Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center


Coastal and Offshore Hazards: USGS makes detailed seafloor maps of offshore geology to identify faults and underwater landslides. The results help coastal communities become more resilient to marine geologic hazards that include earthquakes and tsunamis. We also develop statistical and computer models of earthquake and tsunami recurrence to help manage risk.

Filter Total Items: 57
Date published: January 29, 2021
Status: Active

The Mud Creek Landslide May 20 2017

On May 20, 2017, the steep slopes at Mud Creek on California’s Big Sur coast, about 140 miles south of San Francisco, suffered a catastrophic collapse. USGS scientists from the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center and the Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center continue to monitor this section of the coastline, in collaboration with the California Department of...

Date published: October 22, 2020
Status: Completed

The Impact of Sea-Level Rise and Climate Change on Pacific Ocean Atolls

Providing basic understanding and specific information on storm-wave inundation of atoll islands that house Department of Defense installations, and assessing the resulting impact of sea-level rise and storm-wave inundation on infrastructure and freshwater availability under a variety of sea-level rise and climatic scenarios.

Contacts: Curt Storlazzi, PhD, Li Erikson, Stephen B Gingerich, Clifford I Voss, Ph.D., Peter Swarzenski, Ap van Dongeren, Gregory PIniak, Donald Field, Annamalai Hariharasubramanian, Kevin Hamilton, Yuqing Wang, Edwin Elias
Date published: August 18, 2020
Status: Active


The USGS Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) team has extensively studied overland flooding and coastal change due to rising seas and storms. Interactions with coastal stakeholders have elucidated another important question; will rising seas also intrude into coastal aquifers and raise groundwater...

Contacts: Patrick Barnard
Date published: July 15, 2020
Status: Active

Tsunami and Earthquake Research

Here you will find general information on the science behind tsunami generation, computer animations of tsunamis, and summaries of past field studies.

Contacts: Eric Geist
Date published: June 16, 2020
Status: Active

Coastal Change Hazards

Natural processes such as waves, tides, and weather, continually change coastal landscapes. The integrity of coastal homes, businesses, and infrastructure can be threatened by hazards associated with event-driven changes, such as extreme storms and their impacts on beach and dune erosion, or longer-term, cumulative...

Date published: December 11, 2019
Status: Completed

Tsunami Record from the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

Shortly after the Great San Francisco earthquake of April 18, 1906, a sea level disturbance (tsunami) was recorded at the Presidio tide gauge station in San Francisco (the station is now located nearby at Ft. Point). What type of mechanism (earthquake rupture, landslide, other) generated the tsunami...

Contacts: Eric Geist
Date published: November 29, 2019
Status: Completed

Using Video Imagery to Study Coastal Change: Whidbey Island

From May of 2018 through November of 2019, USGS scientists collected imagery from video cameras overlooking the coast along a beach on Whidbey Island, Island County at the northern boundary of Puget Sound in western Washington.

    Contacts: Eric Grossman
    Date published: November 26, 2019
    Status: Active

    Tsunami Field Studies

    Our tsunami scientists work on international teams to study the aftermath of tsunamis around the world, to gain a better understanding the impact of potential tsunamis on coastal communities of the United States. Their work helps inform local, state, and federal coastal planning, protection, and resiliency.

    Date published: October 17, 2019
    Status: Active

    CoSMoS 3.1: Central California

    CoSMoS v3.1 for central California shows projections for future climate scenarios (sea-level rise and storms)

    Date published: July 22, 2019
    Status: Completed

    Using Video Imagery to Study Wave Dynamics: Isla Verde

    USGS scientists installed video cameras atop a building and oceanographic instruments off San Juan, Puerto Rico, to better understand how waves move across coral reefs and cause flooding on tropical shorelines.

    Date published: June 19, 2019
    Status: Active

    Seeking the Seeps

    From June 12 to July 3, 2019, the USGS sailed onboard Schmidt Ocean Institute’s R/V Falkor with several other partners, seeking methane seeps along the seafloor of several underwater canyons off the coast of Oregon and Washington. On this cruise, USGS scientists will seek to understand how much methane is coming out of these seeps, how it travels through the water column, and its...

    Date published: June 17, 2019
    Status: Active

    Landslide-Induced Tsunamis of Southern Alaska

    Working with partners to study and inform the Nation about geohazard risks