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Scientific reports, journal articles, and information products produced by USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center scientists.

Filter Total Items: 1202

South San Francisco Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project—A synthesis of Phase-1 mercury studies

The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project (SBSPRP) encompasses over 6,000 hectares of former salt production ponds along the south edge of the San Francisco Bay and represents the largest wetland restoration effort on the west coast of North America. A series of studies associated with Phase 1 (2010–2018) restoration activities that are focused on a historically mercury contaminated slough and s

Combinatorial optimization of earthquake spatial distributions under minimum cumulative stress constraints

We determine optimal on‐fault earthquake spatial distributions using a combinatorial method that minimizes the long‐term cumulative stress resolved on the fault. An integer‐programming framework was previously developed to determine the optimal arrangement of a millennia‐scale earthquake sample that minimizes the misfit to a target slip rate determined from geodetic data. The resulting cumulative

Observations of coastal circulation, waves, and sediment transport along West Maui, Hawaiʻi (November 2017– March 2018), and modeling effects of potential watershed restoration on decreasing sediment loads to adjacent coral reefs

Terrestrial sediment discharging from watersheds off West Maui, Hawaiʻi, has been documented as a primary stressor to local coral reefs, causing coral reef health to decline. The U.S. Geological Survey acquired and analyzed physical oceanographic and sedimentologic field data off the coast of West Maui to calibrate and validate physics-based, numerical hydrodynamic and sediment transport models of

Sediment gravity flow frequency offshore central California diminished significantly following the Last Glacial Maximum

A high-resolution multibeam survey from a portion of the San Simeon Channel (offshore Morro Bay, California) captured a zone of recurring troughs and ridges adjacent to prominent submarine meander bends. Through an integrated study using surveying data, sediment core analysis, radiocarbon dating, and stable isotope measurements, we hypothesize that turbidity current event frequency was higher duri

Earth science looks to outer space

Satellite data are revolutionizing coastal science. A study revealing how the El Niño/Southern Oscillation impacts coastal erosion around the Pacific Rim shows what is possible.

Midwinter dry spells amplify post-fire snowpack decline

Increasing wildfire and declining snowpacks in mountain regions threaten water availability. We combine satellite-based fire detections with snow seasonality classifications to examine fire activity in California’s seasonal and ephemeral snow zones. We find a nearly tenfold increase in fire activity during 2020-2021 versus 2001-2019. Accumulation season broadband snow albedo declined 25-71% in tw

Monitoring and modeling dispersal of a submerged nearshore berm at the mouth of the Columbia River, USA

A submerged, low-relief nearshore berm was constructed in the Pacific Ocean near the mouth of the Columbia River, USA, using 216,000 m3 of sediment dredged from the adjacent navigation channel. The material dredged from the navigation channel was placed on the northern flank of the ebb-tidal delta in water depths between 12 and 15 m and created a distinct feature that could be tracked over time. F

A 1.2 billion pixel human-labeled dataset for data-driven classification of coastal environments

The world’s coastlines are spatially highly variable, coupled-human-natural systems that comprise a nested hierarchy of component landforms, ecosystems, and human interventions, each interacting over a range of space and time scales. Understanding and predicting coastline dynamics necessitates frequent observation from imaging sensors on remote sensing platforms. Machine Learning models that carry

The San Francisco Estuary, USA as a reference section for an Anthropocene series

A San Francisco Estuary core was analysed at high resolution to assess its component stratigraphic signatures of the Anthropocene in the form of non-native species, Hg, spheroidal carbonaceous particles, δ13Corg, δ15N, radiogenic materials, and heavy metals. Time series analysis of the core using Ti data provides a chronology to depth 167 cm into the 1960s. Below this, to depth 230 cm, the lowermo

Physicochemical coastal groundwater dynamics between Kauhakō Crater lake and Kalaupapa settlement, Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i

Land-based sources of groundwater pollution can be a critical threat to coral reefs, and a better understanding of “ridge-to-reef” water movement is required to advance management and coral survival in the Anthropocene. In this study a more complete understanding of the geological, atmospheric, and oceanic drivers behind coastal groundwater exchange on the Kalaupapa peninsula, on Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i

Subaqueous clinoforms created by sandy wave-supported gravity flows: Lessons from the central California shelf

Subaqueous clinoforms are an important yet underappreciated shelf feature. Their origins are typically associated with subaerial deltas but recent work has identified similar features in settings without a significant fluvial source. These other studies have shown that such subaqueous clinoforms, also known as infralittoral prograding wedges (IPWs), are created largely by wave-induced processes. T

Understanding uncertainties in contemporary and future extreme wave events for broad-scale impact and adaptation planning

Understanding uncertainties in extreme wind-wave events is essential for offshore/coastal risk and adaptation estimates. Despite this, uncertainties in contemporary extreme wave events have not been assessed, and projections are still limited. Here, we quantify, at global scale, the uncertainties in contemporary extreme wave estimates across an ensemble of widely used global wave reanalyses/hindca