USGS - science for a changing world

Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

California Seafloor Mapping Program


Map of the bathymetry of Monterey Canyon and the Soquel Canyon tributary.

Bathymetry of Monterey Canyon and the Soquel Canyon tributary: Monterey Canyon is one of the largest and deepest submarine canyons in the world, reaching depths of 1,520 m (5,000 ft) at the State Waters boundary. Upwelling through the canyon provides nutrients for the highly productive marine ecosystem of Monterey Bay. Excerpt from USGS California State Waters Map Series—Monterey Canyon and Vicinity Map Area, Sheet 1.

New Maps Illuminate Monterey Bay Area Seafloor

March 29th, 2016

Six new sets of maps reveal the diverse and complex range of seafloor habitats along 130 kilometers (80 miles) of the central California coast from the Monterey Peninsula north to Pigeon Point. The publicly available maps can be used by a large stakeholder community to understand and manage California’s vast and valuable marine resources.

Read the rest of the USGS Newsroom State/Local News Release, posted March 29th, 2016.

Photograph from the portal, of a sunflower sea star on the seafloor.

Photograph of the seafloor off the California coast shows coarse sand, shells and a sunflower sea star. This photograph supports the California Seafloor Mapping Program, a cooperative program established in 2007 initiated by state and federal agencies, academia and private industry. Data collected during this project reveal the seafloor offshore of the California coast in unprecedented detail and provide an ecosystem context for the effective management of this precious marine resource. Photo Credit: USGS

USGS Science Feature: Gifts from the Sea

December 21st, 2015

The USGS has completed the second phase of releasing thousands of photos and videos of the seafloor and coastline through their Coastal and Marine Video and Photography Portal.

Most of these marine and coastal scenes have never been seen before or mapped at this level of detail. A more accurate perspective of these areas helps coastal managers make important decisions that range from protecting habitats to understanding hazards and managing land use.

This USGS portal is unique, due to the sheer quantity and quality of data presented. It is the largest database of its kind, providing detailed and fine-scale representations of the coast and seafloor. The “geospatial context” is also unique, with maps that display imagery in the geographic location where the images were recorded.

Read the rest of the USGS Science Feature titled, "Gifts from the Sea," posted December 21st, 2015.


Seafloor character map offshore of San Francisco and Vicinity.

Seafloor character map of the San Francisco Region. This is a type of habitat map that classifies the seafloor based on surface hardness and roughness. Such maps are used in various types of ecosystem assessments and seafloor zoning, such as delineation or monitoring of marine protected areas.

New Maps Reveal Seafloor off San Francisco Area

May 21st, 2015

Three new sets of maps detail the offshore bathymetry, habitats, geology and submarine environment of the seafloor off the coast of San Francisco, Drakes Bay, and Tomales Point.

Read the entire USGS Newsroom Press Release from May 21st, 2015.


For more information, contact Guy Cochrane or Sam Johnson.

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Page Last Modified: 27 September 2016 (lzt)