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Report on Hazards Offshore California's Ventura County Coast Compiled in Response to Congressional Request

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U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists recently released "Comments on Potential Geologic and Seismic Hazards Affecting Coastal Ventura County, California" (USGS Open-File Report 2004-1286) in response to a request from Congresswoman Lois Capps (Santa Barbara, CA), who sent a letter to the USGS in June requesting advice on geologic hazards that should be considered in the review of two proposed liquefied-natural-gas (LNG) facilities offshore Ventura County, CA. A team of USGS scientists from Menlo Park, CA, Pasadena, CA, and Golden, CO, assembled the Open-File Report, which was published and sent to Congresswoman Capps in August. Based on previously compiled, publicly available and existing data on seismic activity in the area, the report shows a potential for major earthquakes that could damage the LNG facilities. The report's authors identify additional investigations that could be performed to produce more detailed recommendations.

Map showing locations of proposed LNG facilities
Above: Map showing locations of proposed LNG facilities: Platform Grace (triangle) and Cabrillo Port (square). Multibeam-sonar bathymetric data are shaded gray. Pipelines—existing and proposed—are in red. For full explanation and additional maps, including fault maps, see USGS OFR 2004-1286. [larger version]

Congresswoman Capps' request was prompted by proposals from two companies, BHP Billiton and Crystal Energy, to site LNG terminals off Ventura County's coastline. Both facilities would convert the liquid back into a gas and then ship it to an onshore Southern California Gas Co. facility through a system of pipes on the sea bottom. BHP Billiton wishes to build a permanently moored deep-water LNG regasification facility, called Cabrillo Port. The floating terminal would be located 14 mi off the county's south coast, anchored to ocean-floor pipelines. Crystal Energy seeks to use Platform Grace, an offshore oil platform 12 mi off Oxnard, as a docking site for ships importing LNG.

On the basis of the USGS report, Congresswoman Capps is asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Transportation to investigate possible seismic activity in the Santa Barbara Channel region before deciding whether to endorse construction of the LNG import facilities. More information about this issue is available on Congresswoman Capps' Web site.

The USGS Open-File Report, by Stephanie L. Ross, David M. Boore, Michael A. Fisher, Arthur D. Frankel, Eric L. Geist, Kenneth W. Hudnut, Robert E. Kayen, Homa J. Lee, William R. Normark, and Florence L. Wong, can be downloaded from URL http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2004/1286/.

Related Sound Waves Stories
Survey of Offshore Hazards in Southern California
August 2002

Related Web Sites
Comments on Potential Geologic and Seismic Hazards Affecting Coastal Ventura County, California - OFR 2004-1286
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Congresswoman Lois Capps
U.S. Congress

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in this issue: Fieldwork cover story:
Sediment Impacts on Reef Corals

Coastal Ground Water Discharge

Benthic Habitats Near Oil Platforms

Research Abundance and Distribution of Southern California Seabirds

Suspended Sediment, Turbidity, and Fish Feeding Behavior

USGS Monterey Bay Science Prototype

Outreach Woods Hole Science Center Participates in Open House

10 Years of Ask-A-Geologist

Awards Scientists Rescue Boy from Rip Current

USGS Biologists Receive DOI Honor Awards

Staff & Center News Oceanographer Joins Western Coastal and Marine Geology Team

Netherlands Students Assist USGS in Florida

USGS Represented in Parade

Publications Report on Hazards Offshore Ventura County

USGS Contributes to New Book About Point Loma

November Publications List

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Updated December 02, 2016 @ 12:09 PM (JSS)