Earth scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Woods Hole Science Center explore and study the geology, chemistry, and physics of the underwater areas offshore of the United States. Established in 1962, the field office has grown from a handful of researchers exploring the frontier continental margin to a team of about 100, studying many of society’s pressing issues, such as coastal erosion, marine pollution, resource extraction, and habitat degradation. The USGS research facility is located on WHOI’s Quissett Campus.
The Woods Hole team’s research focuses on five general themes: coastal and shelf geology, sediment transport, environmental geoscience, energy and tectonics, and information science. A long-term goal is to develop predictive capabilities for geologic processes and to provide the basic geologic framework of the U.S.’s offshore areas. The results of these studies are released to the public as reports, maps, journal articles, books, atlases, and seminar contributions. Much of the data and information are accessible online through the USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center.
The USGS Woods Hole Science Center has specialized capabilities to assist in oceanographic research, including sediment transport instrumentation, an integrated seafloor mapping facility, geochemistry laboratory facilities, a 25-foot research vessel R/V Rafael, a gas-hydrates testing laboratory, and an advanced shoreline mapping vehicle (SWASH).
USGS research is used to increase basic understanding of geoscience processes, to help develop government policy, and to aid managers in their stewardship and regulatory functions. The USGS in Woods Hole collaborates with other research institutions and universities within the Woods Hole scientific community, the nation, and the world. USGS marine research also involves collaboration with states, and other government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, the departments of Commerce, Energy, Defense, and State, and other bureaus within the Department of the Interior.
Publications by the Woods Hole team provide scientific information of national and international importance to the research community, federal and state agencies, as well as the general public. Additional information is available via the USGS website.