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Costs and consequences of natural hazards can be enormous; each year more people and infrastructure are at risk. We develop and apply hazards science to help protect U.S. safety, security, and economic well being. These scientific observations, analyses, and research are crucial for the Nation to become more resilient to natural hazards.Read Our Science Strategy
In response to the growing need for Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning as a means to better manage seabed environments, it is necessary to compile high-resolution (1:25,000) interpretive maps and to formulate a geology-based seabed classification system that will allow users to recognize and correctly interpret seabed substrate types.
Seabed imagery from multibeam mapping surveys has...
The Aerial Imaging and Mapping group (AIM), at the U.S. Geological Survey Woods (USGS) Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center provides UAS services to scientists to advance the science mission of the Coastal and Marine Geology Program. Scientists at the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center have been using UASs to acquire imagery of coastal and wetland environments, which is then used...
The Stellwagen Bank region, located off Boston, Massachusetts, just east of Massachusetts Bay between Cape Cod and Cape Ann, is a glaciated terrain of shallow banks and deep basins with water depths ranging from 20 to 200 meters. The region is heavily utilized by humans and marine species. It serves as a National Marine Sanctuary; a rich commercial and recreational fishing ground; a disposal...
The Elwha River Restoration Project...
... has reconnected the water, salmon, and sediment of a pristine river and coast of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington. Coordinated by the National Park Service, restoration of the Elwha River included the removal of two large dams that had blocked salmon and sediment passage for almost 100 years. The largest dam removal in U.S. history began in...
Exchange of flows, sediment, and biological particles between the inner shelf and back-barrier estuaries are significant for determination of extreme water levels, maintenance and formation of inlets, barrier-island evolution, and pollutant and larval transport. These connections are controlled by cross-shore processes including wave-driven inner-shelf and near-shore processes, dune...
In late August 2018, scientists and technical staff from the USGS Coastal/Marine Hazards and Resources Program completed the acquisition of over 2000 km of multichannel seismic (MCS) data as part of the Mid-Atlantic Resource Imaging Experiment (MATRIX) conducted aboard the...
This page highlights images from the field, where we work, and USGS at work.
Our research goals are to provide the scientific information, knowledge, and tools required to ensure that decisions about land and resource use, management practices, and future development in the coastal zone and adjacent watersheds can be evaluated with a complete understanding of the probable effects on coastal ecosystems and communities, and a full assessment of their vulnerability to...
Explore the fascinating undersea world of coral reefs. Learn how we map, monitor, and model coral reefs so we can better understand, protect, and preserve our Nation's reefs.
The USGS Law of the Sea project helps identify the submerged extent of the U.S. land territory beyond 200 nautical miles. This land area, called the extended continental shelf (ECS), is an important maritime zone with resources and marine habitats. Its size may exceed one million square kilometers, encompassing areas in the Arctic, Atlantic, Bering Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific west coast....
Significant Earthquakes on a major fault system in Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Lesser Antilles, 1500–2010: Implications for Seismic Hazard
Earthquakes have been documented in the northeastern Caribbean since the arrival of Columbus to the Americas; written accounts of these felt earthquakes exist in various parts of the world. To better understand the earthquake cycle in the Caribbean, the records of earthquakes in earlier catalogs and historical documents from various archives, which are now available online, were critically...
The Core Laboratories Project is a research support service of the WHCMSC which provides analytical and technical infrastructure, and supports of a range of projects associated with Coastal Biogeochemical Processes, Coastal Groundwater, Climate-Hydrates, and Sedimentology.
The Core Laboratories Project is a research support service of the WHCMSC which provides analytical and technical...
Movie-maps of low-latitude horizontal-intensity magnetic disturbance are derived from magnetic vector time series data collected at multiple ground-based observatories. Using a technique similar to that used in the calculation of Dst, a quiet time baseline is subtracted from the time series from each observatory. The remaining disturbance time series are shown in a polar coordinate system that...
Estimates of the probability and volume of debris flows that may be produced by a storm in a recently burned area, using a model with characteristics related to basin shape, burn severity, soil properties, and rainfall.
Aerial imagery and photogrammetric products from unmanned aerial systems (UAS) flights over the Lake Ontario shoreline at Sodus Bay, New York, July 12 to 14, 2017
This data release includes images tagged with locations determined from the UAS GPS; tables with updated estimates of camera positions and attitudes based on the photogrammetric reconstruction; tables listing locations of the base stations, ground control points, and transect points; geolocated, RGB-colored point clouds; orthomosaic images; and digital elevation models for each of the regions...
Our Coast, Our Future (OCOF) is a collaborative, user-driven project focused on providing California coastal resource managers and planners locally relevant, online maps and tools to help understand, visualize, and anticipate vulnerabilities to sea level rise and storms.
Sea-Floor Sediment Samples, Seabed Imagery, and CTD Instrument Data Collected on Stellwagen Bank in August 2017, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity 2017-043-FA
The data collected in this study will aid research on the ecology of fish and invertebrate species that inhabit the region. On August 22 and 23, 2017, the U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, conducted a research cruise aboard the Sanctuary’s Research Vessel Auk, visiting 39 locations within the sanctuary.
Seismic reflection and sample data collected offshore of Fire Island, New York in 2014, U.S. Geological Field Activity 2014-009-FA
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) conducted a geophysical and sampling survey in October 2014 that focused on a series of shoreface-attached ridges offshore of western Fire Island, NY. Seismic-reflection data, surficial grab samples and bottom photographs and video were collected along the lower shoreface and inner continental shelf to assess the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the coastal region...
The maps in this archive display estimated intensities and ground motions for the earthquake scenarios - events on faults that have ruptured in the past or have a likelihood of rupturing in the future. These maps are typically used for emergency response exercises and planning as well as for understanding the potential consequences of future large earthquakes.
How do we get ready for big earthquakes in populated areas? An important first step is to learn what a big earthquake could be like. These pages summarize the main patterns — the earthquake effects that show up again and again. Here, urban is shorthand for “cities, towns, and suburbs”.
The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) launched the Shoreline Change Project in 1989 to identify erosion-prone areas of the Massachusetts coast. This update included a marsh shoreline, which was defined to be the tonal difference between low- and high-marsh seen in ortho-photos. Further cooperation between CZM and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has resulted in another...
Collection, analysis, and age-dating of sediment cores from salt marshes on the south shore of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, from 2013 through 2014
Elevation of the marsh surface was measured with RTK-GPS to evaluate where the marsh falls within the current tidal frame. The historic marsh surface elevation was then reconstructed using the calculated age of each depth interval and its elevation, assuming that elevations within this shallow zone (less than 30 cm) have been preserved for the past century.
KG²B, a collaborative benchmarking exercise for estimating the permeability of the Grimsel granodiorite - Part 1: measurements, pressure dependence and pore-fluid effects
Measuring the permeability of tight rocks remains a challenging task. In addition to the traditional sources of errors that affect more permeable formations (e.g. sample selection, non-representative specimens, disturbance introduced during sample acquisition and preparation), tight rocks can be particularly prone to solid–fluid interactions and...David, Christian; Wasserman, J.; Amann, F.; Lockner, David A.; Rutter, E.H.; Vanorio, T; Amann Hildenbrand, A.; Billiotte, J.; Reuschle, T.; Lasseux, D.; Fortin, J.; Lenormand, R.; Selvadurai, A.P.S.; Meredith, P.G.; Browning, J.; Mitchell, T.M.; Loggia, D.; Nono, F.; Sarout, J.; Esteban, L.; Davy, C.; Louis, L.; Boitnott, G.; Madonna, C.; Jahns, E.; Fleury. M.; Berthe, G.; Delage, P.; Braun, P.; Grégoire, D.; Perrier, L.; Polito, P.; Jannot, Y.; Sommier, A.; Krooss, B.; Fink, R.; Hu, Q.; Klaver, J.; Clark, A.
Induced earthquake families reveal distinctive evolutionary patterns near disposal wells
The timing of events in seismic sequences can provide insights into the physical processes controlling fault slip. In southern Kansas, the rate of earthquakes rose rapidly starting in 2013 following expansion of energy production into the area, demanding the disposal of large volumes of wastewater into deep wells. Seismicity catalogs that are...Cochran, Elizabeth S.; Ross, Zachary E.; Harrington, Rebecca M.; Dougherty, Sara L.; Rubinstein, Justin L.
Research to improve ShakeAlert earthquake early warning products and their utility
Earthquake early warning (EEW) is the rapid detection of an earthquake and issuance of an alert or notification to people and vulnerable systems likely to experience potentially damaging ground shaking. The level of ground shaking that is considered damaging is defined by the specific application; for example, manufacturing equipment may...Cochran, Elizabeth S.; Aagaard, Brad T.; Allen, Richard M.; Andrews, Jennifer; Baltay, Annemarie S.; Barbour, Andrew J.; Bodin, Paul; Brooks, Benjamin A.; Chung, Angela; Crowell, Brendan W.; Given, Douglas D.; Hanks, Thomas C.; Hartog, J. Renate; Hauksson, Egill; Heaton, Thomas H.; McBride, Sara; Meier, Men-Andrin; Melgar, Diego; Minson, Sarah E.; Murray, Jessica R.; Strauss, Jennifer A.; Toomey, Douglas
Back to full interseismic plate locking decades after the giant 1960 Chile earthquake
Great megathrust earthquakes arise from the sudden release of energy accumulated during centuries of interseismic plate convergence. The moment deficit (energy available for future earthquakes) is commonly inferred by integrating the rate of interseismic plate locking over the time since the previous great earthquake. But accurate integration...Melnick, Daniel; Li, Shaoyang; Moreno, Marcos; Cisternas, Macro; Jara-Muñoz, Julius; Wesson, Robert L.; Nelson, Alan R.; Báez, Juan Carlos; Deng, Zhiguo
The Hayward Fault—Is it due for a repeat of the powerful 1868 earthquake?
On October 21, 1868, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck the San Francisco Bay area. Although the region was sparsely populated, the quake on the Hayward Fault was one of the most destructive in California’s history. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) studies show that similar Hayward Fault quakes have repeatedly jolted the region in the past and that...Brocher, Thomas M.; Boatwright, Jack; Lienkaemper, James J.; Prentice, Carol S.; Schwartz, David P.; Bundock, Howard
Intensities, aftershock sequences, and the location of the 1936 Milton‐Freewater earthquake near the Oregon–Washington border, U.S.A.
The epicenter of the 16 July 1936 M">MM 6 Milton‐Freewater earthquake, also known as the State Line earthquake and the largest historical earthquake in northeastern Oregon or southeastern Washington, is uncertain. Various studies place the epicenter of the earthquake, which was widely felt in eastern Washington, northeastern Oregon,...Brocher, Thomas M.; Sherrod, Brian
A physics-based earthquake simulator replicates seismic hazard statistics across California
Seismic hazard models are important for society, feeding into building codes and hazard mitigation efforts. These models, however, rest on many uncertain assumptions and are difficult to test observationally because of the long recurrence times of large earthquakes. Physics-based earthquake simulators offer a potentially helpful tool, but they...Shaw, Bruce E.; Milner, Kevin R.; Field, Edward H.; Richards-Dinger, Keith B.; Gilchrist, Jacquelyn J.; Dieterich, James H.; Jordan, Thomas H.
Bedrock mapping and seismic hazard assessment at Gold Basin landslide, Washington
The Gold Basin landslide is located along the South Fork Stillaguamish River, within the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in western Washington State. Recent concerns related to slope stability after the 2014 State Route 530 Landslide near Oso, Washington, forced the closure of the U.S. Forest Service Gold Basin Campground in May of 2014. In...Staisch, Lydia M.
Modeling the Holocene slip history of the Wasatch fault (Utah): Coseismic and postseismic Coulomb stress changes and implications for paleoseismicity and seismic hazard
The Wasatch fault zone defines the eastern boundary of the actively extending Basin and Range Province (Utah, western United States) and poses a significant seismic hazard to the metropolitan areas along the Wasatch Range. A wealth of paleoseismological data documents ∼24 surface-rupturing Mw ≥ 7 earthquakes along the Wasatch fault during the past...Bagge, Meike; Hampel andrea; Gold, Ryan D.
Slab2, a comprehensive subduction zone geometry model
Subduction zones are home to the most seismically active faults on the planet. The shallow megathrust interfaces of subduction zones host our largest earthquakes and are likely the only faults capable of magnitude 9+ ruptures. Despite these facts, our knowledge of subduction zone geometry—which likely plays a key role in determining the spatial...Hayes, Gavin; Moore, Ginevra; Portner, Daniel E.; Hearne, Mike; Flamme, Hanna E.; Furtney, Maria; Smoczyk, Gregory M.
The case for mean rupture distance in ground‐motion estimation
This article advocates for the use of mean rupture distances that we contend are more physically representative of the distance to an earthquake and are simpler than minimum distances. Many current ground‐motion models (GMMs) rely on numerous modifications of minimum rupture distances to accurately model near‐source ground motions. These...Thompson, Eric M.; Baltay, Annemarie S.
Broadband synthetic seismograms for magnitude 9 earthquakes on the Cascadia Megathrust based on 3D simulations and stochastic synthetics, Part 2: Rupture parameters and variability
We used a combination of 3D finite‐difference simulations (<1  Hz"><1 Hz) and 1D stochastic synthetics (>1  Hz">>1 Hz) to generate broadband (0–10 Hz) synthetic seismograms for numerous Mw">Mw 9 earthquake rupture scenarios on the Cascadia megathrust. Slip...Wirth, Erin A.; Frankel, Arthur; Marafi, Nasser A.; Vidale, John E.; Stephenson, William J.
Upper Left: Dann Blackwood operating the SEABOSS winch during a sampling cruise; Lower left: Bill Schwab, Laura Brothers and Emile Bergeron on the deck of a research vessel; Center Left: Tom O'Brien carrying equipment during a research cruise; Center: USGS staff deploying a seismic system from a research vessel; left: Chuck Worley ready to deploy a multibeam echosounder...
USGS Research Geologist Dr. Erika Lentz is conducting real-time kinematic GPS surveys on barrier island dunes, part of her research looking at how coastal landscapes respond to sea-level rise.
Screen shot of the Coastal Change Hazards Portal showing potential coastal change impacts during a direct landfall of Hurricane Florence based on NHC Advisory 48, 500 AM AST TUE SEP 11 2018.
The USGS Coastal Change Hazards Storm Team has forecast coast-wide levels of beach erosion, inundation and overwash due to Hurricane Florence's expected path and landgfall.
The Coastal Change Hazards Storm Team has forecast changing water levels at specific locations over time.
USGS oceanographer Shawn Harrison stands on the coastal bluff of Barter Island, Alaska at sunset. Shawn and his fellow researchers are studying how the highly erosive bluff changes under the varied conditions experienced by this stretch of coastline. The knowledge gained will be used to improve computer-derived simulations of shoreline change, that in turn communities can...
Title: What on Earth is going on at Kilauea Volcano?
- First significant summit explosions in nearly a century
- Largest summit collapse volume since at least 1800
- Voluminous fissure eruptions feeding channelized lava flow
- Unparalleled new opportunities for understanding the volcanic system
USGS and Army Corps of Engineers conduct simultaneous measurements at Sandy Neck beach, Cape Cod, MA
Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Aerial Imaging and Mapping (AIM) group conducted drone flights from atop a dune at Sandy Neck (Cape Cod) while the Joint Airborne Lidar Bathymetry Technical Center of Expertise (JALBTCX) aircraft collected data overhead.
The U.S Geological Survey announces that the agency has awarded more than $20 million in 2018 for earthquake monitoring and applied research.
Meagan Gonneea, Neil Ganju, and Matt Arsenaualt, Woods Hole Costal and Marine Science Center staff offered presentations and handouts on Natural Hazards: Coastal Hazards in Wetlands and Estuaries to participants at the Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers (SSEATs. )
In July 2018, three USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center researchers installed instruments and hosted a community outreach event.
Scientists complete mission to map fast-moving fault off Alaska: Data will help coastal communities prepare for risks from earthquakes and tsunamis
Researchers from NOAA, U.S. Geological Survey and their partners have completed the first high-resolution, comprehensive mapping of one of the fastest moving underwater tectonic faults in the world, located in southeastern Alaska. This information will help communities in coastal Alaska and Canada better understand and prepare for the risks from earthquakes and tsunamis that can occur when faults suddenly move.
Better performance and new features: landslides and liquefaction estimates, population map layer, Spanish Did You Feel It?, and aftershock forecasts.
The public can now access information about active wildfires across the country using a smartphone.
Twenty-five middle-school girls from Washington and Oregon are participating in the fourth annual “GeoGirls” outdoor volcano science program at Mount St. Helens, jointly organized by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Mount St. Helens Institute.