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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: 289
Date published: June 21, 2013
Status: Active

Earthquake Risk Communication Design Storm

Bringing together seismologists, emergency managers, risk communication researchers, and design professionals to develop a framework for earthquake probability messages for both emergency managers and the general public.

Date published: April 1, 2011
Status: Completed

Preliminary simulations of the 2011 tsunami in Japan

Preliminary simulations of the tsunami from the March 11, 2011 M=9.0 subduction zone earthquake offshore of Honshu, Japan

Contacts: Eric Geist
Date published: September 15, 2010
Status: Archived

Marine Nuisance Species

This project is complete and the website is archived and no longer updated.

This archived website assembles and communicates information on the...

Date published: January 1, 2008
Status: Active

Research Vessel Parke D. Snavely

Information about the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center's research vessel Parke D. Snavely, acquired in November 2007.

Contacts: Timothy Elfers
Date published: January 1, 2008
Status: Completed

Does Pleasure Point Need A Seawall?

Information about the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center's study of Pleasure Point in Santa Cruz, California, from 2005-2007.

Contacts: Curt Storlazzi
Date published: January 1, 2005
Status: Completed

Should Englebright Dam Be Removed?

Information about the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center's study from 2001-2004, on Englebright Dam and the science behind its removal.

Date published: January 1, 2005
Status: Completed

Mud Damages Hawaiian Coral Reefs

Information about the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center's research from 2000-2004, on how mud damages hawaiian coral reefs.

Date published: January 1, 2004
Status: Completed

Tsunami Hazards in the Santa Barbara Channel

Information about the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center's study of tsunami hazards in the Santa Barbara Channel from 1993-2003.

Date published: January 1, 2004
Status: Completed

Big Sur Coastal Landslides

Information about the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center study on Big Sur coastal landslides.

Date published: January 1, 2004
Status: Completed

Oceanography Beyond the Golden Gate

Information about the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center's oceanographic studies offshore of San Francisco Bay, from 1989-2003.

Date published: January 1, 2001
Status: Completed

Giant Hawaiian Underwater Landslides

Information about the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center's studies of giant underwater landslides in 1986 and 1988.

Date published: January 1, 2001
Status: Completed

Mapping Shipping Hazards in San Francisco Bay

Information about the 1997-1998 study by USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, to map the floor of San Francisco Bay in order to reveal the bay's shipping hazards.

Contacts: Peter Dartnell
Filter Total Items: 4,600
Year Published: 2017

Real-time geomagnetic monitoring for space weather-related applications: Opportunities and challenges

An examination is made of opportunities and challenges for enhancing global, real-time geomagnetic monitoring that would be beneficial for a variety of operational projects. This enhancement in geomagnetic monitoring can be attained by expanding the geographic distribution of magnetometer stations, improving the quality of magnetometer data,...

Love, Jeffrey J.; Finn, Carol A.
Love, J. J., and C. A. Finn (2017), Real-time geomagnetic monitoring for space weather-related applications: Opportunities and challenges, Space Weather, 15, doi:/10.1002/2017SW001665.

Year Published: 2017

Subsurface geometry of the San Andreas fault in southern California: Results from the Salton Seismic Imaging Project (SSIP) and strong ground motion expectations

The San Andreas fault (SAF) is one of the most studied strike‐slip faults in the world; yet its subsurface geometry is still uncertain in most locations. The Salton Seismic Imaging Project (SSIP) was undertaken to image the structure surrounding the SAF and also its subsurface geometry. We present SSIP studies at two locations in the Coachella...

Fuis, Gary S.; Bauer, Klaus; Goldman, Mark R.; Ryberg, Trond; Langenheim, Victoria; Scheirer, Daniel S.; Rymer, Michael J.; Stock, Joann M.; Hole, John A.; Catchings, Rufus D.; Graves, Robert; Aagaard, Brad T.
Gary S. Fuis, Klaus Bauer, Mark R. Goldman, Trond Ryberg, Victoria E. Langenheim, Daniel S. Scheirer, Michael J. Rymer, Joann M. Stock, John A. Hole, Rufus D. Catchings, Robert W. Graves, Brad Aagaard "Subsurface Geometry of the San Andreas Fault in Southern California: Results from the Salton Seismic Imaging Project (SSIP) and Strong Ground Motion Expectations," Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America Jul 2017, DOI: 10.1785/0120160309

Year Published: 2017

Designing a solution to enable agency-academic scientific collaboration for disasters

As large-scale environmental disasters become increasingly frequent and more severe globally, people and organizations that prepare for and respond to these crises need efficient and effective ways to integrate sound science into their decision making. Experience has shown that integrating nongovernmental scientific expertise into disaster...

Mease, Lindley A.; Gibbs-Plessl, Theodora; Erickson, Ashley; Ludwig, K.A.; Reddy, Christopher M.; Lubchenco, Jane
Attribution: Natural Hazards
Mease, L. A., T. Gibbs-Plessl, A. L. Erickson, K. A. Ludwig, C. M. Reddy, and J. Lubchenco. 2017. Designing a solution to enable agency-academic scientific collaboration for disasters. Ecology and Society 22(2):18.

Year Published: 2017

Influence of lithostatic stress on earthquake stress drops in North America

We estimate stress drops for earthquakes in and near the continental United States using the method of spectral ratios. The ratio of acceleration spectra between collocated earthquakes recorded at a given station removes the effects of path and recording site and yields source parameters including corner frequency for, and the ratio of seismic...

Boyd, Oliver S.; McNamara, Daniel E.; Hartzell, Stephen; Choy, George
Boyd, O. S., D. E. McNamara, S. Hartzell, and G. Choy (2017), Influence of Lithostatic Stress on Earthquake Stress Drops in North America, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 107(2), doi:10.1785/0120160219.

Year Published: 2017

Reducing risk where tectonic plates collide—U.S. Geological Survey subduction zone science plan

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) serves the Nation by providing reliable scientific information and tools to build resilience in communities exposed to subduction zone earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and volcanic eruptions. Improving the application of USGS science to successfully reduce risk from these events relies on whole community efforts...

Gomberg, Joan S.; Ludwig, K.A.; Bekins, Barbara; Brocher, Thomas M.; Brock, John C.; Brothers, Daniel; Chaytor, Jason D.; Frankel, Arthur; Geist, Eric L.; Haney, Matt; Hickman, Stephen H.; Leith, William S.; Roeloffs, Evelyn A.; Schulz, William H.; Sisson, Thomas W.; Wallace, Kristi; Watt, Janet; Wein, Anne M.
Gomberg, J.S., Ludwig, K.A., Bekins, B.A., Brocher, T.M., Brock, J.C., Brothers, Daniel, Chaytor, J.D., Frankel, A.D., Geist, E.L., Haney, Matthew, Hickman, S.H., Leith, W.S., Roeloffs, E.A., Schulz, W.H., Sisson, T.W., Wallace, Kristi, Watt, J.T., Wein, Anne, 2017, Reducing risk where tectonic plates collide—U.S. Geological Survey subduction zone science plan: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1428, 45 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1428.

Year Published: 2017

Earthquake source properties from instrumented laboratory stick-slip

Stick-slip experiments were performed to determine the influence of the testing apparatus on source properties, develop methods to relate stick-slip to natural earthquakes and examine the hypothesis of McGarr [2012] that the product of stiffness, k, and slip duration, Δt, is scale-independent and the same order as for earthquakes. The experiments...

Thomas, Marion Y.; Mitchell, Thomas M.; Bhat, Harsha S.; Kilgore, Brian D.; McGarr, Arthur F.; Beeler, Nicholas M.; Lockner, David A.
Kilgore, B. D., McGarr, A., Beeler, N. M. and Lockner, D. A. (2017) Earthquake Source Properties From Instrumented Laboratory Stick-Slip, in Fault Zone Dynamic Processes: Evolution of Fault Properties During Seismic Rupture (eds M. Y. Thomas, T. M. Mitchell and H. S. Bhat), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/9781119156895.ch8

Year Published: 2017

Reducing risk where tectonic plates collide

Most of the world’s earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and volcanic eruptions are caused by the continuous motions of the many tectonic plates that make up the Earth’s outer shell. The most powerful of these natural hazards occur in subduction zones, where two plates collide and one is thrust beneath another. The U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) “...

Gomberg, Joan S.; Ludwig, K.A.
Gomberg, J.S., and Ludwig, K.A., 2017, Reducing risk where tectonic plates collide: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017–3024, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20173024.

Year Published: 2017

The finite, kinematic rupture properties of great-sized earthquakes since 1990

Here, I present a database of >160 finite fault models for all earthquakes of M 7.5 and above since 1990, created using a consistent modeling approach. The use of a common approach facilitates easier comparisons between models, and reduces uncertainties that arise when comparing models generated by different authors, data sets and modeling...

Hayes, Gavin
Hayes G.P. The finite, kinematic rupture properties of great-sized earthquakes since 1990 Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 468, p. 94-100.

Year Published: 2017

Continuity of the Reelfoot fault across the Cottonwood Grove and Ridgely faults of the New Madrid Seismic Zone

Previous investigators have argued that the northwest-striking Reelfoot fault of northwest Tennessee and southeastern Missouri is segmented. One segment boundary is at the intersection of the northeast-striking Cottonwood Grove and Ridgely strike-slip faults with the Reelfoot fault. We use seismic reflection and geologic mapping to locate and...

Greenwood, M.L.; Woolery, Edward W; Van Arsdale, R. B.; Stephenson, William J.; Patterson, Gary L.
Greenwood, M.L., Woolery, E.W., Van Arsdale, R.B., Stephenson, W.J., and Patterson, G.L., 2016, Continuity of the Reelfoot Fault Across the Cottonwood Grove and Ridgely Faults of the New Madrid Seismic Zone, Bulletin Seismological Society of America, v. 106, n. 6, p. 2674–2685, doi: 10.1785/0120150290.

Year Published: 2017

The spatial distribution of earthquake stress rotations following large subduction zone earthquakes

Rotations of the principal stress axes due to great subduction zone earthquakes have been used to infer low differential stress and near-complete stress drop. The spatial distribution of coseismic and postseismic stress rotation as a function of depth and along-strike distance is explored for three recent M ≥ 8.8 subduction megathrust...

Hardebeck, Jeanne L.
Hardebeck, J.L. (2017). The Spatial Distribution of Earthquake Stress Rotations Following Large Subduction Zone Earthquakes, Earth, Planets and Space 69: 69. doi:10.1186/s40623-017-0654-y.

Year Published: 2017

Prediction of spatially explicit rainfall intensity–duration thresholds for post-fire debris-flow generation in the western United States

Early warning of post-fire debris-flow occurrence during intense rainfall has traditionally relied upon a library of regionally specific empirical rainfall intensity–duration thresholds. Development of this library and the calculation of rainfall intensity-duration thresholds often require several years of monitoring local rainfall and hydrologic...

Staley, Dennis M.; Negri, Jacquelyn; Kean, Jason W.; Laber, Jayme L.; Tillery, Anne C.; Youberg, Ann M.

Year Published: 2017

Pulsed strain release on the Altyn Tagh fault, northwest China

Earthquake recurrence models assume that major surface-rupturing earthquakes are followed by periods of reduced rupture probability as stress rebuilds. Although purely periodic, time- or slip-predictable rupture models are known to be oversimplifications, a paucity of long records of fault slip clouds understanding of fault behavior and earthquake...

Gold, Ryan D.; Cowgill, Eric; Arrowsmith, J. Ramón; Friedrich, Anke M.
Gold, R.D., Cowgill, E., Arrowsmith, J.R., Friedrich, A.M., 2017. Pulsed strain release on the Altyn Tagh fault, northwest China. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 459, 291-300.

Filter Total Items: 2,698
Aerial view of ocean entry
June 9, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Kapoho Ocean Entry

An aerial view of the Kapoho ocean entry, as of 6:30 a.m. HST today, shows the extent of the lava delta, now about 200 acres in size, that has formed over the past six days (lava first entered the ocean on the night of June 3). Across the front of the delta, plumes of laze—created by molten lava interacting with seawater—appeared diminished this morning, but was probably

...
Fissure 8 lava fountain
June 9, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 Lava Fountain

As of 6:30 a.m. HST today, fissure 8 continued to

...
Aerial of summit showing cracking and slumping
June 9, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Halema`uma`u Cracking and Slumping

Cracking and slumping of the Halema‘uma‘u crater walls are clearly evident in this aerial view captured during HVO's overflight of Kīlauea's summit this morning. Steam plumes have been rising from within the crater, as well as from cracks adjacent to the crater.

June 9, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Ocean Entry and Laze

Video of the lava ocean entry during today's late afternoon overflight of the lower East Rift Zone. The

...
Aerial photo of cracking
June 9, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Halema‘uma‘u Cracking

Another aerial view showing prominent cracking around Halema‘uma‘u from the ongoing subsidence at Kīlauea's summit. The steaming cracks in the background have been observed for several days.

Plume coming from a crater
June 8, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Summit Pluming

Dramatic changes at Halema‘uma‘u could be seen through gases rising from the crater during HVO's overflight of the summit this morning at 10 a.m. HST. The view here looks to the southwest, with the former overlook parking lot barely visible to the left of the gas plume.

Plumes from ocean entry
June 8, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Kapoho Bay and Vacationland

HVO's early morning helicopter overflight of Kīlauea's lower East Rift Zone showed that lava continues to flow into the ocean in the vicinity of Kapoho Bay and Vacationland.

Outgassing rising from the summit
June 8, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Summit Outgassing

Outgassing from Halema‘uma‘u produced twin pillars that rose in the still morning air and merged into a towering cap above the summit of Kīlauea just after sunrise.

ocean entry pluming
June 8, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Kapoho Bay Laze

The Kapoho ocean entry (as of 6:30 a.m. HST), where the interaction of fissure 8 lavaand seawater

...
Nearshore geophysical mapping at Fire Island
June 7, 2018

Nearshore geophysical mapping

Nearshore geophysical mapping with sub-bottom sled (foreground), personal watercraft equipped with echosounders (background, water) and beach-based personnel (background, beach).

Filter Total Items: 407
Date published: September 3, 2016

Magnitude 5.8 Earthquake in Oklahoma

A magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck in Oklahoma on September 3, 2016 at 12:02:44 UTC (7:02 am local time). 

Date published: September 1, 2016

USGS Installs Storm-Tide Sensors in Preparation for Hermine’s Arrival

USGS teams install storm-tide sensors in Florida before Hurricane Hermine makes landfall

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Date published: September 1, 2016

Ground-Truthing After the M4.0 Earthquake in Southern Maine, October 16, 2012

Old-fashioned interviews are compared to Did You Feel It? responses for this earthquake.

Date published: September 1, 2016

September is National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month, a time to highlight the resources available to help you and your loved ones stay as safe as possible. 

Date published: August 25, 2016

Preventing Human-Caused Earthquakes

New research from the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Colorado shows actions taken by drillers and regulators can lessen risk in the case of earthquakes likely caused by the injection of industrial wastewater deep underground.

Date published: August 23, 2016

Magnitude 6.2 Earthquake in central Italy

A magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck central Italy on 24 Aug 2016 at  03:36 a.m. local time (01:36 a.m. UTC)

Date published: August 22, 2016

EarthWord–Tephra

Look! In the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane! Wait, run, it’s this week’s EarthWord!

Date published: August 18, 2016

Living with Vog on an Active Volcano: New Resources

New informational products about the health hazards of volcanic air pollution known as “vog,” are available through a new interagency partnership.

Date published: August 16, 2016

Media Advisory: Living with Vog on an Active Volcano – New Resources

Reporters are invited to attend a telephone press conference on Thursday, August 18, 2016, 2:00 p.m. HST, about new informational resources regarding vog and related health concerns in Hawaii. 

Date published: August 11, 2016

Scientists Deploy Seismographs in Napa Valley

Media Advisory: Photo Opportunity

Date published: August 11, 2016

Discover Jemez Postwildfire Debris-Flow Hazards With the Click of a Mouse

A new interactive map and companion report from the U.S. Geological Survey allows residents living in and around New Mexico’s Jemez Mountains to see where they’re located in relation to postwildfire debris-flow hazards.

Date published: August 9, 2016

Hazard a Guess? The riskiest science quiz you will ever take!

During what months is hurricane season typically recognized along the Atlantic Coast?