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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 Central Virginia seismic zone (CVSZ) comprises an area of ~13,000 km2 in the central Virginia Piedmont; seismicity in this zone is relatively frequent, but generally mild in magnitude. The August 2011 event was the largest temblor recorded in the CVSZ since the development of modern seismic monitoring and highlighted how little we actually know about the CVSZ, including: 1) the...
With data provided by magnetic observatories, geophysicists can gain insights into our planet’s interior and nearby space environment without even leaving the ground.
This introduction to geomagnetism is from "Magnetic monitoring of earth and space" (PDF) by Jeffrey Love, published in Physics Today 61, 2, 31...
Understanding the processes that control local sediment fluxes is critical in evaluating regional vulnerability to coastal erosion. This project task involves the analysis of observational data collected as part of the South Carolina Coastal Erosion Study (SCCES), and additional coastal process modeling for the Grand Strand region....
The most prominent morphologic features along the shoreline of the Carolinas are its four capes. From north to south, Cape Hatteras, Cape Lookout, Cape Fear, and Cape Romain segment the coastline into the northern outer banks, Raliegh Bay, Onslo Bay, and Long Bay regions. Continental shelf areas seaward of the capes are characterized by large, highly dynamic shoal complexes, which influence...
Fire Island, a 50-km long barrier-island system between Fire Island Inlet and Moriches Inlet, attracts significant tourism, includes federal, state, and county parks, contains a number of coastal communities, provides storm damage protection to the adjacent heavily populated mainland, and supports a distinct barrier island ecosystem, all of which are affected by coastal change. Mitigating the...
The Geomagnetism Program has operated an observatory at Puerto Rico since 1903. The current observatory site, consisting of 36 acres in the mountains near Cayey, has been in use since 1965.
Prior to the purchase of Alaska by the United States, the Russians operated a meteorological and magnetic observatory at Sitka from 1842 to 1867. The Geomagnetism Program established an observatory at Sitka, near the historic Russian cemetery, in 1901, when the Program was part of the Coast and Geodetic Survey and under the leadership of Drs Louis A. Bauer and John A. Fleming. The present...
Sediment Texture and Geomorphology of the Sea Floor from Fenwick Island, Maryland to Fisherman's Island, Virginia
These data are a qualitatively derived interpretive polygon shapefile defining surficial sediment type and distribution, and geomorphology, for nearly 1,400 square kilometers of sea floor on the inner-continental shelf from Fenwick Island, Maryland to Fisherman’s Island, Virginia, USA.
Groundwater data were collected in the spring and fall of 2008 from three sites representing different geological settings and biogeochemical conditions within the surficial glacial aquifer of Long Island, NY.
National Assessment of Shoreline Change: A GIS compilation of Updated Vector Shorelines and Associated Shoreline Change Data for the Southeast Atlantic Coast
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is conducting a national assessment of coastal change hazards. One component of this research effort, the National Assessment of Shoreline Change Project documents changes in shoreline position as a proxy for coastal change.
National Assessment of Shoreline Change: A GIS compilation of Updated Vector Shorelines and Associated Shoreline Change Data for the Gulf of Mexico Coast
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is conducting a national assessment of coastal change hazards. One component of this research effort, the National Assessment of Shoreline Change Project, documents changes in shoreline position as a proxy for coastal change. Shoreline position is an easily understood feature representing the historical location of a beach position through time.
Topographic, imagery, and raw data associated with unmanned aerial systems (UAS) flights over Black Beach, Falmouth, Massachusetts on 18 March 2016
The U.S. Geological Survey worked in collaboration with members of the Marine Biological Laboratory and Woods Hole Analytics at Black Beach, in Falmouth, Massachusetts to explore scientific research demands on UAS technology for topographic and habitat mapping applications.
Data and calculations to support the study of the sea-air flux of methane and carbon dioxide on the West Spitsbergen margin in June 2014
This dataset collected on the West Spitsbergen margin during U.S. Geological Survey Coastal and Marine Geology Program Field Activity 2014-013-FA, which was carried out in conjunction with the University of Tromso and the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel on the R/V Helmer Hanssen.
Water column physical and chemical properties of Cenote Bang, a component of the Ox Bel Ha cave network within the subterranean estuary coastal aquifer of the Yucatan Peninsula, from December 2013 to January 2016
This dataset, collected during four field events during U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Coastal and Marine Geology Program Field Activities 2015-013-FA and 2016-003-FA in conjunction with Texas A&M University reports geochemical properties of the water column from Cenote Bang, a component of the Ox Bel Ha cave network that is located 5 km inland from the coast.
Percentage of sandy beaches very likely (probability > 0.9) to experience erosion associated with collision, overwash, and inundation during class 1-3 nor’easter impact.
Percentage of sandy beaches very likely (probability > 0.9) to experience erosion associated with collision, overwash, and inundation during category 1-5 hurricane landfall.
Multichannel sparker seismic-reflection data of field activity 2016-656-FA; between Icy Point and Dixon Entrance, Gulf of Alaska from 2016-08-07 to 2016-08-26
This data release contains high-resolution multichannel seismic (MCS) reflection data collected in August of 2016 along the southeast Alaska continental margin. Structure perpendicular MCS profiles were collected along the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault. The data were collected aboard the R/V Norseman using a Delta sparker sound source and recorded on a 64-channel digital streamer...
Shoreline change rates in salt marsh units in Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey
This dataset displays shoreline change rates at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (EBFNWR), which spans over Great Bay, Little Egg Harbor, and Barnegat Bay in New Jersey, USA
Sea floor sediment samples, seabed imagery, and CTD data collected in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, MA in 2015, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity 2015-062-FA
This field activity is part of the effort to map geologic substrates of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary region off Boston, Massachusetts. The overall goal is to develop high-resolution (1:25,000) interpretive maps, based on multibeam sonar data and seabed sampling, showing surficial geology and seabed sediment dynamics.
Reexamination of the subsurface fault structure in the vicinity of the 1989 moment-magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake, central California, using steep-reflection, earthquake, and magnetic data
We reexamine the geometry of the causative fault structure of the 1989 moment-magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake in central California, using seismic-reflection, earthquake-hypocenter, and magnetic data. Our study is prompted by recent interpretations of a two-part dip of the San Andreas Fault (SAF) accompanied by a flower-like structure in the...Zhang, Edward; Fuis, Gary S.; Catchings, Rufus D.; Scheirer, Daniel S.; Goldman, Mark; Bauer, Klaus
On the feasibility of real-time mapping of the geoelectric field across North America
A review is given of the present feasibility for accurately mapping geoelectric fields across North America in near-realtime by modeling geomagnetic monitoring and magnetotelluric survey data. Should this capability be successfully developed, it could inform utility companies of magnetic-storm interference on electric-power-grid systems. That real...Love, Jeffrey J.; Rigler, E. Joshua; Kelbert, Anna; Finn, Carol A.; Bedrosian, Paul A.; Balch, Christopher C.
Injection-induced moment release can also be aseismic
The cumulative seismic moment is a robust measure of the earthquake response to fluid injection for injection volumes ranging from 3100 to about 12 million m3. Over this range, the moment release is limited to twice the product of the shear modulus and the volume of injected fluid. This relation also applies at the much smaller injection volumes...McGarr, Arthur; Barbour, Andrew J.
The thermophysical properties of the Bagnold Dunes, Mars: Ground truthing orbital data
We compare the thermophysical properties and particle sizes derived from the Mars Science Laboratory rover's Ground Temperature Sensor of the Bagnold dunes, specifically Namib dune, to those derived orbitally from Thermal Emission Imaging System, ultimately linking these measurements to ground truth particle sizes determined from Mars Hand Lens...Edwards, Christopher S.; Piqueux, Sylvain; Hamilton, Victoria E.; Fergason, Robin L.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Vasavada, Ashwin R.; Bennett, Kristen A.; Sacks, Leah; Lewis, Kevin; Smith, Michael D.
The limits of earthquake early warning: Timeliness of ground motion estimates
The basic physics of earthquakes is such that strong ground motion cannot be expected from an earthquake unless the earthquake itself is very close or has grown to be very large. We use simple seismological relationships to calculate the minimum time that must elapse before such ground motion can be expected at a distance from the earthquake,...Minson, Sarah E.; Meier, Men-Andrin; Baltay, Annemarie S.; Hanks, Thomas C.; Cochran, Elizabeth S.
Integrating real-time subsurface hydrologic monitoring with empirical rainfall thresholds to improve landslide early warning
Early warning for rainfall-induced shallow landsliding can help reduce fatalities and economic losses. Although these commonly occurring landslides are typically triggered by subsurface hydrological processes, most early warning criteria rely exclusively on empirical rainfall thresholds and other indirect proxies for subsurface wetness. We explore...Mirus, Benjamin B.; Becker, Rachel E.; Baum, Rex L.; Smith, Joel B.
Seismicity in the Challis, Idaho region, January 2014 - May 2017: Late aftershocks of the 1983 Ms 7.3 Borah Peak earthquake
In April 2014, after about 20 yrs of relatively low seismicity, an energetic earthquake sequence (maximum ML">ML 4.8) began 25–30 km northwest of the 1983 Ms">Ms 7.3 Borah Peak earthquake rupture area near the town of Challis, Idaho. This sequence ended in the fall of 2014, but in January 2015, a second energetic...Pang, Guanning; Koper, Keith D.; Stickney, Michael C.; Pechmann, James C.; Burlacu, Relu; Pankow, Kristine L.; Payne, Suzette; Benz, Harley M.
Application of microtremor horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio (MHVSR) analysis for site characterization: State of the art
Nakamura (Q Rep Railway Tech Res Inst 30:25–33, 1989) popularized the application of the horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio (HVSR) analysis of microtremor (seismic noise or ambient vibration) recordings to estimate the predominant frequency and amplification factor of earthquake shaking. During the following quarter century, popularity in the...Molnar, S.; Cassidy, J. F. ; Castellaro, S.; Cornou, C.; Crow, H.; Hunter, J. A.; Matsushima, S.; Sanchez-Sesma, F. J.; Yong, Alan
Strong variation in weathering of layered rock maintains hillslope‐scale strength under high precipitation
The evolution of volcanic landscapes and their landslide potential are both dependent upon the weathering of layered volcanic rock sequences. We characterize critical zone structure using shallow seismic Vp and Vs profiles and vertical exposures of rock across a basaltic climosequence on Kohala peninsula, Hawai’i, and exploit...Von Voigtlander, Jennifer; Clark, Marin K.; Zekkos, Dimitrios; Greenwood, William W.; Anderson, Suzanne P.; Anderson, Robert S.; Godt, Jonathan W.
Interaction between hydraulic fracture and a preexisting fracture under triaxial stress conditions
Enhanced reservoir connectivity generally requires maximizing the intersection between hydraulic fracture (HF) and preexisting underground natural fractures (NF), while having the hydraulic fracture cross the natural fractures (and not arrest). We have studied the interaction between a hydraulic fracture and a polished saw-cut fault. The...Mighani, Saied; Lockner, David A.; Kilgore, Brian D.; Sheibani, Farrokh; Evans, Brian
A suite of exercises for verifying dynamic earthquake rupture codes
We describe a set of benchmark exercises that are designed to test if computer codes that simulate dynamic earthquake rupture are working as intended. These types of computer codes are often used to understand how earthquakes operate, and they produce simulation results that include earthquake size, amounts of fault slip, and the patterns of...Harris, Ruth A.; Barall, Michael; Aagaard, Brad T.; Ma, Shuo; Roten, Daniel; Olsen, Kim B.; Duan, Benchun; Liu, Dunyu; Luo, Bin; Bai, Kangchen; Ampuero, Jean-Paul; Kaneko, Yoshihiro; Gabriel, Alice-Agnes; Duru, Kenneth; Ulrich, Thomas; Wollherr, Stephanie; Shi, Zheqiang; Dunham, Eric; Bydlon, Sam; Zhang, Zhenguo; Chen, Xiaofei; Somala, Surendra N.; Pelties, Christian; Tago, Josue; Cruz-Atienza, Victor Manuel; Kozdon, Jeremy; Daub, Eric; Aslam, Khurram; Kase, Yuko; Withers, Kyle; Dalguer, Luis
The intensity signature of induced seismicity
We analyze a comprehensive database of ∼63,000">∼63,000 geocoded community intensity observations from >400">>400 earthquakes of moment magnitude M≥3.5">M≥3.5 in Oklahoma from 2010 to 2016 to define the intensity signature of induced events. We show that natural and induced...Atkinson, Gail M.; Wald, David J.; Worden, Charles; Quitoriano, Vince
Woods Hole Costal and Marine Science Center staff offered a presentation and handouts on Natural Hazards and Coastal Hazards in Wetlands and Estuaries Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers (SSEATs)
Woods Hole Costal and Marine Science Center staff offered a presentation and handouts on Natural Hazards and Coastal Hazards in Wetlands and Estuaries at the Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers (SSEATs)
USGS and Washington State Department of Ecology scientists are geared up and ready to start a topographic survey at the mouth of the Elwha River, using handheld computers and backpack-mounted GPS equipment. From left to right are Owen Warrick (USGS Volunteer), Jon Warrick (USGS), Andy Ritchie (USGS), Heather Weiner (WA State Dept. of Ecology), Diana McCandless (WA State...
Time-lapse view of California Highway 1 reconstruction after 2017 landslide
USGS scientists produced an animated GIF in coordination with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) re-opening of State Highway 1 through Big Sur on July 18, 2018. In 2017, the massive Mud Creek landslide buried a quarter-mile of the famous coastal route...
During HVO's morning overflight today, the dramatic difference in landscapes on the northern and southern sides of the fissure 8 lava channel was readily apparent. With dominant trade winds blowing heat and volcanic gases to the southwest, the north side of the lava channel remains verdant, while, in stark contrast, vegetation on the south side has been severely impacted...
Fissure 8 and a full lava channel as seen during HVO's early morning overflight. The visible road is Nohea Street in the Leilani Estates subdivision. Steam generated from heated rain water rose from the...
Aerial view of Kapoho Crater looking toward the south-southeast. Part of the lava channelbecame blocked just upstream of Kapoho Crater yesterday, diverting flows to the west and then south around the crater (center right). Lava exiting a crusted section of the channel continued flowing in the channel pathway (lower center to left).
Fissure 8 and Leilani Estates viewed from the south. Houses in the foreground are located in the southern portion of Leilani Estates. Fissure 8 and surrounding...
May is Volcano Preparedness Month in Washington, providing residents an opportunity to become more familiar with volcanic risk in their communities and learn about steps they can take to reduce potential impacts.
Saltwater contamination of freshwater resources could make many atoll islands uninhabitable in decades
Sea-level rise and wave-driven flooding could introduce saltwater so frequently into atoll islands’ freshwater resources that many will be uninhabitable by the mid-21st century, according to a new study published in ...
Why was an earthquake in Virginia felt at more than twice the distance than a similar-sized earthquake in California? The answer is one that many people may not realize. Earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains can cause noticeable ground shaking at much farther distances than comparably-sized earthquakes in the West.
USGS collaborates with key academic, state, local, and industry partners to provide a new look at what could happen during a major earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Documentary about sea-level rise threatening the Republic of the Marshall Islands features USGS findings
USGS research in the Republic of the Marshall Islands forms part of the scientific foundation of an interactive documentary released April 6 by PBS Frontline.
USGS oceanographer Dan Hoover explained how USGS coastal surveys are conducted and why they are important in a radio interview with NPR affiliate KCLU. KCLU was one of several outlets that reported on ...
Clarifying Latitude and Longitude for Planets besides Earth
Tracking the movement of sediment and contaminants from northern California wildfire areas to San Francisco Bay
USGS research geologist Renee Takesue of the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center collected 20 sediment samples from Sonoma Creek and Napa River north of San Francisco Bay on March 17.
In a newly published study, U.S. Geological Survey scientists and their partners calculate possible alert times that earthquake early warning systems can provide people at different levels of ground motion from light to very strong shaking.