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News Briefs

News Briefs



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USGS Surveys the Southern Monterey Bay Coast to Study Changing Beaches USGS Surveys the Southern Monterey Bay Coast to Study Changing Beaches

September 27—From September 12–14, scientists from the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center used all-terrain vehicles and small watercraft to map the sand on beaches and under the water in southern Monterey Bay. The scientists will survey the area yearly to see how beaches gain or lose sand. These surveys add to twice-yearly surveys of the northern Monterey Bay coast underway since 2014. The scientists will conduct more frequent mapping to capture effects of large storms and other events, such as the closing of the Cemex sand mine in southern Monterey Bay, scheduled to occur by the end of 2020. Understanding long- and short-term impacts on the local sand supply can inform coastal planning. USGS research geologist Patrick Barnard was quoted in a September 20 Monterey County Weekly article about the recent survey. More: https://www.usgs.gov/center-news/usgs-surveys-southern-monterey-bay-coast-study-changing-beaches 


Congressman Jimmy Panetta Visits USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
Congressman Jimmy Panetta Visits USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

September 21—On September 18, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (20th district, California) and staffer Emmanuel Garcia visited the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California. Center Director Guy Gelfenbaum and Deputy Center Director Nadine Golden gave the visitors an overview of center activities, and several scientists provided briefings. Topics included landslides and coastal sediment, deep ocean minerals, beach and seafloor mapping in Monterey Bay, modeling of coastal flooding by storms and sea-level rise, climate-change threats to Pacific atoll islands, offshore faults and related hazards, deep-sea corals, and remote sensing to study coastal change. Congressman Panetta asked numerous questions during the two-hour visit. More: https://www.usgs.gov/center-news/congressman-jimmy-panetta-visits-usgs-pacific-coastal-and-marine-science-center


Seismic Research Cruise Provides New Data on U.S. Atlantic Margin Gas Hydrates
Seismic Research Cruise Provides New Data on U.S. Atlantic Margin Gas Hydrates

September 20—Data acquired by the USGS on the U.S. Atlantic margin in August 2018 reveal new information about the distribution of gas hydrates in the sector stretching from the upper continental slope to deep water areas offshore New Jersey to North Carolina. The Mid-Atlantic Resource Imaging Experiment (MATRIX), which was jointly sponsored by the USGS Coastal/Marine Hazards and Resources Program (CMHRP), the Department of Energy, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, acquired more than 2,000 kilometers (about 1,240 statute miles) of marine seismic data. Gas hydrate forms naturally in seafloor sediments when methane and water combine at moderate pressures and relatively low temperatures. John Haines, Program Coordinator for USGS CMHRP, noted that “The multiagency collaboration that contributed to the success of MATRIX is an excellent model for marine seismic programs that support mission-related research objectives.” More: https://www.usgs.gov/news/seismic-research-cruise-provides-new-data-us-atlantic-margin-gas-hydrates


USGS Keeps Vital Information Flowing in Carolina Flood Catastrophe
USGS Keeps Vital Information Flowing in Carolina Flood Catastrophe

September 18—At least 80 USGS scientists were in the field in the Carolinas and Virginia, working to ensure that vital information about river flooding reached emergency managers, forecasters, and others threatened by the catastrophic flooding that has been linked to 32 deaths. USGS crews evaluated many peaks of record, or instances when river and streamgages recorded the highest levels ever measured at those locations. More: https://www.usgs.gov/news/usgs-keeps-vital-information-flowing-carolina-flood-catastrophe

To learn more about the USGS role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Florence, visit the USGS Hurricane Florence page at https://www.usgs.gov/florence



USGS Scientists Prepare for Storms in Three Seas
USGS Scientists Prepare for Storms in Three Seas

September 11—When a major hurricane threatens to make landfall in the United States or its territories, the USGS mobilizes quickly to produce science on the go. USGS experts in flooding, storm surge, and the impacts of coastal storms gather essential information and get it to flood and erosion forecasters, emergency managers, and others who need it. The work starts well before the storm and continues for weeks or months afterward. “The USGS had a very busy hurricane season in 2017, so our team is well prepared to respond to more than one hurricane at a time,” said Athena Clark, USGS Science Adviser for the Southeast Region and the bureau’s Coastal Storm Team Leader. More: https://www.usgs.gov/news/usgs-scientists-prepare-storms-three-seas
Related: USGS Is Installing 20 Storm-Tide Sensors Along Puerto Rican Coast for Isaac, September 11


USGS-NOAA Cruise Maps Cascadia Subduction Zone to Assess Earthquake Hazards
USGS-NOAA Cruise Maps Cascadia Subduction Zone to Assess Earthquake Hazards

September 7—From July 31 to August 23, a joint USGS-NOAA cruise mapped seafloor depths, texture, and gas seeps in the Cascadia subduction zone offshore of Washington, Oregon, and northern California. The largest earthquakes in the world occur within subduction zones along the giant fault between the down-going and overriding plates. Such earthquakes have potential to trigger large tsunamis by raising or lowering parts of the seafloor. During the cruise, scientists mapped a total of 6,452 square kilometers of seafloor. They identified new faults offsetting the seabed, possible mud volcanoes, and numerous seeps that highlight the region’s geologic activity. Results from this mapping and related efforts will provide key baseline information for assessing earthquake, tsunami, and landslide hazards and developing situational-awareness products, as part of USGS work on Reducing Risk where Tectonic Plates Collide. More: https://www.usgs.gov/center-news/usgs-noaa-cruise-maps-cascadia-subduction-zone-assess-earthquake-hazards


Florence Likely to Cause Short- and Long-Term Beach Erosion
Florence Likely to Cause Short- and Long-Term Beach Erosion

September 1—Coastal change experts at the USGS forecasted that Hurricane Florence was very likely to cause beach erosion along about three-quarters of the North Carolina coast as it made landfall, and to overwash about 15 percent of that state’s dunes, with less extensive erosion in nearby states. “Our forecast is for Florence to cause a long-lasting coastal erosion process with more than one set of impacts to the Mid-Atlantic beaches,” said research oceanographer Kara Doran, leader of the USGS Coastal Change Hazards Storm Team based in St. Petersburg, Florida. More: https://www.usgs.gov/news/usgs-florence-likely-cause-short-and-long-term-beach-erosion-0

Other Hurricane Florence news:
Hurricane Florence Water Footprint Data Visualization, September 16
USGS Deploying More Gauges for Florence, Preparing to Measure Flooding, September 15
USGS Installing Rapid-Deployment Gauges in Virginia for Florence, September 12
USGS Installing About 160 Storm-Tide Sensors Along North and South Carolina Coasts Before Hurricane Florence Arrives, September 10

USGS Provides Critical Science to Support California's Fourth Climate Change Assessment
USGS Provides Critical Science to Support California's Fourth Climate Change Assessment

September 1—Scientists from the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center lead a suite of research projects that provided foundational science to California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, released August 27. One of the projects is the USGS Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS), which forecasts coastal flooding under multiple storm conditions and sea-level rise scenarios. The CoSMoS team partnered with scientists in the USGS Western Geographic Science Center to translate flood projections into potential economic, land use, and infrastructure impacts. CoSMoS projections were then combined with other research to assess climate-change impacts on critical lifelines in the Los Angeles area, such as water, power, telecommunications, public health, and emergency response. USGS scientists also contributed to regional and state-level reports that synthesize the assessment findings. More: https://www.usgs.gov/center-news/usgs-provides-critical-science-support-californias-fourth-climate-change-assessment


USGS Responds to Hurricane Lane
USGS Responds to Hurricane Lane

August 24—As Hurricane Lane neared Hawai‘i, USGS experts on storm-related hazards were taking action, along with other federal agencies, to help minimize potential risks to lives and property. Storm surge, coastal erosion, and inland flooding are among the most dangerous natural hazards unleashed by hurricanes, with the capacity to destroy homes and businesses, wipe out roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, and profoundly alter landscapes. The USGS has experts on these hazards, as well as sophisticated equipment for monitoring actual flood and tide conditions. More: https://www.usgs.gov/news/usgs-responds-hurricane-lane


Submarine Kīlauea Also Impacted by Recent Events on the Volcano
Submarine Kīlauea Also Impacted by Recent Events on the Volcano

August 16—The visible part of Kīlauea from the summit to the Lower East Rift Zone makes up only a small portion of the total volcano. Much of Kīlauea lies beneath the sea, including the Puna ridge to the east, and the south flank extending offshore beyond the southern coastline. As the volcano grows, this underwater region of the south flank creeps slowly to the south, moving in fits and starts with earthquakes and in slow slip events. Many questions have been raised about the stability of the south flank, since other portions of Hawai‘i Island’s coasts show evidence of past landslides. To better understand what’s going on within Kīlauea’s south flank and help determine how it has been affected by the eruption, a group of scientists deployed 12 ocean bottom seismometers on the submarine Kīlauea south flank in July. More: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/hvo_volcano_watch.html?vwid=1378


For all USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program news: https://www.usgs.gov/natural-hazards/coastal-and-marine-geology/news

For all USGS news: https://www.usgs.gov/news

Or follow us on Facebook: @coastalandoceanscience, @USGeologicalSurvey; and Twitter: @USGSCoastChange, @USGS

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in this issue:

Cover Story Moving Mountains: Elwha River Still Changing Five Years After Dam Removal

News Brief
News Briefs

Field Work
WHCMSC Aerial Imaging and Mapping Group Aids with Kīlauea Eruption

Recent Fieldwork

Awards
USGS Scientists Receive DOI Award for Elwha River Dam-Removal Study

Publications
Sept. Publications

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