Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Science section includes Seafloor Mapping, Oceanography, Deep Sea Coral and Sponges, Wildlife Research, Coastal Habitats, Citizen Science, Ecosystem Processes, Research Surveys, and Research Assets
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Science section includes Seafloor Mapping, Oceanography, Deep Sea Coral and Sponges, Wildlife Research, Coastal Habitats, Citizen Science, Ecosystem Processes, Research Surveys, and Research Assets
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Science section includes Seafloor Mapping, Oceanography, Deep Sea Coral and Sponges, Wildlife Research, Coastal Habitats, Citizen Science, Ecosystem Processes, Research Surveys, and Research Assets Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Science section includes Seafloor Mapping, Oceanography, Deep Sea Coral and Sponges, Wildlife Research, Coastal Habitats, Citizen Science, Ecosystem Processes, Research Surveys, and Research Assets

Close-up photo of large boulder group with sponges, cucumbers and crinoids.
Sponges, cucumbers and crinoids thrive on rocks and boulders of the seafloor.
The morphology of Washington's continental shelf includes negative relief features such as sub-marine canyons, marginal basins and linear depressions which are potential conduits for sediment transport. Positive relief features include linear ridges, terraces, and banks formed by the glacial deposition of sediments. These geomorphic features combine to produce the seafloor furrows, sand waves and dunes, muddy channels, and unconsolidated rocky flats that comprise the seafloor of the sanctuary.

Close-up photo of a packed mud outcrop with sand.
A large shelf area of the sanctuary is comprised of mixed mud and sand.
The largest area of the sanctuary is dominated by sandy sediments that originated on land and were carried across the continental shelf by current, wind and tides. They provide a patchy veneer that rests on top of bedrock formed in the last 50 million years. A thick mud blanket forms in depressions and areas further seaward where fine sediment material is suspended and then deposited. Rock outcrops, the result of continental glacial deposits from the Quarternary period, are found in areas of the northern half of the sanctuary.



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photo of a buoy on the ocean
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