Coastal and Marine Geology Metadata and Data
The United States Geological Survey maintains a collection of whole and split ocean sediment cores, core subsamples, and associated data acquired during analyses of these materials. The collection includes a range of materials primarily from the western coast of the conterminous United States but with additional samples from Alaska, Antarctica, and the south Pacific.
This library of samples is available as a resource to scientists conducting research projects of national interest.
The purpose of this document is to outline our policy and procedures governing the availability and distribution of sample materials to qualified scientists conducting research consistent with national goals and the goals of the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (PCMSC).
2. Curatorial Authority
The authority for and responsibility of making decisions regarding the distribution of USGS samples lies with the PCMSC Core Curator, the Core Curation Steering Committee (CCSC), and the PCMSC Center Director.
The CCSC consists of USGS researchers, managers, and scientists who will meet to review all requests received for sample material.
The CCSC will either approve, request additional information from the investigator, or disapprove a request in a timely fashion.
Approval of sample requests will be based in part on whether or not:
For a small number of subsamples, the PCMSC Core Curator can do the sampling of material.
Subsamples will be shipped no later than three weeks following the approval of the request.
For large volume requests, the requester or his/her representative will need to visit us and do the sampling under supervision of the PCMSC Core Curator.
3. Availability of Material
Over seven thousand ocean sediment cores and other bottom samples are stored at our facilities.
By tradition, cores are split longitudinally into working and archive halves and stored in separate D-tubes.
The working half of a core is used for destructive types of analyses (e.g., interval sampling, geotechnical sampling, radiometric dating).
The archived half of a core is preserved unsampled and is stored for subsequent non-destructive examination and analysis (e.g., descriptions, imaging, x-ray).
Samples may be taken from the archive half only under special circumstances evaluated by and acceptable to the Curatorial Authority (see above).
3.a Moratorium on Subsampling
To allow government researchers to meet project goals, the USGS reserves exclusive rights to collected cores for an undefined period that ends when USGS management decides to make the cores publicly available.
During this period, interested investigators are invited
to discuss cooperative studies with the project scientists of the sampling field activity.
In all cases, metadata associated with the cores will be available as soon after the cruise as practical.
Metadata includes information such as Activity ID, Core ID, latitude, longitude, sampling device, length of recovery, and associated comments.
Searches for metadata are described in Section 3.2 (Searching the Databases).
3.b Searching the Databases
Through cooperative agreement, the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) maintains a searchable database of cores collected by the USGS.
Initial searches for core availability are
best made using NCEI's search engine at URL:
To search only the USGS samples, use URL:
After specific cores of interest are identified, more detailed searches
for locations and descriptions of available sample materials can be made using
the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Field Activity Information Search at URL:
4. Requesting Material
Qualified investigators should submit a request to the PCMSC Core Curator either by paper or electronic mail using the format in Appendix A (Sample Request Form).
Requests for samples should clearly state the nature of the scientific investigation and demonstrate a valid need for all materials.
All requests must include the following information (see Appendix A):
In the event subsequent material is needed, follow-on requests should
outline the progress of the study and verify the need for additional material.
A similar statement of intent should accompany samples that are requested for museum display.
Scientists or investigators who receive samples from the USGS are required to:
Failure to meet these responsibilities will prejudice future sample requests.
6. Who to Contact at USGSCarol Reiss, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
7. APPENDIX A.
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DOWNLOAD as XLS
PACIFIC COASTAL and MARINE SCIENCE CENTER SAMPLE REQUEST FORM
Send the PDF or XLS file as an email attachment, to:
|Date of Request:|
|Funding agency or institution:||
|National Program: (if applicable)||
|Collaborators: Names, affiliation, and roles||
|Project summary: A brief (<200 words) summary written to be understood by a non-specialist stating why these samples a necessary to meet your project goals. State the issues to be addressed, the objectives of the project, significance to scientific questions, and facilities needed, all in terms that do not require technical translation.|
|Potential impacts, major products, and timelines: Describe expected outcomes. What products will you produce to contribute to the desired outcomes? When do you expect to publish data based on these samples?|
List of Requested Material from the Repository: Page ________ of _______
|Field Activity ID||Core ID||Section||Half
1Note: “Half (W/A)” = working or archive half.