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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 Central Virginia seismic zone (CVSZ) comprises an area of ~13,000 km2 in the central Virginia Piedmont; seismicity in this zone is relatively frequent, but generally mild in magnitude. The August 2011 event was the largest temblor recorded in the CVSZ since the development of modern seismic monitoring and highlighted how little we actually know about the CVSZ, including: 1) the...
With data provided by magnetic observatories, geophysicists can gain insights into our planet’s interior and nearby space environment without even leaving the ground.
This introduction to geomagnetism is from "Magnetic monitoring of earth and space" (PDF) by Jeffrey Love, published in Physics Today 61, 2, 31...
Understanding the processes that control local sediment fluxes is critical in evaluating regional vulnerability to coastal erosion. This project task involves the analysis of observational data collected as part of the South Carolina Coastal Erosion Study (SCCES), and additional coastal process modeling for the Grand Strand region....
The most prominent morphologic features along the shoreline of the Carolinas are its four capes. From north to south, Cape Hatteras, Cape Lookout, Cape Fear, and Cape Romain segment the coastline into the northern outer banks, Raliegh Bay, Onslo Bay, and Long Bay regions. Continental shelf areas seaward of the capes are characterized by large, highly dynamic shoal complexes, which influence...
Fire Island, a 50-km long barrier-island system between Fire Island Inlet and Moriches Inlet, attracts significant tourism, includes federal, state, and county parks, contains a number of coastal communities, provides storm damage protection to the adjacent heavily populated mainland, and supports a distinct barrier island ecosystem, all of which are affected by coastal change. Mitigating the...
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.
National Assessment of Shoreline Change: A GIS compilation of Updated Vector Shorelines and Associated Shoreline Change Data for the Southeast Atlantic Coast
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is conducting a national assessment of coastal change hazards. One component of this research effort, the National Assessment of Shoreline Change Project documents changes in shoreline position as a proxy for coastal change.
National Assessment of Shoreline Change: A GIS compilation of Updated Vector Shorelines and Associated Shoreline Change Data for the Gulf of Mexico Coast
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is conducting a national assessment of coastal change hazards. One component of this research effort, the National Assessment of Shoreline Change Project, documents changes in shoreline position as a proxy for coastal change. Shoreline position is an easily understood feature representing the historical location of a beach position through time.
Topographic, imagery, and raw data associated with unmanned aerial systems (UAS) flights over Black Beach, Falmouth, Massachusetts on 18 March 2016
The U.S. Geological Survey worked in collaboration with members of the Marine Biological Laboratory and Woods Hole Analytics at Black Beach, in Falmouth, Massachusetts to explore scientific research demands on UAS technology for topographic and habitat mapping applications.
Data and calculations to support the study of the sea-air flux of methane and carbon dioxide on the West Spitsbergen margin in June 2014
This dataset collected on the West Spitsbergen margin during U.S. Geological Survey Coastal and Marine Geology Program Field Activity 2014-013-FA, which was carried out in conjunction with the University of Tromso and the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel on the R/V Helmer Hanssen.
Water column physical and chemical properties of Cenote Bang, a component of the Ox Bel Ha cave network within the subterranean estuary coastal aquifer of the Yucatan Peninsula, from December 2013 to January 2016
This dataset, collected during four field events during U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Coastal and Marine Geology Program Field Activities 2015-013-FA and 2016-003-FA in conjunction with Texas A&M University reports geochemical properties of the water column from Cenote Bang, a component of the Ox Bel Ha cave network that is located 5 km inland from the coast.
Percentage of sandy beaches very likely (probability > 0.9) to experience erosion associated with collision, overwash, and inundation during class 1-3 nor’easter impact.
Percentage of sandy beaches very likely (probability > 0.9) to experience erosion associated with collision, overwash, and inundation during category 1-5 hurricane landfall.
Multichannel sparker seismic-reflection data of field activity 2016-656-FA; between Icy Point and Dixon Entrance, Gulf of Alaska from 2016-08-07 to 2016-08-26
This data release contains high-resolution multichannel seismic (MCS) reflection data collected in August of 2016 along the southeast Alaska continental margin. Structure perpendicular MCS profiles were collected along the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault. The data were collected aboard the R/V Norseman using a Delta sparker sound source and recorded on a 64-channel digital streamer...
Shoreline change rates in salt marsh units in Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey
This dataset displays shoreline change rates at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (EBFNWR), which spans over Great Bay, Little Egg Harbor, and Barnegat Bay in New Jersey, USA
Sea floor sediment samples, seabed imagery, and CTD data collected in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, MA in 2015, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity 2015-062-FA
This field activity is part of the effort to map geologic substrates of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary region off Boston, Massachusetts. The overall goal is to develop high-resolution (1:25,000) interpretive maps, based on multibeam sonar data and seabed sampling, showing surficial geology and seabed sediment dynamics.
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 and then interpolated into a 32-bit GeoTiff....
To catch a quake
A revolution in seismic detection technology is underway, capturing unprecedented observations of earthquakes and their impacts. These sensor innovations provide real-time ground shaking observations that could improve emergency response following damaging earthquakes and may advance our understanding of the physics of earthquake ruptures.Cochran, Elizabeth S.
Using geologic structures to constrain constitutive laws not accessible in the laboratory
In this essay, we explore a central problem of structural geology today, and in the foreseeable future, which is the determination of constitutive laws governing rock deformation to produce geologic structures. Although laboratory experiments provide much needed data and insights about constitutive laws, these experiments cannot cover...Nevitt, Johanna; Warren, Jessica M.; Kumamoto, Kathryn M.; Pollard, David D.
Why aftershock duration matters for probabilistic seismic hazard assessment
Most hazard assessments assume that high background seismicity rates indicate a higher probability of large shocks and, therefore, of strong shaking. However, in slowly deforming regions, such as eastern North America, Australia, and inner Honshu, this assumption breaks down if the seismicity clusters are instead aftershocks of historic and...Shinji Toda; Stein, Ross S.
Using stereo satellite imagery to account for ablation, entrainment, and compaction in volume calculations for rock avalanches on Glaciers: Application to the 2016 Lamplugh Rock Avalanche in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
The use of preevent and postevent digital elevation models (DEMs) to estimate the volume of rock avalanches on glaciers is complicated by ablation of ice before and after the rock avalanche, scour of material during rock avalanche emplacement, and postevent ablation and compaction of the rock avalanche deposit. We present a model to account for...Bessette-Kirton, Erin; Coe, Jeffrey A.; Zhou, Wendy
ShakeMap-based prediction of earthquake-induced mass movements in Switzerland calibrated on historical observations
In Switzerland, nearly all historical Mw ~ 6 earthquakes have induced damaging landslides, rockslides and snow avalanches that, in some cases, also resulted in damage to infrastructure and loss of lives. We describe the customisation to Swiss conditions of a globally calibrated statistical approach originally developed to rapidly assess...Cauzzi, Carlo; Fah, Donat; Wald, David J.; Clinton, John; Losey, Stephane; Wiemer, Stefan
Regional spectral analysis of moderate earthquakes in northeastern North America—Final Report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Project V6240, Task 3
We analyze the Fourier spectra of S+Lg+surface wave groups from the horizontal and vertical components of broadband and accelerogram recordings of 120 small and moderate (2< Mw <6) earthquakes recorded by Canadian and American stations sited on rock at distances from 3 to 600 kilometers. There are seven Mw 4.0–4.5, six Mw 4.5–5.0, and...Boatwright, Jack
Analysis of mean seismic ground motion and its uncertainty based on the UCERF3 geologic slip rate model with uncertainty for California
The Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast v.3 (UCERF3) model (Field et al., 2014) considers epistemic uncertainty in fault‐slip rate via the inclusion of multiple rate models based on geologic and/or geodetic data. However, these slip rates are commonly clustered about their mean value and do not reflect the broader distribution of...Zeng, Yuehua
Landslides triggered by the 14 November 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikōura Earthquake, New Zealand
The 14 November 2016 Mw">MwMw 7.8 Kaikōura earthquake generated more than 10,000 landslides over a total area of about 10,000  km2">10,000 km210,000 km2, with the majority concentrated in a smaller area of about 3600  km2">3600 km23600 km2. The largest landslide triggered...Massey, C.; Townsend, D.; Rathje, Ellen M.; Allstadt, Kate E.; Lukovic, B.; Kaneko, Yoshihiro; Bradley, Brendon A.; Wartman, J.; Jibson, Randall W.; Petley, D. N.; Horspool, Nick; Hamling, I.; Carey, J.; Cox, S.; Davidson, John; Dellow, S.; Godt, Jonathan W.; Holden, Christopher; Jones, Katherine D.; Kaiser, Anna E.; Little, M.; Lyndsell, B.; McColl, S.; Morgenstern, R.; Rengers, Francis K.; Rhoades, D.; Rosser, B.; Strong, D.; Singeisen, C.; Villeneuve, M.
Laboratory tests of three Z‐Land Fairfield Nodal 5‐Hz, three‐component sensors
We conduct a number of laboratory tests at the Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory to verify the self‐noise and fidelity in which 3 three‐component Fairfield Nodal Z‐Land, Generation 2, 5‐Hz sensors are able to record seismic signals. In addition to the incoherent self‐noise of the sensors, we estimate the sensitivity of the units in digital...Ringler, Adam T.; Anthony, Robert E.; Karplus, M.S; Holland, Austin; Wilson, David C.
DDT and related compounds in pore water of shallow sediments on the Palos Verdes Shelf, California, USA
For nearly two and a half decades following World War II, production wastes from the world's largest manufacturer of technical DDT (1-chloro-4-[2,2,2-trichloro-1-(4-chlorophenyl)ethyl]benzene) were discharged into sewers of Los Angeles County. Following treatment, the wastes were released via a submarine outfall system to nearshore coastal waters...Eganhouse, Robert P.; DiFilippo, Erica L.; Pontolillo, James; Orem, William H.; Hackley, Paul C.; Edwards, Brian
Preface to the Focus Section on the Collaboratory for the Study of Earthquake Predictability (CSEP): New results and future directions
The Collaboratory for the Study of Earthquake Predictability (CSEP; Jordan, 2006) carries out fully prospective tests of earthquake forecasts, using fixed and standardized statistical tests and authoritative data sets, to assess the predictive skill of forecast models and to make objective comparisons between models. CSEP conducts prospective...Michael, Andrew J.; Werner, Maximillian J.
Ensemble smoothed seismicity models for the new Italian Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Map
We develop a long‐term (a few decades or longer) earthquake rate forecast for Italy based on smoothed seismicity for incorporation in the 2017–2018 Italian Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Maps (IPSHM). Because the earthquake rate models from previous IPSHM were computed using source zones that were drawn around seismicity and tectonic provinces, the...Akinci, Aybige; Moschetti, Morgan P.; Taroni, Matteo
Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center's Aerial Imaging and Mapping Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) pilots, Emily Sturdivant (left) and Elizabeth Pendleton (right) working the night shift in Hawaii at the Kileaua volcano site.
Woods Hole Costal and Marine Science Center staff offered a presentation and handouts on Natural Hazards and Coastal Hazards in Wetlands and Estuaries Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers (SSEATs)
Woods Hole Costal and Marine Science Center staff offered a presentation and handouts on Natural Hazards and Coastal Hazards in Wetlands and Estuaries at the Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers (SSEATs)
USGS and Washington State Department of Ecology scientists are geared up and ready to start a topographic survey at the mouth of the Elwha River, using handheld computers and backpack-mounted GPS equipment. From left to right are Owen Warrick (USGS Volunteer), Jon Warrick (USGS), Andy Ritchie (USGS), Heather Weiner (WA State Dept. of Ecology), Diana McCandless (WA State...
Time-lapse view of California Highway 1 reconstruction after 2017 landslide
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. In 2017, the massive Mud Creek landslide buried a quarter-mile of the famous coastal route...
During HVO's morning overflight today, the dramatic difference in landscapes on the northern and southern sides of the fissure 8 lava channel was readily apparent. With dominant trade winds blowing heat and volcanic gases to the southwest, the north side of the lava channel remains verdant, while, in stark contrast, vegetation on the south side has been severely impacted...
Fissure 8 and a full lava channel as seen during HVO's early morning overflight. The visible road is Nohea Street in the Leilani Estates subdivision. Steam generated from heated rain water rose from the...
Aerial view of Kapoho Crater looking toward the south-southeast. Part of the lava channelbecame blocked just upstream of Kapoho Crater yesterday, diverting flows to the west and then south around the crater (center right). Lava exiting a crusted section of the channel continued flowing in the channel pathway (lower center to left).
On Thursday, April 26, research geologist Curt Storlazzi of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center gave a public lecture on “The Role of U.S. Coral Reefs in Coastal Protection—Rigorously valuing flood reduction benefits to inform coastal zone management decisions.”
A deluge of media coverage followed publication of a USGS-led study showing that sea-level rise and wave-driven flooding could make many low-lying atoll islands uninhabitable by the mid-21st century by contaminating freshwater aquifers and damaging infrastructure. The...
Estuaries and wetlands provide a critical defense against storms and sea-level rise while providing economically valuable services. How well they protect coastal communities and host diverse ecosystems is largely a function of their shape (morphology), which is controlled by factors such as sediment movement and biological feedbacks.
Have you ever wondered what scientists do at a volcano observatory when a volcano is not erupting? There is plenty to accomplish—probably more than you can imagine.
May is Volcano Preparedness Month in Washington, providing residents an opportunity to become more familiar with volcanic risk in their communities and learn about steps they can take to reduce potential impacts.
Saltwater contamination of freshwater resources could make many atoll islands uninhabitable in decades
Sea-level rise and wave-driven flooding could introduce saltwater so frequently into atoll islands’ freshwater resources that many will be uninhabitable by the mid-21st century, according to a new study published in ...
Why was an earthquake in Virginia felt at more than twice the distance than a similar-sized earthquake in California? The answer is one that many people may not realize. Earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains can cause noticeable ground shaking at much farther distances than comparably-sized earthquakes in the West.
USGS collaborates with key academic, state, local, and industry partners to provide a new look at what could happen during a major earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Documentary about sea-level rise threatening the Republic of the Marshall Islands features USGS findings
USGS research in the Republic of the Marshall Islands forms part of the scientific foundation of an interactive documentary released April 6 by PBS Frontline.
USGS oceanographer Dan Hoover explained how USGS coastal surveys are conducted and why they are important in a radio interview with NPR affiliate KCLU. KCLU was one of several outlets that reported on ...