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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
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...
Strike-slip faults in the forearc region of a subduction zone often present significant seismic hazard because of their proximity to population centers. We explore the interaction between thrust events on the subduction interface and strike-slip faults within the forearc region using 3-D models of static Coulomb stress change.
To help understand the origin of the unusual bathymetry, gravity, and vertical tectonics of the plate boundary and to provide constraints for hazard assessment, the morphology of the entire 770-km-long trench from the Dominican Republic in the west to Anguilla in the east was mapped with multibeam echosounder during three cruises in 2002 and 2003. Parts of the Puerto Rico Trench were...
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are located at an active plate boundary between the North American plate and the northeast corner of the Caribbean plate. Plate movements have caused large magnitude earthquakes and devastating tsunamis, but scientists have so far failed to explain the deformation of this complex region in a coherent and predictable picture, and this has hampered their...
The Sediment Transport Instrumentation Facility exists to support ocean, coastal and estuarine research. The staff have a broad set of skills; from instrument design and development to all forms of work at sea to software development and data management. The team has successfully deployed and recovered more than 1000 data collection platforms for research in the last 30 years.
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.
Surveys of the bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor south of Long Island, New York, were carried out in November 1998 using a Simrad EM1000 multibeam echosounder mounted on the Canadian Coast Guard ship Frederick G. Creed.
The area was mapped by the U.S. Geological Survey with support from the Canadian Hydrographic Service and the University of New Brunswick.
Bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Historic Area Remediation Site in 1996, 1998, and 2000
Surveys of the bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Historic Area Remediation Site (HARS), offshore of New York and New Jersey, were carried out in 1996, 1998, and 2000 using a Simrad EM1000 multibeam echosounder mounted on the Canadian Coast Guard ship Frederick G. Creed
Bathymetry, backscatter intensity, and geomorphology of the sea floor of the Hudson Canyon and adjacent slope and rise
The Hudson Canyon begins on the outer continental shelf off the eastern coast of the United States at about 100-meters (m) water depth and extends offshore southeastward across the continental slope and rise. A multibeam survey was carried out in 2002 to map the bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Hudson Canyon and adjacent slope and rise.
Bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Atlantic Beach artificial reef, offshore of New York
The Atlantic Beach artificial reef, located on the sea floor 3 nautical miles south of Atlantic Beach, New York in about 20 meters water depth, was built to create habitat for marine life. The data from this survey are bathymetry, backscatter intensity, and navigation trackline.
Bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Sandy Hook artificial reef, offshore of New Jersey
The Sandy Hook artificial reef, located on the sea floor offshore of Sandy Hook, New Jersey was built to create habitat for marine lie. The collected data from this cruise are bathymetry, backscatter intensity, and navigation trackline.
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.
Using geologic structures to constrain constitutive laws not accessible in the laboratory
In this essay, we explore a central problem of structural geology today, and in the foreseeable future, which is the determination of constitutive laws governing rock deformation to produce geologic structures. Although laboratory experiments provide much needed data and insights about constitutive laws, these experiments cannot cover...Nevitt, Johanna; Warren, Jessica M.; Kumamoto, Kathryn M.; Pollard, David D.
Why aftershock duration matters for probabilistic seismic hazard assessment
Most hazard assessments assume that high background seismicity rates indicate a higher probability of large shocks and, therefore, of strong shaking. However, in slowly deforming regions, such as eastern North America, Australia, and inner Honshu, this assumption breaks down if the seismicity clusters are instead aftershocks of historic and...Shinji Toda; Stein, Ross S.
Using stereo satellite imagery to account for ablation, entrainment, and compaction in volume calculations for rock avalanches on Glaciers: Application to the 2016 Lamplugh Rock Avalanche in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
The use of preevent and postevent digital elevation models (DEMs) to estimate the volume of rock avalanches on glaciers is complicated by ablation of ice before and after the rock avalanche, scour of material during rock avalanche emplacement, and postevent ablation and compaction of the rock avalanche deposit. We present a model to account for...Bessette-Kirton, Erin; Coe, Jeffrey A.; Zhou, Wendy
ShakeMap-based prediction of earthquake-induced mass movements in Switzerland calibrated on historical observations
In Switzerland, nearly all historical Mw ~ 6 earthquakes have induced damaging landslides, rockslides and snow avalanches that, in some cases, also resulted in damage to infrastructure and loss of lives. We describe the customisation to Swiss conditions of a globally calibrated statistical approach originally developed to rapidly assess...Cauzzi, Carlo; Fah, Donat; Wald, David J.; Clinton, John; Losey, Stephane; Wiemer, Stefan
Regional spectral analysis of moderate earthquakes in northeastern North America—Final Report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Project V6240, Task 3
We analyze the Fourier spectra of S+Lg+surface wave groups from the horizontal and vertical components of broadband and accelerogram recordings of 120 small and moderate (2< Mw <6) earthquakes recorded by Canadian and American stations sited on rock at distances from 3 to 600 kilometers. There are seven Mw 4.0–4.5, six Mw 4.5–5.0, and...Boatwright, Jack
Analysis of mean seismic ground motion and its uncertainty based on the UCERF3 geologic slip rate model with uncertainty for California
The Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast v.3 (UCERF3) model (Field et al., 2014) considers epistemic uncertainty in fault‐slip rate via the inclusion of multiple rate models based on geologic and/or geodetic data. However, these slip rates are commonly clustered about their mean value and do not reflect the broader distribution of...Zeng, Yuehua
Landslides triggered by the 14 November 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikōura Earthquake, New Zealand
The 14 November 2016 Mw">MwMw 7.8 Kaikōura earthquake generated more than 10,000 landslides over a total area of about 10,000  km2">10,000 km210,000 km2, with the majority concentrated in a smaller area of about 3600  km2">3600 km23600 km2. The largest landslide triggered...Massey, C.; Townsend, D.; Rathje, Ellen M.; Allstadt, Kate E.; Lukovic, B.; Kaneko, Yoshihiro; Bradley, Brendon A.; Wartman, J.; Jibson, Randall W.; Petley, D. N.; Horspool, Nick; Hamling, I.; Carey, J.; Cox, S.; Davidson, John; Dellow, S.; Godt, Jonathan W.; Holden, Christopher; Jones, Katherine D.; Kaiser, Anna E.; Little, M.; Lyndsell, B.; McColl, S.; Morgenstern, R.; Rengers, Francis K.; Rhoades, D.; Rosser, B.; Strong, D.; Singeisen, C.; Villeneuve, M.
Laboratory tests of three Z‐Land Fairfield Nodal 5‐Hz, three‐component sensors
We conduct a number of laboratory tests at the Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory to verify the self‐noise and fidelity in which 3 three‐component Fairfield Nodal Z‐Land, Generation 2, 5‐Hz sensors are able to record seismic signals. In addition to the incoherent self‐noise of the sensors, we estimate the sensitivity of the units in digital...Ringler, Adam; Anthony, Robert E.; Karplus, M.S; Holland, Austin; Wilson, David
DDT and related compounds in pore water of shallow sediments on the Palos Verdes Shelf, California, USA
For nearly two and a half decades following World War II, production wastes from the world's largest manufacturer of technical DDT (1-chloro-4-[2,2,2-trichloro-1-(4-chlorophenyl)ethyl]benzene) were discharged into sewers of Los Angeles County. Following treatment, the wastes were released via a submarine outfall system to nearshore coastal waters...Eganhouse, Robert P.; DiFilippo, Erica L.; Pontolillo, James; Orem, William H.; Hackley, Paul C.; Edwards, Brian
Ensemble smoothed seismicity models for the new Italian Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Map
We develop a long‐term (a few decades or longer) earthquake rate forecast for Italy based on smoothed seismicity for incorporation in the 2017–2018 Italian Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Maps (IPSHM). Because the earthquake rate models from previous IPSHM were computed using source zones that were drawn around seismicity and tectonic provinces, the...Akinci, Aybige; Moschetti, Morgan P.; Taroni, Matteo
Sandy Brosnahan, Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, discusses Kilauea Volcano drone footage with Science Stroll participants
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 personnel configuring and deploying the streamer of hydrophone receivers on the R/V Hugh R. Sharp during the MATRIX cruise. In foreground from left to right are Nathan Miller, Wayne Baldwin, and Eric Moore from the USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center.
USGS Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) pilot, Elizabeth Pendleton, setting a target in Great Marsh, Sandy Neck Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Sandy Brosnahan (left) and Ellizabeth Pendleton (right), Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) pilots flying drones at Sandy Neck Beach, Cape Cod, MA.
Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) pilots Sandy Brosnahan (left) and Elizabeth Pendleton conduct a drone flight from atop a dune at Sandy Neck (Cape Cod).
Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center's Aerial Imaging and Mapping Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) pilots, Emily Sturdivant (left) and Elizabeth Pendleton (right) working the night shift in Hawaii at the Kileaua volcano site.
No one has a crystal ball to foresee what will happen during the 2018 hurricane season that begins June 1, but NOAA forecasters say there’s a 75 percent chance this hurricane season will be at least as busy as a normal year, or busier.
Potential coastal change impacts due to Alberto.
USGS partnership with Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe featured in new fact sheet on Elwha River dam removals
A USGS-led special issue of Marine Geology received a most-cited certificate from the journal in May 2018.
USGS research geologist Sam Johnson of the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (PCMSC) made an invited visit to the Korea Institute of Geology and Mineral Industries (KIGAM) in Daejon, South Korea, on April 24–26.
With ash eruptions occurring from Kilauea’s summit this week, there is a threat of an even larger steam-driven violent explosion. Such an eruption could happen suddenly and send volcanic ash 20,000 feet into the air, threatening communities for miles.
Representatives of the news media are invited to join a telephone briefing for the latest updates on Kīlauea's volcanic activity and its impacts.
On Thursday, April 26, research geologist Curt Storlazzi of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center gave a public lecture on “The Role of U.S. Coral Reefs in Coastal Protection—Rigorously valuing flood reduction benefits to inform coastal zone management decisions.”
A deluge of media coverage followed publication of a USGS-led study showing that sea-level rise and wave-driven flooding could make many low-lying atoll islands uninhabitable by the mid-21st century by contaminating freshwater aquifers and damaging infrastructure. The...
Estuaries and wetlands provide a critical defense against storms and sea-level rise while providing economically valuable services. How well they protect coastal communities and host diverse ecosystems is largely a function of their shape (morphology), which is controlled by factors such as sediment movement and biological feedbacks.
Have you ever wondered what scientists do at a volcano observatory when a volcano is not erupting? There is plenty to accomplish—probably more than you can imagine.