Mission Areas

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: 290
Date published: March 2, 2016

Landslide Monitoring

Landslide sites and data for learning more about the physical processes that trigger landslides or control their movement.

Date published: March 2, 2016

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)

HVO operates monitoring networks, assesses hazards, and issues notifications of volcanic activity and earthquakes in the State of Hawai‘i. HVO scientists conduct fundamental research on volcanic processes and work to educate the communities at risk. HVO is located in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park on the Island of Hawaii.

Date published: March 2, 2016

"The First Sue Nami"

Tsunami awareness public service announcements come from collaboration among the USGS SAFRR team, outside partners, and Pasadena's Art Center College of Design.

Date published: March 2, 2016

Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO)

Monitors and studies the active geologic processes and hazards of the Yellowstone Plateau volcanic field and its caldera. Yellowstone National Park contains the largest and most diverse collection of natural thermal features in the world. YVO also monitors volcanic activity in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico.

Date published: March 2, 2016

Satellite Data Applications for Fire Science

Our satellite remote sensing research and applications are essential for providing required data for mapping fire fuels, assessing fire effects, monitoring fire danger, and measuring progress in implementing the National Fire Plan. Land management agencies, scientific communities, and citizenry affected by wildland fires can benefit from our work.

Date published: March 1, 2016
Status: Completed


CORE - Cadre of Relevant Experts

Date published: January 1, 2016
Status: Completed

National Seismic Hazard Map Usability Study

How can we better communicate seismic hazards to non-scientists?

Date published: November 19, 2015
Status: Archived

Glacier Studies Project

This project is complete and the website is archived and no longer updated.

The Glacier Studies Project included two active tasks: Satellite Image Atlas of Glaciers of the World Task and a Coastal-Change and Glaciological Maps of Antarctica Task. The two tasks were inter-...

Date published: September 1, 2015
Status: Active

Rainfall and Landslides in Northern and Central California

A summary of recent and past landslides and debris flows caused by rainfall in Northern and Central California.

Date published: September 1, 2015
Status: Active

Rainfall and Landslides in Southern California

A summary of recent and past landslides and debris flows caused by rainfall in Southern California.

Date published: August 19, 2014

Estuarine Physical Response to Storms

The Estuarine Physical Response to Storms Project will assess the estuarine and adjacent wetland  responses of three Atlantic lagoonal estuaries to major storm events such as Hurricane Sandy. The estuarine systems include the Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary, the Chincoteague Bay, and Jamaica Bay, NY. Evaluations of sediment transport, geomorphic change, circulation, wetland stability....

Date published: April 25, 2014
Status: Completed

Tsunami Scenario

A hypothetical but likely tsunami scenario affecting California's coastline, representing studies and models of damage, restoration, and social and economic impacts of a tsunami generated by a magnitude 9.1 megathrust Alaskan earthquake.

Filter Total Items: 4,633
Year Published: 2017

Adjusting central and eastern North America ground-motion intensity measures between sites with different reference-rock site conditions

Adjustment factors are provided for converting ground‐motion intensity measures between central and eastern North America (CENA) sites with different reference‐rock site conditions (VS30=760, 2000, and 3000  m/s) for moment magnitudes ranging from 2 to 8, rupture distances ranging from 2 to 1200 km, Fourier amplitude spectra (FAS) for...

Boore, David; Campbell, Kenneth W.

Year Published: 2017

Alternative rupture-scaling relationships for subduction interface and other offshore environments

Alternative fault-rupture-scaling relationships are developed for Mw 7.1– 9.5 subduction interface earthquakes using a new database of consistently derived finitefault rupture models from teleseismic inversion. Scaling relationships are derived for rupture area, rupture length, rupture width, maximum slip, and average slip. These relationships...

Allen, Trevor; Hayes, Gavin

Year Published: 2017

Limiting the effects of earthquakes on gravitational-wave interferometers

Ground-based gravitational wave interferometers such as the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) are susceptible to ground shaking from high-magnitude teleseismic events, which can interrupt their operation in science mode and significantly reduce their duty cycle. It can take several hours for a detector to stabilize enough...

Coughlin, Michael; Earle, Paul; Harms, Jan; Biscans, Sebastien; Buchanan, Christopher; Coughlin, Eric; Donovan, Fred; Fee, Jeremy; Gabbard, Hunter; Guy, Michelle; Mukund, Nikhil; Perry, Matthew
Limiting the effects of earthquakes on gravitational-wave interferometers Michael Coughlin et al 2017 Class. Quantum Grav. 34 044004

Year Published: 2017

2017 One‐year seismic‐hazard forecast for the central and eastern United States from induced and natural earthquakes

We produce a one‐year 2017 seismic‐hazard forecast for the central and eastern United States from induced and natural earthquakes that updates the 2016 one‐year forecast; this map is intended to provide information to the public and to facilitate the development of induced seismicity forecasting models, methods, and data. The 2017 hazard model...

Petersen, Mark D.; Mueller, Charles; Moschetti, Morgan P.; Hoover, Susan M.; Shumway, Allison; McNamara, Daniel E.; Williams, Robert; Llenos, Andrea L.; Ellsworth, William L.; Rubinstein, Justin L.; McGarr, Arthur F.; Rukstales, Kenneth S.

Year Published: 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey Astrogeology Science Center

In 1960, Eugene Shoemaker and a small team of other scientists founded the field of astrogeology to develop tools and methods for astronauts studying the geology of the Moon and other planetary bodies. Subsequently, in 1962, the U.S. Geological Survey Branch of Astrogeology was established in Menlo Park, California. In 1963, the Branch moved to...

Kestay, Laszlo P.; Vaughan, R. Greg; Gaddis, Lisa R.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Hagerty, Justin J.

Year Published: 2017

Improved efficiency of maximum likelihood analysis of time series with temporally correlated errors

Most time series of geophysical phenomena have temporally correlated errors. From these measurements, various parameters are estimated. For instance, from geodetic measurements of positions, the rates and changes in rates are often estimated and are used to model tectonic processes. Along with the estimates of the size of the parameters, the error...

Langbein, John O.

Year Published: 2017

Microfossil measures of rapid sea-level rise: Timing of response of two microfossil groups to a sudden tidal-flooding experiment in Cascadia

Comparisons of pre-earthquake and post-earthquake microfossils in tidal sequences are accurate means to measure coastal subsidence during past subduction earthquakes, but the amount of subsidence is uncertain, because the response times of fossil taxa to coseismic relative sea-level (RSL) rise are unknown. We measured the response of diatoms and...

Horton, B.P.; Milker, Yvonne; Dura, T.; Wang, Kelin; Bridgeland, W.T.; Brophy, Laura S.; Ewald, M.; Khan, Nicole; Engelhart, S.E.; Nelson, Alan R.; Witter, Robert C.
B.P. Horton, Y. Milker, T. Dura, K. Wang, W.T. Bridgeland, L. Brophy, M. Ewald, N.S. Khan, S.E. Engelhart8, A.R. Nelson, and R.C. Witter Y. Milker; T. Dura; K. Wang; W.T. Bridgeland; L. Brophy; M. Ewald; N.S. Khan; S.E. Engelhart; A.R. Nelson; R.C. Witter

Year Published: 2017

The effects of varying injection rates in Osage County, Oklahoma, on the 2016 Mw5.8 Pawnee earthquake

The 2016 Mw 5.8 Pawnee earthquake occurred in a region with active wastewater injection into a basal formation group. Prior to the earthquake, fluid injection rates at most wells were relatively steady, but newly collected data show significant increases in injection rate in the years leading up to earthquake. For the same time period,...

Barbour, Andrew J.; Norbeck, Jack H.; Rubinstein, Justin L.
The Effects of Varying Injection Rates in Osage County, Oklahoma, on the 2016 Mw 5.8 Pawnee Earthquake, A. J. Barbour, J. H. Norbeck, and J. L. Rubinstein, Seismological Research Letters, Jul 2017, 88 (4) 1040-1053; DOI: 10.1785/0220170003

Year Published: 2017

Spatio-temporal evolution of the 2011 Prague, Oklahoma aftershock sequence revealed using subspace detection and relocation

The 6 November 2011 Mw 5.7 earthquake near Prague, Oklahoma is the second largest earthquake ever recorded in the state. A Mw 4.8 foreshock and the Mw 5.7 mainshock triggered a prolific aftershock sequence. Utilizing a subspace detection method, we increase by fivefold the number of precisely located events between 4...

McMahon, Nicole D; Aster, Richard C.; Yeck, William L.; McNamara, Daniel E.; Benz, Harley M.
McMahon, N. D., R. C. Aster, W. L. Yeck, D. E. McNamara, and H. M. Benz (2017), Spatiotemporal evolution of the 2011 Prague, Oklahoma, aftershock sequence revealed using subspace detection and relocation, Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, doi:10.1002/2017GL072944.

Year Published: 2017

Middle and Late Pleistocene glaciations in the southwestern Pamir and their effects on topography

Glacial chronologies provide insight into the evolution of paleo-landscapes, paleoclimate, topography, and the erosion processes that shape mountain ranges. In the Pamir of Central Asia, glacial morphologies and deposits indicate extensive past glaciations, whose timing and extent remain poorly constrained. Geomorphic data and 15 new 10Be...

Stubner, Konstanze; Grin, Elena; Hidy, Alan J.; Schaller, Mirjam; Gold, Ryan D.; Ratschbacher, Lothar; Ehlers, Todd
Stübner, K., Grin, E., Hidy, A.J., Schaller, M., Gold, R.D., Ratschbacher, L., Ehlers, T., 2017, Middle and Late Pleistocene glaciations in the southwestern Pamir and their effects on topography, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 466, pp. 181-194.

Year Published: 2017

Sediment gravity flows triggered by remotely generated earthquake waves

Recent great earthquakes and tsunamis around the world have heightened awareness of the inevitability of similar events occurring within the Cascadia Subduction Zone of the Pacific Northwest. We analyzed seafloor temperature, pressure, and seismic signals, and video stills of sediment-enveloped instruments recorded during the 2011–2015 Cascadia...

Johnson, H. Paul; Gomberg, Joan S.; Hautala, Susan; Salmi, Marie

Year Published: 2017

Trimming a hazard logic tree with a new model-order-reduction technique

The size of the logic tree within the Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast Version 3, Time-Dependent (UCERF3-TD) model can challenge risk analyses of large portfolios. An insurer or catastrophe risk modeler concerned with losses to a California portfolio might have to evaluate a portfolio 57,600 times to estimate risk in light of the...

Porter, Keith; Field, Edward H.; Milner, Kevin R.
Keith Porter, Edward Field, and Kevin Milner (2017) Trimming a Hazard Logic Tree with a New Model-Order-Reduction Technique. Earthquake Spectra In-Press.

Filter Total Items: 2,698
June 11, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Overflight of Ocean Entry

The interaction of molten lava flowing into cool seawater causes pulsating "littoral explosions" that throw spatter (fragments of molten lava) and pieces of solidified glassy lava (black sand, Pele's hair, limu o Pele) high into the air. In this aerial view of the Kapoho ocean entry, these dark-colored lava particles are blasted skyward through billowing white clouds of

Cracked road
June 11, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Cracked Road at Summit

This 'warped-curb' crack, the largest in the parking area for the former Halema‘uma‘u overlook (closed since 2008), is one of many that have sliced the parking area into slices. Ballistics (blocks of solid rock) strewn across the area are visible in the foreground. Loose, dislodged

Aerial of Kapoho Bay
June 10, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Lava Delta at Kapoho Bay

A closer aerial view of the lava delta forming at the Kapoho Bay ocean entry, where fissure 8 lava continued enter the ocean as of this morning. Laze (lava haze), an acidic white plume laced with tiny particles of volcanic glass, is produced by the ocean entry and creates an ongoing hazard that should be avoided.

Aerial of ocean entry plume
June 10, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Kapoho Bay Ocean Entry Plume

The fissure 8 lava flow reaches the ocean at Kapoho Bay, where a lava delta has formed and continues to grow as lava enters the sea. The largest white laze 

Aerial of lava overflows
June 10, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Overflows from Fissure 8

Overflows of the upper fissure 8 lava channel this morning sent small flows of lava down the levee walls. These overflows did not extend far from the channel, so they posed no immediate threat to nearby areas. Channel overflows, like the ones shown here, add layers of lava to the channel levees, increasing their height and thickness.

Topographic photo of summit
June 10, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Topography of Halema`uma`u

A photogrammetry survey of Kīlauea's summit by the U.S. Department of Interior Unmanned Aircraft Systems' (UAS) Kīlauea response team show the topography of Halema‘uma‘u as of June 8. Cracks through the former overlook parking lot (bottom of image) wrap around the east margin of Halema‘uma‘u; the once-popular overlook viewing area (closed since 2008 due to volcanic hazards

June 10, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Summit Explosion (June 10, 2018)

Another explosion occurred at Halema‘uma‘u at 12:51 a.m. HST today, releasing energy equivalent to a magnitude-5.3 earthquake. Following the explosion, summit activity

Aerial of lava flow
June 10, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 from a Distance

Distant view of Kīlauea Volcano's fissure 8 lava channel from HVO's early morning overflight on June 10, looking to the southeast. Bryson's cinder quarry is the brown patch just to the north of the channel.

Aerial of lava channel
June 10, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 Lava Channel

A closer view of the fissure 8 lava channel with the cinderquarry more clearly visible in the foreground (bottom of photo). During this morning's overflight, HVO geologists observed no new breakouts of lava near this quarry.

Aerial view of fissure 8 eruption
June 10, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 Eruption

Fissure 8 continues to erupt vigorously, with 

Scientist setting up an instrument
June 9, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — GPS Measurements at Summit

USGS-HVO geophysicists installed additional continuous GPS stations around Halema‘uma‘u this morning. These stations will allow scientists to better monitor and measure the ongoing subsidence of Halema‘uma‘u and the adjacent 

A lava channel formed from a fissure eruption
June 9, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 Lava Channel

Fissure 8 and lava channel in the lower East Rift Zone of Kīlauea Volcano during this afternoon's overflight, with no apparent slowing in the eruption rate. The lava channel remained incandescent all the way around Kapoho Crater before entering the ocean.

Filter Total Items: 408
Date published: October 8, 2016

Record Number of USGS Sensors Deployed for Hurricane Matthew

The U.S. Geological Survey is using many forms of technology to track and document Hurricane Matthew’s effects on the eastern seaboard. Here is an in-depth look at one of those tools, the storm-tide sensor.

To learn about storm sensors and see their location, explore the USGS Coastal Change Hazard Portal, or see satellite imagery before and after the storm, visit the USGS Hurricane Matthew page.

Date published: October 6, 2016

FL, GA, SC Beaches Face 80-95 Percent Chance of Erosion from Hurricane Matthew

As the east coast prepares for Hurricane Matthew's arrival, the U.S. Geological Survey uses advanced models to forecast the coastal impacts Matthew could bring. 

Date published: October 4, 2016

New High-Definition Video of Active Hawaiian Volcano Lava Lake Available for Free

Video release: New video footage of Kīlauea Volcano’s summit lava lake is now available as b-roll to news media outlets.

Date published: October 1, 2016

M7.8 Nepal Earthquake, 2015 – A Small Push to Mt. Everest

A large shallow earthquake moves Mt. Everest 3 cm southwest.

Date published: September 20, 2016

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

Are rates of sea level rise increasing faster along the West or the East Coast of the United States?

Date published: September 12, 2016


It’s not flirting for submarines, but this week’s EarthWord does feature the ocean...

Date published: September 12, 2016

Tsunami Evacuation Plans – One Size Does Not Fit All: A Case Study in Alameda, California

Tsunami evacuation planning in coastal communities is typically based on maximum evacuation zones that reflect a combination of all potential extreme tsunamis. However, in the case of a smaller tsunami, this approach may result in more people being evacuated than need to be, and in doing so, may overly disrupt the local economy, and strain resources needed during emergency response.

Date published: September 12, 2016

Mapping a Space-Weather Menace to Electric-Power Grids

New strides have been made toward quantifying how geomagnetic storms can interfere with the nation’s electric-power grid systems.  

Date published: September 8, 2016

Possible Explosion of Magnitude 5.3 in North Korea

A possible explosion of magnitude 5.3 occurred in North Korea on September 9, 2016 at 00:30:01 UTC (9:00 am local time).

Date published: September 7, 2016

Uncharted: Exploring one of America’s fastest faults

A team of USGS scientists spent 10 days in the wilderness, exploring one of the fastest-moving faults in America

Date published: September 7, 2016

Photo Opportunity: Scientists Prepare for Seismic Study in East Bay

MEDIA ADVISORY: Faculty and students from California State University, East Bay, U.S. Geological Survey scientists, and community volunteers are conducting an experiment to visualize the subsurface in and around the Hayward Fault and measure how the ground in different neighborhoods responds to earthquake shaking.