Hurricane Maria’s impacts on deep-water coral reefs off Puerto Rico

Release Date:

USGS research geologist Curt Storlazzi was quoted in an August 22 Nature news article about Hurricane Maria’s effects on deep-water coral reefs off Puerto Rico.

Underwater photo of a sandy and rocky reef environment with a tray of equipment held down on the rocky area with weights.

Instrument package mounted to the seaward slope of a coral reef off southwestern Puerto Rico.

USGS research geologist Curt Storlazzi was quoted in an August 22 Nature news article about Hurricane Maria’s effects on deep-water coral reefs off Puerto Rico. Storlazzi’s collaborators from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez placed USGS instrument packages on the steep seaward slope of a reef off the island’s southwest coast in July 2017 to study reef structure and health. The sensors continued to collect data when Hurricane Maria, a category 4 storm, swept from east to west across the island in September 2017. The corals appeared healthy a few months after the storm when the sensors were recovered. Preliminary analysis by Storlazzi and others indicates that the hurricane sent waves crashing into the reef with unusual frequency and pushed a swell of cold water from the ocean bottom up to the reef.

Related Content

Filter Total Items: 1
Date published: June 25, 2021
Status: Active

Coral Reef Project: Puerto Rico

To better understand how waves move across coral reefs and cause flooding on tropical shorelines, USGS scientists have installed video cameras and oceanographic instruments off San Juan and Rincón, Puerto Rico. Their work is part of a study funded by USGS after Hurricanes Irma and María. The offshore instruments measure wave heights and speeds; the onshore video cameras show where waves break...

Filter Total Items: 1
Date published: August 14, 2019

Geochemical and isotopic compositions of stream sediment, parent rock, and nearshore sediment from southwest Puerto Rico, April 2017-June 2018

Geochemical and isotopic compositions were determined in stream sediment and parent rocks collected in April 2017 and June 2017 and in nearshore sediment collected bimonthly in sediment traps from May 2017 to June 2018 in the coastal zone and 12 drainages of southwest Puerto Rico: Rio Loco, Yauco, Guayanilla, Macana, Tallaboa, Matilde, Portugues, Bucana, Inabon, Jacaquas, Descalabrado, and...