Clastic Detritus

GSA Special Paper 454: Earth Science in the Urban Ocean


A special volume from GSA (Geological Society of America) titled Earth Science in the Urban Ocean is now available. This is a 480-page book with six thematic sections and a total of 26 papers. The ‘urban ocean’ of interest is the coastal and offshore areas of southern California. This special volume summarizes a research done by the USGS and collaborators over the past couple of decades.

The six sections include:

  1. Surficial Seafloor Mapping and Characterization
  2. Source-to-Sink Sedimentation
  3. Southern California Physical Oceanography and Sediment Transport
  4. Regional Tectonic Structure: Earthquake and Tsunami Hazards
  5. Coastal Aquifers of Southern California
  6. Contaminant and Biological Implications of Earth Science Studies in the Southern California Bight

(see table of contents listing every paper here)

I am a co-author on a paper in Section 2 titled Submarine canyon and fan systems of the California Continental Borderland. This is a nice review paper of the several deep-marine sedimentary systems in this area and their (geologically) recent history. My contribution is some work I did on the Holocene history of the Hueneme submarine fan system in Santa Monica Basin for my dissertation (the details of which are currently in press and should be out later this summer).

I am very excited to see this publication come out. I think it will be a great resource for those interested in this specific region as well as those interested in the intersection of geoscience and human activity in general. I also think it is a nice example of how to package multi-/inter-disciplinary geoscience research — that is, there is a general theme that ties the papers together but they are also useful as stand-alone papers.

Here is part of the description of the book from the GSA bookstore website:

The Southern California Continental Borderland and the associated Western Transverse Ranges constitute one of the most distinctive environments on the west coast of North America. During the past 20 years, the U.S. Geological Survey, along with many Southern California scientific partners, has conducted extensive research on geologic and oceanographic processes in the urban ocean off Southern California. The overall goal of this research has been to explore the impact that natural processes of the Borderland have on human population, and vice versa.