Geologic and bathymetric maps help us understand the evolutionary history of the Massachusetts coast and the processes that have shaped it. The maps show the distribution of bottom types (for example, bedrock, gravel, sand, mud) and water depths over large areas of the seafloor. In turn, these two fundamental parameters largely determine the species of flora and fauna that inhabit a particular area. Knowledge of bottom types and water depths provides a framework for mapping benthic habitats and managing marine resources. The need for coastal–zone mapping to inform policy and management is widely recognized as critical for mitigating hazards, creating resource inventories, and tracking environmental changes (National Research Council, 2004; U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, 2004).
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USGS Numbered Series
Mapping the seafloor geology offshore of Massachusetts