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Seabed Characteristics Along the Pacific Margin: usSEABED in California, Oregon, and Washington Waters Published as USGS Data Series 182

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Map showing data coverage for the Pacific offshore data release's lab-based and word-based data sets.
Above: Map showing data coverage for the Pacific offshore data release's lab-based (extracted; red dots) and word-based (parsed; yellow triangles) data sets. [larger version]

Information about sea-floor characteristics from the beach to the deep sea improves our understanding of the interactions between land and sea, the effects of river discharge and sea-level changes, the distribution of benthic flora and fauna, the location and type of sea-floor resources, the potential consequences of human activities on the oceans, and other critical issues. To assist in addressing these issues, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the University of Colorado are building usSEABED, a collection of linked data sets in which existing data from the USGS and other research groups are collated, processed, and extended to maximize their usability for mapping and analysis.

The USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program recently published one of these data sets for the contiguous U.S. Pacific coast:
usSEABED: Pacific Coast (California, Oregon, Washington) Offshore Surficial-Sediment Data Release, USGS Data Series 182.

DS 182 contains more than 65,000 data points in five linked data sets describing sediment and rock characteristics that include texture, component and rock-type information, geophysical and geochemical measurements, and other information about the nature of the surface and subsurface of the sea floor. Although most of the data are along the continental shelf, data are also available for major estuaries, such as Puget Sound, Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay, San Francisco Bay, Monterey Bay, San Diego Bay, and other smaller inlets, as well as to the limit of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (U.S. EEZ), 200 nautical mi from shore.

The usSEABED database supports USGS efforts along the Pacific margin in sea-floor mapping, benthic-habitat analysis, sediment-budget analysis, sea-floor resources, Holocene depositional patterns, and sea-floor mobility, and is a collaborative effort of the USGS, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA-NMFS), and the University of Colorado. This publication encourages other marine researchers to use usSEABED and to contribute to this growing national database of approximately 325,000 data points within the U.S. EEZ.

Derived from existing published and unpublished data from the USGS, the U.S. Navy, NOAA, universities, local governments, and others, DS 182 provides georeferenced numerical values from laboratory analyses and verbal descriptions, processed and extended through the data-mining software dbSEABED created at the University of Sydney, Australia, and the University of Colorado, Boulder. Based on fuzzy-set theory, dbSEABED, in part, determines the membership of such phrases as "brown silty sand with shells and worm tubes" in various sets—such as gravel, sand, mud, color, shells, and worms—greatly extending coverages in areas of sparse data. In addition, dbSEABED uses published and empirical relations to predict unmeasured parameters from known values, further extending data coverage.

DS 182 provides extensive information about the relations between the five linked data sets (lab-based, word-based, and calculated values, compositional components, and combined components), data processing and calibration within dbSEABED, a description of the application of fuzzy-set theory to geology, and a source reference page with links to Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)-compliant metadata for all sources. The five linked data sets are provided both in ESRI shapefiles and comma-delimited text files, and users are strongly encouraged to read the provided information about appropriate uses of the data before applying the data to their research.

More information about usSEABED is posted on the usSEABED Web site, including links to sister publications for the Atlantic margin (DS 118) and the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean regions (DS 146). Data for Alaska and Hawaii are currently in process. Each publication will be updated as new data are included and (or) the processing software dbSEABED is significantly upgraded.

To contribute data to usSEABED and (or) to obtain more information about usSEABED in the Pacific (California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii), or to request a copy of DS 182 on CD-ROM, please contact Jane Reid in Santa Cruz, Calif. (jareid@usgs.gov). For more information and (or) to contribute data to usSEABED along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts, the Great Lakes, and the U.S. Caribbean region, or for CD-ROMs of the Atlantic (DS 118) and Gulf/Caribbean (DS 146) publications, please contact S. Jeffress Williams in Woods Hole, Mass. (jwilliams@usgs.gov).

The complete citation for the new publication is:

Reid, J.A., Reid, J.M., Jenkins, C.J., Zimmermann, M., Williams, S.J., and Field, M.E., 2006, usSEABED; Pacific Coast (California, Oregon, Washington) offshore surficial-sediment data release: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 182, version 1.0 [URL http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/2006/182/].

Related Sound Waves Stories
usSEABED Continues to Expand Coverage and Usage for Mapping Seabed Characteristics
August 2002
Chris Jenkins Presents New SEABED Technology
March 2002

Related Web Sites
usSEABED: Pacific Coast (California, Oregon, Washington) Offshore Surficial-Sediment Data Release 2006, Version 1.0 - U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 182
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
usSEABED Web site
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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cover story:
Measuring Hurricane Impact Along the Louisiana Coastline

Submarine Ground-Water Discharge in Santa Barbara and Hood Canal

California Sea-Otter Numbers Dip in 2006, Overall Population Trent Positive

Research Lake Whitefish Returning to the Detroit River

Parasites, the Thread of Food Webs?

Outreach USGS Display in Florida Library

Meetings Genomic Aerobiology Workshop

Staff Barry Rosen to Lead USGS in Florida

Publications usSEABED: Pacific Coast Offshore Surficial Sediment Data Release

August 2006 Publications List

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