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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 Core Laboratories Project is a research support service of the WHCMSC which provides analytical and technical infrastructure, and supports of a range of projects associated with Coastal Biogeochemical Processes, Coastal Groundwater, Climate-Hydrates, and Sedimentology.
The Core Laboratories Project is a research support service of the WHCMSC which provides analytical and technical...
Ocean models provide critical information for coastal and marine spatial planning, emergency responders and for understanding implications of climate change and human activities. Models are run by numerous academic institutions and government agencies, typically with different access protocols that stifle use, comparison with data, and innovation.
Several components of this project are applications to evaluate the model against critical field measurements or to test new model components. Data from field measurements is described in our publications and available in our databases.
Ongoing acquisition of new instruments and development of analytical methods provides us with the means to make better observations of coastal ocean processes. The measurements provide us with insight and data for critical evaluation of model performance. Advances in a range of measurement capabilities, including bottom stress, sediment erodibility, water properties and nutrient concentrations...
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) led a project funded by the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) with support from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), to develop a community sediment-transport modeling system (CSTMS).
Policy-makers, individuals from government agencies, and natural resource managers are under increasing pressure to manage changing coastal areas to meet social, economic, and natural resource demands, particularly under a regime of sea-level rise. Scientific knowledge of coastal processes and habitat-use can support decision-makers as they balance these often-conflicting human and ecological...
Numerical models are used by scientists, engineers, coastal managers, and the public to understand and predict processes in the coastal ocean. This project supports the development and application of open-source coastal models and has several objectives: 1) improve the code of numerical sediment-transport models by implementing new or improved algorithms; 2) obtain measurements of coastal...
Geophysical imaging relies on specialized tools to detect anomalies in the water column or to map features on or beneath the seafloor. Equipment may be towed, mounted on the side of a ship, or attached to the ship’s hull. Many geophysical techniques rely on transmitting an acoustic signal of a particular frequency and analyzing the information in the returning signal to infer the properties...
Cold seeps are locations where chemicals, including methane, hydrocarbons, sulfide and sometimes carbon dioxide, leak from sediments below the seafloor into the water above. Much of the current knowledge on cold seeps comes from direct observations, such as the mapping of acoustic flares and the detection of...
Cold seeps, which are locations where chemicals -- including methane and other hydrocarbons, brine, hydrogen sulfide, and sometimes carbon dioxide--leak from the seafloor, occur worldwide on both passive and tectonically-active continental margins. Cold seeps are distinguished from ...
From May 3 to May 11, 2017, the U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with the British Geological Survey and with support from these two agencies, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, and the U.S. Department of Energy, will lead an...
The Instrumented Pressure Testing Chamber (IPTC)
A device for measuring the physical properties of naturally-occurring, hydrate-bearing sediment at nearly in situ pressure conditions.
Collection, analysis, and age-dating of sediment cores from salt marshes on the south shore of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, from 2013 through 2014
Elevation of the marsh surface was measured with RTK-GPS to evaluate where the marsh falls within the current tidal frame. The historic marsh surface elevation was then reconstructed using the calculated age of each depth interval and its elevation, assuming that elevations within this shallow zone (less than 30 cm) have been preserved for the past century.
Oceanographic time-series measurements made by the U.S. Geological Survey between 1975 and the present as part of research programs. The data were collected to address specific research questions and were primarily collected over durations less than a year, using stationary platforms, with sensors near the sea floor. These data have been used to study of ocean dynamics and to validate ocean...
The USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP) Internet Map Server is an interactive mapping service which allows the user to explore and download GIS data sets published by CMGP.
Sampling data collected in Cape Cod Bay, Buzzards Bay, and Vineyard Sound; south of Martha's Vineyard; and south and east of Nantucket, Massachusetts, in 2011, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity 2011-015-FA
These survey data are used to explore the nature of the sea floor and, in conjunction with high-resolution geophysical data, to make interpretive maps of sedimentary environments and validate acoustic remote sensing data.
Integrated terrain models covering 16,357 square kilometers of the Massachusetts coastal zone and offshore waters were built to provide a continuous elevation and bathymetry terrain model for ocean planning purposes. A Triangulated Irregular Network was created from public-domain bathymetric and LiDAR data using the ArcGIS terrain-model framework.
Conceptual salt marsh units for wetland synthesis: Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey
The salt marsh complex of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (EBFNWR), which spans over Great Bay, Little Egg Harbor, and Barnegat Bay (New Jersey, USA), 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....
Geophysical data collected along the Atlantic continental slope and rise 2014, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity 2014-011-FA, cruise MGL1407
In summer 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey conducted a 21-day geophysical program in deep water along the Atlantic continental margin by using R/V Marcus G. Langseth (Field Activity Number 2014-011-FA). The purpose of the seismic program was to collect multichannel seismic reflection and refraction data to determine sediment thickness
Swath bathymetry collected offshore of Fire Island and western Long Island, New York in 2014, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity 2014-072-FA
Hurricane Sandy, the largest storm of historical record in the Atlantic basin, severely impacted southern Long Island, New York in October 2012. In 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), conducted a high-resolution multibeam echosounder survey with Alpine Ocean Seismic Survey, Inc., offshore of Fire Island and western Long Island...
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.
Intensities, aftershock sequences, and the location of the 1936 Milton‐Freewater earthquake near the Oregon–Washington border, U.S.A.
The epicenter of the 16 July 1936 M">MM 6 Milton‐Freewater earthquake, also known as the State Line earthquake and the largest historical earthquake in northeastern Oregon or southeastern Washington, is uncertain. Various studies place the epicenter of the earthquake, which was widely felt in eastern Washington, northeastern Oregon,...Brocher, Thomas M.; Sherrod, Brian
A physics-based earthquake simulator replicates seismic hazard statistics across California
Seismic hazard models are important for society, feeding into building codes and hazard mitigation efforts. These models, however, rest on many uncertain assumptions and are difficult to test observationally because of the long recurrence times of large earthquakes. Physics-based earthquake simulators offer a potentially helpful tool, but they...Shaw, Bruce E.; Milner, Kevin R.; Field, Edward H.; Richards-Dinger, Keith B.; Gilchrist, Jacquelyn J.; Dieterich, James H.; Jordan, Thomas H.
Bedrock mapping and seismic hazard assessment at Gold Basin landslide, Washington
The Gold Basin landslide is located along the South Fork Stillaguamish River, within the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in western Washington State. Recent concerns related to slope stability after the 2014 State Route 530 Landslide near Oso, Washington, forced the closure of the U.S. Forest Service Gold Basin Campground in May of 2014. In...Staisch, Lydia M.
Modeling the Holocene slip history of the Wasatch fault (Utah): Coseismic and postseismic Coulomb stress changes and implications for paleoseismicity and seismic hazard
The Wasatch fault zone defines the eastern boundary of the actively extending Basin and Range Province (Utah, western United States) and poses a significant seismic hazard to the metropolitan areas along the Wasatch Range. A wealth of paleoseismological data documents ∼24 surface-rupturing Mw ≥ 7 earthquakes along the Wasatch fault during the past...Bagge, Meike; Hampel andrea; Gold, Ryan D.
Slab2, a comprehensive subduction zone geometry model
Subduction zones are home to the most seismically active faults on the planet. The shallow megathrust interfaces of subduction zones host our largest earthquakes and are likely the only faults capable of magnitude 9+ ruptures. Despite these facts, our knowledge of subduction zone geometry—which likely plays a key role in determining the spatial...Hayes, Gavin; Moore, Ginevra; Portner, Daniel E.; Hearne, Mike; Flamme, Hanna E.; Furtney, Maria; Smoczyk, Gregory M.
The case for mean rupture distance in ground‐motion estimation
This article advocates for the use of mean rupture distances that we contend are more physically representative of the distance to an earthquake and are simpler than minimum distances. Many current ground‐motion models (GMMs) rely on numerous modifications of minimum rupture distances to accurately model near‐source ground motions. These...Thompson, Eric M.; Baltay, Annemarie S.
Broadband synthetic seismograms for magnitude 9 earthquakes on the Cascadia Megathrust based on 3D simulations and stochastic synthetics, Part 2: Rupture parameters and variability
We used a combination of 3D finite‐difference simulations (<1  Hz"><1 Hz) and 1D stochastic synthetics (>1  Hz">>1 Hz) to generate broadband (0–10 Hz) synthetic seismograms for numerous Mw">Mw 9 earthquake rupture scenarios on the Cascadia megathrust. Slip...Wirth, Erin A.; Frankel, Arthur; Marafi, Nasser A.; Vidale, John E.; Stephenson, William J.
Granite IP network default route disappearance—Diagnosis and solution
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Strong Motion Project (NSMP) operates numerous strong-motion seismographs to monitor ground shaking and structural response caused by large, nearby earthquakes. This report describes a problem NSMP scientists encountered communicating over the Internet with several Kinemetrics, Inc., Granite strong-motion...Baker, Lawrence M.
Seismic sensors record a hurricane’s roar
The instruments installed at Global Seismographic Network (GSN) stations were designed to record Earth’s vibrations, but they sometimes pick up sound waves from unexpected sources. For example, newly installed infrasound sensors at a station on Puerto Rico recorded the passage of Hurricane Maria on 20 September 2017.Wilson, David C.; Davis, Peter; Ebeling, Carl; Hutt, Charles R.; Hafner, Katrin
Complex bedding geometry in the upper portion of Aeolis Mons, Gale crater, Mars
The Upper formation of Aeolis Mons in Gale crater exhibits curvilinear bedding patterns on the surfaces of several erosional benches that have been interpreted as cross-bedding. We use High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) stereo topography to test this hypothesis by measuring the bedding geometry within these benches. The bedding...Anderson, Ryan; Edgar, Lauren; Rubin, David M.; Lewis, Kevin W.; Newman, Claire
Tilt Trivia: A free multiplayer app to learn geoscience concepts and definitions
Today’s technology is opening up new ways to learn. Here, we introduce Tilt Trivia, a suite of quiz‐style, multiplayer games for use on mobile devices and tablets (Android or Apple) to help students learn simple definitions and facts. This mobile device game was built using the Unity engine and has a multiplayer functionality that runs seamlessly...Kilb, Debi; Yang, Alan; Garrett, Nathan; Pankow, Kristine L.; Rubinstein, Justin L.; Linville, Lisa
KG²B, a collaborative benchmarking exercise for estimating the permeability of the Grimsel granodiorite - Part 2: modeling, microstructures and complementary data
Measuring and modelling the permeability of tight rocks remains a challenging task. In addition to the traditional sources of errors that affect more permeable formations (e.g. sample selection, non-representative specimens, disturbance introduced during sample acquisition and preparation), tight rocks can be particularly prone to solid–fluid...David, Christian; Wassermann, J.; Amann, F.; Klaver, J.; Davy, C.; Sarout, J.; Esteban, L.; Rutter, E.H.; Hu, Q.; Louis, L.; Delage, P.; Lockner, David A.; Selvadurai, A.P.S.; Vanorio, T; Amann Hildenbrand, A.; Meredith, P.G.; Browning, J.; Mitchell, T.M.; Madonna, C.; Billiotte, J.; Reuschle, T.; Lasseux, D.; Fortin, J.; Lenormand, R.; Loggia, D.; Nono, F.; Boitnott, G.; Jahns, E.; Fleury. M.; Berthe, G.; Braun, P.; Grégoire, D.; Perrier, L.; Polito, P.; Jannot, Y.; Sommier, A.; Krooss, B.; Fink, R.; Clark, A.
Cover of the 2018 publication, "California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment: Statewide Summary Report."
Two views from the Rainbow Falls overlook, downstream of the Wailuku River streamgage near Hilo, Hawaii. The image on the left shows a typical base flow of about 35 cubic feet per second (cfs). The image on the right shows the early impact of Hurricane Lane with a flow of about 26,000 cfs taken at 8:35 a.m. HST, August 23, 2018. This U.S. Geological Survey streamgage has...
Jenny White McKee and Pete Dal Ferro of the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center retrieve two airguns during the 2018 MATRIX cruise aboard the R/V Hugh R. Sharp. The seismic streamer is visible on the winch in the foreground.
Landsat 8 captured satellite views of California’s largest wildfire on record in the summer of 2018. The Mendocino Complex Fire in northern California is a combination of two fires: the Ranch Fire and the River Fire.
Both fires started July 27, and hot, dry, windy conditions caused them to spread rapidly. Landsat 8 imaged the area the day before the fires broke out...
USGS display table at the 2018 Woods Hole, MA Science Stroll
In July 2018, three USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center researchers installed instruments and hosted a community outreach event.
Scientists complete mission to map fast-moving fault off Alaska: Data will help coastal communities prepare for risks from earthquakes and tsunamis
Researchers from NOAA, U.S. Geological Survey and their partners have completed the first high-resolution, comprehensive mapping of one of the fastest moving underwater tectonic faults in the world, located in southeastern Alaska. This information will help communities in coastal Alaska and Canada better understand and prepare for the risks from earthquakes and tsunamis that can occur when faults suddenly move.
Better performance and new features: landslides and liquefaction estimates, population map layer, Spanish Did You Feel It?, and aftershock forecasts.
The public can now access information about active wildfires across the country using a smartphone.
Twenty-five middle-school girls from Washington and Oregon are participating in the fourth annual “GeoGirls” outdoor volcano science program at Mount St. Helens, jointly organized by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Mount St. Helens Institute.
A model developed by researchers at Indiana University and the USGS can help experts address such risks by estimating the likelihood of landslides that will be caused by earthquakes anywhere in the world within minutes. Read story.
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.
Southern California coastal cliffs could retreat 135 feet in 80 years as erosion rates potentially double
USGS scientists combined a series of computer models to forecast cliff erosion along the Southern California coast.
Coastal cliffs from Santa Barbara to San Diego might crumble at more than twice the historical rate by the year 2100 as sea levels rise.
USGS scientists have been developing a system to quickly identify areas where landslides may have been triggered by a significant earthquake.