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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
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) led a project funded by the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) with support from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), to develop a community sediment-transport modeling system (CSTMS).
Policy-makers, individuals from government agencies, and natural resource managers are under increasing pressure to manage changing coastal areas to meet social, economic, and natural resource demands, particularly under a regime of sea-level rise. Scientific knowledge of coastal processes and habitat-use can support decision-makers as they balance these often-conflicting human and ecological...
Numerical models are used by scientists, engineers, coastal managers, and the public to understand and predict processes in the coastal ocean. This project supports the development and application of open-source coastal models and has several objectives: 1) improve the code of numerical sediment-transport models by implementing new or improved algorithms; 2) obtain measurements of coastal...
Geophysical imaging relies on specialized tools to detect anomalies in the water column or to map features on or beneath the seafloor. Equipment may be towed, mounted on the side of a ship, or attached to the ship’s hull. Many geophysical techniques rely on transmitting an acoustic signal of a particular frequency and analyzing the information in the returning signal to infer the properties...
Cold seeps are locations where chemicals, including methane, hydrocarbons, sulfide and sometimes carbon dioxide, leak from sediments below the seafloor into the water above. Much of the current knowledge on cold seeps comes from direct observations, such as the mapping of acoustic flares and the detection of...
Cold seeps, which are locations where chemicals -- including methane and other hydrocarbons, brine, hydrogen sulfide, and sometimes carbon dioxide--leak from the seafloor, occur worldwide on both passive and tectonically-active continental margins. Cold seeps are distinguished from ...
From May 3 to May 11, 2017, the U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with the British Geological Survey and with support from these two agencies, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, and the U.S. Department of Energy, will lead an...
The Instrumented Pressure Testing Chamber (IPTC)
A device for measuring the physical properties of naturally-occurring, hydrate-bearing sediment at nearly in situ pressure conditions.
USGS scientists have a long tradition of studying submarine slope failures and were among the first to note a spatial link between slope failures and gas hydrates/gas-charged sediments. USGS Gas Hydrates scientists support the USGS Hazards Mission area through field-based surveys that refine understanding of this association and through geotechnical studies that evaluate the response of...
Analysis of 94,000 square kilometers of multibeam water column backscatter data collected by the NOAA Okeanos Explorer mostly seaward of the shelf-break on the northern US Atlantic margin reveals more than 570 gas plumes that correspond to seafloor methane seeps. This discovery is documented in an August 2014 ...
The Puerto Rico trench exhibits great water depth, extremely low gravity anomaly, and a tilted carbonate platform between (reconstructed) elevations of +1300 m and -4000 m. we suggest that these features are manifestations of large vertical movements of a segment of the Puerto Rico Trench, its forearc, and the island of Puerto Rico that took place 3.3 m.y. ago over a time period as short as 14...
Newly-acquired multibeam bathymetry of the entire Puerto Rico trench reveals numerous retrograde slope failures at various scales at the edge of the carbonate platform north of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The slumped material comprises carbonate blocks, which are cohesive and the edge of the carbonate platform is steeper than most continental slopes, resulting in a higher potential...
This dataset displays the spatial variation mean tidal range (i.e. Mean Range of Tides, MN) in the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, which spans over Great Bay, Little Egg Harbor, and Barnegat Bay in New Jersey, USA. MN was based on the calculated difference in height between mean high water (MHW) and mean low water (MLW) using the VDatum (v3.5) software (...
Exposure potential of salt marsh units in Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge to environmental health stressors
This dataset displays the exposure potential to environmental health stressors in the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (EBFNWR), which spans over Great Bay, Little Egg Harbor, and Barnegat Bay in New Jersey, USA. Exposure potential is calculated with the Sediment-bound Contaminant Resiliency and Response (SCoRR) ranking system (Reilly and others, 2015)
Water quality in the Barnegat Bay estuary along the New Jersey coast is the focus of a multidisciplinary research project begun in 2011 by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. A continuous elevation surface (terrain model) integrating all available elevation data in the area was produced for water circulation modeling...
Point cloud from low-altitude aerial imagery from unmanned aerial system (UAS) flights over Coast Guard Beach, Nauset Spit, Nauset Inlet, and Nauset Marsh, Cape Cod National Seashore, Eastham, Massachusetts on 1 March 2016 (LAZ file)
This point cloud was derived from low-altitude aerial images collected from an unmanned aerial system (UAS) flown in the Cape Cod National Seashore on 1 March, 2016. The objective of the project was to evaluate the quality and cost of mapping from UAS images. The point cloud contains 434,096,824 unclassifed and unedited geolocated points.
Atlantic coast piping plover (Charadrius melodus) nest sites are typically found on low-lying beach and dune systems, which respond rapidly to coastal processes like sediment overwash, inlet formation, and island migration that are sensitive to climate-related changes in storminess and the rate of sea-level rise. Data were obtained to understand piping plover habitat distribution.
Conceptual salt marsh units for wetland synthesis: Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey
Recent research shows that sediment budgets of microtidal marsh complexes on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States consistently scale with areal unvegetated/vegetated marsh ratio (UVVR) despite differences in sea-level rise, tidal range, elevation, vegetation, and stressors. This highlights UVVR as a broadly applicable indicator of microtidal marsh stability.
As part of this data synthesis effort, hydrodynamic and sediment transport modeling of Barnegat Bay Little Egg Harbor (BBLEH) has been used to create the following wetland data layers in Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (EBFNWR), New Jersey: 1) Hydrodynamic residence time , 2) salinity change and 3) salinity exposure change in wetlands, and 4) sediment supply to wetlands
The purpose of the multibeam echosounder surveys was to map the bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the valley, providing a framework for geologic, oceanographic, and geochemical studies. The data from the three surveys are combined to produce grids of bathymetry and backscatter intensity at 12-m resolution that cover the entire valley and the head of the Hudson Canyon...
High-resolution geophysical data collected along the Mississippi River Delta front offshore of southeastern Louisiana, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity 2017-003-FA
High resolution bathymetric, sea-floor backscatter, and seismic-reflection data were collected offshore of southeastern Louisiana aboard the research vessel Point Sur on May 19-26, 2017, in an effort to characterize mudflow hazards on the Mississippi River Delta front. The primary objective of this cruise was to assess the suitability of sea-floor mapping and shallow subsurface imaging tools...
Data compilation of soil respiration, moisture, and temperature measurements from global warming experiments from 1994-2014
This dataset is the largest global dataset to date of soil respiration, moisture, and temperature measurements, totaling >3800 observations representing 27 temperature manipulation studies, spanning nine biomes and nearly two decades of warming experiments. Data for this study were obtained from a combination of unpublished data and published literature values.
This data release contains the compilation of multiple elevation products into a continuous digital elevation model at a resolution of 3-arcseconds (approximately 90 meters) from the terrestrial landscape to the seafloor for the contiguous U.S. and portions of Mexico and Canada, focused on the coastal interface.
Tilt Trivia: A free multiplayer app to learn geoscience concepts and definitions
Today’s technology is opening up new ways to learn. Here, we introduce Tilt Trivia, a suite of quiz‐style, multiplayer games for use on mobile devices and tablets (Android or Apple) to help students learn simple definitions and facts. This mobile device game was built using the Unity engine and has a multiplayer functionality that runs seamlessly...Kilb, Debi; Yang, Alan; Garrett, Nathan; Pankow, Kristine L.; Rubinstein, Justin L.; Linville, Lisa
KG²B, a collaborative benchmarking exercise for estimating the permeability of the Grimsel granodiorite - Part 2: modeling, microstructures and complementary data
Measuring and modelling 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...David, Christian; Wassermann, J.; Amann, F.; Klaver, J.; Davy, C.; Sarout, J.; Esteban, L.; Rutter, E.H.; Hu, Q.; Louis, L.; Delage, P.; Lockner, David A.; Selvadurai, A.P.S.; Vanorio, T; Amann Hildenbrand, A.; Meredith, P.G.; Browning, J.; Mitchell, T.M.; Madonna, C.; Billiotte, J.; Reuschle, T.; Lasseux, D.; Fortin, J.; Lenormand, R.; Loggia, D.; Nono, F.; Boitnott, G.; Jahns, E.; Fleury. M.; Berthe, G.; Braun, P.; Grégoire, D.; Perrier, L.; Polito, P.; Jannot, Y.; Sommier, A.; Krooss, B.; Fink, R.; Clark, A.
Geoelectric hazard maps for the Pacific Northwest
Maps of extreme value, horizontal component geoelectric field amplitude are constructed for the Pacific Northwest United States (and parts of neighboring Canada). Multidecade long geoelectric field time series are calculated by convolving Earth surface impedance tensors from 71 discrete magnetotelluric survey sites across the region with...Love, Jeffrey J.; Lucas, Greg M.; Kelbert, Anna; Bedrosian, Paul A.
Turing-style tests for UCERF3 synthetic catalogs
Epidemic-Type Aftershock Sequence (ETAS) catalogs generated from the 3rd Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (UCERF3) model are unique in that they are the first to combine a complex, fault-based long-term forecast with short-term earthquake clustering statistics. We present Turing-style tests to examine whether these synthetic catalogs...Page, Morgan T.; Van Der Elst, Nicholas
Stronger peak ground motion, beyond the threshold to initiate a response, does not lead to larger stream discharge responses to earthquakes
The impressive number of stream gauges in Chile, combined with a suite of past and recent large earthquakes, makes Chile a unique natural laboratory to study several streams that recorded responses to multiple seismic events. We document changes in discharge in eight streams in Chile following two or more large earthquakes. In all cases, discharge...Mohr, Christian H.; Manga, Michael; Wald, David J.
The science, engineering applications, and policy implications of simulation-based PSHA
We summarize scientific methods for developing probabilistic seismic hazard assessments from 3-D earthquake ground motion simulations, describe current use of simulated ground motions for engineering applications, and discuss on-going efforts to incorporate these effects in the U.S. national seismic hazard model. The 3-D simulations provide...Moschetti, Morgan P.; Chang, Sandra P.; Crouse, C.B; Frankel, Arthur; Graves, Robert; Puangnak, H; Luco, Nicolas; Goulet, Christine A.; Rezaeian, Sanaz; Shumway, Allison; Powers, Peter; Petersen, Mark D.; Callaghan, Scott; Jordan, T.H.; Milner, Kevin R.
A novel technique for precision geometric correction of jitter distortion for the Europa Imaging System and other rolling shutter cameras
We use simulated images to demonstrate a novel technique for mitigating geometric distortions caused by platform motion (“jitter”) as two-dimensional image sensors are exposed and read out line by line (“rolling shutter”). The results indicate that the Europa Imaging System (EIS) on NASA’s Europa Clipper can likely meet its scientific goals...Kirk, Randolph L.; Shepherd, Makayla; Sides, Stuart
Candidate products for operational earthquake forecasting illustrated using the HayWired planning scenario, including one very quick (and not‐so‐dirty) hazard‐map option
In an effort to help address debates on the usefulness of operational earthquake forecasting (OEF), we illustrate a number of OEF products that could be automatically generated in near‐real time. To exemplify, we use an M">M 7.1 mainshock on the Hayward fault, which is very similar to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) HayWired earthquake...Field, Edward H.; Milner, Kevin R.
An updated method for estimating landslide‐event magnitude
Summary statistics derived from the frequency–area distribution (FAD) of inventories of triggered landslides allows for direct comparison of landslides triggered by one event (e.g. earthquake, rainstorm) with another. Such comparisons are vital to understand links between the landslide‐event and the environmental characteristics of the area...Tanyas, Hakan; Allstadt, Kate E.; van Weston, Cees J.
Frictional properties and 3-D stress analysis of the southern Alpine Fault, New Zealand
New Zealand's Alpine Fault (AF) ruptures quasi-periodically in large-magnitude earthquakes. Paleoseismological evidence suggests that about half of all recognized AF earthquakes terminated at the boundary between the Central and South Westland sections of the fault. There, fault geometry and the polarity of uplift change. The South Westland...Boulton, Carolyn; Barth, Nicolas C.; Moore, Diane E.; Lockner, David A.; Townend, John; Faulkner, Daniel R.
Map of recently active traces of the Rodgers Creek Fault, Sonoma County, California
The accompanying map and digital data identify recently active strands of the Rodgers Creek Fault in Sonoma County, California, interpreted primarily from the geomorphic expression of recent faulting on aerial photography and hillshade imagery derived from airborne lidar data. A recently active fault strand is defined here as having evidence...Hecker, Suzanne; Randolph Loar, Carolyn E.
To catch a quake
A revolution in seismic detection technology is underway, capturing unprecedented observations of earthquakes and their impacts. These sensor innovations provide real-time ground shaking observations that could improve emergency response following damaging earthquakes and may advance our understanding of the physics of earthquake ruptures.Cochran, Elizabeth S.
Landsat 8 captured satellite views of California’s largest wildfire on record in the summer of 2018. The Mendocino Complex Fire in northern California is a combination of two fires: the Ranch Fire and the River Fire.
Both fires started July 27, and hot, dry, windy conditions caused them to spread rapidly. Landsat 8 imaged the area the day before the fires broke out...
USGS display table at the 2018 Woods Hole, MA Science Stroll
Sandy Brosnahan, Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, discusses Kilauea Volcano drone footage with Science Stroll participants
Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center staff, Tarandeep Kalra (pointing in light blue shirt) and Zafer Defne (orange USGS shirt) discuss oceanographic models with Science Stroll attendees
Jenny White McKee watches as an expendable sonobuoy leaves the launcher during the 2018 MATRIX cruise on the R/V Hugh R. Sharp. The sonobuoy deploys an antenna used to transmit received seismic signals back to the ship over radio frequencies at distances up to 15 km away.
USGS scientists have been developing a system to quickly identify areas where landslides may have been triggered by a significant earthquake.
Today's update for June 21st, 2018 will be the last of the daily updates on this USGS feature story. We encourage you to keep checking the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) Kīlauea status website for daily activity updates. You can also visit the USGS Facebook page and the USGS Twitter feed as updates become available. For press inquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We usually hear about landslides and avalanches that are caused by large amounts of rainfall, the shaking from earthquakes, or a volcanic eruption, but we may be hearing more about avalanches caused by the (seemingly innocuous) melting of ice in the coming years.
John Warner, Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, was cited by Robert Hetland, editor of Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans.
The Geological Society of America (GSA) elected USGS research geologist Amy East to be a GSA Fellow, “an honor bestowed on the best of our profession,” at the spring GSA Council meeting.
The outcomes of past aftershock sequences can be used to describe the range of possibilities for a current sequence.
A new map of crustal stress across the U.S. shows that the plate interior stress is variable, with contributions from plate boundary stress, crustal collapse due to gravity, and more local and subtle changes to style, orientation, and earthquake rate.
Magnetic measurements made during low-altitude airplane flights conducted for the U.S. Geological Survey and the Oklahoma Geological Survey reveal possible deep faults that may contribute to increased seismic activity in response to wastewater injection in certain portions of Oklahoma.
On April 28, the San Francisco chapter of Mensa toured the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center with research geologist Curt Storlazzi (also a Mensa member) and acting deputy director Nadine Golden.