Most all marine samples require archival and storage facilities that are environmentally sensitive to the sample we collect. In order to properly store samples the USGS has two refrigerated storage facilities. One facility is located adjacent to
the core laboratory, and it allows direct access to recent and actively studied cores and samples. The second facility is located off campus, at the
CMG Marine facility in
Redwood City CA. The off-campus facility is over twice as large as the refrigerated facility located adjacent to the core splitting laboratory. Sample storage temperatures are 38°F+/-2°F. Both the archive and working core halves are stored in special protective containers called d-tubes.
Staffing consists of a curator (staff research geologist; 0.1FTE), a co-curator, and an oversight steering committee. The co-curator, a full-time contract employee working in the final year of a two-year contract through the Earth Sciences Intern Program (ESIP) is responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of the collection.
Although the CMG collection is global in extent, most samples were collected from the Pacific Ocean and adjacent environs. The collection consists of over 12,000 box core, piston core, gravity core, sediment trap, dredge, and grab samples collected during numerous deep-ocean and coastal-ocean cruises since 1972, as well as sampling in lacustrine, wetland, and water-reservoir environments. The combined facility (both Menlo Park and MARFAC) is at 66% of capacity. Projecting present collection rates, the facility should not reach full capacity for the next 10 to 15 years.
The collection is in disarray as a consequence of our recent relocation from the Palo Alto, CA, facility. Overall curation goals for the repository are to maintain, re-organize, and catalogue the collection, and to salvage materials damaged during both the move and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. In addition, we are working with the Data Acquisition and Storage (DAPS) group of CMG to complete associated metadata (a database of core locations, descriptions, sampling history, and publication history of materials) and transmit appropriate information to NOAA's National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC). Initial access to information on the collection by the national and international scientific communities is through web search engines associated with NGDC's "Index to Marine Geological Samples" at:
The Core Curator and the steering committee handle subsequent requests for information or subsamples.