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What is marine geology?

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Welcome to CoreFacts, where we're always short on time and big on science. I'm Jessica Robertson. Today we have a question that brings us to one of the USGS disciplines.

What is marine geology?

Well for starters, geology is the study of the Earth. Related research includes understanding how the Earth was formed, how the Earth has changed since it was formed, what materials make up the earth, and the processes that act on it. Marine geology focuses on these studies in areas near our oceans. These areas include the deep ocean floor, the shallower slopes and shelves that surround the continents, and especially the coasts which include beaches, estuaries, rivers, and large lakes.

More than one-half of all Americans live within an hour's drive of an ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, or the Great Lakes. Our coastal oceans are a vital resource for transportation, commerce, and recreation. They provide food, energy, and minerals and harbor critical biologic habitats and drive global climate. To learn more about the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program, visit

And now you know. Join us again every weekday for a new CoreFact. For other CoreFacts, or for CoreCast, our in-depth science podcast, go to If you'd like to have a question featured on our show, give us an email at or a phone call at 703-648-5600. Remember, long distance fees do apply.

CoreFacts is a product of the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior.

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