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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 USGS is currently studying seismicity that may be induced at 6 locations across the United States. These studies involve earthquake monitoring, examining industrial data, and evaluating any relationships between seismicity and industrial actions.
The USGS is currently developing new methods to evaluate the hazard due to induced earthquakes. These methods will account for the rapid changes in earthquake rate that we have witnessed in the past few years.
The USGS uses numerical simulations of earth processes to: Evaluate the physical relationships between fluid injection and earthquakes at specific sites, and to simulate possible future behaviors of new and ongoing injection projects.
Between the years 1973–2008, there was an average of 25 earthquakes of magnitude three and larger in the central and eastern United States. This rate ballooned to over 600 M3+ earthquakes in 2014 and over 1000 in 2015. Since 2015 the earthquake rate has declined significantly (364 M3+ earthquakes in 2017), but this is still much higher than the natural earthquake rate.
Preliminary simulation of the tsunami from the October 25, 2010 M=7.7 subduction zone earthquake offshore of the Mentawai Islands, Indonesia
San Carlos Apache Reservation covers 1.8 million acres in east-central Arizona, and has diverse ecosystems and vegetation types that support a natural resource-based economy.
We provide local and national web-based tools so that policy makers and the public can easily access the information they need to enhance preparedness, response, and resilience.
Hurricane Sandy Response- Linking the Delmarva Peninsula's Geologic Framework to Coastal Vulnerability
The Delmarva Peninsula is a 220-kilometer-long headland, spit, and barrier island complex that was significantly affected by Hurricane Sandy. In order to better constrain controls on coastal vulnerability and evolution, the region’s sediment sources, transport pathways and sediment sinks must be identified. This project defines the geologic framework of the Delmarva coastal system through...
Mean tidal range in marsh units of Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague Bay, Maryland and Virginia
This dataset displays the spatial variation of mean tidal range (i.e. Mean Range of Tides, MN) in the Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague Bay 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 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...
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.
Ground motions from induced earthquakes in Oklahoma and Kansas
Improved predictions of earthquake ground motions are critical to advancing seismic hazard analyses and earthquake response. The high seismicity rate from 2009 to 2016 in Oklahoma and Kansas provides an extensive data set for examining the ground motions from these events. We evaluate the ability of three suites of ground‐motion prediction...Moschetti, Morgan P.; Thompson, Eric M.; Powers, Peter M.; Hoover, Susan M.; McNamara, Daniel E.
Updated California aftershock parameters
Reasenberg and Jones (1989) introduced a statistical model for aftershock rate following a mainshock along with estimates of “generic” California parameter values based on past aftershock sequences. The Reasenberg and Jones (1989) model has been used for decades to issue aftershock forecasts following M≥5">M≥5...Hardebeck, Jeanne L.; Llenos, Andrea L.; Michael, Andrew J.; Page, Morgan T.; Van Der Elst, Nicholas
Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Risk Map
The Global Earthquake Risk Map (v2018.1) comprises four global maps. The main map presents the geographic distribution of average annual loss (USD) normalized by the average construction costs of the respective country (USD/m2 due to ground shaking in the residential, commercial and industrial building stock, considering contents, structural...Silva, V.; Amo-Oduro, D.; Calderon, A.; Dabbeek, J.; Despotaki, V.; Martins, L.; Rao, A.; Simionato, M.; Vigano, D.; Yepes, C.; Acevedo, A.; Crowley, H.; Horspool, Nick; Jaiswal, Kishor; Journeay, M.; Pittore, M.
Serpentinite‐rich gouge in a creeping segment of the Bartlett Springs Fault, northern California: Comparison with SAFOD and implications for seismic hazard
An exposure of a creeping segment of the Bartlett Springs Fault (BSF), part of the San Andreas Fault system in northern California, is a ~1.5‐m‐wide zone of serpentinite‐bearing fault gouge cutting through Late Pleistocene fluvial deposits. The fault gouge consists of porphyroclasts of antigorite serpentinite, talc, chlorite, and tremolite‐...Moore, Diane E.; McLaughlin, Robert J.; Lienkaemper, James J.
Honolulu Magnetic Observatory
Tucked in a grove of thorny mesquite trees, on an ancient coral reef on the south side of the Hawaiian island of Oahu, west of Pearl Harbor, a small unmanned observatory quietly records the Earth’s time-varying magnetic field. The Honolulu Magnetic Observatory is 1 of 14 that the U.S. Geological Survey Geomagnetism Program operates at various...Love, Jeffrey J.; Finn, Carol A.
Image mosaic and topographic maps of Mercury
Map DescriptionsSheet 1: This image mosaic is based on observations acquired by the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS; Hawkins and others, 2009), an instrument on the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, Geochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft (Solomon and others, 2007). The Mercator projection...Hunter, Marc A.; Hare, Trent M.; Hayward, Rosalyn K.; Chabot, Nancy L.; Hash, Christopher D.; Denevi, Brett W.; Ernst, Carolyn M.; Murchie, Scott L.; Blewett, David T.; Malaret, Erick R.; Solomon, Sean C.; Becker, Kris J.; Becker, Tammy L.; Weller, Lynn A.; Edmundson, Kenneth L.; Neuman, Gregory A.; Mazarico, Erwan; Perry, Mark E.
Ground motions from the 7 and 19 September, 2017 Tehuantepec and Puebla-Morelos, Mexico, earthquakes
The 2017 M">M 8.2 Tehuantepec and M">M 7.1 Puebla‐Morelos earthquakes were deep inslab normal‐faulting events that caused significant damage to several central‐to‐southern regions of Mexico. Inslab earthquakes are an important component of seismicity and seismic hazard in Mexico. Ground‐motion prediction equations (GMPEs...Sahakian, Valerie J.; Melgar, Diego; Quintanar, Luis; Ramirez-Guzman, Leonardo; Pérez-Campos, Xyoli; Baltay, Annemarie S.
Tropical storm-induced landslide potential using combined field monitoring and numerical modeling
When heavy rainfall, such as that associated with tropical storms, falls on steep hillsides, shallow landslides are often one of the damaging consequences. To assess landslide potential from heavy rainfall, a strategy of combined numerical simulation and field monitoring of variably saturated hillslope conditions is developed. To test the combined...Chen, Pan; Lu, Ning; Formetta, Giuseppe; Godt, Jonathan W.; Wayllace, Alexandra
Climate dictates magnitude of asymmetry in soil depth and hillslope gradient
Hillslope asymmetry is often attributed to differential eco‐hydro‐geomorphic processes resulting from aspect‐related differences in insolation. At midlatitudes, polar facing hillslopes are steeper, wetter, have denser vegetation, and deeper soils than their equatorial facing counterparts. We propose that at regional scales, the magnitude in...Inbar, Assaf; Nyman, Petter; Rengers, Francis K.; Lane, Patrick N. J.; Sheridan, Gary J.
Mars global digital dune database (MGD3)—Composition, stability, and thermal inertia
The Mars Global Digital Dune Database (MGD3) is an online repository that has catalogued dune fields larger than 1 km2 located between latitudes 90° N. and 90° S. The work presented here expands upon previous MGD3 open-file reports, with a new emphasis upon characterizing dune fields through composition, stability, and thermal inertia. Included in...Gullikson, Amber L.; Hayward, Rosalyn K.; Titus, Timothy N.; Charles, Heather; Fenton, Lori K.; Hoover, Rachael H.; Putzig, Nathaniel E.
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.
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 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...
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 BP Exploration 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 (USGS) to obtain data to study its behavior and performance during strong shaking. Such data are useful in making decisions about...
USGS scientists provide input for workshop on scientific drilling targets in the north Pacific Ocean
Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center research geologist Danny Brothers attended the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) workshop on the “Scientific Exploration of the Arctic and North Pacific” September 25–27 in Mt. Hood, Oregon.
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.