Marine geologic maps of the inner continental shelf of Massachusetts, where science meets art

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Marine geologic maps of the inner continental shelf of Massachusetts, where science, scientists, and art come together to create visually appealing interpretive maps that are critical to aid statewide efforts to inventory and manage coastal and marine resources.



Geologic sections illustrating general distributions and thickness of seismic stratigraphic units Marthas Vineyard, Nantucket

Geologic sections (C-C', D-D', and E-E') illustrating the general distributions and thicknesses of seismic stratigraphic units and major unconformities in the Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket study areas. The geologic sections were produced from chirp seismic-reflection profile interpretations.The Uunconformity is a dashed line to denote that it is discontinuous and/or inferred.

A series of interpretive maps that describe the shallow geology, distribution, and texture of sea-floor sediments, and physiographic zones of the sea floor along the south and west shores of Martha’s Vineyard and the north shore of Nantucket, Massachusetts, were produced by using high-resolution geophysical data (interferometric and multibeam swath bathymetry, light detection and ranging (lidar) bathymetry, backscatter intensity, and seismic-reflection profiles), sediment samples, and bottom photographs. These interpretations are intended to aid statewide efforts to inventory and manage coastal and marine resources, link with existing data interpretations, and provide information for research focused on coastal evolution and environmental change. Marine geologic mapping of the inner continental shelf of Massachusetts is a statewide cooperative effort of the U.S. Geological Survey and the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management.


Map showing surficial geology of Nantucket and Marthas Vineyard

Map showing the surficial geology from this study and Baldwin and others (2016) with equivalent onshore geology (adapted from Stone and DiGiacomo-Cohen, 2009). The areal extents over which offshore subsurface geologic units crop out at the sea floor were interpreted from seismic-reflection data.

Map of distribution sediment textures from Nantucket and Marthas Vineyard, Massachusetts

The distribution of sediment textures within the study area. The bottom-type classification is from Barnhardt and others (1998) and is based on 16 sediment classes. The classification is based on four sediment units that include gravel (G), mud (M), rock (R), and sand (S). If the texture is greater than 90 percent, it is labeled with a single letter. If the composition of one component is less than 90 percent, it is labeled with two letters, where the first letter is the primary sediment unit (more than 50 percent) and the second letter is the secondary sediment unit (less than 50 percent). 

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Geospatial Data Layers of Shallow Geology, Sea-Floor Texture, and Physiographic Zones from the Inner Continental Shelf of Martha’s Vineyard from Aquinnah to Wasque Point, and Nantucket from Eel Point to Great Point

Geologic, sediment texture, and physiographic zone maps characterize the sea floor south and west of Martha's Vineyard and north of Nantucket, Massachusetts. These maps were derived from interpretations of seismic-reflection profiles, high-resolution bathymetry, acoustic-backscatter intensity, bottom photographs, and surficial sediment samples.