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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: 282
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
Date published: January 1, 2001
Status: Completed

Mapping Crater Lake, Oregon

Information about the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center's Crater Lake mapping project in the summer of 2000.

Contacts: Peter Dartnell
Filter Total Items: 4,552
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.

Year Published: 2017

An updated geospatial liquefaction model for global application

We present an updated geospatial approach to estimation of earthquake-induced liquefaction from globally available geospatial proxies. Our previous iteration of the geospatial liquefaction model was based on mapped liquefaction surface effects from four earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, and Kobe, Japan, paired with geospatial explanatory...

Zhu, Jing; Baise, Laurie G.; Thompson, Eric M.

Year Published: 2017

Frictional strength of wet and dry montmorillonite

Montmorillonite is a common mineral in fault zones, and its low strength relative to other common gouge minerals is important in many models of fault rheology. However, the coefficient of friction, μ, varies with degree of saturation and is not well constrained in the literature due to the difficulty of establishing fully drained or fully dried...

Morrow, Carolyn A.; Moore, Diane E.; Lockner, David A.
Morrow, C. A., D. E. Moore, and D. A. Lockner (2017), Frictional strength of wet and dry montmorillonite, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 122, doi:10.1002/2016JB013658.

Year Published: 2017

Repeatability of testing a small broadband sensor in the Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory Underground Vault

Variability in seismic instrumentation performance plays a fundamental role in our ability to carry out experiments in observational seismology. Many such experiments rely on the assumed performance of various seismic sensors as well as on methods to isolate the sensors from nonseismic noise sources. We look at the repeatability of estimating the...

Ringler, Adam T.; Holland, Austin; Wilson, David C.
Ringler, A. T., A. A. Holland, And D. C. Wilson (2017). Repeatability of testing a small broadband sensor in the Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory Underground Vault, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 107, 3, doi: 10.1785/0120170006

Year Published: 2017

The 2008 Wells, Nevada earthquake sequence: Source constraints using calibrated multiple event relocation and InSAR

The 2008 Wells, NV earthquake represents the largest domestic event in the conterminous U.S. outside of California since the October 1983 Borah Peak earthquake in southern Idaho. We present an improved catalog, magnitude complete to 1.6, of the foreshock-aftershock sequence, supplementing the current U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Preliminary...

Nealy, Jennifer; Benz, Harley M.; Hayes, Gavin; Berman, Eric; Barnhart, William D.
Nealy, J. L., Benz, H. M., Hayes, G. P., Bergman, E. A., & Barnhart, W. D. (2017). The 2008 Wells, Nevada, Earthquake Sequence: Source Constraints Using Calibrated Multiple‐Event Relocation and InSAR. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

Year Published: 2017

A note on adding viscoelasticity to earthquake simulators

Here, I describe how time‐dependent quasi‐static stress transfer can be implemented in an earthquake simulator code that is used to generate long synthetic seismicity catalogs. Most existing seismicity simulators use precomputed static stress interaction coefficients to rapidly implement static stress transfer in fault networks with typically tens...

Pollitz, Fred

Year Published: 2017

System identification based on deconvolution and cross correlation: An application to a 20‐story instrumented building in Anchorage, Alaska

Deconvolution and cross‐correlation techniques are used for system identification of a 20‐story steel, moment‐resisting frame building in downtown Anchorage, Alaska. This regular‐plan midrise structure is instrumented with a 32‐channel accelerometer array at 10 levels. The impulse response functions (IRFs) and correlation functions (CFs) are...

Wen, Weiping; Kalkan, Erol

Year Published: 2017

Spatio-temporal mapping of plate boundary faults in California using geodetic imaging

The Pacific–North American plate boundary in California is composed of a 400-km-wide network of faults and zones of distributed deformation. Earthquakes, even large ones, can occur along individual or combinations of faults within the larger plate boundary system. While research often focuses on the primary and secondary faults, holistic study of...

Donnellan, Andrea; Arrowsmith, Ramon; DeLong, Stephen B.
Donnellan, A.; Arrowsmith, R.; DeLong, S., Spatio-Temporal Mapping of Plate Boundary Faults in California Using Geodetic Imaging. Geosciences 2017, 7, 15, https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7010015.

Year Published: 2017

Magnetic monitoring in Saguaro National Park

On a sandy, arid plain, near the Rincon Moun­tain Visitor Center of Saguaro National Park, tucked in among brittlebush, creosote, and other hardy desert plants, is an unusual type of observatory—a small unmanned station that is used for monitor­ing the Earth’s variable magnetic field. Named for the nearby city of Tucson, Arizona, the observatory...

Love, Jeffrey J.; Finn, Carol A.; Gamez Valdez, Yesenia C.; Swann, Don
Love, J.J., Finn, C.A., Gamez Valdez, Y.C., Swann, Don, 2017, Magnetic monitoring in Saguaro National Park: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017–3035, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20173035.

Year Published: 2017

Finite‐fault Bayesian inversion of teleseismic body waves

Inverting geophysical data has provided fundamental information about the behavior of earthquake rupture. However, inferring kinematic source model parameters for finite‐fault ruptures is an intrinsically underdetermined problem (the problem of nonuniqueness), because we are restricted to finite noisy observations. Although many studies use least‐...

Clayton, Brandon; Hartzell, Stephen; Moschetti, Morgan P.; Minson, Sarah E.
Brandon S. Clayton, Stephen H. Hartzell, Morgan P. Moschetti, Sarah E. Minson

Year Published: 2017

Geodetic slip model of the 3 September 2016 Mw 5.8 Pawnee, Oklahoma, earthquake: Evidence for fault‐zone collapse

The 3 September 2016 Mw 5.8 Pawnee earthquake in northern Oklahoma is the largest earthquake ever recorded in Oklahoma. The coseismic deformation was measured with both Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar and Global Positioning System (GPS), with measureable signals of order 1 cm and 1 mm, respectively. We derive a...

Pollitz, Fred; Wicks, Charles W.; Schoenball, Martin; Ellsworth, William L.; Murray, Mark
Pollitz, F.F., Wicks, C., Schoenball, M., Ellsworth, W., and Murray, M., Geodetic slip model of the M5.8 3 September, 2016 Pawnee, Oklahoma, earthquake: Evidence for fault zone collapse, Seismol. Res. Lett., 88, DOI: 10.1785/0220170002, 2017.

Year Published: 2017

The morphology of transverse aeolian ridges on Mars

A preliminary survey of publicly released high resolution digital terrain models (DTMs) produced by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter identified transverse aeolian ridges (TARs) in 154 DTMs in latitudes from 50°S to 40°N. Consistent with previous surveys, the TARs identified in HiRISE...

Geissler, Paul; Wilgus, Justin T.
Paul E. Geissler and Justin T. Wilgus, 2017, The morphology of transverse aeolian ridges on Mars, Aeolian Research, v. 26, p. 63-71, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aeolia.2016.08.008.

Filter Total Items: 2,697
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).

animated gif of crater
June 7, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Satellite Radar of Crater Slumping

This animated GIF shows a sequence of radar amplitude images that were acquired by the Italian Space Agency's Cosmo-SkyMed satellite system. The images illustrate changes to the 

Filter Total Items: 406
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


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?

Date published: August 4, 2016

GeoGirls Dig Geology at Mount St. Helens


Twenty middle-school girls from Washington and Oregon are participating in the second annual “GeoGirls” outdoor volcano science program at Mount St. Helens, jointly organized by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Mount St. Helens Institute.