2018 USGS-NOAA multibeam bathymetry surveys

Science Center Objects

Multibeam bathymetric surveys conducted offshore of Oregon and northern California in 2018, a USGS-NOAA partnership

Illustration of the seafloor off the coast with areas highlighted to show detail.

USGS-NOAA bathymetry collected in 2018 and 2019

These surveys are part of the USGS project, “Cascadia Subduction Zone Marine Geohazards.”


Fill in critical baseline bathymetric mapping gaps along the mid- to upper-slope (200 m to 1,500 m water depths)


USGS scientists Janet Watt (Principal Investigator, Fig. 4), Pete Dartnell, and Jamie Conrad


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Coast Survey (OCS), Expanding Pacific Research and Exploration of Submerged Systems (EXPRESS)

Platform Used

NOAA Ship Rainier (Fig. 1)

Data Collected

EM710 multibeam bathymetry, backscatter, water column data (Fig. 2)


We imaged numerous interesting seafloor features, including active faults cutting the seafloor (Fig. 3), a possible mud volcano (Fig. 5), and a plethora of seafloor seeps (Fig. 6).


View of ship from the side, floating in the water, painted white, satellite orbs on top, and 3 small boats hanging on side.

Figure 1: NOAA ship Rainier S-221. Credit: NOAA Office of Marine & Aviation Operation (OMAO)

A man controlling a computer mouse is sitting at a computer looking at a computer monitor.

Figure 2: USGS scientist Pete Dartnell processes multibeam data onboard NOAA ship Rainier. Credit: Janet Watt, USGS

Map illustrations of a section of seafloor that shows seafloor features.

Figure 3: Image showing map views of colored shaded relief bathymetry and acoustic backscatter of the upper slope region from Astoria Canyon to about Newport, OR (NOAA sheets H13119 and H13137). Yellow boxes in shaded relief map show close-up views of this area. A fault offsetting both outcrop and slope sediment can be traced for 41 km (c). Credit: Pete Dartnell, USGS

A woman stands on the desk of a ship as it sails under a bridge, she is smiling and holding on to the railing.

Figure 4: USGS scientist Janet Watt on the bow of NOAA’s ship Rainier leaving port in Newport, OR. Credit: Pete Dartnell, USGS



Image shows seafloor features.

Figure 5: Multibeam bathymetry 3D perspective view of a possible mud volcano offshore southern Oregon (1,100 – 1,500 m water depth). Credit: Pete Dartnell, USGS

Computer model of the seafloor showing the features.

Figure 6: Multibeam bathymetry 3D perspective view of seafloor offshore northern California (600 - 700 m water depth) where backscatter suggests there is hard substrate and seafloor seeps were identified in the water column. Credit: Pete Dartnell, USGS