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USGS, NASA Study Finds Widespread Coastal Land Losses from Gulf Oil Spill
November 17 - A pattern of dramatic, widespread shoreline loss along Louisiana’s coast caused by the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill has been revealed in a new study by the USGS and NASA. Researchers used NASA’s annual mapping to analyze shoreline loss across most of upper Barataria Bay, located on the western side of the Mississippi River Delta. The study looked at shoreline imagery taken a year before the oil spill and then at images taken during a 2.5-year span after the spill. Scientists also compared shoreline losses from storm-induced erosion with losses linked to shoreline oiling. For more information, see https://www.usgs.gov/news/usgs-nasa-study-finds-widespread-coastal-land-losses-gulf-oil-spill.
CBS This Morning Features USGS Scientists Studying Link Between Earthquake Faults Near San Francisco, California
November 10 - A camera crew from CBS This Morning visited the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center on November 10, 2016, to interview Janet Watt about her discovery of a connection between the Hayward and Rodgers Creek faults, two of the most hazardous earthquake faults in California’s San Francisco Bay area. In addition to a sit-down interview, they filmed Watt and her team—Mary McGann, Katie Maier, and Tom Lorenson—processing sediment cores collected along the fault beneath San Pablo Bay. CBS News correspondent Mireya Villareal asked about what led to the discovery, what it means for Bay Area earthquake hazards, and how the team plans to use microfossils from the cores to date movement on the newly discovered fault strand. View the segment, which aired November 18. Related: Coring the Hayward-Rodgers Creek Fault Zone in San Pablo Bay, California, to Unravel the History of Faulting Beneath the Bay and Link Between Two Earthquake Faults Near San Francisco, California, Revealed by Detailed Sub-Seafloor Mapping
New Video Highlights Major Coral Reef Study by USGS and Australian Scientists
November 9 - A new video, “Breaking Down Reefs, Building Up Beaches,” follows coral reef experts from the USGS and the University of Western Australia as they conduct the largest-ever hydrodynamic study of how coral reefs shape coasts. The scientists spent two weeks in May 2016 installing instruments to measure currents and sediment movement in and around Australia’s largest fringing reef, in the Ningaloo Coast UNESCO World Heritage Site, Western Australia. Over the following two months, the instruments collected massive amounts of data that will give scientists great insight into the protective role of reefs and will help the USGS forecast what could happen to U.S. fringing reefs in the face of climate change and sea-level rise.
Visualizing Sea-Level Rise in Santa Monica, California
November 7 - Visitors to the Santa Monica Pier in Southern California can now see what the beach might look like when future storms and sea-level rise raise water levels. Two virtual-reality viewers, named “Owls” for their distinctive appearance, show the projected extent of flooding by a big storm at high tide, by sea-level rise, and by both together. The projections come from the USGS Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS). The viewers also show how communities can adapt to sea-level rise through nature-based coastal-planning projects, such as enhanced dunes. The City of Santa Monica developed the Owls (one ADA-accessible) in partnership with the USGS, Owlized, and the USC Sea Grant program. The Owls will operate from November 7, 2016, to January 7, 2017; a public celebration was held November 16 to coincide with “King” high tides. View more photographs on our Facebook page: USGS Coastal and Ocean Science.
TV News Features USGS Use of Historical Photos to Measure Cliff Erosion in San Francisco
October 28 - USGS geologist Jonathan Warrick appeared in a TV newscast about his use of historical photos to measure cliff erosion at Fort Funston in San Francisco, California. On October 28, 2016, Warrick met Andria Borba of KPIX 5, a CBS affiliate, at Fort Funston. He showed her how easily the cliff crumbles, explained how overlapping photos enabled his team to measure erosion rates, and noted that the results can help scientists forecast future erosion. “Geologists Get 3-D Pictures Of Beach Erosion On California Coast,” aired that night and on the web. Related: New Techniques for Measuring Cliff Change from Historical Photographs
Hurricane Matthew News Briefs
In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew devastated the U.S. Atlantic Coast from central Florida through Virginia and beyond. The wind, storm surge, rain, and flooding caused more than $5 billion in damage and took 49 lives.
Before, during, and after the hurricane, USGS scientists and technicians worked to inform the public and emergency responders about potential and actual impacts. Our teams also collected data vital to responding to future hurricanes. Here are a few stories about the USGS response to Hurricane Matthew.
For complete coverage, visit the USGS Hurricane Matthew page.
After the Storm – Hurricane Matthew and the Floods
October 14 - In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, USGS crews have been collecting the record number of storm-tide sensors deployed prior to the storm and are now determining high-water marks, collecting water-quality samples, and assessing the impacts of storm surge on southeastern beaches caused by erosion, overwash and inundation. Although the storm is over, the flooding continues, as does the flood work of the USGS. In North Carolina, at least 24 record peaks were set on local rivers, as heavy rain during Hurricane Matthew fell on ground already saturated just weeks earlier by Tropical Storm Julia. For more information: https://www.usgs.gov/news/after-storm-hurricane-matthew-and-floods
Severe Flooding in North Carolina Breaks More Than a Dozen USGS Peak Records
October 12 - Just days after Hurricane Matthew made its approach up the East Coast, North Carolina is still feeling impacts from the storm as severe flooding has hit much of the central and eastern parts of the state. The heavy rains brought by Hurricane Matthew caused flooding that has been intensified due to rain events prior to Matthew that had many rivers across the central and eastern parts of the state already running at above normal stream-flow levels. For instance, the community of Spring Lake witnessed a period of record flooding in late September, only to have that peak broken again this week. “We’ve seen peak stream-flow records broken for at least 14 sites in North Carolina,” said Jeanne Robbins, USGS hydrologist. “But, it is important for people to understand the waters are still rising in some areas, and we could see more records broken.” For more information:
Record Number of USGS Sensors Deployed for Hurricane Matthew
October 8 - The USGS deployed a record number of sensors prior to Hurricane Matthew’s move up the southeast coast. More than 70 USGS staff were out from Florida to Virginia installing 393 sensors at 290 locations. These sensors were a combination of 190 storm-tide sensors, 92 barometric pressure sensors, 79 Wave Sensors, and 32 Rapid Deployment Gauges, which were put in place to collect information about the hurricane’s effects on the Atlantic Coast. For more information: https://www.usgs.gov/news/record-number-usgs-sensors-deployed-hurricane-matthew
Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina Beaches Face 80-95 Percent Chance of Erosion from Hurricane Matthew
October 6 - As the East Coast prepares for Hurricane Matthew's arrival, the USGS uses advanced models to forecast the coastal impacts Matthew could bring. “What’s important for people to understand with this storm is that it’s large and very powerful,” said Hilary Stockdon, USGS research oceanographer and the lead developer of a series of coastal change forecasting tools. “Strong winds will create dangerous waves and surge over a large stretch of the coastline, leading to extensive beach and dune erosion.” For more information: https://www.usgs.gov/news/fl-ga-sc-beaches-face-80-95-percent-chance-erosion-hurricane-matthew
Rising Sea Levels, Coastal Development’s Effect on Gulf Coast Wetlands
October 3 - Tidal saline wetlands along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast, such as mangrove forests, salt marshes, and salt flats, face survival challenges as sea levels rise rapidly and development along coastlines continues to grow. But, a recently published USGS study shows there is hope for some of these at-risk Gulf Coast wetlands. In the study, which was conducted from 2012 to 2015, the authors considered the potential for landward movement of coastal wetlands under different sea-level rise scenarios. They also considered the impact of barriers to wetland migration due to current and future urbanization and examined how existing conservation lands, such as parks and refuges, might accommodate expected landward migration. For more information: https://www.usgs.gov/news/rising-sea-levels-coastal-development-s-effect-gulf-coast-wetlands
Into the Storm – Hurricane Matthew - October 6
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