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Marine Geology Data

US Geological Survey
Database of Grain size and Composition of
Marine Sediment Samples from the US East Coast
March 7, 1994 version

sediment location map.

the text below and data files are reproduced from the original USGS Web page
(13-June-2000 Web page version)

For related data available from the USGS, see USGS Open File Report OFR00-358

data format description
(file structure.txt)

This database contains data on collection, location, description, and texture of samples taken by the marine sampling programs of the Branch of Atlantic Marine Geology of the US Geological Survey. Most of the samples are from the Atlantic Continental Margin of the United States, but some are from as diverse locations as Lake Baikal, Russia, the Hawaiian Islands region, Puerto Rico, the Gulf of Mexico, and Lake Michigan. The database contains data for about 12,000 samples and includes texture data for approximately 2300 samples taken or analyzed by the Atlantic Continental Margin Program, a joint US Geological Survey/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution project conducted from 1962 to 1970. This program was under the direction of K.O. Emery from 1962 to 1968, and the data were originally reported in Hathaway (WHOI Report 71-15, 1971).

Texture data for approximately 8000 samples analyzed by the Sediment Laboratory of the Branch of Atlantic Marine Geology of the US Geological Survey, Woods Hole MA. after 1980 are also included. Considerable data from the period 1970 to 1980 are yet to be digitized and added.


This database is in "flat file" form, which means that it is not "normalized". While this is considered inefficient from the point of view of database management, it is the simplest way of presenting the basic data. Since I know neither the software capabilities of the user nor the probable uses that may be made of the data, I have made no attempt to split the files to reduce blank regions or remove redundancies. The same data may be presented in more than one form, e.g.: phi class frequencies and cumulative frequencies. Even though each form can be derived from the other, presenting both eliminates the need for the user to program formulas to calculate one from the other. Although this may violate the principal of having a single entry for any given data item, it greatly simplifies the use of the file. If the user wishes to make the data base more efficient through "normalization", I feel that it is better that this be done by the user to fit both the applications available to the user and the database structural logic that is familiar to the user. The price paid for the "flat file" approach is additional storage space, rather wide records, and the possibility that corrections made here at the source may fail to be carried through to all forms of the data affected. We will make every effort to see that this last possibility does not happen.

The files in this database are under three subdirectories from the USGS, only the ASCII version is reproduced for download from NGDC:

ASCGROUP (local download from NGDC ftp)

This directory contains the data and headings for the tables of data in uncompressed ASCII format. Use these files if you are not using a DOS or Windows compatible computer and wish to import the data into applications that can accept ASCII character information.

See the README and structur.doc files for more information


This database was assembled by John C. Hathaway, Geologist Emeritus, US Geological Survey, and is now managed by Polly Shoukimas

Version of
March 7, 1994


This database, identified as Branch of Atlantic Marine Geology Sediment Database, has been approved for release and publication by the Director of the USGS. Although this database has been subjected to rigorous review and is substantially complete, the USGS reserves the right to revise the data pursuant to further analysis and review. Furthermore, it is released on condition that neither the USGS nor the United States Government may be held liable for any damages resulting from its authorized or unauthorized use.

The above information was modified from a document generated by the USGS


NGDC/WDC GMG, Boulder archives a wide variety of digital marine geology data collections, paper reports, microfilm, etc. containing sediment and hardrock data. Many of the digital files are available for direct download. Sample-by-sample inventory information for all data, regardless of format available from NGDC are fully searchable through the marine geology inventory (GEOLIN).