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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 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.
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...
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.
Low-altitude aerial imagery and related field observations associated with unmanned aerial systems (UAS) flights over Coast Guard Beach, Nauset Spit, Nauset Inlet, and Nauset Marsh, Cape Cod National Seashore, Eastham, Massachusetts on 1 March 2016
This data release includes the four sets of original aerial images; tables listing the image file names and locations; locations of the 140 transect points; and locations of the ground control points with photographs of the four in-place features and images showing the location of the two a posteriori points at two zoom levels.
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.
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
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.
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...
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.