation highlighting how USGS scientists shared their work with an eager public and tons of school kids. USGS employees Christy Ryan, Leslie Gordon, Liz Colvard, and Dina Venezky describe the scope and significance of the event.
Watch the video on YouTube
See also: USGS Sound Waves newsletter article: Hot Ticket—USGS Open House in Menlo Park, California (2009)

USGS Arctic Chronicles

The first two videos were shot in 2008 during a five week journey to map the Arctic Ocean seafloor. The 3rd video was made just before the expeditions in 2010, as a project overview. Read more about USGS mapping in the Arctic.

Healy/Louis Helicopter Overflight

thumbnail of videoVideo shows Canadian helicopter overflight of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy and Canadian Coast Guard Ship Louis S. St-Laurent in the Arctic Ocean.
Watch the video on YouTube

Mooring Evolution

thumbnail of videoVideo shows overflight of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy and Canadian Coast Guard Ship Louis S. St-Laurent pulling alongside each other in the Artic Ocean.
Watch the video on YouTube

Breaking Ice

thumbnail of videoVideo shows the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy breaking ice in the Arctic Ocean.
Watch the video on YouTube

U.S.-Canada Arctic Expedition Surveying the Extended Continental Shelf (Overview of Project, with audio interviews)

thumbnail of videoAmerican and Canadian scientists head north on a collaborative expedition to map the Arctic seafloor and gather data to help define the outer limits of the continental shelf. Each coastal nation may exercise sovereign rights over the natural resources of their continental shelf.
Watch the video on YouTube

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Coast Salish: Tribal Canoe Journey for Troubled Sea

The USGS and the Coast Salish Tribal Nation have partnered during the annual Tribal Canoe Journey to study and help improve resources of the Salish Sea. Learn about it at the 2009 Coast Salish Water Quality Project,
USGS Sound Waves newsletter articles:

Part 1

thumbnail of videoThis first episode in the Corecast Tribal Journey series examines the new partnership between the USGS and Coast Salish people.
Watch the video on YouTube

Part 2

thumbnail of videoThis final episode in the Corecast Tribal Journey gives an overview of the journey, including a look at preliminary results.
Watch the video on YouTube

2008 Glen Canyon Dam High-Flow Experiment, February-March 2008

On March 5, 2008, the Secretary of the Interior pulled the levers at Glen Canyon Dam to release high flows into the stretch of the Colorado River that runs through the 277-mile length of Grand Canyon National Park. In an attempt to distribute sediment from the channel up on to shorelines where it could benefit campers, archaeologic sites, animals, and plants, water was released through Glen Canyon Dam's powerplant and bypass tubes to a maximum amount of approximately 41,500 cubic feet per second for about 60 hours. The experiment was designed “to enhance the habitat in the canyon and its wildlife, and learn more about these complex natural systems,” said Secretary Kempthorne in remarks he made before opening the dam’s jet tubes.

The U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center worked with other Department of the Interior bureaus, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Northern Arizona University, Utah State University, the University of Wyoming, Idaho State University, Loyola University, Chicago, and other cooperators to conduct a range of research activities to investigate and document potential responses of physical, biological, and cultural resources to the experimental high flow. USGS scientists and their cooperators published high-flow research findings beginning in early 2010.

The 2008 high-flow experiment was a cooperative effort among Department of the Interior bureaus, including the Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and USGS.

For more information, please visit the USGS Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center's web site:

USGS CoreCast Interview: Opening a Dam to Study and Improve Resources in the Grand Canyon

Dams don't help just by holding water back. By opening Glen Canyon Dam's jet tubes for a high flow experiment scientists can study and improve resources in Grand Canyon National Park. Learn more by listening to our interview with Andrea Alpine, Center Director of the USGS Southwest Biological Science Center.

The image animations below were created from still-camera images on the Colorado River, showing days of change surrounding the high-flow release of water from Glen Canyon Dam.

Learn more about Bedform Sedimentology.

River Mile 3

33 days of change, February 3 - March 29, 2008

River Mile 45

28 days of change, March 2 - March 31, 2008

Videos of the South Molokaʻi Reef Tract

Coral reef near Kamalō

Coral reef offshore from Kapuāiwa (King Kamehameha V) coconut grove

Coral reef near Pālāʻau

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Tsunami Animations

Thumbnail of The Great Wave off Kanagawa, also known as The Great Wave or simply The Wave. It is an ukiyo-e woodblock print by Japanese artist Hokusai, published sometime between 1830 and 1833 in the late Edo period.Watch computer-generated animations of what a tsunami looks like, as it propagates across the ocean and hits land. Tsunamis modeled include these and more:

Public Lectures

The USGS Evening Public Lecture Series events are free and are intended for a general public audience that may not be familiar with the science being discussed. Our speakers are encouraged to thoroughly explain the subject matter being presented, and to define any words or terms that may be unfamiliar to those not having a background or familiarity with the material being presented.

The Western Region Evening Public Lecture Series was established in 1990 to provide USGS scientists with a forum for providing the public with current information about USGS research through a series of monthly talks featuring recent developments in the disciplines of biology, geography, geology, and water resources.

Originally conceived to provide customers with an opportunity to interact live with USGS scientists while gaining information about "Earth Science in the Public Service", the Menlo Park Campus Evening Public Lecture Series continues to provide the original public service, while now providing remote live access through video streaming on the Internet, and on-demand access to archived talks following each lecture.

Our ongoing goal continues to be providing customers with solid scientific information presented in a way that can be appreciated by those not necessarily having a background in the sciences, and to create a better understanding of the importance and value of "Science for a Changing World".

Small thumbnail for a preview of public lecture.Marine Terraces of California
Landscapes from the Waves

by Marjorie Schulz, USGS Research Hydrologist, Water Science Center

Length: 67 minutes
Download video (MPEG 4): Mar16.mp4 (387.7 MB)

Small thumbnail for a preview of public lecture.Coral Reefs, Climate Change, and Atoll Sustainability

by Curt Storlazzi, Research Geologist and Oceanographer, USGS PCMSC: September 24, 2015

Will Micronesians become the U.S.'s first climate change refugees?
Length: 1 hour, 7 minutes
Download video (MPEG 4): sep15.mp4 (543.6 MB)

Small thumbnail for a preview of public lecture.Ten Years After the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami
How geology is reducing tsunami risk

by Bruce Jaffe, Research Oceanographer, USGS PCMSC: December 18, 2014

Length: 1 hour and 5 minutes
Download video (MPEG 4): dec14.mp4 (528.8 MB)

Screen shot of Nancy's talk.Into the Abyss
Living Without Light

by Nancy Prouty, Research Oceanographer, USGS PCSMC: June 26, 2014

Length: 1 hour and 9 minutes
Download video (MPEG 4): jun14.mp4 (533 MB)

Screen shot of David Finlayson lecture video.Scanning the Seafloor with Sound
modern sonar reveals hidden hazards and resources

by David Finlayson, Geologist, USGS PCMSC: June 28, 2012

Length: 1 hour and 6 minutes
Download video (MPEG 4): jun12.mp4 (266 MB)

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Thumbnail of Jack and Dave.Colorado River High-Flow Experiments
a story of Grand Canyon geology, water, and biology

by Jack Schmidt (USGS Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center) and David Rubin, Research Geologist, USGS PCMSC: November 17, 2011

Length: 77 minutes
Download video (MPEG 4): nov11.mp4 (280 MB)

Thumbnail of Bay Area Science Festival banner.USGS Science for a Changing Bay Area
a special USGS public lecture celebrating the inaugural Bay Area Science Festival

by Patrick Barnard, Research Geologist, USGS PCMSC and William Ellsworth, USGS Earthquake Science Center: November 3, 2011

USGS scientists will be speaking about current Bay Area research, including recent discoveries beneath Bay waters and the latest on earthquake research. The scientists will be presenting information in non-technical terms for the general public. Following the speakers, a "video theatre" will feature two award-winning USGS products, "Delta Revival" and "Wetland Revival", on scientists working to restore San Francisco Bay-Delta ecosystems
Length: 115 minutes
Download video (MPEG 4): science_festival.mp4 (450 MB)

Thumbnail of Sam.Exploring California's Amazing Seafloor
the visionary California Seafloor Mapping Program

by Sam Johnson, Research Geologist, USGS PCMSC: June 30, 2011

Thumbnail of Patrick.Is Our Coast in Jeopardy?
predicting the impact of extreme storms on the California Coast

by Patrick Barnard, Research Geologist, USGS PCMSC: February 24, 2011

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Thumbnail of Jon.Dam Removal in the Pacific Northwest
a new tool for river restoration

by Jonathan Warrick, Research Geologist, USGS PCMSC: October 28, 2010

Thumbnail of Walter and Eric.Large, Destructive Earthquakes in Haiti and Chile
Lessons Learned for the San Francisco Bay Area

by Walter Mooney (USGS Earthquake Science Center) and Eric Geist, Geophysicist, USGS PCMSC: April 29, 2010

Thumbnail of lecture.Coral Reefs, the 6th Extinction, and You

by Michael Field, Geologist Emeritus, USGS PCMSC: January 29, 2010

Thumbnail of Dave and Steve.Geohazards in the Aleutian Islands
Great Earthquakes, Great Waves, and Great Volcanic Explosions!

by Steve Kirby (USGS Scientist Emeritus), and Dave Scholl, Scientist Emeritus, USGS PCMSC: November 19, 2009

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Thumbnail of Eric.Paddling for a Purpose in a Troubled Sea
Sampling the Salish Sea During Tribal Canoe Journeys

by Eric Grossman, Research Geologist, USGS PCMSC: October 29, 2009

Thumbnail of Jim.Alchemy in the Abyss
Probing the mysteries of deep-ocean minerals

by James R. Hein, Research Geologist, USGS PCMSC: May 31, 2007

Thumbnail of Pete and PatrickThe Hidden World of the Golden Gate
How tides, currents, and humans have created an array of sea-floor features

by Patrick Barnard, Research Geologist, USGS PCMSC, and Peter Dartnell, Physical Scientist, USGS PCMSC: January 25, 2007

Thumbnail of John and Florence.Shifting Shoals and Shattered Rocks
How Man Has Changed The Floor Of San Francisco Bay

by John Chin and Florence Wong, Geologists, USGS PCMSC: November 17, 2005

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Thumbnail of Eric and Bruce.Tsunamis
Lessons and Questions from the Indian Ocean Disaster

by Eric L. Geist, Geophysicist, USGS PCMSC, Bruce E. Jaffe, Oceanographer, USGS PCMSC, and Brian F. Atwater, Geologist, USGS Earthquake Science Center: June 30, 2005

Thumbnail of Dave and Bill.Commotions in the Oceans
USGS Shipboard Research Sparked Scientific Advances

by William R. Normark, and David W. Scholl, Research Geologists, USGS PCMSC: March 31, 2005

thumbnail of videoDecember 2004 Tsunami Disaster
Reports from Field Teams in Sumatra and Sri Lanka

by Bruce Jaffe and Guy Gelfenbaum: February 17, 2005

Watch the presentation: Flash video; or MP4 video

Thumbnail of Mike and Curt.Life and Death of Hawaiian Coral Reefs
New Studies Track the Life Cycle of Maui's Changing Reefs

by Michael E. Field and Curt D. Storlazzi, Research Geologists, USGS PCMSC: February 26, 2004

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Thumbnail of KK.Gaia's Breath
Methane and the Future of Natural Gas

by Keith A. Kvenvolden, Research Geochemist, USGS PCMSC: April 24, 2003

Thumbnail of SteveRevealing the Hidden World Beneath Monterey Bay
Explore the diverse features on and below the sea floor in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

by Steve Eittreim, Research Geologist, USGS PCMSC: August 29, 2002

Thumbnail of HermanBeyond the Golden Gate
Oceanography, Geology, Biology, and Environmental Issues In The Gulf of the Farallones

by Herman A. Karl, Research Geologist, USGS PCMSC, and Edward Ueber, Director, Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary: July 25, 2002

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Vintage Videos from 1980s and ’90s

Screen capture from the video.The Voyage of the Lee

1985, 49 minutes

The U. S. Geological Survey vessel S.P. Lee navigates and explores the Pacific Ocean bottom. Remote video camera views of the ocean floor are included. Various sampling methods used in marine geology are demonstrated and discussed. View video in a new web page.

Screen capture from the video.Oceanfloor Legacy

1991, 29 minutes

An Emmy Award-winning program with views of the ocean floor just off the coast of San Francisco where, in the past, drums of radioactive waste have been dumped. The techniques of mapping the location of these drums and also a planned dump site for dredge spoils from the port of Oakland for EPA are explained. View video in a new web page.

Scren capture from the video.America's New Frontier

1992, 28 minutes

Overview of the GLORIA Project. This image acquisition and mapping project covers the EEZ, or Exclusive Economic Zone, a 200 mile wide area of the ocean extending out from the coast of all U. S. territories and possessions. The video shows the quality of the imagery and how it was acquired and used to locate seafloor faults and submarine landslides. View video in a new web page.

Screen capture from the video.Exotic Terrane


A geologic history of the Pacific Northwest that explains how islands near China accreted, or welded, themselves to the North American continent. Animations of the formation of North America explain the process. The video also visits Hells Canyon in Idaho. On-location interviews with an expert geologist add to the viewer's experience. View video in a new web page.

Screen capture from the video.Drift Ice as Geologic Agent

1993, USGS Open-File Report 93-237

Authors Steve Wessells, Erk Reimnitz, Peter Barnes, and Ed Kempema use time-lapse film, animations, and drawings by Tau Rho Alpha to illustrate ice gouging, ice wallow, frazil and slush ice, sediment entrainment, ice rafting, turbid ice, and river flooding of fast ice. Included is unusual film of strudel flow and scour which leave scour holes as deep as six meters on the ocean floor. View video in a new web page.

Screen capture from the video.Hurricane Force—A Coastal Perspective


Steve Wessells, USGS, produced this piece which includes Silicon Graphics, Inc., animations, before and after hurricane photos of wetlands, historic storm and damage footage, and insightful interviews with USGS scientists regarding their coastal research programs. The scientists studied Hurricanes Hugo in Culebra, Puerto Rico, Iniki in Kauai, Hawaii, and Andrew in coastal Louisiana. View video in a new web page.

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Multimedia Types

Featured Photos and Videos

Science Videos

Seafloor Video and Photo Portal

Tsunami Animations

Public Lecture Videos

Vintage Videos

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