Mission Areas

Natural Hazards

Every year in the United States, natural hazards threaten lives and livelihoods and result in billions of dollars in damage. We work with many partners to monitor, assess, and conduct targeted research on a wide range of natural hazards so that policymakers and the public have the understanding they need to enhance preparedness, response, and resilience.

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Reducing Risk

Reducing Risk

USGS scientists develop new products to make science available to the public, emergency managers, and decision-makers. These efforts increase public safety and reduce risk and economic losses caused by natural hazards.

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Subduction Zone Science

Subduction Zone Science

The most powerful earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and volcanic eruptions occur in subduction zones, where two plates collide and one is thrust beneath another.

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News

Date published: July 22, 2021

Down to Earth: Complexities of Geology Affect Nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse Hazard 

Geoelectric hazards generated by a nuclear explosion at the outer edge of Earth’s atmosphere can be strongly affected by the electrical conductivity of rock structures beneath the Earth's surface, according to a study led by the U.S. Geological Survey.  

Date published: July 21, 2021

Studying earthquakes from lake sediment: Lacustrine paleoseismology in Alaska

USGS researchers in Alaska, including geologist and Mendenhall Fellow Drake Singleton of the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, are using techniques from a discipline known as lake paleoseismology, studying cores of lake sediment to reconstruct past seismic activity. 

Publications

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Year Published: 2021

A numerical model for the cooling of a lava sill with heat pipe effects

Understanding the cooling process of volcanic intrusions into wet sediments is a difficult but important problem, given the presence of extremely large temperature gradients and potentially complex water-magma interactions. This report presents a numerical model to study such interactions, including the effect of heat pipes on the cooling of...

Williams, Kaj E.; Dundas, Colin M.; Kestay, Laszlo P.
Williams, K.E., Dundas, C.M., and Kestay, L.P., 2021, A numerical model for the cooling of a lava sill with heat pipe effects: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, book 13, chap. B2, 14 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/tm13B2.

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Year Published: 2021

Preliminary assessment of the wave generating potential from landslides at Barry Arm, Prince William Sound, Alaska

We simulated the concurrent rapid motion of landslides on an unstable slope at Barry Arm, Alaska. Movement of landslides into the adjacent fjord displaced fjord water and generated a tsunami, which propagated out of Barry Arm. Rather than assuming an initial sea surface height, velocity, and location for the tsunami, we generated the tsunami...

Barnhart, Katherine R.; Jones, Ryan P.; George, David L.; Coe, Jeffrey A.; Staley, Dennis M.
Barnhart, K.R., Jones, R.P., George, D.L., Coe, J.A., and Staley, D.M., 2021, Preliminary assessment of the wave generating potential from landslides at Barry Arm, Prince William Sound, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1071, 28 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20211071.

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Year Published: 2021

Twenty-first-century projections of shoreline change along inlet-interrupted coastlines

Sandy coastlines adjacent to tidal inlets are highly dynamic and widespread landforms, where large changes are expected due to climatic and anthropogenic influences. To adequately assess these important changes, both oceanic (e.g., sea-level rise) and terrestrial (e.g., fluvial sediment supply) processes that govern the local sediment budget must...

Bamunawala, Janaka; Ranasinghe, Roshanka; Dastgheib, Ali; Nichols, Robert .J.; Murray, A. Brad; Barnard, Patrick L.; Sirisena, T. A. J. G.; Duong, Trang Minh; Hulscher, Suzanne J. M. H.; van der Spek, Ad