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Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

2013 PCMSC News

December 2013

USGS Scientist Interviewed on the SAFRR Tsunami Scenario
On Dec. 13, USGS marine geophysicist Stephanie Ross was interviewed by Fox affiliate KTVU-TV (Ch 2, Oakland, CA) about the Science Application for Risk Reduction (SAFRR) Tsunami Scenario for broadcast on the 6 p.m. news. The scenario describes potential impacts along the California coast of a hypothetical but plausible tsunami created by a magnitude 9.1 earthquake offshore of the Alaskan peninsula. Watch the interview with Ross by reporter John Fowler on the KTVU web site and read the accompanying article, “Report shows how large tsunami could devastate San Francisco.”
SAFFR Tsunami Scenario:
For more information, contact Stephanie Ross, 650-329-5326.

October 2013

Impacts of Sea-Level Rise and Climate Change on Department of Defense Installations on Pacific Ocean Atolls
Scientists from the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center will gather field data on U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) in the Republic of the Marshall Islands from October 27-November 15 as part of a joint USGS, NOAA, and University of Hawaii study focused on Pacific atolls that house Department of Defense (DOD) installations. The study will assess the impacts of sea-level rise and storm-wave inundation on infrastructure and freshwater under various sea-level rise and climatic scenarios. DOD will use the findings to develop climate-change adaptation plans for infrastructure and associated water resources. The findings will also be useful to Pacific island nations already threatened by sea-level rise and changing climate. For more information, contact Curt Storlazzi,, 831-460-7521.

Coastal Surveys near Santa Barbara, California
USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center personnel will survey beaches and the nearshore ocean from Point Conception to Mugu Canyon, October 3-10, 2013. Walking, all-terrain vehicle, and personal watercraft GPS surveys will provide precise measurements of beach topography and nearshore bathymetry, adding to a 26-year record of surveys in the area. Long-term data show no major trends in erosion or deposition, except around the Santa Clara River mouth where flood deltas and subsequent erosion can cause shoreline change on the order of 100 meters. Surveys in focus areas show shoreline oscillations of 20-30 meters between winter (erosion) and summer (accretion), and net west-to-east alongshore sediment transport. Morphological analyses suggest that alongshore transport is only one-fifth of that estimated from harbor dredging records (Patsch and Griggs 2008, Marine Geology), likely due to the complex and intermittent transport regime and to overestimation by the dredging record approach. For more information contact Dan Hoover,, 831-460-7544.

USGS and Collaborators Release Report on Hypothetical Alaskan Tsunami and Its Likely Impacts on the California Coast
A new report, Science Application for Risk Reduction (SAFRR) Tsunami Scenario, presents a hypothetical yet plausible scenario in which a magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Alaska triggers a tsunami that reaches California. In this scenario, approximately three-quarters of a million people—about a third of them tourists and visitors—would need to be evacuated in just a few hours. Additionally, one-third of the boats and more than half of the docks in California's marinas could be damaged or destroyed, resulting in $700 million in losses. The highest waves would be in central and northern California, but much of the damage would occur in southern California's numerous marinas and large port facilities. Economic losses in California due to physical damage and business interruption would range from $5-10 billion, depending on resilience strategies. Neither of the State's nuclear power plants would likely be damaged by this particular event. The scenario was the focus of workshops led by USGS scientists and partners in California coastal communities September 4–10, 2013, in partnership with the California Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program. Read the multichaptered report; view a 4-page USGS Fact Sheet; and learn about other SAFRR projects. For more information, contact Stephanie Ross,, 650-329-5326.

Oceanographer Interviewed for TV News Segment on California Tsunami Scenario
On September 4, 2013, USGS oceanographer Bruce Jaffe was interviewed by KSBW-TV (Ch. 8, Salinas, CA) for a news segment about the newly released Science Application for Risk Reduction (SAFRR) Tsunami Scenario (, which describes a plausible tsunami created by an earthquake offshore of Alaska and its probable impacts on the California coast. The reporter asked Jaffe how the hypothetical tsunami's effects would compare with those of the 2011 Japan tsunami. The interview aired September 4 on Action News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. For more information, contact Bruce Jaffe,, 831-460-7542.

Engineering Award for Elwha River Restoration Project Acknowledges USGS Science
Although not a direct award recipient, the USGS was listed as a significant scientific contributor to the Elwha River Restoration Project, which has been named the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists (AEG) Outstanding Environmental and Engineering Geologic Project for 2013. Award winners are the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and Interior bureaus National Park Service, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The project seeks to restore the ecosystem and native anadromous fisheries of the Elwha River in northern Washington, primarily through the removal of two large dams. The USGS is collaborating with other Federal, Tribal, State, and local entities to provide scientific monitoring and analyses of the impacts of this project—the largest U.S. dam removal to date—on fish, water, and sediment. For more information, contact Jon Warrick,, 831-460-7569.

Molasses Spill and Fish Kill in Honolulu Harbor, Hawaii
USGS marine scientists Mike Torresan (geologist) and Dave Cacchione (emeritus oceanographer) were interviewed by CNN about a massive molasses spill that occurred in Honolulu Harbor, Hawaii, on September 9, 2013, killing numerous fish and other sea life. They were cited in the report posted on September 12 at Torresan explained that the molasses suffocated fish by displacing oxygen-rich water, and Cacchione noted that unusually high tides expected later in the week could help speed dispersal of the molasses. For more information, contact Mike Torresan,, 831-460-7425.

September 2013

Studying Tsunami Sources Near Valdez, Alaska
USGS personnel from the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, and the Alaska Science Center will look for sub-seafloor records of earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis near Valdez, Alaska, including the 1964 magnitude 9.2 earthquake and tsunami. The 1964 tsunami was the most destructive in Alaska history and also impacted Canada and the U.S. west coast. Chirp and multichannel seismic-reflection systems on the USGS research vessel Alaskan Gyre will be used for surveys in Port Valdez September 3-13, 2013. Goals include (a) determining whether 1964 slope failures collapsed as contiguous blocks or broke up into debris flows, and (b) looking for buried evidence of previous earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis. More accurate tsunami-source models benefit NOAA, FEMA, NRC, coastal-state geologic agencies, reinsurance companies, local emergency responders, shipping/transit agencies, and energy-delivery agencies. For more information contact Tom Parsons,, 650-329-5074.

Sound Waves articles:
USGS and Hawaiʻi Researchers Collaborate to Better Understand Changing Coral Reef Ecosystems Along West Maui, Hawaiʻi
Experts Team Up on Tsunami Resilience in California
California Seafloor Mapping Reveals Hidden Treasures
Assessing the Probabilities of Extreme Flood Hazards—Workshop Proceedings Released

August 2013

Sound Waves articles:
Seismic-Imaging Research Cruise Investigates Deepwater Gas Hydrate Deposits in the Gulf of Mexico
Deep-Sea Instrument Tripod Passes Test in Monterey Bay, California--Next Stop is South China Sea
Inspiring Girls To Pursue Careers in STEM
Meeting to Coordinate USGS Data Management to Support Ocean Planning
Mike Field Receives Department of the Interior's Distinguished Service Award

Tele-Sampling Deep-Sea Coral on Mid-Cayman Rise During Webcast Cruise
USGS oceanographer Nancy Prouty participated in exploration of the Mid-Cayman Rise (south of Cuba) from the exploration vessel Nautilus, using ROVs to collect samples for deep-sea coral paleoenvironmental studies.
The exploration, August 19-30, was one leg of the 2013 Nautilus Exploration Program:
Prouty was one of the scientists who paticipated from home institutions via telepresence technology (Prouty at Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, Santa Cruz, California). She was on "watch" during sampling along a vertical transect from 2,000 to 4,000 meters on Mount Dent. Her involvement stems from attending (with Amanda Demopolous, USGS, Gainesville, Florida) an Ocean Exploration Trust workshop in November 2012 to identify key priority areas for ocean research in the Caribbean region. For more information, contact Nancy Prouty,, 831-460-7526.

Studying Deep-Sea Coral Ecology Offshore Virginia and Maryland
USGS scientists working with partners from NOAA, BOEM, CSA Ocean Sciences, and universities are completing the final fieldwork of the 4-year Deepwater Canyons project to investigate biology, geology, oceanography, and archeology (shipwrecks) in two mid-Atlantic canyons off Virginia and Maryland. This cruise on the NOAA ship Nancy Foster departed from North Charleston, SC, on August 21 and will return August 28. Amanda Demopoulos, Olivia Cheriton, and Jonathan Borden from USGS are retrieving deep-sea moorings with rotating sediment traps and benthic landers with instruments and deep-sea coral experiments, all deployed August 2012. Demopoulos is project chief of the multidisciplinary USGS Diversity, Systematics and Connectivity of Vulnerable Reef Ecosystems (DISCOVRE) project, which studies the biology, ecology, and connectivity of deep-sea coral environments to provide the science needed for their effective conservation and management. For more information contact Nancy Prouty,, 831-460-7526.

Seafloor Maps, Datasets, Videos, and Photos from California State Waters
Three new USGS products in an ongoing series by the California Seafloor Mapping Program (CSMP) were released August 9th, 2013-- a map set for the area offshore of Carpinteria in southern California, a catalog of geographic-information-system (GIS) data layers for all of CSMP's published maps, and a collection of videos and photos of the seafloor along the entire California coast. The USGS is a key partner in the CSMP, a collaboration between state and federal agencies, academia, and the private sector to create a comprehensive base-map series for all of California's state waters. With the new products, decision makers and elected officials can better design and monitor marine reserves, evaluate ocean energy potential, understand ecosystem dynamics, recognize earthquake and tsunami hazards, regulate offshore development, and improve maritime safety. For more information, visit; or contact Sam Johnson at or 831-460-7546, or Nadine Golden at or 831-460-7530.

July 2013

Scientists Study Sediment Dynamics and Search for Gas and Oil Seeps Offshore Northern California
USGS scientists are collaborating with Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) scientists to look for geologic evidence of recurring sediment-laden density flows, as well as for any record of gas and oil seeps, during fieldwork off the northern California coastline, July 27-Aug. 7. The USGS scientists will join the chief MBARI scientist, and additional participants from MBARI and Stanford University, on MBARI's research vessel Western Flyer to use a remotely operated vehicle in Eel Canyon offshore near Eureka, CA. The scientists will take photographs and videos and retrieve sediment samples to investigate modern depositional and erosional processes, better understand seafloor gas venting, and study seafloor petroleum discharge. For more information, contact Brian Edwards at or 650-329-5488.

Radio Interview on Southern California Beach Sand
USGS geologist Jonathan Warrick was interviewed on Friday, June 21, 2013, by Molly Peterson of Southern California Public Radio, KPCC 89.3 FM, for a story about beach nourishment and why sand feels different on different beaches. Peterson is working on a series of summer pieces focused on the southern California coast. Warrick explained how natural erosion of the southern California mountains makes sand for the region's beaches, and how humans have altered the flow of sediment. The interview will be incorporated into a piece expected to air in July. For more information, contact Jon Warrick,, 831-460-7569.

The New BOBSled Underwater Camera System Records High-Definition Video of the Seafloor
A new underwater high-definition (HD) video camera system produced by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) made its debut this year, collecting more than 6 hours of HD video footage during field activities in February and March 2013. The Benthic OBservation Sled, or BOBSled, was developed at the Marine Facility of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California, by ocean engineer Gerald Hatcher. Read more...

Life in the Abyss
The scene first glimpsed by humans on May 8, 2013 was one of only a few gas seeps known to exist on the U.S. Atlantic outer continental shelf north of Cape Hatteras. Roughly a mile below the ocean surface, the seep is located just south of Norfolk Canyon, one of several deepwater canyons... east of Virginia and Maryland. Scientists encountered it while on an expedition aboard the NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown, as they explored the floor of the canyon with WHOI's ROV Jason 2. The USGS mission on this expedition is to advance understanding of the Nation's deep-sea ecosystems—including the mysterious new community found this month. USGS scientist Nancy Prouty and 3 others are heading up projects on this expedition looking at life in sediments, food-web connectivity, microbial ecology, genetic connectivity, and paleobiology. Read more...

Coral Gardens: Forests of the Deep Mission Log, May 11, 2013
From April 30 to May 27, 2013, scientists from the USGS DISCOVRE team worked with colleagues from other organizations in the Deepwater Canyons 2013: Pathways to the Abyss expedition aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ship Ronald H. Brown. Using WHOI's ROV Jason 2, they investigated the ecology of deepwater canyons off the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast. Little is known about life in the canyons, which are pathways for nutrients, sediments, and pollutants from the continental shelf to the deep sea. ntriguing observations included "coral gardens" described in the May 11 log. Read the reprint of the log...

Spring 2013 Monterey Bay Marine GIS User Group Meeting
The third meeting of the Monterey Bay Marine GIS User Group was held on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey, California. The goals of this user group are to foster collaboration among academic institutions, the private sector, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the Monterey Bay marine GIS science community; to facilitate hands-on GIS training; and to increase awareness of marine spatial data sets within the broader GIS science community in the Monterey Bay area.
The first speaker, Nadine Golden of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, began the day with a demonstration of the California Seafloor Mapping Program Video Data Portal currently under development. Read more...

May 2013

Lecture on Deep-Ocean Mineral Deposits
On May 19, USGS marine geologist James Hein presented an invited lecture on the "Contribution of Deep-Ocean Mineral Deposits to the Global Minerals Wealth" for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of California in Santa Cruz, CA. Sponsored by the Bernard Osher Foundation, Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes across the country support noncredit educational programs for older adults. Hein, a recognized expert on deep-sea mineral resources, is a Fellow of the Society of Economic Geologists and the Geological Society of America and chief scientific advisor to the Department of State delegation to the International Seabed Authority. For more information, contact Jim Hein at

Workshop on Climate Change Threats to Coastlines Protected by Coral Reefs
USGS scientist Curt Storlazzi attended the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) workshop on Vulnerability of Coral Reef-Protected Coastlines in a Changing Environment, May 24-June 2, in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. The ADB invited and funded Storlazzi to work with international scientists to provide guidance on a proposed $100,000,000 effort focused on remediation of coral reefs to protect coastlines throughout Asia from sea-level rise and climate-change impacts to infrastructure, food and freshwater security, and habitats. Storlazzi is the chief scientist of the USGS Pacific Coral Reef Project. For more information, contact Curt Storlazzi at or 831-460-7521.

Update -- USGS Biologists Discover New Chemosynthetic Communities on Interagency Deepwater Canyons Cruise
On May 8, USGS biologists on board the joint USGS/BOEM/NOAA and university expedition "Deepwater Canyons 2013 - Pathways to the Abyss" discovered vast beds of deep sea chemosynthetic mussels over a mile deep in Deepwater Canyons of the coast of the Atlantic. The new community was found in a gas seep site being visited for the first time. Bathymetric data collected on a previous expedition had suggested, based on bubbles rising through the water columns, that this may be the site of a previously undiscovered gas seep. This discovery confirmed the presence of a seep and an associated biological community. The information was posted on the expeditions' blog hosted by NOAA at and was tweeted from @USGS and @USGSAquaticLife. For more information, contact Helen Gibbons at 831-460-7418, or Rachel Pawlitz at 352-264-3554,

USGS Collaborating in Exploration of Mid-Atlantic Deepwater Canyons From April 30 to May 27, the USGS DISCOVRE team will participate in a research expedition aboard NOAA vessel Ronald H. Brown. Using WHOI's ROV JASON II, they will investigate the ecology of deepwater canyons off the U.S. east coast. Little is known about life in the canyons, which are pathways for nutrients, sediments and pollutants from the continental shelf to the deep sea. DISCOVRE scientists Cheryl Morrison, Amanda Demopoulos, Christina Kellogg, and Nancy Prouty are in the third year of a four-year study in collaboration with the Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management (BOEM). Sponsored by the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP), the study includes NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER). Follow the expedition online at and For more information, contact Amanda Demopoulos at

USGS Geologist Addresses California State Assembly Committee on Projected Coastal Climate-Change Impacts
USGS geologist Patrick Barnard was invited by California State Assemblyman Rich Gordon to speak at the first briefing of the Assembly Select Committee on Sea Level Rise and the California Economy, on May 15 in Sacramento, CA. The goal of this briefing was to educate the California Legislature on the state-of-the-science of projected climate-change impacts to the California coast. Barnard's research focuses on impacts of climate change and coastal storms; he and collaborators recently released the Climate Impacts Tool (at, an interactive software tool to help natural-resource managers and local governments in the San Francisco Bay region anticipate local coastal climate-change impacts. For more information, visit or contact Patrick Barnard at

South San Francisco Bay for West Coast's Largest Tidal Wetland Restoration
On April 2-4, USGS scientists Amy Foxgrover, Theresa Fregoso, Jamie Grover, Mike Boyle, Tim Elfers, Jackson Currie, and Tom Reiss collected high-resolution swath bathymetry and single beam bathymetry in South San Francisco Bay, the site of the largest tidal wetland restoration project on the West Coast. These data will be used to monitor changes in the bay, creeks, and sloughs, as levees are breached to restore former salt ponds. Also, these data will be combined with sediment core data collected by USGS scientist Mark Marvin-DiPasquale, to estimate the amount of mercury potentially remobilized by restoration. Mercury remobilization estimates will be used to guide restoration management decisions. The California Coastal Conservancy and US EPA funded this study. For more information, contact Bruce Jaffe at or Amy Foxgrover at

Interactive Tool for Assessing Climate-Change Impacts Along the North-Central California Coast Supported by USGS Modeling System
USGS scientists, in collaboration with NOAA and PRBO Conservation Science, recently released the beta version of an interactive tool for assessing climate-change impacts along the north-central California coast. The new Climate Impacts Tool, which currently covers the California coastline from Half Moon Bay to Bodega Bay, was posted on February 20, 2013, at
The USGS CoSMoS team includes project manager Patrick Barnard (who is also co-principal investigator, along with Grant Ballard of PRBO Conservation Science, on the Our Coast Our Future project), lead modeler/coastal engineer Li Erikson, geologist Amy Foxgrover, and oceanographer Andy O'Neill. Deltares collaborators include Maarten van Ormondt and Edwin Elias. Read more...

Future of Pacific Northwest Seagrasses in a Changing Climate
Near-term seagrass protection and enhancement goals in the Pacific Northwest could be affected by climate-change components that alter nearshore atmospheric, oceanic, and coastal attributes and processes, such as changing temperature, storminess, precipitation, runoff, sea level, upwelling, and ocean acidification.
To explore the implications of such changes for seagrass research, restoration, resilience, and adaptation, 35 climatologists, seagrass researchers, and resource managers from universities, the Northwest Indian College, and State and Federal agencies gathered at the University of Washington's Friday Harbor Laboratories January 23–25, 2013, for a workshop titled "The Future of Pacific Northwest Seagrasses in a Changing Climate."
The goals of the workshop—cosponsored by the USGS, the Washington Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Washington Sea Grant—were to quantify impacts and mechanisms, discuss the current state of scientific knowledge, and identify critical issues, data gaps, and uncertainties. Read more...

USGS Postdoctoral Researcher Studying Effects of Dam Removal on Marine Ecosystems
Melissa Foley has joined the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center as a postdoctoral researcher in the USGS Mendenhall Research Fellowship Program. Melissa is focusing her USGS postdoctoral work on how two large dam removals on the Elwha River in the State of Washington will affect marine ecosystems. Read more...

March 2013

Surveys Reveal Deposition of Sediment Released by Dam Removal in Washington State
The USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center is leading surveys along the Elwha River delta in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Washington, to map coastal effects of sediment released during the largest dam removal in U.S. history. According to field-operations leader Andrew Stevens, bathymetric surveys from personal watercraft show that more than 5 meters of new sediment has been deposited on a large area near the Elwha River mouth during winter 2012-13, when initial discharge of sand from dam removal occurred. David Finlayson, Gerry Hatcher and Pete Dal Ferro are still surveying the region with high-tech sonar and camera systems deployed from the research vessel Snavely. (Jon Warrick, Santa Cruz, CA,, 831-460-7569)
Learn more about how our science is supporting the Elwha River Restoration Project:

Interactive Online Tool for Assessing Climate-Change Impacts Along North–Central California Coast
USGS scientists, in collaboration with NOAA and PRBO Conservation Science (formerly Point Reyes Bird Observatory), recently released the beta version of an interactive tool for assessing climate-change impacts along the north-central California coast (Half Moon Bay to Bodega Bay), at The new Climate Impacts Tool—part of the Our Coast Our Future (OCOF) project to provide natural-resource managers and others with science-based decision-support tools—incorporates the Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) developed by USGS and Deltares (an independent Dutch research institute) to assess the dual impacts of sea-level rise and severe storms. The USGS team members are now planning to apply the CoSMoS system for a similar purpose along shorelines in San Francisco Bay and southern California. (Patrick Barnard, Santa Cruz, CA,, 831-460-7556)

Scientists from Four USGS Science Centers Collaborate in Study of Coastal Groundwater Exchange in Hood Canal, Washington
This interdisciplinary approach, drawing on experts in geochemistry, hydrology, geology, and oceanography, is the central theme of the USGS Coastal Aquifer Project (CAPII), which was recently restructured by Peter Swarzenski (USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center), Kevin Kroeger (USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center), and Christopher G. Smith (USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center) to align with current USGS science strategies and opportunities. Read more...

South Korean Geoscientists Visit the USGS in Menlo Park and Santa Cruz, California
USGS emeritus geophysicist Jonathan Childs in Menlo Park and USGS geologist James Hein in Santa Cruz hosted scientists from the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM). The scientists were introduced to a range of USGS studies, including microbiology, radiometric dating, analytical labs, data-processing operations, the NetQuakes seismograph network, deep-sea mineral investigations, and more. Read more...

Strategic IODP Planning Workshop for Ultra-Deep Drilling into Arc Crust
Two USGS geologists—Amy Draut of the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California, and Erin Todd of the Alaska Science Center in Anchorage—were among 58 international scientists who gathered in Kona, Hawai'i, from September 17 to 21, 2012, for a planning workshop on "Ultra-Deep Drilling into Arc Crust" by the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP; formerly the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program). Read more...

Training to Use New Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) Scanner in Santa Cruz, California
A newly acquired terrestrial lidar (light detection and ranging) scanner was the focus of training at the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California, in December 2012. USGS technicians and scientists learned how to operate the new instrument during a 4-day workshop organized by Deputy Center Director for Marine Operations George Tate and geographer Joshua Logan. Read more...

Remembering Asbury "Abby" Sallenger—Architect of the USGS Coastal Program
USGS scientist and renowned coastal-hazards expert Asbury "Abby" Sallenger, 63, died at home on the evening of February 5. He was a distinguished research scientist, a skilled communicator, and a mentor throughout his career. Seen as a leader in scientific response to coastal storms, Sallenger served as the voice of the USGS on hurricanes and coastal change since the USGS stood up its first scientific storm-response team in the mid-1990s. Read more...

Middlebury College Research Vessel Named for Retired USGS Scientist David Folger
The research vessel (R/V) David Folger, a 48-foot hydrofoil catamaran, is the newly dedicated research vessel for Middlebury College in Vermont. It will explore the waters of Lake Champlain while offering a state-of-the-art oceanographic platform for undergraduate students to learn the basics of marine research. Read more...

A Passion for Educational Outreach—Profile of USGS Geologist Carol Reiss
USGS geologist Carol Reiss of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California, gave her 99th educational-outreach presentation to a group of local fourth graders on December 17, 2012. Carol took the students on "geology field trips" around the facility's large conference room, where they saw rocks and fossils that Carol had collected from sites around the world, including Hawai'i, California, Mount St. Helens, Mount Everest, and the Juan de Fuca spreading ridge at the bottom of the North Pacific Ocean. Read more...

February 2013

International Atomic Energy Agency Working Group on Using Earthquakes and Tsunamis in Hazard Assessments for Nuclear Power Plants
USGS oceanographer Bruce Jaffe participated in the second consultancy meeting of an International Atomic Energy Agency working group, Jan. 22-23, in Vienna. The goal of this group is to provide an intelligible technical document on using geologic histories of earthquakes and tsunamis in hazard assessments for nuclear power plants. Users are "embarking countries" seeking to develop nuclear power programs. (Bruce Jaffe, Santa Cruz, CA, 831-460-7542)

Multi-Agency Workshop on Improving Extreme Flood Event Hazard Assessment
USGS researchers from across the Bureau joined specialists from other federal agencies, contractors, industry, academia, and other subject-matter experts at a workshop, Jan. 29-31, in Rockville, MD at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission headquarters. The goal of the meeting was to develop probabilistic hazard assessment methods for a wide range of flood hazards and for use in probabilistic risk assessments of critical infrastructures. Other agencies represented included the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and Bureau of Reclamation. For more information, contact Eric Geist at 650-329-5457.

Reducing the Risk of Environmental Health Disasters in the Pacific
USGS oceanographer Bruce Jaffe presented information on tsunami hazards in the Pacific region at a Centers for Disease Control workshop on "Reducing the Risk of Environmental Health Disasters in the Pacific." The workshop, Feb. 4-6, in Honolulu, HI brought together 50 invited participants, including health executives, public health officials, and subject-matter experts. The goals were to investigate and report disaster hazards and vulnerabilities facing Pacific islanders, and to identify and prioritize opportunities for disaster risk reduction in Pacific Island countries and territories. For more information, contact Bruce Jaffe at 831-460-7542.

Deep-Ocean Mineral Deposits as Source of Critical Metals
USGS scientists James Hein, Kira Mizell, and Tracey Conrad, with colleague Andrea Koschinsky of Jacobs University Bremen (Germany), just published "Deep-ocean mineral deposits as a source of critical metals for high- and green-technology applications: comparison with land-based resources" in the June 2013 issue of Ore Geology Reviews. Ferromanganese (Fe-Mn) crusts and nodules on the ocean floor are enriched in rare and critical metals and rare-earth elements, many of which are essential for high-tech, green-tech, emerging-tech, and energy applications. The authors compare the grades and tonnages of nodules and crusts in two areas of the Pacific Ocean with global terrestrial reserves and resources. They also discuss differences between terrestrial and marine impacts and mine characteristics. Deep-ocean mineral deposits will not replace land-based mining but will offer an additional source of raw materials to meet increasing demands. (James Hein, Santa Cruz, CA, 831-460-7419)

January 2013

Pacific Northwest Seagrasses and Climate Change
PCMSC geochemist Renee Takesue was one of the organizers of the workshop “The Future of Pacific Northwest Seagrasses in a Changing Climate”, held January 23-25, 2013, in Friday Harbor, Washington. The goal of the workshop—cosponsored by USGS, Washington Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Washington Sea Grant—was to determine impacts of climate change on Pacific Northwest seagrasses and implications for seagrass research and restoration. Seagrasses provide critical habitat for fish, birds, and invertebrates and serve as indicators of nearshore ecosystem health. Washington State had set a target of increasing seagrass habitat in Puget Sound by 20% by the year 2020. The workshop was attended by scientists and resource managers from universities, the Northwest Indian College, and state and federal agencies. (Renee Takesue, Santa Cruz, CA, 831-460-7594)

Pacific Northwest Seagrasses and Climate Change
USGS geochemist Renee Takesue, of the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, is one of the organizers of the workshop “The Future of Pacific Northwest Seagrasses in a Changing Climate”, to be held January 23-25, 2013, in Friday Harbor, Washington. The goal of the workshop—cosponsored by USGS, Washington Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Washington Sea Grant—is to determine impacts of climate change on Pacific Northwest seagrasses and implications for seagrass research and restoration. Seagrasses provide critical habitat for fish, birds, and invertebrates and serve as indicators of nearshore ecosystem health. Washington State had set a target of increasing seagrass habitat in Puget Sound by 20% by the year 2020. The workshop will be attended by scientists and resource managers from universities, the Northwest Indian College, and state and federal agencies. (Renee Takesue, Santa Cruz, CA, 831-460-7594)

Tsunami Source Working Group—Assessing Tsunami Hazards
Twelve members of the Tsunami Source Working Group gathered for the group's monthly meeting on January 8, 2013, at the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (PCMSC) in Santa Cruz, CA. The meeting, open to all, was also videostreamed to a conference room in Menlo Park, CA. Bruce Richmond and Bruce Jaffe (PCMSC) presented information on California paleo-tsunami field studies, Guy Gelfenbaum (PCMSC) described Alaska paleo-tsunami field studies, Amy Draut (PCMSC) discussed subduction-zone and accretion processes, and group leader Walter Mooney (Earthquake Hazards) led a discussion on directions for future investigation and the use of tsunami-source information to assess tsunami hazards to U.S. coasts. (Guy Gelfenbaum, Santa Cruz, CA, 831-460-7417)

Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center Welcomes Andy O'Neill ... read more

Olivia Cheriton Joins USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center ... read more


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