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USGS advances in integrated, high-resolution sea-floor mapping: inner continental shelf to estuaries

January 1, 2007

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has been involved in geological mapping of the sea floor for the past thirty years. Early geophysical and acoustic mapping efforts using GLORIA (Geologic LOng Range Inclined ASDIC) a long-range sidescan-sonar system, provided broad-scale imagery of deep waters within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). In the early 1990's, research emphasis shifted from deep- to shallow-water environments to address pertinent coastal research and resource management issues. Use of shallow-water, high-resolution geophysical systems has enhanced our understanding of the processes shaping shallow marine environments. However, research within these shallow-water environments continues to present technological challenges.