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GIS of selected geophysical and core data in the northern Gulf of Mexico continental slope collected by the U.S. Geological Survey

March 30, 2006

Since 1982 the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) has collected a large amount of surficial and shallow subsurface geologic information in the deep-water parts of the US EEZ in the northern Gulf of Mexico. These data include digital sidescan sonar imagery, digital seismic-reflection data, and descriptions and analyses of piston and gravity cores. The data were collected during several different projects that addressed surficial and shallow subsurface geologic processes. Some of these datasets have already been published, but the growing interest in the occurrence and distribution of gas hydrates in the Gulf of Mexico warrants integrating these existing USGS datasets and associated interpretations into a Geographic Information System (GIS) to provide regional background information for ongoing and future gas hydrate research.

This GIS is organized into five different components that contain (1) information needed to develop an assessment of gas hydrates, (2) background information for the Gulf of Mexico, (3) cores collected by the USGS, (4) seismic surveys conducted by the USGS, and (5) sidescan sonar surveys conducted by the USGS. A brief summary of the goals and findings of the USGS field programs in the Gulf of Mexico is given in the Geologic Findings section, and then the contents of each of the five data categories are described in greater detail in the GIS Data Catalog section.