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Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center

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USGS Woods Hole Science Center Technology Programs

USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program

We are part of the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program. Please visit our other science centers at:

  1. St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center
  2. USGS Pacific Coastal & Marine Science Center
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Online Data

Featured Research

Diagram of instrumentation Coastal Observatories - New technologies are now available that have the potential to inexpensively communicate field measurements from many sensors to a user in a few minutes. This technology can fill a niche between internally recording instruments and fixed location, relatively expensive, high data rate observatories. Development of low-cost systems has the potential to provide observations from distributed arrays with multiple sensors on a wide variety of spatial scales.
Load cell frameUSGS Gas Hydrate Project Laboratories - Methane and water can combine to form solid, ice-like gas hydrate under the pressure and temperature conditions that characterize the sediments of continental margins and permafrost areas. Our laboratories measure the physical properties of natural and synthetic hydrate-bearing sediments using the Instrumented Pressure Testing Chamber (IPTC) and a modular system of laboratory cells and peripherals, respectively. These properties are particularly critical for understanding the energy and geohazard aspects of gas hydrates.
diagram of model processes Modeling - The U.S. Geological Survey and others are promoting the development of an open-source numerical model for sediment-transport in coastal regions. We are collaborating with other federal agencies, academic institutions, and private industry, with the goal of adopting and/or developing one or more models for use as scientific tools by the research community. We hope these models will evolve into standards for us, and possibly for use in applications by the broader community interested in coastal issues.
Ocean Bottom seismometerOcean Bottom Seismometer - The Ocean Bottom Seismometer is a self contained data-acquisition system which free falls to the ocean floor and records seismic data generated by airguns and earthquakes. The Ocean Bottom Seismometer facility provides technical support for a variety of scientific investigations ranging from deep crustal structure to gas hydrate and surface sediments. As of 2002, the USGS has entered an agreement with the national OBS facility at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to build and maintain 16 short-period OBS within the facility. Five of these OBS and a modest amounts of funding are available for USGS and non-USGS investigators to be deployed in repsonse to an earthquake or volcanic activity in the coastal ocean and its vicinity.
diagram of various systems usedSea Floor Mapping - Our operational group provides the technical expertise and innovations to plan, acquire, process, interpret, archive, and publish Sea-floor Mapping products to support the USGS and WHSC's coastal, and inner-continental shelf geology, sediment transport, environmental geoscience, and energy/tectonics research programs.
Coulter counterAnalytical Laboratories - This lab is equipped to determine the basic attributes of marine sediments. Grain size analysis equipment includes a rapid sediment analyzer, sieves, and sieve shakers to determine distributions within the coarse fraction, and a Coulter Counter, a constant temperature bath, and settling tubes to determine distributions within the fine fraction. Available computer software allows users to acquire, process, display, and archive the textural data. Camera-ready petrographic and binocular microscopes are available to facilitate compositional analysis.
tripod deploymentSediment Transport- The Sediment Transport Instrumentation Facility at the USGS Woods Hole Field Center maintains and deploys oceanographic instrumentation for the study of coastal and ocean circulation and sediment transport. The time-series observations are used in studies of regional circulation, to document and understand processes of sediment transport (including major storms and catastrophic events), and provide observations for circulation and sediment transport model testing and evaluation. Instruments are typically deployed for 1-12 months in spatial arrays as part of process or long-term monitoring studies.
SWASH buggy SWASH - Despite the importance of this measure of coastal change, the methods available for collecting shoreline position data are very limited. The most commonly applied method-shoreline interpretation from aerial photography-is expensive, labor-intensive, and involves a considerable amount of subjectivity in identifying the shoreline. There is a significant need for a method that can provide an unambiguous and repeatable measure of shoreline position, can cover large sections of coast within a single low tide period, is inexpensive to operate, and can be used for both long-term monitoring and rapid-response surveys of storm impacts. In response to this need, theUSGSdevelopedSWASH, a vehicle-based system for measuring shoreline position which utilizes recent advances in the Global Positioning System (GPS).SWASHstands for "Surveying Wide-Area Shorelines."
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This page last modified on Monday, 24-Nov-2014 13:15:26 EST