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Did you know that you may volunteer with USGS?  Whether it is online help with our National Mapping efforts, in the field aiding our Hawaiian Volcanoes team, or supporting many other USGS tasks, you, can make a contribution to science.  Often you will have the best success in finding a volunteer position by directly contacting a USGS office or USGS scientist and asking them about possibilities.

Learn More:

Basics About USGS

Volunteer for Science: Questions and Answers



A Canary in a Coal Mine?

Well into the 20th century, coal miners brought canaries into coal mines as an early-warning signal for detecting toxic gases. Coal use in the United States began around 2,000 years ago, when early inhabitants of this continent probably gathered coal from outcroppings, beaches, and streambeds. Coal mining by European-Americans began in Virginia, in the Richmond Basin, between 1720 and 1750.  Our Energy Resources Program maintains Coal Databases.

Learn More:

Coal FAQs
Coalbed Gas
Glossary of Coal Classification System
Coal Assessments

What do glaciers and pigs have in common?

They both have snouts.  Glaciers periodically retreat or advance, depending upon their mass balance. This is their snow accumulation balanced against evaporation and melting (ablation)​. Glacial retreat and advance refer only to the position of the terminus, or snout, of the glacier.  To better understand the modern glacier environment, take a look at the photo Glossary of Glacier Terminology.

​Learn More:

Glacier FAQs

Glaciers and icecaps: Storehouses of freshwater

Retreat of Glaciers in Glacier National Park

Benchmark Glaciers

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

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