News & Events

September 29th, 2005

New marine substrates database for U.S. Atlantic continental margin

Chris Jenkins and colleagues at the USGS released the first regional coverage of the usSEABED database, a large compilation of samples data on marine substrates for the US Exclusive Economic Zone (200 nautical miles out from the coast), for the Atlantic margin. The database is now widely used by agencies and others for mapping, understanding, and managing the offshore region. The continental shelf in particular, serves a variety of purposes: recreation, benthic habitats conservation, fisheries, commerce, transportation, national defense operations, waste disposal, and engineering activities. The usSEABED database is built using dbSEABED processing software created by Jenkins. It has companion databases built along similar lines: for Australia auSEABED and globally goSEABED. The databases rely on pre-existing data, both published and unpublished, which the software has been able to integrate and quality filter. The usSEABED database, using the dbSEABED program, differs from other US databases in that it incorporates both numerical and linguistic data on sediment texture, biology, seafloor characteristics such as hardness or sediment ripples, acoustic properties, and geochemical and geotechnical analyses. This broad-based approach increases the data density over the seabed, allowing for more complete maps and information. Future regional releases will be for the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and Alaskan margins.