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Science

The U.S. Geological Survey California Water Science Center provides foundational data and scientific analysis to address water issues facing California. Explore your science through the themes and topics listed below. 

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Advanced Capabilities and Research

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Aquatic Ecosystems

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Groundwater

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Hydrologic Extremes

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Hydrologic Modeling

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Measuring and Monitoring

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Surface Water

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Water Quality

FAQs

What is a landslide and what causes one?

A landslide is defined as the movement of a mass of rock, debris, or earth down a slope. Landslides are a type of "mass wasting," which denotes any down-slope movement of soil and rock under the direct influence of gravity. The term "landslide" encompasses five modes of slope movement: falls, topples, slides, spreads, and flows. These are further subdivided by the type of geologic material...

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What is a landslide and what causes one?

A landslide is defined as the movement of a mass of rock, debris, or earth down a slope. Landslides are a type of "mass wasting," which denotes any down-slope movement of soil and rock under the direct influence of gravity. The term "landslide" encompasses five modes of slope movement: falls, topples, slides, spreads, and flows. These are further subdivided by the type of geologic material...

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Can major landslides and debris flows happen in all areas of the U.S.?

Landslides can and do occur in every state and territory of the U.S.; however, the type, severity, and frequency of landslide activity varies from place to place, depending on the terrain, geology, and climate. Major storms have caused major or widespread landslides in Washington state, Oregon, California, Colorado, Idaho, Hawaii, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, North Carolina, Puerto...

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Can major landslides and debris flows happen in all areas of the U.S.?

Landslides can and do occur in every state and territory of the U.S.; however, the type, severity, and frequency of landslide activity varies from place to place, depending on the terrain, geology, and climate. Major storms have caused major or widespread landslides in Washington state, Oregon, California, Colorado, Idaho, Hawaii, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, North Carolina, Puerto...

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How do landslides cause tsunamis?

Tsunamis are large, potentially deadly and destructive sea waves, most of which are formed as a result of submarine earthquakes. They can also result from the eruption or collapse of island or coastal volcanoes and from giant landslides on marine margins. These landslides, in turn, are often triggered by earthquakes. Tsunamis can be generated on impact as a rapidly moving landslide mass enters the...

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How do landslides cause tsunamis?

Tsunamis are large, potentially deadly and destructive sea waves, most of which are formed as a result of submarine earthquakes. They can also result from the eruption or collapse of island or coastal volcanoes and from giant landslides on marine margins. These landslides, in turn, are often triggered by earthquakes. Tsunamis can be generated on impact as a rapidly moving landslide mass enters the...

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Education

USGS Scientists Explain How Aquifer Compaction is Measured

A recent tour of California’s Central Valley given by the nonprofit organization Water Education Foundation included a stop at the USGS California Water Science Center’s extensometer near Porterville.

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USGS Scientists Explain How Aquifer Compaction is Measured

A recent tour of California’s Central Valley given by the nonprofit organization Water Education Foundation included a stop at the USGS California Water Science Center’s extensometer near Porterville.

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USGS Participates in 2021 Orange County Youth Environmental Summit

From April 19th through the 23rd, 2021, the USGS California Water Science Center (CAWSC) participated in the first virtual Orange County Youth Environmental Summit (YES). The award-winning program, formerly known as the Children's Water Education Festival, offers 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders opportunities for learning and engagement. Through interactive sessions, YES teaches youth that

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USGS Participates in 2021 Orange County Youth Environmental Summit

From April 19th through the 23rd, 2021, the USGS California Water Science Center (CAWSC) participated in the first virtual Orange County Youth Environmental Summit (YES). The award-winning program, formerly known as the Children's Water Education Festival, offers 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders opportunities for learning and engagement. Through interactive sessions, YES teaches youth that

Learn More