Due to a lapse in appropriations, the majority of USGS websites may not be up to date and may not reflect current conditions. Websites displaying real-time data, such as Earthquake and Water and information needed for public health and safety will be updated with limited support. Additionally, USGS will not be able to respond to inquiries until appropriations are enacted. For more information, please see www.doi.gov/shutdown
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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 interface between groundwater and the coastal or intertidal landscape determines the location and migration path of fresh and saline wetlands. These ecosystems interact with the coastal ocean in many ways, much of which is driven by tidal exchange and groundwater discharge, both common coastal processes that deliver water, nutrients, and other materials to nearshore ecosystems, including...
Tidal wetlands are key ecosystems because they are unique ecological systems that provide essential habitat for fish, shellfish, birds and other fauna and flora, many of which have great economic importance. At the same time, tidal wetlands provide critical services to society by serving as a physical barrier between our cities, roads and homes and the rising sea. If healthy and properly...
The challenge of wetland persistence is complicated by widespread management and alteration of wetland hydrology, and built infrastructure within migration corridors. Human development and utilization of coastal landscapes in the U.S. during the past several centuries has resulted in loss of approximately half of tidal wetland area, largely due to 1) restriction of tidal flows, through...
Coastal Environmental Geochemistry research at the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center spans multiple ecosystems and topics, including coastal wetlands, aquifers, and estuaries, with the goal of providing data and guidance to federal, state, local, and private land owners and managers on these vital ecosystems.
Here we describe the data collection methods and techniques of the California Seaflor Mapping Program: mapping, video and photography ground-truthing, and seismic profiling data collection.
USGS and the California Ocean Protection Council (COPC) are supporting development of peer-reviewed map sets for California’s mainland State Waters.
Prediction of the severity of ground failure in Quaternary deposits is a critical component of hazard studies. Model development in our project is focused on design and application of methods for quantitative assessment of ground deformation potential.
Ground Deformation and Failure
The Coastal and Marine Geology geotechnical group investigates the causes of ground deformation and ground failure as a result of earthquakes, storms, and wave action. The coastal urban regions of the Pacific margin of the United States are growing rapidly, putting increasing demands on coastal infrastructure and lifelines, such as...
Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) is an ubiquitous coastal process that is driven by a composite of climatologic, hydrogeologic, and oceanographic processes. For example, terrestrial hydraulic gradients that reflect both short and long term climatic conditions almost always transport both surface and ground water toward the coast. In coastal waters, physical oceanographic processes such as...
The USGS Gas Hydrates Project focuses on the study of natural gas hydrates in deepwater marine systems and permafrost areas. The primary goals are:
- Evaluate methane hydrates as a potential energy source
- Investigate the interaction between methane hydrate destabilization and climate change at short and long time scales, particularly in the Arctic
- Study the spatial ...
The USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center created posters about each of these completed research projects. Here, the posters are presented along with additional information.
Click the text to open a detailed page about the study.
Click the thumbnail image to open its full-size poster (PDF...
Unvegetated to vegetated marsh ratio in Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague Bay, Maryland and Virginia
Unvegetated to vegetated marsh ratio (UVVR) in the Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague Bay is computed based on conceptual marsh units. The response and resilience of coastal wetlands to physical factors need to be assessed in terms of the ensuing change to their vulnerability and ecosystem services.
Elevation of marsh units in Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague Bay, Maryland and Virginia
Elevation distribution in the Assateague Island National Seashore (ASIS) salt marsh complex and Chincoteague Bay is given in terms of mean elevation of conceptual marsh units. The response and resilience of coastal wetlands to physical factors need to be assessed in terms of the ensuing change to their vulnerability and ecosystem services.
Conceptual marsh units for Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague Bay, Maryland and Virginia
The salt marsh complex of Assateague Island National Seashore (ASIS) and Chincoteague Bay was delineated to smaller, conceptual marsh units by geoprocessing of surface elevation data. Flow accumulation based on the relative elevation of each location is used to determine the ridge lines that separate each marsh unit while the surface slope is used to automatically assign each unit a drainage...
This data release presents beach topography and nearshore bathymetry data from repeated surveys in northern Monterey Bay, California to document changes in shoreline position and coastal morphology as they relate to episodic (storms), seasonal, and interannual and longer processes. Since October 2014, semi-annual surveys have been performed in late summer (September or October...
Mean tidal range in marsh units of Plum Island Estuary and Parker River salt marsh complex, Massachusetts
This dataset displays the spatial variation of mean tidal range (i.e. Mean Range of Tides, MN) in the Plum Island Estuary and Parker River (PIEPR) salt marsh complex based on conceptual marsh units defined by Defne and Ganju (2018). MN was based on the calculated difference in height between mean high water (MHW) and mean low water (MLW) using the VDatum (v3.5) database.
Unvegetated to vegetated marsh ratio in Plum Island Estuary and Parker River salt marsh complex, Massachusetts
Through scientific efforts initiated with the Hurricane Sandy Science Plan, the USGS has been expanding national assessment of coastal change hazards and forecast products to coastal wetlands, including the Plum Island Estuary and Parker River salt marsh complex, with the intent of providing Federal, State, and local managers tools to estimate the vulnerability and ecosystem service potential...
This data release provides elevation distribution in the Plum Island Estuary and Parker River (PIEPR) salt marsh complex. Elevation distribution was calculated in terms of mean elevation of conceptual marsh units. The elevation data was based on the 1-meter gridded Digital Elevation Model and supplemented by 1-meter resampled 1/9 arc-second resolution National Elevation Data, where data gaps...
The salt marsh complex of Plum Island Estuary and Parker River was delineated to smaller, conceptual marsh units by geoprocessing of surface elevation data. Flow accumulation based on the relative elevation of each location was used to determine the ridge lines that separate each marsh unit while the surface slope was used to automatically assign each unit a drainage point, where water drains...
Sampling data collected in Ipswich Bay and Massachusetts Bay, Massachusetts, in 2012, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity 2012-035-FA
This dataset, collected aboard the Ocean Survey Vessel Bold as part of the Geologic Mapping of the Massachusetts Sea Floor Program. During the survey, surficial sediment samples and bottom still and video imagery were collected in Ipswich Bay and Massachusetts Bay, Massachusetts.
This dataset contains spatial projections of coastal cliff retreat (and associated uncertainty) for future scenarios of sea-level rise (SLR) in Central California. Present-day cliff-edge positions used as the baseline for projections are also included. Projections were made using numerical models and field observations as part of Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS). Read metadata carefully...
While some instrument teams provide science-ready versions of their data, many other archives must first be processed by the individual researcher. POW provides users with calibrated cartographic images that can be used for geologic mapping, analysis in a Geographic Image System (GIS), change detection, merging of dissimilar instrument images, and use in a host of other scientific applications...
Sea-level rise (SLR) impacts on the coastal landscape are presented here as: 1) level of landscape submergence (adjusted land elevation with respect to projected mean high water levels); and 2) coastal response type characterized as either static (for example, inundation) or dynamic (for example, landform or landscape change). Results are produced at a spatial scale of 30 meters.
We conduct post-fire debris-flow hazard assessments for select fires in the Western U.S. We use geospatial data related to basin morphometry, burn severity, soil properties, and rainfall characteristics to estimate the probability and volume of debris flows that may occur in response to a design storm.
The Planetary Geologic Mapping Program serves the international science community through the production of high-quality and refereed geologic maps of planetary bodies. This program is in coordination between NASA science programs and the USGS Astrogeology Science Center.
Map showing recent (1997-98 El Niño) and historical landslides, Crow Creek and vicinity, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, California
By Jeffrey A. Coe,1 Jonathan W. Godt,1 and Pierre Tachker2
1 U.S. Geological Survey, Denver Federal Center, MS 966, Denver, CO 80225
2 Institut Des Sciences Et Techniques De Grenoble, Département Géotechnique, Grenoble, France
Debris-Flow and Flooding Deposits in Coastal Venezuela Associated with the Storm of December 14–16, 1999
By Gerald F. Wieczorek, Matthew C. Larsen, L. Scott Eaton, Benjamin A. Morgan, and J. Luke Blair
Heavy rainfall from the storm of December 14–16, 1999, triggered thousands of shallow landslides on steep slopes of the Sierra de Avila north of Caracas, Venezuela, and caused flooding and massive debris flows in the channels of major drainages that severely damaged coastal communities.
Debris Flows Triggered by the El Niño Rainstorm of February 2-3, 1998, Walpert Ridge and Vicinity, Alameda County, California
By Jeffrey A. Coe and Jonathan W. Godt
Map Showing Inventory and Regional Susceptibility for Holocene Debris Flows, and Related Fast-Moving Landslides in the Conterminous United States
By Earl E. Brabb, Joseph P. Colgan, and Timothy C. Best1999
Maps showing locations of damaging landslides caused by El Niño rainstorms, winter season 1997-98, San Francisco Bay region, California
Jonathan W. Godt, Editor.
Pamphlet to accompany Miscellaneous Field Studies Maps MF-2325-A-J
By Robert W. Fleming and Rex L. Baum, U.S. Geological Survey, and Marco Giardino, Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche, Italy
This map and the original delineate areas where large numbers of landslides have occurred and areas which are susceptible to landsliding in the conterminous United States.
Development of a geodetic component for the U.S. West Coast Earthquake Early Warning System
An earthquake early warning (EEW) system, ShakeAlert, is under development for the West Coast of the United States. This system currently uses the first few seconds of waveforms recorded by seismic instrumentation to rapidly characterize earthquake magnitude, location, and origin time; ShakeAlert recently added a seismic line source algorithm. For...Murray, Jessica R.; Crowell, Brendan W.; Grapenthin, R.; Hodgkinson, Kathleen; Langbein, John O.; Melbourne, Timothy; Melgar, Diego; Minson, Sarah E.; Schmidt, David A.
Reported investments in earthquake mitigation top $73 to $80 billion in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake
The purpose of this report is to provide a compilation of structural retrofits and replacements of older buildings and infrastructure in the San Francisco Bay Area that have either been completed since 1989 or that are in progress as of October 2018. For the purposes of this report, all or parts of nine Bay Area counties were included:...Brocher, Thomas M.; Gefeke, Kerri; Boatwright, John; Knudsen, Keith L.
Erratum to The 2013–2016 induced earthquakes in Harper and Sumner Counties, southern Kansas
The authors identified two sets of minor errors in the paper by Rubinstein et al. (2018), which are corrected here.Rubinstein, Justin L.; Ellsworth, William L.; Dougherty, Sara L.
Interseismic ground deformation and fault slip rates in the greater San Francisco Bay Area from two decades of space geodetic data
The detailed spatial variations of strain accumulation and creep on major faults in the northern San Francisco Bay Area (North Bay), which are important for seismic potential and evaluation of natural hazards, remain poorly understood. Here we combine interferometric synthetic aperture radar data from the ERS‐1/2 and Envisat satellites between...Wu, Songbo; Nadeau, Robert; Ding, Xiaoling; Xu, Wenbin; Wu, Songbo; Materna, Kathryn; Nadeau, Robert; Floyd, Michael; Funning, Gareth J.; Chaussard, Estelle; Johnson, Christopher W.; Murray, Jessica R.; Ding, Xiaoling; Burgmann, Roland
Improving earthquake rupture forecasts using California as a guide
This article discusses ways in which earthquake rupture forecast models might be improved. Because changes are most easily described in the context of specific models, the third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (UCERF3) and its presumed successor, UCERF4, is used as a basis for discussion. Virtually all of the issues and possible...Field, Edward H.
VS30 at three strong-motion recording stations in Napa and Solano Counties, California—Lovall Valley Road, Broadway Street and Sereno Drive in Vallejo, and Vallejo Fire Station—Calculations determined from S-wave refraction tomography and multichannel analysis of surface waves (Rayleigh and Love)
The August 24, 2014, moment magnitude (Mw) 6.0 South Napa earthquake caused an estimated $400 million in structural damage to the City of Napa, California. In 2015, we acquired high-resolution P- and S-wave seismic data near three strong-motion recording stations in Napa and Solano Counties where high peak ground accelerations (PGAs) were recorded...Chan, Joanne H.; Catchings, Rufus D.; Goldman, Mark R.; Criley, Coyn J.
VS30 at three strong-motion recording stations in Napa and Napa County, California—Main Street in downtown Napa, Napa fire station number 3, and Kreuzer Lane—Calculations determined from s-wave refraction tomography and multichannel analysis of surface waves (Rayleigh and Love)
The August 24, 2014, moment magnitude (Mw) 6.0 South Napa earthquake caused an estimated $400 million in structural damage to the City of Napa, California. In 2015, we acquired high-resolution P- and S-wave seismic data near three strong-motion recording stations in Napa County where high peak ground accelerations (PGAs) were recorded during the...Chan, Joanne H.; Catchings, Rufus D.; Goldman, Mark R.; Criley, Coyn J.
Revised technical implementation plan for the ShakeAlert system—An earthquake early warning system for the West Coast of the United States
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), along with partner organizations, has developed an earthquake early warning (EEW) system called ShakeAlert for the highest risk areas of the United States: namely, California, Oregon, and Washington. The purpose of the system is to reduce the impact of earthquakes and save lives and property by providing alerts...Given, Douglas D.; Allen, Richard M.; Baltay, Annemarie S.; Bodin, Paul; Cochran, Elizabeth S.; Creager, Kenneth; de Groot, Robert M.; Gee, Lind S.; Hauksson, Egill; Heaton, Thomas H.; Hellweg, Margaret; Murray, Jessica R.; Thomas, Valerie I.; Toomey, Douglas; Yelin, Thomas S.
Observations of rotational motions from local earthquakes using two temporary portable sensors in Waynoka, Oklahoma
Characterizing rotational motions from earthquakes at local distances has the potential to improve earthquake engineering and seismic gradiometry by better characterizing the complete seismic wavefield. Applied Technology Associates (ATA) has developed a proto‐seismic magnetohydrodynamic (SMHD) three‐component rotational rate sensor. We deploy two...Ringler, Adam T.; Anthony, Robert E.; Holland, A.A.; Wilson, David C.; Lin, C.-J.
Wetland stratigraphic evidence for variable megathrust earthquake rupture modes at the Cascadia subduction zone
Although widespread agreement that the Cascadia subduction zone produces great earthquakes of magnitude 8 to 9 was reached decades ago, debate continues about the rupture lengths, magnitudes, and frequency of megathrust earthquakes recorded by wetland stratigraphy fringing Cascadia’s estuaries. Correlation of such coastal earthquake evidence along...Nelson, Alan R.; Witter, Robert C.; Englehart, Simon; Hawkers, Andrea; Horton, Benjamin P.
Development of a domestic earthquake alert protocol combining the USGS pager and FEMA Hazus systems
The U.S. Geological Survey’s PAGER automated alert system provides rapid (10-20 min) loss estimates in terms of ranges of fatalities and economic impact for all significant earthquakes around the globe. In contrast, FEMA’s Hazus software, which is currently operated manually by FEMA personnel internally within several hours of any large domestic...Wald, David J.; Seligson, H.A.; Rozelle, Jesse; Burns, J.; Marano, Kristin; Jaiswal, Kishor; Hearne, Mike; Bausch, D
Increasing earthquake insurance coverage in California via parametric hedges
California has the highest earthquake risk of any state in the United States. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reported in 2017 that 73% of the nation’s annual losses to earthquakes were expected to be concentrated in California and the Pacific Northwest. California alone constitutes 61% ($3.7 billion out of an estimated $6.1 billion...Franco, Guillermo; Tirabassi, G; Lopeman, M; Wald, David J.; Siembieda, W.J.
3D Image of a multi-channel seismic (MCS) line showing gas (blue/green) migrating up through fractures in the subsurface, culminating in a 600 meter tall plume of methane gas in the water column that was captured using a Simrad EK60 split beam echo sounder. Background bathymetry was downloaded from USGS Open-File Report 2012-1266 (...
Three-dimensional model of Chimney Bluffs, New York along Lake Ontario created from low-altitude digital images collected from an unmanned aerial system (UAS).
Collecting water samples in Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.
This video presents a visualization of how the Frontier Building in Anchorage, Alaska, shook during the moment magnitude (Mw) 7.0 November 30, 2018, Anchorage, Alaska, earthquake. The building was instrumented by U.S. Geological Survey to obtain data to study its behavior and performance during strong shaking. Such data are useful in making decisions about improving the...
This video presents a visualization of how the Atwood Building in Anchorage, Alaska, shook during the Mw 7.0 November 30, 2018, Anchorage, Alaska, earthquake. The building was instrumented by the U.S. Geological Survey to obtain data to study its behavior and performance during strong shaking. Such data are useful in making decisions about improving the performance of the...
Meagan Gonneea checks on instruments at a tidal creek in Great Pond, Falmouth, MA. Daily tides drive exchange between coastal wetlands and adjacent estuaries. Here we have instrumented a tidal channel to measure those fluxes over a tidal cycle. When the marsh floods, material is imported from the estuary. Biogeochemical cycles within the wetland, driven by plants and...
One-fourth of beachfront could be inundated by large storm waves, experts predict
To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Michael, visit the USGS Hurricane Michael page at usgs.gov/hurricane-michael.
One-fourth of Florida Panhandle beachfront could be inundated by large storm waves, experts predict
To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Michael, visit the USGS Hurricane Michael page at https://usgs.gov/hurricane-michael
Large underwater experiment in California’s Monterey Canyon shows that “turbidity currents” are not just currents, but involve movement of the seafloor itself.
Realtime geoelectric maps during a magnetic storm can assist utility companies with their operations and can help power-grid managers to make decisions that may minimize the impact to their systems.
Data acquired by the U.S. Geological Survey on the U.S. Atlantic Margin in August 2018 reveal new information about the distribution of gas hydrates in the sector stretching from the upper continental slope to deep water areas offshore New Jersey to North Carolina.
Science for a Risky World: A USGS Plan for Risk Research and Applications – USGS publishes strategic plan for examining risk
USGS explores opportunities to advance its capabilities in risk assessment, mitigation, and communication in new strategic plan.
Learn About USGS Hazards Science and More About National Preparedness Month: The very nature of natural hazards means that they have the potential to impact a majority of Americans every year. USGS science provides part of the foundation for emergency preparedness whenever and wherever disaster strikes.
"In Yosemite Valley, rockfalls can happen every four to five days, where boulders that can be larger than your average car or apartment building thunder down steep mountainsides." - Seeker
As Hurricane Lane approached Hawaiʻi, personnel in the Honolulu Emergency Operations Center on Oahu contacted Curt Storlazzi of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center to ask for information on potential coastal flooding that could help them direct emergency-management services to areas of higher risk.
Field work completed for powerful Hurricane Florence, while experts watch Isaac and Olivia
Editor's note: This story was originally published on Tuesday, Sept. 11 and was updated at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 12.
To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Florence, visit the USGS Hurricane Florence page at https://www.usgs.gov/florence.
Initial effect will probably be erosion on 75 percent of North Carolina beaches, experts say.
To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Florence, visit the USGS Hurricane Florence page at https://www.usgs.gov/florence.