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News Briefs

News Briefs

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Magnitude 4.1 Earthquake Near Dover, Delaware Magnitude 4.1 Earthquake Near Dover, Delaware

November 30—A magnitude 4.1 earthquake struck near Dover, Delaware on November 30, 2017, at 4:48 pm Eastern Standard Time. This is the largest earthquake to occur within about a 90-mile radius since 1994 when a M4.6 event was recorded near Reading, Pennsylvania, and it might be the largest in Delaware since an earthquake of unknown magnitude near Wilmington on October 9, 1871. Yesterday’s earthquake was felt along the U.S. East Coast from Massachusetts to central Virginia, including New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. The USGS has so far received more than 16,000 reports on its “Did You Feel It?” website. More: https://www.usgs.gov/news/magnitude-41-earthquake-near-dover-delaware

Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula Reveals a Cryptic Methane-Fueled Ecosystem in Flooded Caves Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula Reveals a Cryptic Methane-Fueled Ecosystem in Flooded Caves

November 28—In the underground rivers and flooded caves of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, where Mayan lore described a fantastical underworld, scientists have found a cryptic world in its own right. Here, methane and the bacteria that feed off it form the lynchpin of an ecosystem that is similar to what has been found in deep ocean cold seeps and some lakes, according to recent research by Texas A&M University at Galveston, the USGS, and a team of collaborators from Mexico, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and other U.S. institutions. “Although accessing these systems requires specialized training and strict adherence to cave diving safety protocols, relative to the complexity of an oceanographic expedition, the field programs we organize are simple and economical,” says John Pohlman, a coauthor of the study and a USGS biogeochemist whose work from the early 1990s motivated the research. More: https://www.usgs.gov/news/mexico-s-yucatan-peninsula-reveals-a-cryptic-methane-fueled-ecosystem-flooded-caves

Serene Sirens: USGS Sea Cow Science Serene Sirens: USGS Sea Cow Science

November 24—It may be hard to believe the legend that sailors long-at-sea once considered manatees to be mermaids. The manatee nickname–the “Sea Cow”–which comes from the herbivores’ affinity for grazing on vegetation and their slow, ambling way just makes more sense. But a USGS video reveals that while they may be cow-like, they also have more than a bit of the magical mermaid to them. For nearly four decades, researchers with the USGS Sirenia Project have been committed to understanding the biology and ecology of the threatened West Indian manatee to aid managers in actions that could best help the population. Through long-term, detailed studies on the life history, population dynamics, and ecological requirements of the manatee, USGS scientists work cooperatively with federal and state biologists and managers on research identified as essential for the recovery of the species. More: https://www.usgs.gov/news/magical-manatees

What Do We Call New Land at Kilauea Volcano's Ocean Entries? What Do We Call New Land at Kīlauea Volcano’s Ocean Entries?

November 23—If you follow Kīlauea Volcano's ongoing East Rift Zone eruption, you are likely aware that when lava enters the ocean, it often forms new land. But what is this new land called? A few years ago, “bench” was the term commonly used for the accumulation of lava at an ocean entry. But geologists have moved away from that word, because the geologic definition of a bench does not agree with the process by which new land forms when lava enters the sea. “Lava delta” is now the accepted geologic characterization. But, because the word “bench” was used for so long, it can be hard to transition to a different name for the new land formed at an ocean entry. As we all know, bad habits are hard to break. More: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/hvo_volcano_watch.html?vwid=1224

Return to the Alaska Wilderness: USGS Scientists Visit One of North America’s Fastest-Moving Faults Return to the Alaska Wilderness: USGS Scientists Visit One of North America’s Fastest-Moving Faults

November 18—A team of USGS scientists spent two weeks in the isolated Glacier Bay National Park, exploring one of the fastest-moving faults in North America. Project leader Rob Witter led the team on the expedition to the Fairweather Fault, only accessible by boat, with the group camping outdoors during their field work. Even though their work takes place 500 miles from the contiguous U.S., much of what the team will learn during the ongoing project can be utilized in many other areas. “Our research in Alaska likely will have its greatest impact elsewhere in the U.S., by informing federal agencies and the public about the seismic hazards posed by the Fairweather Fault,” said Witter. “Our data will be used to update the Alaska seismic hazard map, part of the collection of USGS maps used to support effective building codes.” More: https://www.usgs.gov/news/return-alaska-wilderness-usgs-scientists-visit-one-north-america-s-fastest-moving-faults

USGS Helps Restore Public Safety In Puerto Rico Under Harsh Conditions USGS Helps Restore Public Safety In Puerto Rico Under Harsh Conditions

November 8—USGS field crews in Puerto Rico are rapidly repairing the damage wrought by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, tracking the scope of storm floods, and documenting the new contours of rivers re-sculpted by floodwaters and mountains re-shaped by landslides. And they are doing it on an island mostly without electrical power, cell phone service, working water systems, supplies of fresh food, or everyday conveniences like ATM machines, under conditions that pose daily challenges at work and at home. “I’m so proud of our staff,” said Rafael W. Rodriguez, director of the USGS Caribbean-Florida Water Science Center, who was on board the first commercial flight to land in San Juan after Maria closed the airport. “They have been working extremely hard, putting in long hours under very difficult conditions.” More: https://www.usgs.gov/news/usgs-helps-restore-public-safety-puerto-rico-under-harsh-conditions

For all USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program news, see: https://marine.usgs.gov/news/

For all USGS news, see: https://www.usgs.gov/news

Or follow us on Facebook: @coastalandoceanscience, @USGeologicalSurvey; and Twitter: @USGSCoastChange, @USGS

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in this issue:

Cover Story
Evolution of a Hurricane-Generated Breach

News Briefs
News Briefs

Annual Southern Sea Otter Survey

Three New Studies added to USGS Oceanographic Time-Series Data Collection

Field Work
Recent Fieldwork

Graduate Students View Evidence of Carmel River Recovery after Dam Removal

Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Outreach

SACNAS Conference

Ferromanganese Deposits Record History of the Arctic Ocean

Nov. - Dec. Publications

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

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