Is that Santa and his reindeer?

It might just be the Landsat 8 satellite streaking northward in the nighttime sky. The Operational Land Imager (OLI) and Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) are instruments onboard the Landsat 8 satellite, which was launched in February of 2013. The satellite collects images of the Earth with a 16-day repeat cycle, referenced to the Worldwide Reference System-2.  (Landsat 8 doesn't use reindeer.)

Learn More:

Landsat 8 FAQs
International Ground Station Network
Landsat Image Gallery
Satellite and Sensor Information
Landsat 8 History

Will USGS send me a Turkey dinner?

No, but the USGS  monitors the Turkey River, Turkey Creek, and other sites, and can send you real-time water data (typically recorded at 15-60 minute intervals and transmitted within 4 hours). You may subscribe to WaterAlert and receive data via email or text. If you only are wondering “How high is the river today?” you can send a text or email to WaterNow.


Learn More:

Rivers and Streams FAQs
Water Resources of the United States
Water Data Discovery
National Water Information System: Help System
Water Data for the Nation

Do scientists need to kill bats?

Not any longer.  The only way to confirm white-nose syndrome (WNS) used to be to euthanize a bat and send it back to a laboratory for testing, but UV light can now help diagnose this disease in bats.  When UV light is directed at the wings of infected bats, it produces a distinctive orange-yellow fluorescence, a good indication of bats that are infected.  Now scientists only take a small biopsy for testing rather than sacrifice a bat.

Learn More:

Bats General
White-Nose Syndrome
Flying by Night
Bat Fatalities at Wind Turbines




If you hurry can you run away from a storm?

Tropical storms are events we can see coming, giving residents of coastal or low-lying areas time to get to higher ground. Tropical storms can bring high water, dangerous waves, and currents that can move large amounts of sand, destroying buildings and infrastructure, reshaping our coastline.

The USGS studies coastal storms and creates information to help responders and decision-makers minimize damage in the future.

Learn More:

Severe Storms
Citizen scientists identify changes with iCoast
Coastal Change Hazards: Hurricanes and Extreme Storms
USGS Public Lecture: Hurricanes and Our Changing Coasts

Could a tsunami hit US beaches?

Yes. According to tsunami deposit records left in Hawaii, Alaska, and the U.S. West Coast. U.S. beaches are vulnerable to tsunamis generated all around the Pacific Rim - anywhere there is a subduction zone or unstable shelf - which includes all of the U.S. West Coast and Hawaii. Tsunamis have been less frequent on the U.S. East coast and the Gulf coast.

Learn more:

Could a large tsunami happen in the United States?

Information about the latest earthquakes

Pacific Tsunami Warning Center

West Coast & Alaska Tsunami Warning Center