Hazards in Alaska

Science Center Objects

A major goal of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is to reduce the vulnerability of the people and areas most at risk from natural hazards. Working with partners throughout all sectors of society, the USGS provides information, products, and knowledge to help build more resilient communities. This site provides important links to a number of hazard related internet sites that provide important information on the types of hazards that could occur in Alaska and how to better protect you and your families before and during a significant hazard event.

Image shows a road split due to earthquake damage

Damage from the 1964 Alaskan Earthquake. (Credit: USGS, Public domain.)


Earthquake hazards will always be with us, but the consequences are not inevitable if we are educated about the appropriate actions when living in earthquake prone areas. The USGS monitors for earthquakes worldwide and reports as soon and accurately as possible all significant earthquakes.

Exit Creek flooding on the road

Exit Creek flooding across the road.
(Credit: Janet Curran, USGS ASC. Public domain.)


Flooding causes billions of dollars in damage and threatens lives and property in every state. For more than 100 years, the USGS has played a critical role in reducing flood losses by operating a nationwide streamgage network that monitors the water level and flow of the Nation's rivers and streams.


Volcanoes are a common sight in south central and western Alaska and can erupt at anytime, often without warning. The USGS Volcano Science Center, along with other federal, state, and university resources, monitor and study Alaska's hazardous volcanoes, and to predict and record eruptive activity.


Alaska is one of five Pacific states in the United States especially vulnerable to tsunamis, which can be triggered by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, submarine landslides, or onshore landslides. The USGS, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), assesses the Nation's tsunami hazards, provides tsunami education, and improves its system for tsunami warning.

Tree-covered Hillside in flames with billowing smoke

Deer Creek fire of 2004 in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Park. (Public domain.)


Wildfires can occur in remote, rural, and urban areas. They pose a threat to life and property, and may induce a number of health concerns such as respiratory conditions. USGS has joined researchers from universities and federal and state agencies to address our understanding of wildfire dynamics and ecological impacts in Alaska.


Landslides commonly occur in connection with other major natural disasters such as earthquakes (such as the 1964 earthquake), volcanoes, wildfires, and floods. The USGS provides scientific information intended to help educate the public about landslides and provides information to local, State, and Federal planning agencies.