Mission Areas

Natural Hazards

Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

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
Filter Total Items: 289
Date published: August 31, 2018
Status: Active

Coastal Model Applications and Field Measurements- Ocean Model Contributions

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).

Date published: August 29, 2018
Status: Active

Beach-dependent Shorebirds

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...

Date published: August 28, 2018
Status: Active

Coastal Model Applications and Field Measurements

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...

Date published: August 27, 2018
Status: Completed

IMMeRSS-- Geophysical Imaging for Methane Seep Studies

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...

Date published: August 27, 2018
Status: Completed

IMMeRSS-- Dating Past Methane Seepage

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...

Date published: August 27, 2018
Status: Completed

IMMeRSS- Seafloor Methane Seep Environments

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 ...

Date published: August 27, 2018
Status: Completed

IMMeRSS-- Interagency Mission for Methane Research on Seafloor Seeps

 

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...

Contacts: Carolyn Ruppel, Ph.D, Amanda Demopoulos, Ph.D., Nancy Prouty, Diana Sahay, Daniel Concon
Date published: August 23, 2018
Status: Active

Gas Hydrates- Laboratory and Field Support

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.

Date published: August 23, 2018
Status: Active

Gas Hydrates- Submarine Slope Destabilization

USGS scientists have a long tradition of studying submarine slope failures and were among the first to note a spatial link between slope failures and gas hydrates/gas-charged sediments. USGS Gas Hydrates scientists support the USGS Hazards Mission area through field-based surveys that refine understanding of this association and through geotechnical studies that evaluate the response of...

Date published: August 23, 2018
Status: Active

Gas Hydrates- Atlantic Margin Methane Seeps

Analysis of 94,000 square kilometers of multibeam water column backscatter data collected by the NOAA Okeanos Explorer mostly seaward of the shelf-break on the northern US Atlantic margin reveals more than 570 gas plumes that correspond to seafloor methane seeps. This discovery is documented in an August 2014 ...

Date published: August 22, 2018
Status: Completed

Caribbean Tsunami and Earthquake Hazards Studies- Models

The Puerto Rico trench exhibits great water depth, extremely low gravity anomaly, and a tilted carbonate platform between (reconstructed) elevations of +1300 m and -4000 m. we suggest that these features are manifestations of large vertical movements of a segment of the Puerto Rico Trench, its forearc, and the island of Puerto Rico that took place 3.3 m.y. ago over a time period as short as 14...

Date published: August 22, 2018
Status: Completed

Caribbean Tsunami and Earthquake Hazards Studies-Tsunami Potential

Newly-acquired multibeam bathymetry of the entire Puerto Rico trench reveals numerous retrograde slope failures at various scales at the edge of the carbonate platform north of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The slumped material comprises carbonate blocks, which are cohesive and the edge of the carbonate platform is steeper than most continental slopes, resulting in a higher potential...

Filter Total Items: 143
Date published: March 26, 2018

Bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Hudson Shelf Valley

 The purpose of the multibeam echosounder surveys was to map the bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the valley, providing a framework for geologic, oceanographic, and geochemical studies. The data from the three surveys are combined to produce grids of bathymetry and backscatter intensity at 12-m resolution that cover the entire valley and the head of the Hudson Canyon...

Date published: March 26, 2018

Monitoring Mount St. Helens

Monitoring of earthquake and volcanic acitivity at Mount St. Helens.

Date published: March 20, 2018

High-resolution geophysical data collected along the Mississippi River Delta front offshore of southeastern Louisiana, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity 2017-003-FA

High resolution bathymetric, sea-floor backscatter, and seismic-reflection data were collected offshore of southeastern Louisiana aboard the research vessel Point Sur on May 19-26, 2017, in an effort to characterize mudflow hazards on the Mississippi River Delta front. The primary objective of this cruise was to assess the suitability of sea-floor mapping and shallow subsurface imaging tools...

Date published: February 20, 2018

Data compilation of soil respiration, moisture, and temperature measurements from global warming experiments from 1994-2014

This dataset is the largest global dataset to date of soil respiration, moisture, and temperature measurements, totaling >3800 observations representing 27 temperature manipulation studies, spanning nine biomes and nearly two decades of warming experiments. Data for this study were obtained from a combination of unpublished data and published literature values.

Date published: February 20, 2018

Continuous and optimized 3-arcsecond elevation model for United States east and west coasts

This data release contains the compilation of multiple elevation products into a continuous digital elevation model at a resolution of 3-arcseconds (approximately 90 meters) from the terrestrial landscape to the seafloor for the contiguous U.S. and portions of Mexico and Canada, focused on the coastal interface.

Date published: February 20, 2018

Bathymetry and Backscatter Intensity of the Sea Floor South of Long Island, New York

Surveys of the bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor south of Long Island, New York, were carried out in November 1998 using a Simrad EM1000 multibeam echosounder mounted on the Canadian Coast Guard ship Frederick G. Creed. 

The area was mapped by the U.S. Geological Survey with support from the Canadian Hydrographic Service and the University of New Brunswick.

Date published: February 20, 2018

Bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Historic Area Remediation Site in 1996, 1998, and 2000

Surveys of the bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Historic Area Remediation Site (HARS), offshore of New York and New Jersey, were carried out in 1996, 1998, and 2000 using a Simrad EM1000 multibeam echosounder mounted on the Canadian Coast Guard ship Frederick G. Creed

Date published: February 20, 2018

Bathymetry, backscatter intensity, and geomorphology of the sea floor of the Hudson Canyon and adjacent slope and rise

The Hudson Canyon begins on the outer continental shelf off the eastern coast of the United States at about 100-meters (m) water depth and extends offshore southeastward across the continental slope and rise. A multibeam survey was carried out in 2002 to map the bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Hudson Canyon and adjacent slope and rise.

Date published: February 20, 2018

Bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Atlantic Beach artificial reef, offshore of New York

The Atlantic Beach artificial reef, located on the sea floor 3 nautical miles south of Atlantic Beach, New York in about 20 meters water depth, was built to create habitat for marine life.  The data from this survey are bathymetry, backscatter intensity, and navigation trackline.

Date published: February 20, 2018

Bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Sandy Hook artificial reef, offshore of New Jersey

The Sandy Hook artificial reef, located on the sea floor offshore of Sandy Hook, New Jersey was built to create habitat for marine lie. The collected data from this cruise are bathymetry, backscatter intensity, and navigation trackline. 

Date published: February 20, 2018

Sediment Texture and Geomorphology of the Sea Floor from Fenwick Island, Maryland to Fisherman's Island, Virginia

These data are a qualitatively derived interpretive polygon shapefile defining surficial sediment type and distribution, and geomorphology, for nearly 1,400 square kilometers of sea floor on the inner-continental shelf from Fenwick Island, Maryland to Fisherman’s Island, Virginia, USA.

Date published: February 15, 2018

Coastal Groundwater Chemical Data from the North and South Shores of Long Island, New York

Groundwater data were collected in the spring and fall of 2008 from three sites representing different geological settings and biogeochemical conditions within the surficial glacial aquifer of Long Island, NY. 

Filter Total Items: 4,632
Year Published: 2018

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
Wilson, D. C., P. Davis, C. Ebeling, C. R. Hutt, and K. Hafner (2018), Seismic sensors record a hurricane’s roar, Eos, 99, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018EO102963. Published on 03 August 2018.

Year Published: 2018

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
Anderson, R.B., Edgar, L.A., Rubin, D.M., Lewis, K.W., Newman, C., 2018. Complex bedding geometry in the upper portion of Aeolis Mons, Gale crater, Mars. Icarus 314, 246–264. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2018.06.009

Year Published: 2018

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

Year Published: 2018

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.
C. David, J. Wassermann, F. Amann, J. Klaver, C. Davy, J. Sarout, L. Esteban, E.H. Rutter, Q. Hu, L. Louis, P. Delage, D.A. Lockner, A.P.S. Selvadurai, T. Vanorio, A. Amann Hildenbrand, P.G. Meredith, J. Browning, T.M. Mitchell, C. Madonna, J. Billiotte, T. Reuschl´e, D. Lasseux, J. Fortin, R. Lenormand, D. Loggia, F. Nono, G. Boitnott, E. Jahns, M. Fleury, G. Berthe, P. Brau, D. Gr´egoir, L. Perrie, P. Polit, Y. Janno, A. Sommie, B. Krooss, R. Fi, and A. Clark. (2018), KG²B: a collaborative benchmarking exercise for estimating the permeability of the Grimsel granodiorite - Part 2: modeling, microstructures and complementary data, Geophys J Int, 215, 825-843, https://doi.org/10.1093/gji/ggy305.

Year Published: 2018

Geoelectric hazard maps for the Pacific Northwest

Maps of extreme value, horizontal component geoelectric field amplitude are constructed for the Pacific Northwest United States (and parts of neighboring Canada). Multidecade long geoelectric field time series are calculated by convolving Earth surface impedance tensors from 71 discrete magnetotelluric survey sites across the region with...

Love, Jeffrey J.; Lucas, Greg M.; Kelbert, Anna; Bedrosian, Paul A.

Year Published: 2018

Turing-style tests for UCERF3 synthetic catalogs

Epidemic-Type Aftershock Sequence (ETAS) catalogs generated from the 3rd Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (UCERF3) model are unique in that they are the first to combine a complex, fault-based long-term forecast with short-term earthquake clustering statistics. We present Turing-style tests to examine whether these synthetic catalogs...

Page, Morgan T.; Van Der Elst, Nicholas

Year Published: 2018

Stronger peak ground motion, beyond the threshold to initiate a response, does not lead to larger stream discharge responses to earthquakes

The impressive number of stream gauges in Chile, combined with a suite of past and recent large earthquakes, makes Chile a unique natural laboratory to study several streams that recorded responses to multiple seismic events. We document changes in discharge in eight streams in Chile following two or more large earthquakes. In all cases, discharge...

Mohr, Christian H.; Manga, Michael; Wald, David J.
Mohr, C. H., Manga, M., & Wald, D. J. (2018). Stronger peak ground motion, beyond the threshold to initiate a response, does not lead to larger stream discharge responses to earthquakes. Geophysical Research Letters, 45. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GL078621

Year Published: 2018

The science, engineering applications, and policy implications of simulation-based PSHA

We summarize scientific methods for developing probabilistic seismic hazard assessments from 3-D earthquake ground motion simulations, describe current use of simulated ground motions for engineering applications, and discuss on-going efforts to incorporate these effects in the U.S. national seismic hazard model. The 3-D simulations provide...

Moschetti, Morgan P.; Chang, Sandra P.; Crouse, C.B; Frankel, Arthur; Graves, Robert; Puangnak, H; Luco, Nicolas; Goulet, Christine A.; Rezaeian, Sanaz; Shumway, Allison; Powers, Peter M.; Petersen, Mark D.; Callaghan, Scott; Jordan, T.H.; Milner, Kevin R.

Year Published: 2018

A novel technique for precision geometric correction of jitter distortion for the Europa Imaging System and other rolling shutter cameras

We use simulated images to demonstrate a novel technique for mitigating geometric distortions caused by platform motion (“jitter”) as two-dimensional image sensors are exposed and read out line by line (“rolling shutter”). The results indicate that the Europa Imaging System (EIS) on NASA’s Europa Clipper can likely meet its scientific goals...

Kirk, Randolph L.; Shepherd, Makayla; Sides, Stuart
International Archives of Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing, and Spatial Information Sciences, XLII-3, 735–739.

Year Published: 2018

Candidate products for operational earthquake forecasting illustrated using the HayWired planning scenario, including one very quick (and not‐so‐dirty) hazard‐map option

In an effort to help address debates on the usefulness of operational earthquake forecasting (OEF), we illustrate a number of OEF products that could be automatically generated in near‐real time. To exemplify, we use an M">M 7.1 mainshock on the Hayward fault, which is very similar to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) HayWired earthquake...

Field, Edward H.; Milner, Kevin R.
Field, E. H. and K. R. Milner (2018). Candidate Products for Operational Earthquake Forecasting Illustrated Using the HayWired Planning Scenario, Including One Very Quick (and Not‐So‐Dirty) Hazard‐Map Option, Seismological Research Letters, 89, 1420-1434, doi:10.1785/0220170241

Year Published: 2018

An updated method for estimating landslide‐event magnitude

Summary statistics derived from the frequency–area distribution (FAD) of inventories of triggered landslides allows for direct comparison of landslides triggered by one event (e.g. earthquake, rainstorm) with another. Such comparisons are vital to understand links between the landslide‐event and the environmental characteristics of the area...

Tanyas, Hakan; Allstadt, Kate E.; van Weston, Cees J.
Tanyas, H., Allstadt, K.E., van Westen, C.J., 2018, An updated method for estimating landslide-event magnitude, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.4359

Year Published: 2018

Frictional properties and 3-D stress analysis of the southern Alpine Fault, New Zealand

New Zealand's Alpine Fault (AF) ruptures quasi-periodically in large-magnitude earthquakes. Paleoseismological evidence suggests that about half of all recognized AF earthquakes terminated at the boundary between the Central and South Westland sections of the fault. There, fault geometry and the polarity of uplift change. The South Westland...

Boulton, Carolyn; Barth, Nicolas C.; Moore, Diane E.; Lockner, David A.; Townend, John; Faulkner, Daniel R.

Filter Total Items: 2,698
Photograph of Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center staff at 2018 Woods Hole Science Stroll
August 11, 2018

Woods Hole Science Stroll 2018

Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center staff, Tarandeep Kalra (pointing in light blue shirt) and Zafer Defne (orange USGS shirt) discuss oceanographic models with Science Stroll attendees

Photograph of a drone flying over the water at the 2018 Woods Hole Science Stroll
August 11, 2018

Drone Demos at 2018 Woods Hole, MA Science Stroll

USGS drone demonstration at the 2018 Woods Hole, MA Science Stroll

Photograph of a USGS drone flying over the water at the 2018 Woods Hole, MA Science Stroll
August 11, 2018

Drone Demos at 2018 Woods Hole, MA Science Stroll

USGS drone demonstration at the 2018 Woods Hole, MA Science Stroll

Photograph of USGS personnel talking to Science Stroll participants
August 11, 2018

Sharing Science

Sandy Baldwin, Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, shares video from the kilauea volcano with Science Stroll participants.

Photograph of a sonobuoy launch
August 10, 2018

Sonobuoy launch

Jenny White McKee watches as an expendable sonobuoy leaves the launcher during the 2018 MATRIX cruise on the R/V Hugh R. Sharp.  The sonobuoy deploys an antenna used to transmit received seismic signals back to the ship over radio frequencies at distances up to 15 km away.

USGS personnel configuring and deploying the streamer of hydrophone receivers on the R/V Hugh R. Sharp
August 9, 2018

USGS personnel configuring and deploying the streamer of hydrophone

USGS personnel configuring and deploying the streamer of hydrophone receivers on the R/V Hugh R. Sharp during the MATRIX cruise.  In foreground from left to right are Nathan Miller, Wayne Baldwin, and Eric Moore from the USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center.

Photograph of USGS scientist setting a target in Great Marsh, Sandy Neck, Beach, Cape Cod, MA
August 8, 2018

Setting Targets in the Great Marsh, Cape Cod, MA

USGS Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) pilot, Elizabeth Pendleton, setting a target in Great Marsh, Sandy Neck Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Photograph of USGS drone pilots standing on a sand dune at Sandy Neck Beach, Cape Cod, MA
August 8, 2018

Dunes and Drone Pilots

Sandy Brosnahan (left) and Ellizabeth Pendleton (right), Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) pilots flying drones at Sandy Neck Beach, Cape Cod, MA.  

Photograph of Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center UAS pilots walking on Great Marsh, Cape Cod, MA
August 8, 2018

Great Marsh, Cape Cod, MA

Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Aerial Imaging and Mapping (AIM) group on Great Marsh, Cape Cod, MA

Photograph of USGS drone pilots standing on a dune at Sandy Neck Beach, Cape Cod
August 7, 2018

Drone flight at Sandy Neck Beach, Cape Cod

Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) pilots Sandy Brosnahan (left) and Elizabeth Pendleton conduct a drone flight from atop a dune at Sandy Neck (Cape Cod).

Filter Total Items: 407
Date published: June 1, 2018

A Possible Cause of Earthquakes in the Continental Interior

A new map of crustal stress across the U.S. shows that the plate interior stress is variable, with contributions from plate boundary stress, crustal collapse due to gravity, and more local and subtle changes to style, orientation, and earthquake rate.

Date published: June 1, 2018

Oklahoma Study Reveals Possible, Previously Unknown Sources of Earthquakes

Magnetic measurements made during low-altitude airplane flights conducted for the U.S. Geological Survey and the Oklahoma Geological Survey reveal possible deep faults that may contribute to increased seismic activity in response to wastewater injection in certain portions of Oklahoma.

Date published: May 31, 2018

Mensa tour of Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

On April 28, the San Francisco chapter of Mensa toured the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center with research geologist Curt Storlazzi (also a Mensa member) and acting deputy director Nadine Golden.

Date published: May 31, 2018

USGS Hurricane Response Met Challenges in 2017, Prepares for 2018

No one has a crystal ball to foresee what will happen during the 2018 hurricane season that begins June 1, but NOAA forecasters say there’s a 75 percent chance this hurricane season will be at least as busy as a normal year, or busier.

Date published: May 30, 2018

Video cameras monitor coastal change on Whidbey Island, Washington

Video cameras installed by the USGS Remote Sensing Coastal Change project overlook the coast on Whidbey Island, Washington, about 25 miles north of Seattle. 

Date published: May 23, 2018

Most-cited award for special issue of Marine Geology

A USGS-led special issue of Marine Geology received a most-cited certificate from the journal in May 2018.

Date published: May 17, 2018

USGS scientist visits Korea Institute of Geology and Mineral Industries

USGS research geologist Sam Johnson of the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (PCMSC) made an invited visit to the Korea Institute of Geology and Mineral Industries (KIGAM) in Daejon, South Korea, on April 24–26.

Date published: May 17, 2018

Kilauea volcanic activity and ash eruptions intensify

With ash eruptions occurring from Kilauea’s summit this week, there is a threat of an even larger steam-driven violent explosion. Such an eruption could happen suddenly and send volcanic ash 20,000 feet into the air, threatening communities for miles.

Date published: May 15, 2018

Landslides Can Cause More Landslides

The deadliest individual landslides in the U.S. recently were in places where there had previously been a landslide. Why do landslides happen in the same place instead of on nearby slopes that appear to be just as likely, if not more likely, to slide?

Date published: May 8, 2018

News Media briefing for latest update at Hawaii’s Kīlauea Volcano

Representatives of the news media are invited to join a telephone briefing for the latest updates on Kīlauea's volcanic activity and its impacts.

Filter Total Items: 177