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Publications by year, USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center

All Publications by WHCMSC Authors for the year 2015

Ackerman, S.D., Pappal, A.L., Huntley, E.C., Blackwood, D.S, and Schwab, W.C, 2015, Geological Sampling Data and Benthic Biota Classification: Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound, Massachusetts: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014-1221 . Online at 10.3133/ofr20141221
Andrews, B., Defne, Z., Miselis, J., and Ganju, N., 2015, Continuous Terrain Model for Water Circulation Studies in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey.: U.S. Geological Survey data release . Online at 10.5066/F7PK0D6B
Andrews, B.D., Miselis, J.L., Danforth, W.W., Irwin, B.J., Worley, C.R., Bergeron, E., and Blackwood, D, 2015, Marine Geophysical data collected in a shallow back-barrier estuary: Barnegat Bay, New Jersey: U. S. Geological Survey Data Series 937 . Online at 10.3133/ds937
Armstrong, B.N., Warner, J.C., List, J.H., Martini, M.A., and Montgomery, E., 2015, Coastal Change Processes Project Data Report for Oceanographic Observations Near Fire Island, January-April 2012: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014-1159 . Online at 10.3133/ofr20141159
Denny, J.F., Danforth, W.W., Couch, S., and Schwab, W.C., 2015, Swath bathymetry collected offshore of Fire Island and western Long Island, New York in 2014, U.S. Geological Field Activity 2014-072-FA: U.S. Geological Survey data release . Online at 10.5066/F7C827BX
Denny, J.F., Schwab, W.C., Baldwin, W.E., Moore, E., and Bergeron, E., 2015, High-resolution geophysical data collected offshore of Fire Island, New York in 2011, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity 2011-005-FA.: . Online at 10.5066/F75X2704
Dickhudt, P.K., Ganju, N.K., and Montgomery, E.T., 2015, Summary of Oceanographic Measurements for Characterizing Light Attenuation and Sediment Resuspension in the Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary, New Jersey, 2013: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015-1146 . Online at 10.3133/ofr20151146
Dickhudt,P.J., Sherwood, C.R., Dewitt, N.T., 2015, USGS Water Level Measurements in Dauphin Island, Alabama from Hurricane Season 2013.: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014-1245 . Online at 10.3133/ofr20141245
Dickhudt,P.J., Sherwood, C.R., Dewitt, N.T., 2015, USGS Water Level and Wave Measurements in the Chandeleur Islands, 2012 and 2013.: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014-1246 . Online at 10.3133/ofr20141246
Foster, D.S., Baldwin, W.E., Barnhardt, W.A., Schwab, W.C., Ackerman, S.D., Andrews, B.D., and Pendleton, E.A., 2015, Shallow Geology, Sea-Floor Texture, Physiographic Zones, and Depositional History of Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014-1220 . Online at 10.3133/ofr20141220
Geologic Materials Repository Working Group, 2015, The U.S. Geological Survey Geologic Collections Management System (GCMS) A Master Catalog and Collections Management Plan for U.S. Geological Survey Geologic Samples and Sample Collections: U. S. Geological Survey Circular 1410 . Online at 10.3133/cir1410
Giese, G., Williams, S.J., and Adams, M, 2015, Cape Cod National Seashore Guide to Coastal Landforms and Processes- A Primer: U.S. Geological Survey Circular . Online at 10.3133/cir1417
Goff, J.A., Flood, R.D., Austin, J.A., Schwab, W.C., Christensen, B., Browne, C.M., Denny, J.F., and Baldwin, W.E., 2015, The Impact of Hurricane Sandy on the Shoreface and Inner Shelf of Fire Island, New York: Large Bedform Migration and Limited Erosion: Continental Shelf Research , v. 98 , pp. 13 - 25
Granja Bruña, J. L., ten Brink, U. S., A., Muñoz-Martín A., Carbó-Gorosabel, A., Llanes Estrada, P., 2015, Shallower structure and geomorphology of the southern Puerto Rico offshore margin: Marine and Petroleum Geology , v. 67 , pp. 30 56 . Online at 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2015.04.014
Oblique convergence between the North American and Caribbean plates along the eastern Greater Antilles island arc has yielded the compressive Muertos margin in the backarc region. The Muertos margin is characterized by an asymmetric thrust belt with overall opposite vergence to the subduction system in the forearc region. Offshore south of Puerto Rico, this thrust belt disappears and is replaced by a succession of NE─SW- and E─W-trending deep basins and steep ridges that characterize the western Anegada passage, resulting in a complex deformation pattern. Using new high-resolution multibeam bathymetry and a dense data set of mostly new seismic reflection profiles, we studied the along- and across-strike variations of the geomorphology and shallower structure of the southern Puerto Rico offshore margin. We have identified four morphotectonic provinces: the Puerto Rican sub-basin and Muertos trough, the Muertos margin, the insular shelf and the western Anegada passage. The Muertos margin province shows two distinct slope sub-provinces: the active Muertos thrust belt formed by N─S-compression between the island arc and the Caribbean plate�s interior ─which includes lower and upper thrust belts with distinct deformational styles and lateral continuity─ and the shelf slope covered by a thick package of layered sediments highly-incised by a dense canyon network. This network is disrupted by the Investigator fault zone consisting of a 130 km-long E─W-trending band of active extensional deformation. The Investigator fault zone shows differential surface expression caused by along-strike changes in the magnitude and distribution of the deformation, though this deformation is driven by a N─S-oriented extension, and if there is any amount of strike-slip it is insignificant. In the western Anegada passage province, the Whiting basin and Whiting and Grappler ridges are formed by large dipslip normal faults driven by a NW─SE-oriented extensional regime. The western St. Croix rise shows a complex structure as attested by the existence of NE─SW- and E─W-oriented normal faults. The NE─SW-trending NW-dipping normal faults observed at the summit of the rise predate the E─W-bounding faults that could accommodate the extensional deformation at the Present. This study provides detailed observations on the active tectonic and sedimentary processes to help future studies assessing the natural resources and the seismic and tsunamigenic hazard in the Puerto Rico region.
Grifoll, M., Aretxabaleta, A.L., Pelegri, J.L., and Espino, M, 2015, Shifting momentum balance and frictional adjustment observed over the inner-shelf during a storm: Ocean Sciences , v. 12 , no. 1 . Online at 10.5194/osd-12-897-2015
We investigate the rapidly changing equilibrium between the momentum sources and sinks during the passage of a single two-peak storm over the Catalan inner shelf (NW Mediterranean Sea). Velocity measurements at 24 m water depth are taken as representative of the inner shelf, and the cross-shelf variability is explored with measurements at 50 m water depth. During both wind pulses, the flow accelerated at 24 m until shortly after the wind maxima, when the bottom stress was able to compensate for the wind stress. Concurrently, the sea level also responded, with the pressure-gradient force opposing the wind stress. Before, during and after the second wind pulse, there were velocity fluctuations with both super- and sub-inertial periods likely associated with transient coastal waves. Throughout the storm, the Coriolis force and wave radiation stresses were relatively unimportant in the along-shelf momentum balance. The frictional adjustment timescale was around 10 h, consistent with the e-folding time obtained from bottom drag parameterizations. The momentum evolution at 50 m showed a larger influence of the Coriolis force at the expense of a decreased frictional relevance, typical in the transition from the inner to the mid-shelf.
Gutierrez, B.T., Plant, N.G., Thieler, E.R., and Turecek, A, 2015, Using a Bayesian Network to predict barrier Island geomorphologic characteristics: Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surfaces . Online at 10.1002/2015JF003671
Quantifying geomorphic variability of coastal environments is important for understanding and describing the vulnerability of coastal topography, infrastructure, and ecosystems to future storms and sea level rise. Here we use a Bayesian network (BN) to test the importance of multiple interactions between barrier island geomorphic variables. This approach models complex interactions and handles uncertainty, which is intrinsic to future sea level rise, storminess, or anthropogenic processes (e.g., beach nourishment and other forms of coastal management). The BN was developed and tested at Assateague Island, Maryland/Virginia, USA, a barrier island with sufficient geomorphic and temporal variability to evaluate our approach. We tested the ability to predict dune height, beach width, and beach height variables using inputs that included longer-term, larger-scale, or external variables (historical shoreline change rates, distances to inlets, barrier width, mean barrier elevation, and anthropogenic modification). Data sets from three different years spanning nearly a decade sampled substantial temporal variability and serve as a proxy for analysis of future conditions. We show that distinct geomorphic conditions are associated with different long-term shoreline change rates and that the most skillful predictions of dune height, beach width, and beach height depend on including multiple input variables simultaneously. The predictive relationships are robust to variations in the amount of input data and to variations in model complexity. The resulting model can be used to evaluate scenarios related to coastal management plans and/or future scenarios where shoreline change rates may differ from those observed historically.
Hamilton, T., Enkin, R., Riedel, M., Rogers, G.C., Pohlman, J., and Benway, H., 2015, Slipstream: an early Holocene slump and turbidite record from the frontal ridge of the Cascadia accretionary wedge off western Canada and paleoseismic implications: Canadian Journal of Earth Science , v. 52 , pp. 1 - 26 . Online at 10.1139/cjes-2014-0131
Provides a model for the development of the frontal ridge that contains Slipstream Slump and uses the hemipelagin sedimentation record sandwiched between megathrust earthquake generated turbidites to reconstruct the record of Earthquakes and develop a unified age model for the Cascadia accretionary margin.
Haney, R., Thieler, E.R., and others, 2015, Science and Technology Working Group Report to the Coastal Erosion Commission: Commonwealth of Massachusetts . Online at
Kalnejais, L., Martin, W. R., and Bothner, M.H., 2015, Porewater Dynamics of Silver, Lead and Copper in Coastal Sediments and Implications for Benthic Metal Fluxes: Science of the Total Environment , v. 517 , no. 1 , pp. 178 - 194
Lentz, E., Stippa, S., Thieler, R., Plant, N., Gesch, D., Horton, R, 2015, Evaluating Coastal Landscape Response to Sea-Level Rise in the Northeastern United States, Approach and Methods, version 2.0: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014-1252 v 2.0 . Online at
Lentz, E.E., Stippa, S.R., Thieler, E.R., Plant, N.G., Gesch, D., and Horton, R., 2015, Evaluating the Coastal Landscape Response to Sea-Level Rise for the Northeastern U.S.: Approach and Methods: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014-1252 . Online at 10.3133/ofr20141252
Lentz, E.E., Stippa, S.R., Thieler, E.R., Plant, N.G., Gesch, D.B., and Horton, R.M., 2015, Coastal Landscape Response to Sea-Level Rise Assessment:
Lightsom, F., Cicchetti, G., Wahle, C., 2015, Data Categories for Marine Planning: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015-1046 . Online at 10.3133/ofr20151046
List, K.M., Buczkowski, B.J., McCarthy, L.P., and Orton, A.M., 2015, Collections Management Plan for the USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Data Library: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015-1141 . Online at 10.3133/ofr20151141
McMullen, K.Y., Poppe, L.J., and Parker, C.E., 2015, Character, Distribution, and Ecological Significance of Storm-Wave Induced Scour in Rhode Island Sound, USA: Geo-Marine Letters , v. 35 , no. 2 , pp. 135-144 . Online at 10.1007/s00367-014-0392-0
Multibeam bathymetry, collected during NOAA hydrographic surveys in 2008 and 2009, is coupled with USGS data from sampling and photographic stations to map the seabed morphology and composition of Rhode Island Sound along the US Atlantic coast, and to provide information on sediment transport and benthic habitats. Patchworks of scour depressions cover large areas on seaward-facing slopes and bathymetric highs in the sound. These depressions average 0.5–0.8 m deep and occur in water depths reaching as much as 42 m. They have relatively steep well-defined sides and coarser-grained floors, and vary strongly in shape, size, and configuration. Some individual scour depressions have apparently expanded to combine with adjacent depressions, forming larger eroded areas that commonly contain outliers of the original seafloor sediments. Where cobbles and scattered boulders are present on the depression floors, the muddy Holocene sands have been completely removed and the winnowed relict Pleistocene deposits exposed. Low tidal-current velocities and the lack of obstacle marks suggest that bidirectional tidal currents alone are not capable of forming these features. These depressions are formed and maintained under high-energy shelf conditions owing to repetitive cyclic loading imposed by high-amplitude, long-period, storm-driven waves that reduce the effective shear strength of the sediment, cause resuspension, and expose the suspended sediments to erosion by wind-driven and tidal currents. Because epifauna dominate on gravel floors of the depressions and infauna are prevalent in the finer-grained Holocene deposits, it is concluded that the resultant close juxtaposition of silty sand-, sand-, and gravel-dependent communities promotes regional faunal complexity. These findings expand on earlier interpretations, documenting how storm wave-induced scour produces sorted bedforms that control much of the benthic geologic and biologic diversity in Rhode Island Sound.
McMullen, K.Y., Poppe, L.J., Blackwood, D.S., Nardi, M.J., and Andring, M.A., 2015, Sea-Floor Morphology and Sedimentary Environments in Southern Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015-1149 . Online at 10.3133/ofr20151149
McMullen, K.Y., Poppe, L.J., Danforth, W.W., Blackwood, D.S., Winner, W.G., and Parker, C.E., 2015, Sea-Floor Morphology and Sedimentary Environments in Western Block Island Sound, Offshore of Fishers Island, New York: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014-1224 . Online at 10.3133/ofr20141224
Montgomery, E.T., Ganju, N.K., Dickhudt, P.J., Borden, J., Martini, M.A., and Brosnahan, S.M, 2015, Summary of Oceanographic and Water-Quality Measurements in Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, Wells, Maine, 2013: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015-1072 . Online at 10.3133/ofr20151072
Pendleton, E., Ackerman, S., Baldwin, W., Danforth, W., Foster, D., Thieler, E.R., and Brothers, L., 2015, High-resolution geophysical data collected along the Delmarva Peninsula 2014, USGS Field Activity 2014-002-FA, version 2: . Online at 10.5066/F7MW2F60
Pendleton, E.A. and others, 2015, Seafloor Texture and Physiographic Zones of the Inner Continental Shelf from Salisbury to Nahant, Massachusetts: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015-1153 . Online at 10.3133/ofr20151153
Safak, I., 2016, Variability of bed drag in muddy waters under wave action: Water , v. 8 , no. 4 . Online at 10.3390/w8040131
Drag force at the bed acting on water flow is a major control on water circulation and sediment transport. Bed drag has been thoroughly studied in sandy waters, but less so in muddy coastal waters. The variation of bed drag on a muddy shelf is investigated here using field observations of currents, waves, and sediment concentration collected during moderate wind and wave events. To estimate bottom shear stress and the bed drag coefficient, an indirect empirical method of logarithmic fitting to current velocity profiles (log-law), a bottom boundary layer model for combined wave-current flow, and a direct method that uses turbulent fluctuations of velocity are used. The overestimation by the log-law is significantly reduced by taking turbulence suppression due to sediment-induced stratification into account. The best agreement between the model and the direct estimates is obtained by using a hydraulic roughness of 10 −4 m in the model. Direct estimate of bed drag on the muddy bed is found to have a decreasing trend with increasing current speed, and is estimated to be around 0.0025 in conditions where wave-induced flow is relatively weak. Bed drag shows an increase (up to fourfold) with increasing wave energy. These findings can be used to test the bed drag parameterizations in hydrodynamic and sediment transport models and the skills of these models in predicting flows in muddy environments.
Safak, I., Sheremet, A., Davis, J., and Kaihatu, J., 2015, Nonlinear wave dynamics in the presence of mud-induced dissipation on Atchafalaya Shelf, Louisiana, USA: Ocean Modeling , v. 65 , no. 11 , pp. 1567-1581 . Online at 10.1007/s10236-015-0887-x
The sensitivity of wave-mud interaction on directionality and nonlinearity is investigated. A phase-resolving nonlinear wave model which accounts for directional wave propagation and mud damping is used to simulate wave propagation over a muddy shelf. Field data from an experiment conducted at the central chenier plain coast, western Louisiana, USA are used to validate the model. Recently, verification of a one-dimensional wave model with the field data showed that this model was able to replicate the evolution of wave spectra over muddy bottoms. In this study, unidirectional wave spectra were also run through the parabolic model, but with various initial angles. Linear wave model runs were also performed in order to gauge the effect of nonlinear evolution on the results. Significant wave height and total energy contained in three different spectral bands from the model are compared to the data over the shelf, and correlation metrics calculated. While the model generally performs well no matter the initial angle, at no point does a zero initial angle compare best to the data, indicating that a unidirectional model may be missing some of the dynamical features of wave propagation over a muddy shelf. Furthermore, despite similar correlation scores between linear and nonlinear model comparisons of bulk statistics, it is seen the linear model does not replicate some aspects of the spectral evolution (such as low-frequency generation and amplification) shown in the data and captured by the nonlinear model. Despite the relatively short propagation distance, the effects of both directionality and nonlinearity play a noticeable role in wave evolution over a muddy seabed.
Schwab, W.C., Baldwin, W.E., and Denny, J.F., 2015, Maps Showing the Change in Modern Sediment Thickness on the Inner Continental Shelf Offshore of Fire Island, New York between 1996-1997 and 2011.: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014-1238 . Online at 10.3133/ofr20141238
Schwab, W.C., Denny, J.F., and Baldwin, W.E., 2015, Maps showing bathymetry and modern sediment thickness on the inner continental shelf offshore of Fire Island, New York: pre-Hurricane Sandy: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014-1203 . Online at 10.3133/ofr20141203
Sherwood, C.R., Scully, M., and Trowbridge, J, 2015, Bottom Stress Measurements on the Inner Shelf: Proceedings of Coastal Sediments '15 . Online at
Bottom stress shapes the mean circulation patterns, controls sediment transport, and influences benthic habitat in the coastal ocean. Accurate and precise measurements of bottom stress have proved elusive, in part because of the difficulty in separating the turbulent eddies that transport momentum from inviscid wave-induced motions. Direct covariance measurements from a pair of acoustic Doppler velocimeters has proved capable of providing robust estimates, so we designed a mobile platform coined the NIMBBLE for these measurements, and deployed two of them and two more conventional quadpods at seven sites on the inner shelf over a period of seven months. The resulting covariance estimates of stress and bottom roughness were lower than log-fit estimates, especially during calmer periods. Analyses of these data suggest the NIMBBLEs may provide an accurate and practical method for measuring bottom stress. Read More:
Sweeney, Pendleton, Ackerman, Andrews, Baldwin, Danforth, Foster, Thieler, Brothers, 2015, High-resolution geophysical data collected along the Delmarva Peninsula 2015, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity 2015-001-FA: U.S. Geological Survey data release . Online at 10.5066/F7P55KK3
Todd, B.J., and Valentine, P.C., 2015, Surficial geology and shaded seafloor relief of Georges Bank, Fundian Channel and Northeast Channel, Gulf of Maine: Geological Survey of Canada Open File series . Online at 10.4095/296975
Valentine, P.C., and Gallea, L.B., 2015, Seabed maps showing geology, topography, ruggedness, and sediment mobility in Quadrangle 6 in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary off Boston, Massachusetts: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map . Online at 10.3133/sim3341
Wang, D.T., Gruen, D.S., Sherwood-Lollar, B., Uwe-Hinrichs, K., Stewart, L.C., Holden, J.F., Hristov, A.N., Pohlman, J.W., Morrill, P.L., Konneke, M., Delwiche, K.B., Reeves, E.P., Sutcliffe, C.N., Ritter, D.J., Seewald, J.S., McIntosh, J.C., Hemond, H.F., Kubo, M.D., Cardace, D., Hoehler, T.M., Ono, S, 2015, Nonequilibrium clumped isotope signals in microbial methane: Science . Online at 10.1126/science.aaa4326
Yamamoto, K., and Ruppel, C., 2015, Preface to the Special Issue on Gas Hydrate Drilling in the Eastern Nankai Trough: Marine and Petroleum Geology , v. 66 , no. 2 , pp. 295 496
This volume describes processes used in and results from laboratory measurements and analyses of core samples taken from methane hydrate-bearing sediments in a methane hydrate concentrated zone in the eastern Nankai Trough. The core analysis program was conducted under a Japan-US collaboration. Several pressure-preserved core samples were recovered as part of the research program that supported the world's first gas production trial from a marine gas-hydrate deposit in the area. To maintain physical properties of the core samples under in situ conditions and not allow the dissociation of the gas hydrates, preservation of the samples under pressure and temperature was necessary during sampling and analyses. To attain this goal, several new techniques were developed and employed for both core sampling and analysis operations. Multidisciplinary measurements for geological, geochemical, petrophysical, and mechanical data were performed on both pressure-preserved and conventional samples. The resulting data allow us to derive integrated and quantitative information about the nature of methane-hydrate-bearing sediments. This data and information are being used for reservoir characterization at the production test site and to improve our understanding of the behavior of methane-hydrate reservoirs during and after gas production.
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