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Under the sea

December 13, 2006

I’ve spent the better part of the last 6 years studying deep-marine sedimentation (how dirt from the land gets to the bottom of the ocean). One of the coolest things about this are images like the above. It is a perspective view looking north of onshore and offshore southern California. I’m constantly fascinated by the landscape on the sea floor….mountains, valleys, canyons, channels, plains. Some of those mountains are sticking up out of the water as islands. We have the surface of Mars mapped better than our own ocean floor. It’s like looking at another planet…I love it! Currently I’m studying Santa Monica Basin, which is towards the top of the image…the yellowish-greenish patch to the left of Los Angeles.

If you want to explore the world’s sea-floor topography, you can download this Java program that accesses online databases (kind of like GoogleEarth but for underwater). It’s called GeoMapApp, it’s a little clumsy and sluggish sometimes, but still pretty fun.


6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2008 9:53 am

    I worked this area as oil company geologist in the 80s, also did MS thesis on Imperial Formation, Salton Sea Basin which was published in a SEPM publication.
    Have you used well data in your thesis?

  2. July 14, 2008 10:06 am

    pebble … the only borehole information I used was from the ODP Site 1015 hole (in deepest part of Santa Monica Basin). And then some very short piston cores that the USGS acquired that helped with ‘ground-truthing’.

    Which SEPM pub is that?

  3. July 14, 2008 10:18 am

    Have you contacted oil co.s, such as Chevron-Texaco, for data? Forams, and clastic analysis also perhaps UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, and Cal. State Univ Northridge. have they been helpful when you contacted them?

  4. July 14, 2008 12:53 pm

    Brian, it looks like you have been studying a very interesting area – the Santa Monica Basin. I’m also interested in what SEPM paper is written about the area.

  5. July 14, 2008 12:56 pm

    I guess I read that wrong – an SEPM paper on the Salton Sea basin? That could be interesting, also, would it relate that closely to the Santa Monica basin?

  6. July 14, 2008 1:29 pm

    pebble and Silver Fox … my work in SMB was focused on the very recent (last 7,000 yrs) sedimentary activity in the basin … I have a paper that will be coming out in GSA Bulletin on this work later this year (or later?) … I will post about it here once it’s officially “in press”

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