Researchers map seafloor at Mavericks


By on Thu, April 19, 2007

Nearshore reef in the vicinity of the San Gregorio fault. The 3-D image is color-coded by depth: the blue and green areas are deeper than the areas in yellow and red. As a wave front approaches the shoreline and progressively enters shallow water, it becomes compressed and grows taller.

Researchers have created a map of Mavericks as part of a project to map the sea floor off the central California coast.

The newly collected data shows that the wave-making setup at Mavericks involves a portion of a rocky reef that protrudes above its surroundings while remaining under water. As a wave approaches the shore and enters shallower water, it compresses and grows taller. A ridge promontory also focuses wave energy and the wave rapidly increases in height, creating a monster.

At the highest point of the protrusion, the wave becomes unstable and breaks. Data collection was impossible in that location because the rough sea presented too much danger to the scientists.

UPDATE: The mapping project’s site has a lot more maps and charts.