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College Students Visit USGS Center in St. Petersburg, FL

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Wayne Baldwin explained how mapping the sea floor with geoacoustics could affect the lives of the students.
Above: Wayne Baldwin explained how mapping the sea floor with geoacoustics could affect the lives of the students.

After searching the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) St. Petersburg Science Center' Web site for local geology research projects, a professor from St. Petersburg College in Clearwater, FL, contacted Jennifer Oates to arrange for his geology class to visit the center on December 1. He planned to conclude the semester by showing his students where geologists work and what types of research activity the local USGS office is conducting.

Dennis Krohn gave the students a brief overview of USGS history. The class was particularly impressed by the multidisciplinary nature of many projects. Research relating to the National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards Project, including the Coastal Classification Atlas, recent hurricane-impact studies, historical shoreline change, and deep-water coral reefs at Pulley Ridge off Florida's southwest coast, was highlighted. The professor was especially interested in climate change, and so Dennis explained the history behind the discovery of evidence for freshwater Lake Edgar found in the middle of Tampa Bay. Lake Edgar began to fill about 21,000 years ago, at the end of the latest glacial period, and existed until at least 11,000 years ago, when Tampa Bay filled. "The variations in sediment types, trace elements in fossil shells, and pollen content of the sediment combine to describe a detailed climate history of the Florida peninsula," said Terry Edgar.

Students were introduced to state-of-the-art technologies that USGS scientists use to map the sea floor and shallow-subsurface sediment in coastal areas, and they were shown examples of how coastal managers might use the information. Wayne Baldwin used examples from the South Carolina Coastal Erosion Study to illustrate how three-dimensional mapping of the inner shelf off northeastern South Carolina has provided an increased understanding of the long- and short-term evolution of the area.

As the students were leaving, one was overheard saying, "It almost makes you want to be a geologist, doesn't it?" Special thanks go to Russ Peterson and Laurinda Travers for printing posters for the group to take back to their classroom.

Related Web Sites
St. Petersburg Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Pulley Ridge
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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in this issue: Fieldwork cover story:
Indian Ocean Tsunami

Could a Tsunami Happen Here?

Deltaic Habitats in Puget Sound

Invasive Sea Squirt Flourishing

How Sea Floor Sediment Moves

Research Submarine Canyons Named for Marine Geologists

Outreach Appreciation Day for Congressman Young

Students Learn About Coastal and Marine Science

Hurricanes Focus Attention on USGS Research

College Students Visit USGS Center in St. Petersburg

Scientists Participate in Great-American Teach-In

Scientists Interviewed About Invasive Sea Squirt


CCWS Open House

Scientists Interviewed for HBO Program

Meetings International Symposium on Coastal Issues

Jeff Williams Reviews Storm Surge Model

Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institutes Conference

Suwannee River Basin and Estuary Integrated Science Workshop

Staff & Center News Regional Executive Visits FISC Office

Jingping Xu Joins Western Coastal and Marine Geology Team

Publications Special Oceanography Issue Includes Sediment Dynamics Article

Dec. / Jan. Publications List

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