California seafloor mapping reveals hidden treasures

California seafloor mapping reveals hidden treasures

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US: Science and technology have peeled back a veil of water just offshore of California, revealing the hidden seafloor in unprecedented detail. New imagery, specialised undersea maps, and a wealth of data from along the California coast are now available. Three new products in an ongoing series were released by the US Geological Survey – a map set for the area offshore of Carpinteria, a catalog of data layers for geographic information systems, and a collection of videos and photos of the seafloor in state waters along the entire California coast. “A programme of this vast scope can”t be accomplished by any one organisation. By working with other government agencies, universities, and private industry the USGS could fully leverage all its resources,” said USGS Pacific Region Director Mark Sogge.

The USGS is a key partner in the California Seafloor Mapping Program, a large, unique, and historically ambitious collaboration between state and federal agencies, academia, and the private sector to create a comprehensive base-map series for all of California”s ocean waters. Scientists are collecting sonar data, video and photographic imagery, seismic surveys, and bottom-sediment data to create a series of maps of seafloor bathymetry, habitats, geology, and more, in order to inform coastal managers and planners, government entities, and researchers. With the new maps, 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.

Source: Science daily