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Fieldwork

Mapping the Sea Floor Off Santa Barbara, California


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Amy Draut and Neomi Mustain
Above: Amy Draut (left) watches bottom video while Neomi Mustain logs video observations with a programmable keypad during the final days of the 2006 survey.

From July 5 to 26, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) personnel surveyed approximately 85 km2 of the continental shelf in the Santa Barbara, Calif., area, using interferometric sonar, which collects both bathymetric and acoustic-backscatter data. The survey was funded by Western Coastal and Marine Geology Team projects that are investigating offshore oil seeps, coastal sediment transport, and benthic habitats. Three areas were surveyed: a 40-km2 area south of Coal Oil Point, where there are active oil and gas seeps, and two areas of interest for sediment transport: one area south of Loon Point and another area off the Ventura Harbor mouth.

The recent survey was conducted in two legs. Pete Dartnell, Jamie Conrad, Mike Boyle, and Larry Kooker participated in the first week-and-a-half-long leg, and Guy Cochrane, Gerry Hatcher, Amy Draut, and Neomi Mustain crewed the second leg. Before the cruise, Andy Stevenson came out of retirement and worked with David Finlayson and the electronics technicians to install sidescan-sonar and video-sled systems on the research vessel Zephyr. Tom Reiss operated a shore-based RTK global-positioning-system (GPS) instrument to test the usefulness of such systems for improving the accuracy of the sidescan-sonar position and depth data.

map of California coast near Santa Barbara, showing locations of three areas surveyed in July 2006
Above: California coast near Santa Barbara, showing locations of three areas surveyed in July 2006.

The final 2 days of the cruise were spent collecting video footage in selected areas to ground-truth each type of pattern observed in the sonar data—smooth, featureless images that might indicate a muddy bottom, for example, or sharp contrasts that might indicate rocky habitat. University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) biologist Donna Schroeder participated in video surveying of bottom habitat and benthic species.

Similar surveys funded by the Minerals Management Service are described in Sound Waves articles, Mapping Benthic Habitat Around Oil Platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel, California and Sonar Survey of Sea-Floor Habitats Southeast of Santa Barbara, California.


Related Sound Waves Stories
Sonar Survey of Sea-Floor Habitats Southeast of Santa Barbara, California
October 2005
Mapping Benthic Habitat Around Oil Platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel, California
November 2004

Related Web Sites
Western Coastal and Marine Geology
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Santa Cruz & Menlo Park, CA

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in this issue:

Fieldwork
cover story:
Oil Spill Response Exercise

Mapping the Sea Floor Off Santa Barbara, CA

Research Underwater Sand Waves Seaward of Golden Gate Bridge

Manatee Traveler in Northeastern Waters Not Chessie

Cat Parasite May Affect Cultural Traits in Human Populations

Outreach MIT Students Visit USGS Woods Hole

USGS Participates in Waquoit Bay Watershed Block Party

Awards USGS Intern Receives Fulbright Scholarship

Staff USGS Employees Make Semifinals in Local Outrigger-Canoe Races

Publications usSEABED: Sediment Data for the Northern Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean

New Coastal and Marine Digital Library

September 2006 Publications List


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