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Natural Hazards

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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.

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Filter Total Items: 273
Date published: July 1, 2018
Status: Active

Further Reading

More readings on Aurora, Geomagnetic Storms, Geomagnetism and Magnetic Fields, Magnetosphere and Ionosphere and Space Weather Impacts on Earth. 

Date published: July 1, 2018
Status: Active

International Observatory Programs

Links to our international observatory partners' programs.

Date published: June 30, 2018
Status: Archived

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do you have a question? The answer is probably right here! Go to the FAQ tab.

Date published: June 28, 2018
Status: Active

Preliminary Analysis of Satellite Imagery and Seismic Observations of the Nuugaatsiaq Landslide and Tsunami, Greenland

Disclaimer

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely science to assess ongoing hazards. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages...

Date published: June 27, 2018
Status: Active

Model Updates

Updates to the models for post-fire debris-flows.

Date published: June 27, 2018
Status: Active

Scientific Background

The scientific background information for Emergency Assessment of Post-Fire Debris-Flow Hazards.

Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Active

Sea-Level Rise Hazards and Decision Support- Coastal Wetlands

Coastal wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world. These wetlands at the land-ocean margin provide many direct benefits to humans, including habitat for commercially important fisheries and wildlife; storm protection; improved water quality through sediment, nutrient, and pollution removal; recreation; and aesthetic values. These valuable ecosystems will be highly...

Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Active

Catastrophic Landslides of the 20th Century - Worldwide

Table of the Catastrophic Landslides including year, country, triggering process, the volume of material, impact, and comments. 

Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Active

Sea Level Rise Hazards and Decision Support

The Sea Level Rise Hazards and Decision Support project assesses the potential impacts of sea level rise and provides tools for coastal management decision making.   Historical and recent observations of coastal change are combined with model simulations of coastal environments such as barrier islands, wetlands, and coastal aquifers. A variety of methods including Bayesian...

Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Active

Scientific Background (Fires prior to 2016)

The scientific background information for fires prior to 2016 for Emergency Assessment of Post-Fire Debris-Flow Hazards.

Go back to Scientific Background.

Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Completed

Geologic Mapping Offshore of Rhode Island

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is mapping sea-floor geology and sedimentary environments offshore of Rhode Island. This site provides links to bathymetric, sidescan-sonar, sediment, photographic, seismic-reflection, and interpretive datasets, all presented in Geographic Information System (GIS) formats and...

Date published: June 23, 2018
Status: Active

Preliminary Locations of Landslide Impacts from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico

Disclaimer

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely science to assess ongoing hazards. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages...

Filter Total Items: 123
Date published: March 7, 2016

Real-time Earthquake Information

Get real-time earthquake notifications sent to you using a number of popular mediums: Feeds, Email, Twitter, etc…

Date published: March 7, 2016

Flood Watch

Maps of flood and high flow conditions within the U.S.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Technology and Tools

Links to a variety of Coastal and Marine Geology mapping technologies, data modeling and visualization tools.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Latest Earthquakes Map and List

View recent events or search for past earthquakes. Optimized for mobile and desktop.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Research Data and Products

USGS earthquake data including real-time and historic earthquake catalogs, GIS data, hazards, and more.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Software for Landslide Assessments and Modeling

USGS software for landslide assessments and modeling that include SLAMMER, TRIGRS, PTCOUNT and more.

Date published: March 4, 2016

International Charter

It aims at providing a unified system of space data acquisition and delivery to those affected by natural or manmade disasters through Authorized Users. Each member agency has committed resources to support the provisions of the Charter and thus is helping to mitigate the effects of disasters on human life and property.

Date published: March 4, 2016

DOI Emergency Management

DOI has a department-wide policy relating to emergency management that can be referenced in the Department's Manual in Series: 41-EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ‎(Parts 900-910)‎.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Station Information and Operations

Zoom in on an area to view all seismic network operation stations on the interactive map.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Seismogram Displays

This interactive map displays seismographic activity. Click on a red seismogram icon or select a region from list list.

Date published: March 4, 2016

IRIS Data Management Center

Contains archived data from the Global Seismic Network.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Wildfires: GEOMAC

Maps of current fire locations and perimeters in the conterminous 48 States and Alaska.

Filter Total Items: 4,465
Year Published: 2018

Stress rotation across the Cascadia megathrust requires a weak subduction plate boundary at seismogenic depths

The Mendocino Triple Junction region is the most seismically active part of the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The northward moving Pacific plate collides with the subducting Gorda plate causing intense internal deformation within it. Here we show that the stress field rotates rapidly with depth across the thrust interface from a strike-slip regime...

Li, Duo; McGuire, Jeffrey J.; Liu, Yajing; Hardebeck, Jeanne L.
Li, D., McGuire, J. J., Liu, Y., & Hardebeck, J. L. (2018). Stress rotation across the Cascadia megathrust requires a weak subduction plate boundary at seismogenic depths. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 485, 55-64.

Year Published: 2018

Exposed subsurface ice sheets in the Martian mid-latitudes

Thick deposits cover broad regions of the Martian mid-latitudes with a smooth mantle; erosion in these regions creates scarps that expose the internal structure of the mantle.We investigated eight of these locations and found that they expose deposits of water ice that can be >100 meters thick, extending downward from depths as shallow as 1 to...

Dundas, Colin M.; Bramson, Ali M; Ojha, Lujendra; Wray, James J.; Mellon, Michael T.; Byrne, Shane; McEwen, Alfred S.; Putzig, N. E.; Viola, Donna; Sutton, Sarah; Clark, E.; Holt, J.W.
Dundas, C. M., et al. (2018). Exposed subsurface ice sheets in the Martian mid-latitudes. Science, 359, 199-201, doi:10.1126/science.aao1619.

Year Published: 2018

Poroelastic stress changes associated with primary oil production in the Los Angeles Basin, California

While recent investigations of induced earthquakes have focused on earthquakes associated with wastewater injection and unconventional recovery methods, the potential for earthquakes to be induced by primary production has long been recognized. We use boundary element methods to quantify the predicted geometry and amplitude of stress and strain...

Hough, Susan E.; Bilham, Roger
Hough, S.E. and R. Bilham (2018). Poroelastic stress changes associated with primary oil production in the Los Angeles Basin, California

Year Published: 2018

Image simulation and assessment of the colour and spatial capabilities of the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) on the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

This study aims to assess the spatial and visible/near-infrared (VNIR) colour/spectral capabilities of the 4-band Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) aboard the ExoMars 2016 Trace Grace Orbiter (TGO). The instrument response functions for the CaSSIS imager was used to resample spectral libraries, modelled spectra and to construct...

Tornabene, Livio L.; Seelos, Frank P.; Pommerol, Antoine; Thomas, Nicolas; Caudill, Christy M.; Becerra, Patricio; Bridges, John C.; Byrne, Shane; Cardinale, Marco; Chojnacki, Matthew; Conway, Susan J.; Cremonese, Gabriele; Dundas, Colin M.; El-Maarry, M. R.; Fernando, Jennifer; Hansen, Candice J.; Hansen, Kayle; Harrison, Tanya N.; Henson, Rachel; Marinangeli, Lucia; McEwen, Alfred S.; Pajola, Maurizio; Sutton, Sarah S.; Wray, James J.
Tornabene, L. L., et al., 2018. Image Simulation and Assessment of the Colour and Spatial Capabilities of the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) on the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter. Space Science Reviews, 214, doi:10.1007/s11214-017-0436-7.

Year Published: 2018

Irregular focal mechanisms observed at Salton Sea Geothermal Field: Possible influences of anthropogenic stress perturbations

At the Salton Sea Geothermal Field (SSGF), strain accumulation is released through seismic slip and aseismic deformation. Earthquake activity at the SSGF often occurs in swarm-like clusters, some with clear migration patterns. We have identified an earthquake sequence composed entirely of focal mechanisms representing an ambiguous style of...

Schoenball, Martin; Crandall-Bear, Aren; Barbour, Andrew J.; Schoenball, Martin

Year Published: 2018

Morphological indicators of a mascon beneath Ceres' largest crater, Kerwan

Gravity data of Ceres returned by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Dawn spacecraft is consistent with a lower density crust of variable thickness overlying a higher density mantle. Crustal thickness variations can affect the long‐term, postimpact modification of impact craters on Ceres. Here we show that the unusual morphology...

Bland, Michael T.; Ermakov, Anton; Raymond, Carol A.; Williams, David A.; Bowling, Tim J.; Preusker, F.; Park, Ryan S.; Marchi, Simone; Castillo-Rogez, Julie C.; Fu, R.R.; Russell, Christopher T.
Bland, M. T., Ermakov, A. I., Raymond, C. A., Williams, D. A., Bowling, T. J., Preusker, F., … Russell, C. T. (2018). Morphological indicators of a mascon beneath Ceres’s largest crater, Kerwan. Geophysical Research Letters, 45, 1297–1304. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017GL075526

Year Published: 2018

Planetary dune workshop expands to include subaqueous processes

Dune-like structures appear in the depths of Earth’s oceans, across its landscapes, and in the extremities of the solar system beyond. Dunes rise up under the thick dense atmosphere of Venus, and they have been found under the almost unimaginably ephemeral atmosphere of a comet.

Titus, Timothy N.; Bryant, Gerald; Rubin, David M.
Titus, T., D. M. Rubin, and G. Bryant (2018), Planetary dune workshop expands to include subaqueous processes, Eos, 99, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018EO092783. Published on 15 February 2018.

Year Published: 2018

Seismic hazard, risk, and design for South America

We calculate seismic hazard, risk, and design criteria across South America using the latest data, models, and methods to support public officials, scientists, and engineers in earthquake risk mitigation efforts. Updated continental scale seismic hazard models are based on a new seismicity catalog, seismicity rate models, evaluation of earthquake...

Petersen, Mark D.; Harmsen, Stephen; Jaiswal, Kishor; Rukstales, Kenneth S.; Luco, Nicolas; Haller, Kathleen; Mueller, Charles; Shumway, Allison
Mark D. Petersen, Stephen C. Harmsen, Kishor S. Jaiswal, Kenneth S. Rukstales, Nicolas Luco, Kathleen M. Haller, Charles S. Mueller, Allison M. Shumway; Seismic Hazard, Risk, and Design for South America. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America; 108 (2): 781–800. doi: https://doi.org/10.1785/0120170002.

Year Published: 2018

Variabilities in probabilistic seismic hazard maps for natural and induced seismicity in the central and eastern United States

Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA) characterizes ground-motion hazard from earthquakes. Typically, the time horizon of a PSHA forecast is long, but in response to induced seismicity related to hydrocarbon development, the USGS developed one-year PSHA models. In this paper, we present a display of the variability in USGS hazard curves due...

Mousavi, S. Mostafa; Beroza, Gregory C.; Hoover, Susan M.
Mousavi, S.M., G.C. Beroza, and S.M. Hoover (2018). Variabilities in probabilistic seismic hazard maps for natural and induced seismicity in the central and eastern United States. The Leading Edge, 37(2), 141a1-141a9.

Year Published: 2018

Earthquake potential in California-Nevada implied by correlation of strain rate and seismicity

Rock mechanics studies and dynamic earthquake simulations show that patterns of seismicity evolve with time through (1) accumulation phase, (2) localization phase, and (3) rupture phase. We observe a similar pattern of changes in seismicity during the past century across California and Nevada. To quantify these changes, we correlate GPS strain...

Zeng, Yuehua; Petersen, Mark D.; Shen, Zheng-Kang
Zeng, Y., Petersen, M. D., & Shen, Z.-K.(2018). Earthquake potential in California-Nevada implied by correlation of strain rate and seismicity. Geophysical Research Letters, 45. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017GL075967

Year Published: 2018

Chirp subbottom profile data collected in 2015 from the northern Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana

As part of the Barrier Island Evolution Research project, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center conducted a nearshore geophysical survey around the northern Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana, in September 2015. The objective of the project is to improve the understanding of barrier island...

Forde, Arnell S.; DeWitt, Nancy T.; Fredericks, Jake J.; Miselis, Jennifer L.
Forde, A.S., DeWitt, N.T., Fredericks, J.J., and Miselis, J.L., 2018, Chirp subbottom profile data collected in 2015 from the northern Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1077, https://doi.org/10.3133/ds1077.

Year Published: 2018

Quaternary sediment thickness and bedrock topography of the glaciated United States east of the Rocky Mountains

Beginning roughly 2.6 million years ago, global climate entered a cooling phase known as the Pleistocene Epoch. As snow in northern latitudes compacted into ice several kilometers thick, it flowed as glaciers southward across the North American continent. These glaciers extended across the northern United States, dramatically altering the...

Soller, David R.; Garrity, Christopher P.
Soller, D.R., and Garrity, C.P., 2018, Quaternary sediment thickness and bedrock topography of the glaciated United States east of the Rocky Mountains: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3392, 2 sheets, scale 1:5,000,000. https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3392.

Filter Total Items: 2,697
July 4, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Flows Near Kapoho Ag. and Beach Lots

Near the coast, the northern margin of the flow field is still oozing pasty lava at several points in the area of Kapoho Agricultural and Beach Lots.

View of a crater with clouds in the background
July 4, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Sunrise at Haleam`uma`u Crater

Sunrise view of Halema‘uma‘u crater as seen from the USGS observation point from Volcano House in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

View of a crater
July 3, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Sunrise at Halema`uma`u Crater

Inward slumping of Halema‘uma‘u continues in response to ongoing subsidence at Kīlauea Volcano's summit. This image, taken from a temporary observation post located at Volcano House, shows steep walls on the western side of the crater and sloping piles of rubble from rockfall events.

View of muddy, eroding coastal bluffs with a visible permafrost layer and a tumbling tundra layer on top.
July 3, 2018

Eroding bluffs in Kaktovik

View looking east of the actively eroding coastal permafrost bluff on Barter Island, which is located on the northern coast of Alaska.

Lava flowing out of a fissure at night
July 3, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 Flow at Night

During the overnight hours, the UAS (Unoccupied Aircraft Systems) team flew sections of the lower East Rift Zone, monitoring fissure 8 activity and reports of small overflows from the lava channel. This view of fissure 8 and the upper lava channel shows roiling 

...
Lava flowing from an active fissure
July 3, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 Lava Flow

Fissure 8 and the upper lava channel, viewed from the early morning helicopter overflight of the lower East Rift Zone. Recent heavy rains have soaked into the still-warm tephra and the moisture rises as steam (right side of lava channel).

Lava flowing
July 3, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Evolution of a Blocked Channel (Part 2)

Evolution of a blocked channel, image 2: While observing this area of the fissure 8 lava channel near Kapoho cone during the morning overflight, geologists witnesed an "apartment-building-sized" blockage within the channel give way and be pushed down stream by the pressurized lava behind. The dark portion within the red channel is the freed blockage. Lavacontinues to

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Geologist making observations of an active fissure
July 3, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Geologist Making Observations of Fissure 8

Fisheye lens photograph of a USGS geologist making observations of the 

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View of muddy, eroding coastal bluffs with a visible permafrost layer and tumbling tundra on top.
July 3, 2018

Actively eroding coastal permafrost bluff on Barter Island

Photograph of the actively eroding coastal permafrost bluff on Barter Island, located on the northern coast of Alaska.

A blocked lava channel
July 3, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Evolution of a Blocked Channel (Part 1)

Evolution of a blocked channel, photo 1. A blockage of rafted material within the lava channel causes lava to flow over its banks near the Kapoho cone. In this section of the lava channel a cold lava flow from the 1960 eruption forms a barrier on the north side, which initially directed the channel to the southeast. A constriction in the channel formed at the bend where

...
Aerial shot showing lava flowing into residential area
July 2, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Lava at Kapoho Beach Lots

At the coast, the northern margin of the flow field is still oozing pasty lava at several points in the area of Kapoho Beach Lots.

Close up of a lava overflow
July 2, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Overfows

Close up image of overflows from the fissure 8 lava channel. Photograph taken during the morning overflight.

Filter Total Items: 391
Date published: January 26, 2018

USGS Geologists Join Efforts in Montecito to Assess Debris-Flow Aftermath

Days after fatal debris flows devastated Southern California’s Montecito community,  a team of U.S. Geological Survey geologists joined county, state, and federal partners to survey and  evaluate the aftermath.

 

Date published: January 25, 2018

CMGP Lidar Coordinator participating in National Elevation Assessments and Coordination session at 2018 ASPRS Annual Conference

Xan Fredericks, Lidar Coordinator for the Coastal and Marine Geology Program, will moderate and participate in the National Elevation Assessments and Coordination session at the 2018 American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) Annual Conference.

Date published: January 24, 2018

TV interview with NBC Philadelphia about flooding threats to U.S. East Coast

USGS geologist Patrick Barnard gave a live interview to Philadelphia's NBC10 meteorologist Tammie Souza on January 23 during a national weather conference in Lake Tahoe, California.

Date published: January 24, 2018

Alaska Earthquake Rattles Florida’s Groundwater Plumbing

At 12:32 am Alaska time on January 23, 2018, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake shook Alaska residents out of their beds and set off fears of a tsunami all down the West Coast. Fortunately, the tsunami was only a few inches in height, but within an hour of the earthquake in Alaska, waves of a different sort were hitting far away in Florida. 

Date published: January 23, 2018

ShakeAlert: The Path to West Coast Earthquake Early Warning: How a Few Seconds Can Save Lives and Property — Public Lecture

News reporters are invited to attend an illustrated public lecture to learn how U.S. Geological Survey scientists and partners are developing ShakeAlert. The ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system will begin limited operations this year. Alerts could save lives and properties but several challenges remain. With millions at risk, why isn't full public alerting happening yet?

Date published: January 23, 2018

Magnitude 7.9 Earthquake Gulf of Alaska

The USGS has up-to-date details on the January 23, 2018 event.

Date published: January 18, 2018

USGS Scientist Mobilizes with Recon Team to Learn from Mexico's Earthquake Early Warning System

USGS seismologist Elizabeth Cochran studied the performance of Mexico City’s earthquake early warning system,  during devastating Sept. 19, 2017 event

 

Date published: January 17, 2018

USGS scientist explains how king tides provide a glimpse of future sea levels

USGS geologist Patrick Barnard spoke to the public at a “Coffee and King Tides” gathering held in Half Moon Bay, California, on December 4.

Date published: January 17, 2018

USGS coastal-flooding projections inform national defense authorization act

Results of USGS research investigating sea-level rise impacts to Department of Defense (DoD) facilities in Pacific atolls are included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018.

Date published: January 16, 2018

Enthusiastic response to open house at the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz

USGS scientists at the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California, spoke with an estimated 300 visitors during a December 9 open house.

Date published: January 12, 2018

3-D Structure of Buried Ice Sheets on Mars Revealed by High-Resolution Images

For the first time, high-resolution images show the three-dimensional structure of massive ice deposits on Mars. According to an in-depth analysis led by the USGS, the images reveal never-before-observed details about the ice sheets, including that some begin just a few feet below the Martian surface and extend to depths greater than 300 feet.  

Date published: January 11, 2018

Future impacts of sea-level rise on Cape Cod with Erika Lentz and WBZ Meteorologist, Danielle Niles

Interview on future impacts of sea-level rise on Cape Cod with meteorologist Danielle Niles on Trunk River Beach, Falmouth, MA

Filter Total Items: 177