Interpretation of the Sedimentary Environments of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Survey H11321, Central Rhode Island Sound (H11321ENVIRONS shapefile)

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Description The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is working cooperatively with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to interpret the surficial geology in estuaries along the coast of the northeastern United States. The purpose of our present study is to define the sea floor morphology and sedimentary environments in an area of Rhode Island Sound using sidescan-sonar imagery, bathymetric data, and seismic records. The mosaic, bathymetry, and their interpretations serve many purposes, including: (1) defining the geological variability of the sea floor, which is one of the primary controls of benthic habitat diversity; (2) improving our understanding of the processes that control the distribution and transport of bottom sediments and the distribution of benthic habitats and associated infaunal community structures; and (3) providing a detailed framework for future research, monitoring, and management activities. The sidescan-sonar mosaics and bathymetry images also serve as base maps for subsequent sedimentological, geochemical, and biological observations, because precise information on environmental setting is important for selection of sampling sites and for accurate interpretations of point measurements. [More]
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