Santa Barbara survey

A person on a personal watercraft navigates through waters near a coast with low cliffs and hills way off in background.

Detailed Description

Goleta Beach in Santa Barbara experienced an unusual storm and large wave event in the Spring of 2014. Gaviota Pier, seen far off in the background, sustained heavy damage as did the restaurants on the pier and nearby. The USGS conducts seasonal surveys throught the year to see how the beaches are changing through time. Here, a USGS scientist navigates a personal watercraft equipped with GPS and sonar to measure seafloor depths near the beach. The GPS system enables the driver to follow a precise path and to revisit the same path in future surveys.


Image Dimensions: 3147 x 2281

Date Taken:

Location Taken: Santa Barbara, CA, US


Dynamic coastlines along the western U.S.
The west coast of the United States is extremely complex and changeable because of tectonic activity, mountain building, and land subsidence. These active environments pose a major challenge for accurately assessing climate change impacts, since models were historically developed for more passive sandy coasts.