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USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program

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News Archive - stories from December 2016.

For information about a story, contact Ann Tihansky (202) 208-3342.

Scientists recover a sample of seabed sediment collected near the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault during a collaborative research cruise off southeast Alaska in September 2015.Workshop on the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault: the San Andreas of the North

USGS scientists and colleagues held a workshop to share recently acquired marine data on the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault in southeast Alaska and to plan 2017 research cruises. Participants from USGS, Geological Survey of Canada, Sitka Sound Science Center, Moss Landing Marine Lab, and Friday Harbor Laboratories met October 25-29, 2016, on Orcas Island, Washington. Like California’s San Andreas fault, the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault (QCFF) is a strike-slip fault separating the Pacific and North American tectonic plates. The QFCC lies mostly offshore southeast Alaska and British Columbia. It has experienced seven major earthquakes in the past 100 years, including a 1949 magnitude-8.1 event, Canada’s largest recorded earthquake. The workshop participants are collaborating to fill gaps in knowledge about this extremely active fault and the hazards it poses to communities in Alaska and Canada.

Contact: Danny Brothers,, 831-460-7460

posted: 2016-12-23

At the 2016 AGU Fall Meeting, USGS geophysicist Stephanie Ross speaks with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell about ways to help decision makers, emergency responders, and other stakeholders use scientific findings about tsunamis. Photo credit: USGS.Photo in Washington Post shows USGS tsunami scientist speaking with Interior Secretary at AGU Fall Meeting

A Washington Post article published December 15, 2016, includes a photo of Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell talking with USGS geophysicist Stephanie Ross at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in San Francisco. Ross was showing the Secretary her poster on how to engage decision makers, emergency responders, and other stakeholders in using scientific findings about tsunamis, titled: "Get People Talking: Sharing Tsunami Science Beyond the Web".
View the Washington Post article.
See a larger version of the photo.
Contact: Stephanie Ross,, 650-329-5326.posted: 2016-12-23

Atlantic Ocean, Outer Banks along the North Carolina coast and Pamlico Sound. (image courtesy of Landsat, Google Earth, 2016)Understanding the behavior of barrier island breaches.

The latest issue of Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans discusses the processes that control a barrier island breach at Pea Island, NC. This breach was impacted by Hurricanes Irene, Sandy, and Arthur. Key findings show that the breach tended to close due to alongshore sediment transport flux events, and the breach tended to open or stay open due to cross-island pressure gradient driven flows between Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic.

Read the article here: Barrier island breach evolution: Alongshore transport and bay-ocean pressure gradient interactions

posted: 2016-12-19

Looking down on the large poster hall at the AGU Fall Meeting. Many rows of posters on boards with people reading and walking. Photo by Rex Sanders, USGSLong days, fresh ideas, and new connections: USGS scientists sharing science at the 2016 AGU Fall Meeting

Their days often start with breakfast meetings and end with working dinners. They give presentations to hundreds of their peers, debate fine points in crowded poster halls, and catch up with colleagues in long refreshment lines.

USGS scientists also broaden their scientific horizons, get ideas for new projects, and plant the seeds for collaborations that might change the way we think about the Earth.

Read the whole story.

posted: 2016-12-13

Amy East wears her -I love geology- face as HawaiiUSGS scientist gives TEDx talk to high-school students in Monterey, California, on the importance of Earth science and diversity

USGS research geologist Amy East of the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California, spoke October 14, 2016, at an independently organized TED talk event (known as TEDx). East addressed students at Santa Catalina School, an all-girls’ high school in Monterey, about the importance of Earth science and diversity in the sciences. Each year the school’s student-led TEDx team lines up engaging and diverse speakers from the local community. East is one of seven who spoke at this year’s two-hour event. View her talk, “Adventures on Planet Earth,” on the TEDx YouTube channel.

Contact: Amy East,, 831-460-7533

posted: 2016-12-06

Photograph of AGU participants outside of Moscone Convention Center in December, 2015. Photo by Rex Sanders, USGS.Watch free, online AGU 2016 Fall Meeting talks by USGS coastal and ocean scientists (and others)

The American Geophysical Union plans to live-stream three 2016 Fall Meeting sessions that include talks by USGS coastal and ocean scientists. AGU On-Demand provides free access to selected sessions via videos live-streamed during the meeting and archived for later viewing. Viewers do not have to be members to sign up. Visit the AGU Fall Meeting web site and click “AGU On-Demand.” The three sessions featuring USGS coastal and ocean science are:

Contact: Rex Sanders, 831-460-7555,

posted: 2016-12-02

SPCMSC scientist talks to families at the 2016 Great American Teach-InUSGS staff participate in the 21st annual Great American Teach-In

The Great American Teach-In, sponsored by Duke Energy since 1994, is part of Pinellas County Schools' annual American Education Week Celebration. The event encourages members of the community to visit Pinellas County schools for an hour, a few class periods, or an entire school day to share with students details of their careers or to teach a class. Students are exposed to new concepts and gain an understanding of the many career choices that are available. Kira Barrera, Ilsa Kuffner, Joe Long, BJ Reynolds, and Dave Thompson represented the USGS visiting four schools and presenting to 645 kindergarten through 8st grade students their work on climate change and its impacts, scientific diving, and coastal hazards and change.

posted: 2016-12-01

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