In this issue: Killer whales to get personal health records, Devil’s Mountain fault, UC Davis Veterinary School is first in the world again, Joe and Jean go running in Utah.
Seafloor mapping is a critical tool for understanding ocean habitats. As you can imagine, the seafloor is really hard for most people to see without mapping tools. But Dr. Gary Greene of SeaDoc’s Tombolo mapping lab knows that seafloor mapping also has other merits, such as uncovering faults that could cause earthquakes.
Dr. Greene and his Canadian collaborator Dr. Vaughn Barry recently revealed, in detail, a 125km-long series of faults that run from Washington to Victoria associated with the Devil’s Mountain Fault Zone.
Check out this other image showing how many faults there are in San Juan County:
The Devil’s Mountain Fault Zone extends east to west from Washington state to just south of Victoria in the northern Juan de Fuca Strait. Recently collected geophysical data were used to map this fault zone in detail, which show the main trace, and associated primary and secondary (conjugate) faults that occur within a 6 km wide deformation zone west of the Canada/U.S.A boundary. The fault zone has been active in the Holocene as seen in the offset and disrupted upper Quaternary strata, seafloor displacement, and deformation within sediment cores taken close to the axis of the faults. Based on the length and previously estimated slip rates of the fault zone in Washington state, it appears to have a potential of producing a strong earthquake adjacent to Victoria, perhaps as large as magnitude 7.0 or greater.
You don’t go looking for lions on the Arctic tundra or for grizzly bears in the tropical rainforest – that is if you hope to find them. The topside world presents a wide variety of biomes inhabited by plants and animals adapted to survive in each special place. Our underwater world is no different. However, for people working to recover the Salish Sea, it’s been harder to protect threatened marine creatures and their critical underwater habitats simply because it’s so difficult to find them.
Beneath the surface of the Salish Sea lie a dazzling variety of habitats. We all know about kelp forests and eelgrass meadows and the riot of life they support, but did you know that we have huge “sand waves” that shelter vast schools of sand lance and provide foraging environment for birds like Tufted Puffins and Rhinoceros Auklets? Or that all of the various bottom features scientists have identified – glacial moraines, earthquake-generated rock piles, vertical ice-cut rock walls and mud-filled bays and sounds – each support their own collection of animals?
SeaDoc’s exciting new Tombolo Seafloor Mapping Laboratory is addressing real-time conservation needs by pinpointing Salish Sea habitats. When your goal is to protect important marine creatures like our threatened rockfish species, you can’t get there without a map.