Bathymetry of the Los Angeles Margin

December 01, 2000


Provided by: USGS
Summary authors & editors: Martin Ruzek

The complex rugged nature of the continental margin off the coast of Los Angeles, CA is revealed in this visualization of coastal bathymetry. The USGS Pacific Seafloor Mapping Project uses state-of-the-art high resolution digital multibeam sonar systems to systematically map the sea floor. The two types of data collected include bathymetry (sea-floor depth) and backscatter (sonar echo brightness data that can provide insight into the geologic makeup of the sea floor). Accurate base maps are a prerequisite for any geological study including:

  • identifying areas of erosion and deposition on the continental shelf
  • locating areas of geohazards (such as slumps and faults)
  • locating pathways for movement of sediment and pollutants

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