Sea Floor Mapping Group
Science Center Objects
The Sea Floor Mapping Group (SFMG) is a core capability at the Woods Hole Coastal & Marine Science Center (WHCMSC) that provides support for coastal, lacustrine and marine geologic research. The staff has a wide-range of expertise and is responsible for geophysical and sampling data acquisition, processing, interpretation and publication, logistics, design, and research and development. SFMG has successfully supported Coastal/Marine Hazards and Resources Program research for more than 25 years.
SFMG uses acoustic and optical techniques to acquire detailed geologic information about the sea floor, such as seabed topography, sediment composition and distribution, and underlying geologic structure. This information defines the geologic framework and provides a base for a wide-range of USGS research.
Each year the SFMG supports dozens of research efforts, most recently including: gas hydrate and methane/carbon dioxide flux along the Atlantic margin; landslide and tsunami hazards along the mid-Atlantic and New England passive margin and the southeast Alaska active margin; characterization of mudflow hazards along the Mississippi River Delta Front; dive support for biological invasive species studies and benthic habitat studies; sediment characterization within the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary; field observations in support of sea-level rise storm response studies along the east coast; and mapping lake floor topography and underlying stratigraphy in support of natural resource management within western reservoirs and Great Lakes.
Sea Floor Mapping Capabilities
SFMG maintains a suite of instruments used to map the seafloor surface and underlying structure in shallow to deep-water environments. These instruments include: multibeam, single-beam, and split beam echo sounders, sidescan-sonar, phase differencing bathymetric sonar, single- and multichannel seismic-reflection systems, and sample equipment designed to collect sediment samples, still photographs, and/or video images of the sea floor.
SFMG is a diverse team of marine electronics technicians, engineers, geologists, physical scientists, geographers, and visual and imaging specialists. This group has expertise in collecting, processing and interpreting geophysical and sample data in lacustrine, coastal and marine environments.
SFMG staff regularly collaborates with scientists at Universities, federal and state agencies, and the private sector to support collaborative research, and to help develop new software and hardware remote sensing techniques.