Continued Analyses of Surficial Deposits on Texas Submerged Lands

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McGowen, J. H.
Morton, Robert A.

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The state-owned submerged lands of Texas are vast. They encompass nearly 6,000 sq. miles (15540 km²) and extend from Mexico to Louisiana. The area includes the bays, estuaries, and lagoons as well as the inner continental shelf 10.3 miles (16.6 km) seaward of the Gulf shoreline (fig. 1).

There are many uncertainties as to the future utilization of the state submerged lands, and we are probably incapable of anticipating all the potential uses for these areas. We can, however, expect multiple and diverse uses related to food production, energy production, recreation, resource extraction, industrial processing, transportation, and the like. Initial planning for many of these activities requires a knowledge of the regional geology, the active geological processes, and the potential environmental impacts of human activities.

A comprehensive investigation of the state submerged lands is being conducted to develop a baseline inventory of geological and biological data for future environmental monitoring. The program was designed to provide the basic scientific data necessary to assess and predict the problems and potential impacts resulting from energy, mineral, transportation, recreation, and industrial development along the Texas coast and on the adjacent Federal outer continental shelf. Results of this project will provide Texas with comprehensive natural resources data with which to assess the various development scenarios that can be anticipated by the Texas Coastal Management Program. Support for this comprehensive research project was provided by (1) funding from the Coastal Zone Management Program of the Texas General Land Office to the Bureau of Economic Geology (McGowen and others, 1977a) and (2) substantial financial and logistical contributions made through the joint research program between the U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Economic Geology.

Because the same equipment and analytical procedures are being used, data collected for the state submerged lands are compatible with data generated by the U.S. Geological Survey for the South Texas outer continental shelf as part of a study funded by the Bureau of Land Management (Berryhill, 1977). Thus, sedimentological, geochemical, geophysical, and biological data are available for South Texas coastal waters and adjacent continental shelf extending to the shelf break. Such a massive effort would not have been possible without the full cooperation of both research organizations and the pooling of funds, ship time, equipment, and personnel.


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