At Gustavus: California Seafloor Mapping Project

Posted on March 23rd, 2013 by

Rikk-Kvitek    On Thursday, March 21st, I attended a lecture by Dr. Rikk Kvitek entitled “You’ve Got to Be Kidding!” to “Ah-Ha”. Prior to attending the lecture, I was under the impression that he would be presenting ways to address threats of climate change, pollution, coastal erosion, etc. However, he did not speak so much on this topic, but rather focused on the California Seafloor Mapping Project (CSMP).e

The CSMP has been working on creating the first comprehensive, high-resolution map of the California coast. The CSMP has changed our ability to map ocean floors and fish habitats because now, rather than looking at 1 meter at a time, it is possible for the team to sample an entire landscape.  One thing I found rather interesting was how the team for CSMP can use the intensity of an echo to determine the grain size (i.e. if it is a soft echo it is a softer sediment).

I think if a person were teaching in upper elementary, middle school, or high school, they could use the maps found on the CSMP website to teach students about our ocean floor. For example, they have geology maps that provide information on the seafloor composition, physical properties, etc.  A teacher can also access Google Earth through the Data Catalog page to get a closer and more interactive look at what the CSMP has been working on. I think kids would find Google Earth more interesting than a simple/typical map.


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