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Whats New

Upcoming Talks, New Papers and Other Things

Pubic Showing of "Unprepared" OPB Earthquake Special, with Panel discussion

Monday May 7, Hatfield Marine Science Center Auditoium, Newport, OR. 6:30 pm.

Pubic Showing of "Unprepared" OPB Earthquake Special, with Panel discussion

Tuesday May 1, North Salem High School Auditoium, 6:30 pm.

Short Course in Subaqueous Paleoseismology offered at thte Geological Society of America Meeting in Seattle

The course is offered Saturday October 21. See GSA for details and registration.

New Paper Released!

This paper shows evedence of offshore erosion caused during the cataclysmic Missoula flood events.

Beeson, J.W., Goldfinger, C., and Fortin, W.F., 2017, Large-scale modification of submarine geomorphic features on the Cascadia accretionary wedge caused by catastrophic flooding events:
Geosphere, v. 13, no. 4, p. 1–16, doi:10.1130/GES01388.1.

New Paper Released!

This paper takes a close look a the Northern San Andreas Fault structure, evolution and termination in Northern California

Beeson, J.W., Goldfinger, C., Johnson, S.Y., 2017, The Offshore Section of the Northern San Andreas Fault: Fault Zone Geometries, Shallow Deformation Patterns, and Asymmetric Basin Growth, Geosphere, v13 (3)

New Paper Released!

This paper models seafloor habitat using Bayesian methods

Havron, A., Goldfinger, C., Henkel, S., Marcot, B.G., Romsos, C., Gilbane, L., 2017, Mapping marine habitat suitability and uncertainty using Bayesian networks: a case study of northeastern Pacific benthic macrofauna, Ecosphere, v. 8 (7), p. 1-25.

New Paper Released!

A new paper came out this week that attempts to integrate tsunami models, onshore andoffshore paleoseismic data in Southern Cascadia:

George R. Priest, Robert C. Witter, Y. Joseph Zhang, Chris Goldfinger, Kelin Wang, Jonathan C. Allan, 2017, New constraints on coseismic slip during southern Cascadia subduction zone earthquakes over the past 4,600 years implied by tsunami deposits and marine turbidites, Natural Hazards DOI: 10.1007/s11069-017-2864-9


National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine

Joint BESR/COSG Meeting - The Cascadia Subduction Zone: Science, Impacts, and Response

November 10-11, 2016, National Academy of Sciences Building
2101 Constitution Ave NW Washington DC 20418


City Club Earthquake Forum, Kells Pub Portland, November 1, 5:30 pm


Goldfinger Active Tectonics Lab wins 2016 Geological Society of America Kirk Bryan Award.


TEdx Mt. HoodTEDx Portland, June 18, 2016. Revolution Hall



Science Pub Corvallis "Shaking up the Northwest, the Cascadia Earthquake in our Future" Majestic Theatre, Covallis 6 pm. Science Pub at The Majestic @ The Majestic Theatre | Corvallis | Oregon | United States


New Yorker Festival, Manhattan, October 3, School of Visual Arts, Theatre 1, 10 am. App_icon

NWEA Workshop, Hood River Inn, October 2.

Oregon Coast Economic Summit, August 27, Grand Ronde.

The Really Big One: A Public Forum On Earthquake Hazards

and Preparedness in the PNW, University of Oregon, Eugene, August 6, 7 PM. 156 Straub Hall.

New Books

New Novel: Stick Slip from Chris Scholz! An entertaining read about a Cascadia great earthquake.

The Next Tsunami examines our short term memory about disasters, Los Angeles Times, March 21, 2014

New Papers

Second Paper detailing the marine paleoseismic record of the Northern Sumatra margin released.

Second New Canadian Study Corroborates and Extends Cascadia Marine Paleoseismic Record

New Thesis Released: Southern Cascadia Turbidites Traced with High-Resolution CHIRP Sub Bottom Profiles.

New Dissertation Released: Sumatra Paleoseismology

New Paper Released: Cascadia Segmented Rupture Tsunami Models

New Paper Released: Cascadia Tsunami Models

New Paper Released: Cascadia Great Earthquake Clustering

Coastwide Tsunami inundation Scenarios for Oregon Released

"Superquakes and Supercycles" released, Seismological Research Letters

New Paper Released: Cascadia Turbidites in Forearc Lakes?

Preliminary study of existing lake sedimentary records suggests a record of great earthquakes.

New Cascadia Paper Released: Segmented Ruptures Along the Southern Cascadia Margin

New core and high resolution reflection data illuminate thesouthern Cascadia paleoseismic record.

New Canadian Study Corroborates Cascadia Marine Paleoseismic Record

Seismically generated turbidites in Effingham Inlet, western Vancouver Island.

Second in Sumatra Paleoseismology Series Released

Other Stuff

Bayesian Spatial Analysis Team Wins Department of the Interior Partners in Conservation Award

Oregon Earthquake Resiliency Report Released

Oregon Tsunami Work Wins Award

Successful geophysical cruise aboard the Derek. M. Baylis completed with very low carbon footprint

Cascadia, the Movie! Animation of 10,000 year earthquake record from marine and coastal paleoseismic sites.

Initiative to Retrofit Schools in Portand for Earthquakes




Oregon State Waters Mapping Program



competion graphic, oregon state waters mapping program
For Oregon, as for most coastal states, the sea represents both a valuable resource and a potential threat. The sea provides many Oregonians with a livelihood, food, and recreation, and it attracts visitors to our coastal communities. The sea also represents a significant threat in the form of an inevitable earthquake-generated tsunami, akin to the recent tsunami in Japan and Indonesia. Understanding the nature of Oregon’s Territorial Sea is critical to sustaining sport and commercial fisheries, coastal tourism, wave power, and a broad range of other ocean derived ecosystem services valued by Oregonians, in addition to addressing the threat posed by a major tsunami. In 2008, detailed bottom mapping existed for only about 5% of the area of the Oregon Territorial Sea, which extends 3 nautical miles from the coast and comprises approximately 950 square nautical miles. Effective decisions concerning the management and conservation of ocean resources in accordance with Department of State Lands Strategic and Asset Management Plans depend upon better knowledge of nearshore waters.  To address this problem the Oregon Department of State Lands initiated a seafloor mapping program within Oregon’s Territorial Sea. 

Comprehensive mapping of these state lands provides the fundamental unit (map) that all aspects of management builds upon.  Goals 1 and 2 of the 2006-2010 Strategic Plan are directly supported through this program by providing a product that enables waters of the state to be spatially managed for the greatest benefits in conservation, restoration, and protection.  More generally, this program supports the Asset Management Plan (AMP) by enabling a valuation of core real estate assets in the territorial sea.  This valuation of Territorial Sea assets can be used with the policy direction and management principles set forth in the AMP to guide both short and long-term management of Common School Fund lands for greatest benefit.  Overall, this project begins a transition toward informed science-based or information-based management of the nearshore environment.
The State of Oregon has jurisdiction and management responsibilities for the seafloor out to 3 miles from the nearest point of land. 



The mapping program underway is the outgrowth of a Seafloor Mapping Task Force formed at Oregon State University in 2006.  This group met on numerous occasions through 2007 and 2008 to discuss the needs for nearshore mapping with state legislators, biologists, geologists and members of coastal communities to develop the proposal.  Presentations were made to the Joint Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Ocean Policy on four occasions, and to the State Land Board.  Further discussions were held with the Department of Land Conservation and Development, DOGAMI, ODFW and others about the needs and application to the missions of these agencies.  Discussion and questions about tsunami modeling, wave energy siting, and marine reserves and the needs for basic seafloor data were addressed at these meetings. 

A key element of the plan calls for use of under utilized fishing vessels along the Oregon coast as the mapping platforms for this project.  Fishing closures have impacted coastal communities, therefore use of impacted fishing vessels is a way to complete the project cost-effectively while providing some relief for these communities. This plan also gives the opportunity for scientists and fishers to work together to develop a better seafloor map based on the experiential knowledge with in the fleet. The second element of the plan as outlined by the Task Force is to utilize the scientific capacity within the State University system to complete the project.  Oregon State University has a well established expert group of marine scientists with ~ 100 years of collective seafloor mapping experience ranging from small skiff based estuarine surveys to global class research vessels in the deep ocean and the arctic.  The plan includes establishing a training program in seafloor mapping, and training students in the acquisition, processing, and interpretation of marine multibeam data and habitat mapping, training new professionals in the field and completing the project cost effectively.  An additional benefit is the development of the science linked to seafloor mapping will be integral with the mapping itself, forming strong links and a short path between the data and the directly related science. 


A collaboration between The State of Oregon, NOAA, David Evans and Associates, and OSU
In parallel with the decision to support this project by the Oregon Legislature and Department of State Lands, the NOAA Office of Coast Survey (OCS) was has awarded ~ $30M through the ARRA stimulus package.  This expenditure was intended to help OCS with their mission of nautical charting, which had developed into a 12 year backlog over time.  OCS sought regions that both fell within their overall mission of nautical charting, and had “shovel ready” plans and priorities set.  Both Oregon and California met these criteria, and California had a State Waters mapping effort already underway.  Oregon had previously held a planning workshop, had a “grass roots” effort underway, and the Legislature was poised to support a mapping plan internally, demonstrating the perceived need for this work.  As a result, OCS leadership decided to support ~$ 5M in funding for mapping State Waters in Oregon. 

The Oregon funds from the New Carissa (1.3M) settlement play a key role in mapping the Oregon Territorial Sea and for ocean sciences in the Oregon nearshore.  As the funding plans developed, the OSU group and hydrographic contractor David Evans and Associates (DEA) developed a collaborative plan to merge the State and NOAA supported projects to take advantage of reduced costs of mobilization, the respective expertise of the two groups, and a shared interest in supporting the goal of supporting Oregonians and fishing vessels though this work.  In addition to the NOAA/DEA/OSU efforts, NOAA OCS also awarded ~ 1.7 M to Fugro International, the hydrographic contractor conducting the California surveys.  These funds are directed to complete State Waters mapping of southernmost Oregon from the California Border to Crook Point.   


Selection of Priority Areas
In March 2008, the general themes relevant to the State of Oregon were identified at a two day Seafloor Mapping Workshop held at OSU.  This workshop report as well as abstracts and powerpoint presentations are available online at:  The themes include but are not limited to, habitat and ecosystem science, wave energy, tsunami modeling and mitigation, coastal erosion and sea level rise, safety of navigation, and sediment management.  Similar themes have been identified as those of regional importance by the Action Teams of the West Coast Governors Agreement on Ocean Health (WCGA).  In April 2009, a second brief workshop was held to implement priorities into a specific plan tied to funds supplied to the NOAA Office of Coast Survey (OCS) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and by the Oregon Department of State Lands.  To that end, each State Agency participant supplied maps or text describing priorities, rationale, and rankings of multiple choices where appropriate.  We included a qualitative assessment of the efficacy of high resolution seafloor mapping to address each of the relevant issues in addition to the rankings of priority supplied by the agencies.  In other words, how much would high resolution bathymetric and backscatter data help resolve each issue?  This completely subjective assessment used the following, ranking efficacy or efficiency on a score of 1-10, with 10 being perfect efficiency:

Safety of navigation = 10
Habitat science = 6-8 (more data are required)
Wave Energy = 3 (more data are required)
Tsunami modeling and mitigation = 3-5 (depending on vulnerability and local conditions)
Coastal Erosion = 2-5 (depending on vulnerability and local conditions)
Sediment management = 2 (for a single survey, 7-9 for repeat surveys over time)
Sea level rise = 2 (for a single offshore survey, 8-10 for bays and estuaries coupled with LIDAR).  


Remaining within an estimated 30% coverage, the original proposed plan included:

  1. All marine reserve sites moved forward by OPAC (All agencies, OSU and TNC)
  2. The highest priority sites for tsunami and coastal erosion (DOGAMI)
  3. All Very high and High priorities from ODFW
  4. Highest priority sites from DSL (Marine Reserves, two wave sites and Cape Arago area)
  5. Several ODFW second priority areas where contiguous with the above
  6. High Priority from DLCD (two wave sites marine reserves, and other rocky reefs). 

oregon state waters priority mapIn general, there was good convergence of priorities focused on the marine reserve sites, other rocky reefs, and several potential wave energy sites, along with the highest priority areas for tsunami mitigation and coastal erosion. 

Final Mapping plan and Coverage
The final work plan is shown in Figure 1, including mapping areas tasked to Fugro, to DEA/OSU, and to OSU.
The overall work plan is designed to complete all areas shown in Figure 1 within the project period.   The total area covered is ~ 34% of the Oregon Territorial Sea.   


Operational Plan
NOAA has awarded two contracts to hydrographic contractors to perform the NOAA side of the project.  David Evans and Associates of Portland was awarded a contract to map the State Priority Areas from Cape Perpetua northward in 2009.  A second contract was awarded to Fugro Inc. to map State waters from the California border to Crook Point along the southern coast. OSUworkedl closely with David Evans and Associates on their contract, integrating student training, use of fishing vessels, and efficient use of sonar equipment and sampling gear to achieve maximum coverage of State Waters.   OSU promarily mapped regions in the southern half of the State in 2010.


Mapping/Science Team
OSU supported four students for the project over two years.  Each student is engaged in an MS program related to Hydrography and or habitat mapping, and at least two have a focus on Marine Reserves.   Students initially acted as watchstanders/surveyors for field operations, with two students onboard each leg in 2009 working with David Evans and Associates (DEA), and processed the data for their thesis projects.  Studentsl augmented NOAA contracted legs, and fully crewed non-NOAA legs.  Student processed data on workstations equipped with CARIS, Fledermaus. Arc 9.3 and Geocoder at OSU allowing them to reach a high proficiency level. 



The multibeam sonar and acquisition system consisted of a Reson 8101 ER multibeam sonar with the backscatter snippet option. The motion sensor was a POS-MV 320, with antenna mounted on the mast of Pacifc Storm. Acquisition used ISIS and Hypack software in 2009. In 2010, ISIS was eliminated and acquistion was done with Hypack. OSU and DEA jointly constructed a substatinal stainless sonar pole and latch mechanism. Oregon multibeam mapping program, Pacific Storm

OSU and DEA outfitted the vessel lab with computer racks and 2 portable 8 TB raid arrays for onboard data storage and mirroring. OSUsupplied one Starfire subscription satellite DGPS system with needed subscription for precise positioning and for vertical control for non PPK (post processed kinematic) positioned legs. 


The primary mapping platform was the vessel Pacific Storm, operated by the OSU Marine Mammal Institute. Other vessels used for the project for ground truth sampling and videl surveys included the F/V Michelle Ann, the F/V Delma Ann, and the F/V Miss Linda.



Data Processing and Handling
Sound velocity profiles were collected using a Moving Vessel Profiler at intervals of ~ 15-30 minutes during the 2009 survey. SVPs were collected with a SeaBird 19+ in 2010.   Data acquired onboard using Triton Elics and Hypack software were mirrored to two RAID 5 disk arrays while underway.  Bathymetric data were processed to hydrographic standards of the International Hydrographic Office (IHO) which provides formulae for positional and vertical accuracy, data gaps and other parameters.  Nominal pixel size for survey grids will vary by water depth, but average 4m or less.  Vertical accuracy was ~ 30 cm or better. Backscatter data have been processed with the Fledermaus/Geocoder mosaicing system.  


Oregon State waters mapping program, Cape Arago habitat map




Habitat Map Development
OSU was responsible for development of habitat maps, backscatter imagery, andother products from the data collected. OSUintegrated these data with all existing sample and geophysical data in the Oregon Territorial Sea and shelf.  This involved integration of all existing data, including ODFW existing multibeam and sidescan sonar data, ~ 11,000 existing seabed samples, existing seismicreflection profiles, camera tows, video drops, ROV data, and the ~860 new samples from this study, as well as new ROV video data collected as part of the ODFW Marine Reserves science package funding. The mapping scheme is a hybrid Maximum Likelyhood Classification that makes use of groundtruth training for soft sediment areas, and geologist interpretation for rocky and mixed substrate areas.

Completed map sheet sets for each mapped area include interpreted habitat, backscatter mosaic with sample locations, and shaded relief bathymetry. Where available, video screenshots of each habitat type are included. Maps are provided as high resolution PDF files for printing, and as GIS datasets.












Draft interpreted habitat map, Cape Arago, Oregon. Click for larger image.




Amolo, R.C., 2010, Habitat Mapping and Identifying Suitable Habitat of Redfish Rocks Pilot Marine Reserve, Port Orford, Oregon, [M.S. thesis]: Corvallis, Oregon, Oregon State University. 106 pp. PDF icon

Goldfinger, C., 2010, Oregon State Waters Multibeam Mapping Project: A Progress Report, Corvallis, Oregon, Active Tectonics and Seafloor Mapping Laboratory pub. 2010-1, 26 p. Paleoseismology chapter

Goldfinger, C., Meyers, B., Milstein, R., and Romsos, C., 2002, Using Geological Seafloor Features to Interpret Groundfish Habitats of the Washington and Oregon Continental Shelf and Slope., in Western Groundfish Conference proceedings, Ocean Shores, Washington, USA.

Jessop, P., Goldfinger, C., and Romsos, C.G.>, 2004, ArcGIS tools for streamlining habitat data integration, 5th Annual GeoHab Meeting, Galway, Ireland. PDF icon

Lanier, A., Romsos, C., and Goldfinger, C., 2007, Seafloor Habitat Mapping on the Oregon Continental Margin: A Spatially Nested GIS Approach to Mapping Scale, Mapping Methods, and Accuracy Quantification, Marine Geodesy, v. 30, p. 1-26

Lanier, A., Goldfinger, C., Romsos, C.G., Wakefield, W.W., and Embley, R., 2006, A Surficial Geological Habitat Classification of Nehalem Bank: Multibeam Sonar Investigations On the Oregon Continental Margin. PDF icon

Romsos, C. G., Goldfinger, C., Milstein, R., and Wakefield, W.W., 2004, Development of a Regional Seafloor Geologic (Habitat) Map for the Continental Margin of Oregon, Western Groundfish Conference, Victoria, B.C., Canada. PDF icon

Romsos, C. G., Goldfinger, C., and Chaytor, J., 2004, An indirect assessment of thematic map accuracy for the surficial geologic habitat maps of Oregon and Washington, Western Groundfish Conference, Victoria, B.C., Canada. PDF icon

Romsos, C., Goldfinger, C., C., Robison, R., Milstein, R., Chaytor, J., 2007, Development of a Regional Seafloor Surficial Geologic Habitat Map for the Continental Margins of Oregon and Washington, USA inTodd, B.J., and Greene, G., eds., Mapping the Seafloor for Habitat Characterization: Geological Association of Canada Special Paper 47, p. 209-234.




Mapping News!


Data Downloads


Download bathymetry, backscatter data and habitat maps.

Current Status


Construction of habitat maps and final editing of backscatter and bathymetry data is complete 4/2/2012





  • Analysis of data and habitat maps are now complete, 11/19/2011

  • Last field data collected, sub-bottom profiles near Newport 08/2011

  • Preliminary outlines of rocky substrate in the Marine Reserve Sites delivered.

  • 2009 data processing completed, data go online at NGDC, 02/2011.

  • Processing of 2010 data underway, winter, 2011

  • 2010 mapping season completed aboard Pacific Storm, 09/2010

  • Backscatter data from 2009 season completed. Winter, 2010

  • 2009 mapping season with David Evans and Associates, OSU, and Fugro completed successfully, 10/2009

  • 2009 mapping season begins aboard R/V Pacific Storm, 07/2009

  • Project begins with joint NOAA and State support, 05/2009.