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Marine geohazards including earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis lie offshore of densely populated areas of California, Oregon, and Washington. One goal of EXPRESS is to improve assessments of these hazards.

A man controlling a computer mouse is sitting at a computer looking at a computer monitor.

USGS scientist Pete Dartnell processes multibeam data collected from off the Pacific Northwest coast on a research cruise aboard NOAA ship Rainier.

U.S. west coast offshore hazards include catastrophic shaking from large earthquakes in the Cascadia subduction zone of northern California, Oregon, and Washington. In central and southern California, earthquakes on undersea strike-slip faults can also damage the mainland. Related hazards include local tsunamis generated by offshore earthquakes and landslides. Underwater landslides can also threaten seafloor infrastructure such as pipelines, communication cables, and oil platforms.

EXPRESS priorities that contribute to marine geohazard assessments include:

  • Extend bathymetry and backscatter coverage to high priority areas
  • Identify underwater geological hazards and evaluate their potential for generating tsunamis