Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

Coastal Change

USGS research helps managers better understand and project the physical impacts of storms, climate change, and sea-level rise on coastal systems—from the permafrost coasts of Alaska, to the Puget Sound estuary, the California coast, and low-lying Pacific atolls. Coastlines are dynamic, with sediments accumulating or eroding from beaches and tidal marshes, storm waves eroding cliffs, and sea-level rise threatening low-lying coastal communities.

Filter Total Items: 32
Date published: June 17, 2019
Status: Active

Climate Change on U.S. Arctic Ocean Margins

Arctic Alaska is warming faster than the rest of the United States. A major consequence of this warming is permafrost thaw, which threatens infrastructure, alters habitat, increases fire risk, changes nutrient and sediment delivery to the coastal ocean, and enhances greenhouse gas release. The warming climate has already dramatically reduced the thickness and annual duration of sea ice,...

Date published: June 17, 2019
Status: Active

Estuarine Ecosystem Recovery in Puget Sound

A clean and abundant sediment supply is critical for building and maintaining viable estuarine and wetland habitats. However, in many coastal regions, dikes, levees, and dams have disconnected water and sediment supply to estuarine and wetland habitats, altering sedimentation patterns, water quality, and nutrient loads. Dike and dam removal have become important methods for restoring river and...

Date published: April 1, 2019
Status: Completed

Using Video Imagery to Study Coastal Change: Barter Island, Alaska

For a short study period, two video cameras overlooked the coast from atop the coastal bluff of Barter Island in northern Alaska. The purpose was to observe and quantify coastal processes such as wave run-up, development of rip channels, bluff erosion, and movement of sandbars and ice floes.

Date published: February 26, 2019
Status: Completed

Erosion of a Sea Stack Over 100 Years

The following photographs show the demise of Jump-Off Joe, a one-hundred-foot-high sandstone formation known as a “sea stack”. In 1890, the sea stack was composed of middle Miocene concretionary sandstone of the Astoria Formation. Yaquina Head on the Horizon is composed of middle Miocene basalt flows and breccia. Note remnant of Pleistocene terrace deposit along the wave cut bench on the stack...

Date published: December 7, 2017
Status: Active

The Mud Creek landslide on California’s Big Sur coast

On May 20, 2017, the steep slopes at Mud Creek on California’s Big Sur coast, about 140 miles south of San Francisco, suffered a catastrophic collapse. USGS Scientists from the Pacific Coastal and Marine and the Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Centers are monitoring this section of the coastline, in collaboration with the California Department of Transportation.

Date published: January 1, 2008
Status: Completed

Does Pleasure Point Need A Seawall?

Information about the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center's study of Pleasure Point in Santa Cruz, California, from 2005-2007.

Date published: January 1, 2004
Status: Completed

Big Sur Coastal Landslides

Information about USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center studies on coastal landslides in the Big Sur area

Date published: January 1, 1989
Status: Completed

Giant Hawaiian Underwater Landslides

Information about the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center's studies of giant underwater landslides in 1986 and 1988.

Contacts: Laura Torresan