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: February 22, 2021

PCMSC scientists invited to present at the National Seismic Hazard Map Workshop

USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center research geologist Jenna Hill to present recent offshore work on the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

Date published: February 17, 2021

Mars 2020 Mission: The Perseverance Rover Landing

The excitement of the Perseverance rover landing on Mars can be witnessed on NASA TV starting at 11:15 PST on February 18, 2021.

Publications

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Year Published: 2021

Characterizing fault roughness—Are faults rougher at long or short wavelengths?

Changes in fault roughness with scale, “scaling,” is the topic of this report; changes are considered using a general power law relation between some measure of surface height, H, and another of length, L, H=kLn, where k is a constant and n is an exponent that characterizes the scaling. Extensive profile measurements of natural fault surfaces show...

Beeler, Nicholas M.
Beeler, N.M., 2021, Characterizing fault roughness—Are faults rougher at long or short wavelengths?: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020–1134, 15 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201134.

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Year Published: 2021

Field response and surface rupture characteristics of the 2020 M6.5 Monte Cristo Range earthquake, central Walker Lane, Nevada

The M 6.5 Monte Cristo Range earthquake that occurred in the central Walker Lane on 15 May 2020 was the largest earthquake in Nevada in 66 yr and resulted in a multidisciplinary scientific field response. The earthquake was the result of left‐lateral slip along largely unmapped parts of the Candelaria fault, one of a series of east–...

Koehler, Richard D; Dee, Seth; Elliott, Austin John; Hatem, Alexandra Elise; Pickering, Alexandra; Pierce, Ian; Seitz, Gordon G.

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Year Published: 2021

Quantifying nuisance ground motion thresholds for induced earthquakes

Hazards from induced earthquakes are a growing concern with a need for effective management. One aspect of that concern is the “nuisance” from unexpected ground motions, which have the potential to cause public alarm and discontent. In this article, we borrow earthquake engineering concepts to quantify the chance of building damage states and...

Schultz, Ryan; Quitoriano, Vince; Wald, David J.; Beroza, Gregory C.