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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: 289
Date published: July 25, 2018
Status: Active

Overview

Examples of extreme-event work published by USGS scientists are on the Publications tab.

    Contacts: Jeffrey J Love
    Date published: July 24, 2018
    Status: Active

    Coastal Change Processes- South Carolina

    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....

    Date published: July 24, 2018
    Status: Active

    Coastal Change Processes- Cape Hatteras, NC

    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...

    Date published: July 24, 2018
    Status: Active

    Coastal Change Processes- Fire Island, NY

    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...

    Date published: July 23, 2018
    Status: Active

    Toro Negro, Puerto Rico

    Recent Conditions

    Instruments and are used to monitor and detect changes in local conditions, including:

    Date published: July 23, 2018
    Status: Active

    Utuado, Puerto Rico

    Recent Conditions

    Instruments and are used to monitor and detect changes in local conditions, including:

    Date published: July 23, 2018
    Status: Active

    Tucson (TUC)

    The Geomagnetism Program first established an observatory near Tucson in 1910 on what is now Morris K. Udall Regional Park. The current site, in the Saguaro National Park, was installed in 1996.

    Date published: July 23, 2018
    Status: Active

    San Juan (SJG)

    The Geomagnetism Program has operated an observatory at Puerto Rico since 1903. The current observatory site, consisting of 36 acres in the mountains near Cayey, has been in use since 1965.

    Date published: July 23, 2018
    Status: Active

    Sikta (SIT)

    Prior to the purchase of Alaska by the United States, the Russians operated a meteorological and magnetic observatory at Sitka from 1842 to 1867. The Geomagnetism Program established an observatory at Sitka, near the historic Russian cemetery, in 1901, when the Program was part of the Coast and Geodetic Survey and under the leadership of Drs Louis A. Bauer and John A. Fleming. The present...

    Date published: July 23, 2018
    Status: Active

    Shumagin (SHU)

    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Shumagin Magnetic Observatory is located near Sand Point, Alaska on the northwest coast of Popof Island, 575 air miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska. The observatory was established in 2003 to provide increased geomagnetic data coverage in southern Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. The observatory is located on land owned by ...

    Date published: July 23, 2018
    Status: Active

    Newport (NEW)

    The Newport observatory was established in 1966. The site, located in the Colville National Forest outside of Newport, supports several geophysical operations and is operated by the USGS under a special use permit with the US Forest Service.

    Date published: July 23, 2018
    Status: Active

    Honolulu (HON)

    The Geomagnetism Program established an observatory at Honolulu in 1902, when the Program was part of the Coast and Geodetic Survey and under the leadership of Drs Louis A. Bauer and John A. Fleming. The present observatory site was established in 1960. The observatory is located at Ewa Beach at the former location of the Pacific Tsunami Warning...

    Filter Total Items: 143
    Date published: January 19, 2018

    Total Water Level and Coastal Change Forecast Viewer

    Total water level (TWL) at the shoreline is the combination of tides, surge, and wave runup. A forecast of TWL is an estimate of the elevation where the ocean will meet the coast and can provide guidance on potential coastal erosion and flooding hazards.

    Date published: January 19, 2018

    Oblique Aerial Photography Viewer

    Obique photos offer a unique perspective of the coast. Features such as beach erosion or accretion, dune erosion and overwash can all be clearly characterized in this imagery. It also documents coastal infrastructure, as well as the damage that infrastructure may incur as the result of an impacting hurricane. 

    Date published: December 29, 2017

    Multibeam and multichannel sparker seismic-reflection data between Cross Sound and Dixon Entrance, offshore southeastern Alaska, collected from 2016-05-17 to 2016-06-12 during field activity 2016-625-FA

    Multibeam bathymetry and multichannel sparker seismic relfection data collected along the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather Fault between Icy Point and Dixon Entrance, offshore southeastern Alaska from 2016-05-17 to 2016-06-12.

    Date published: December 8, 2017

    iCoast

    Help scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey annotate aerial photographs with keyword tags to identify changes to the coast after extreme storms.

    Date published: October 19, 2017

    Multichannel minisparker and chirp seismic-reflection data of field activity 2015-651-FA; Chatham Strait and Cross Sound, southeastern Alaska from 2015-08-03 to 2015-08-21

    High-resolution multichannel minisparker and chirp seismic-reflection data were collected in August of 2015 to explore marine geologic hazards of inland waterways of southeastern Alaska. Sub-bottom profiles were acquired in the inland waters between Glacier Bay and Juneau, including Cross Sound and Chatham Strait.

    Date published: September 20, 2017

    Hurricane Jose 2017 Event Support Map

    Track hurricane data and USGS resources.

    Date published: September 19, 2017

    Interpretive data release for Oregon Outer Continental Shelf Seafloor Mapping: Selected Lease Blocks Relevant to Renewable Energy

    This data release includes the results of analysis of video data conducted by Oregon State University and the geo-habitat interpretation of multibeam echo sounder (MBES) data conducted by the USGS.

    Date published: September 18, 2017

    Hurricane Maria 2017 Event Support Map

    Track hurricane data and USGS resources.

    Date published: September 18, 2017

    National Assessment of Shoreline Change: A GIS compilation of updated vector shorelines and associated shoreline change data for the north coast of Alaska, U.S. Canadian border to Icy Cape

    This data release is an update to the original North Coast of Alaska data and includes revised rate-of-change calculations based on two additional shoreline positions data and improved rate metrics. 

    Date published: September 6, 2017

    Hurricane Harvey 2017 Event Support Map

    Track hurricane data and USGS resources.

    Date published: August 24, 2017

    Coastal Change Hazards Portal

    Interactive access to coastal change science and data for our Nation’s coasts. Information and products are organized within three coastal change hazard themes: 1) extreme storms, 2) shoreline change, and 3) sea-level rise. Displays probabilities of coastal erosion.

    Date published: August 18, 2017

    Water level measurements collected in West Falmouth Harbor, MA, 2017

    Water-level gauges were deployed at two sites in West Falmouth Harbor between April and June 2017.  One gauge was mounted under the town-owned West Falmouth boat dock and the other on the private Associates dock near the mouth of the Harbor. Data from the upper sensor at the Associates dock were used to make atmospheric pressure corrections at both sites.

    Filter Total Items: 4,632
    Year Published: 2018

    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
    Akinci, A., Moschetti, M. P., & Taroni, M. (2018). Ensemble smoothed seismicity models for the new Italian probabilistic seismic hazard map. Seismological Research Letters. doi:10.1785/0220180040

    Year Published: 2018

    Reexamination of the subsurface fault structure in the vicinity of the 1989 moment-magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake, central California, using steep-reflection, earthquake, and magnetic data

    We reexamine the geometry of the causative fault structure of the 1989 moment-magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake in central California, using seismic-reflection, earthquake-hypocenter, and magnetic data. Our study is prompted by recent interpretations of a two-part dip of the San Andreas Fault (SAF) accompanied by a flower-like structure in the...

    Zhang, Edward; Fuis, Gary S.; Catchings, Rufus D.; Scheirer, Daniel S.; Goldman, Mark; Bauer, Klaus
    Zhang, E., Fuis, G.S., Catchings, R.D., Scheirer, D.S., Goldman, M., and Bauer, K., 2018, Reexamination of the subsurface fault structure in the vicinity of the 1989 moment-magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake, central California, using steep-reflection, earthquake, and magnetic data: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1093, 35 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181093.

    Year Published: 2018

    On the feasibility of real-time mapping of the geoelectric field across North America

    A review is given of the present feasibility for accurately mapping geoelectric fields across North America in near-realtime by modeling geomagnetic monitoring and magnetotelluric survey data. Should this capability be successfully developed, it could inform utility companies of magnetic-storm interference on electric-power-grid systems. That real...

    Love, Jeffrey J.; Rigler, E. Joshua; Kelbert, Anna; Finn, Carol A.; Bedrosian, Paul A.; Balch, Christopher C.
    Love, J.J., Rigler, E.J., Kelbert, Anna, Finn, C.A., Bedrosian, P.A., and Balch, C.C., 2018, On the feasibility of real-time mapping of the geoelectric field across North America: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018-1043, 16 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181043.

    Year Published: 2018

    Injection-induced moment release can also be aseismic

    The cumulative seismic moment is a robust measure of the earthquake response to fluid injection for injection volumes ranging from 3100 to about 12 million m3. Over this range, the moment release is limited to twice the product of the shear modulus and the volume of injected fluid. This relation also applies at the much smaller injection volumes...

    McGarr, Arthur; Barbour, Andrew J.
    McGarr, A., & Barbour, A. J. (2018). Injection-induced moment release can also be aseismic. Geophysical Research Letters, 45. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GL078422

    Year Published: 2018

    The thermophysical properties of the Bagnold Dunes, Mars: Ground truthing orbital data

    We compare the thermophysical properties and particle sizes derived from the Mars Science Laboratory rover's Ground Temperature Sensor of the Bagnold dunes, specifically Namib dune, to those derived orbitally from Thermal Emission Imaging System, ultimately linking these measurements to ground truth particle sizes determined from Mars Hand Lens...

    Edwards, Christopher S.; Piqueux, Sylvain; Hamilton, Victoria E.; Fergason, Robin L.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Vasavada, Ashwin R.; Bennett, Kristen A.; Sacks, Leah; Lewis, Kevin; Smith, Michael D.

    Year Published: 2018

    The limits of earthquake early warning: Timeliness of ground motion estimates

    The basic physics of earthquakes is such that strong ground motion cannot be expected from an earthquake unless the earthquake itself is very close or has grown to be very large. We use simple seismological relationships to calculate the minimum time that must elapse before such ground motion can be expected at a distance from the earthquake,...

    Minson, Sarah E.; Meier, Men-Andrin; Baltay, Annemarie S.; Hanks, Thomas C.; Cochran, Elizabeth S.
    The limits of earthquake early warning: Timeliness of ground motion estimates By Sarah E. Minson, Men-Andrin Meier, Annemarie S. Baltay, Thomas C. Hanks, Elizabeth S. Cochran Science Advances 21 Mar 2018: Vol. 4, no. 3, eaaq0504 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaq0504

    Year Published: 2018

    Integrating real-time subsurface hydrologic monitoring with empirical rainfall thresholds to improve landslide early warning

    Early warning for rainfall-induced shallow landsliding can help reduce fatalities and economic losses. Although these commonly occurring landslides are typically triggered by subsurface hydrological processes, most early warning criteria rely exclusively on empirical rainfall thresholds and other indirect proxies for subsurface wetness. We explore...

    Mirus, Benjamin B.; Becker, Rachel E.; Baum, Rex L.; Smith, Joel B.
    Mirus, BB R Becker, RL Baum, JB Smith. 2018. Integrating real-time subsurface hydrologic monitoring with empirical rainfall thresholds to improve landslide early warning, Landslides, doi:10.1007/s10346-018-0995-z.

    Year Published: 2018

    Seismicity in the Challis, Idaho region, January 2014 - May 2017: Late aftershocks of the 1983 Ms 7.3 Borah Peak earthquake

    In April 2014, after about 20 yrs of relatively low seismicity, an energetic earthquake sequence (maximum ML">ML 4.8) began 25–30 km northwest of the 1983 Ms">Ms 7.3 Borah Peak earthquake rupture area near the town of Challis, Idaho. This sequence ended in the fall of 2014, but in January 2015, a second energetic...

    Pang, Guanning; Koper, Keith D.; Stickney, Michael C.; Pechmann, James C.; Burlacu, Relu; Pankow, Kristine L.; Payne, Suzette; Benz, Harley M.

    Year Published: 2018

    Application of microtremor horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio (MHVSR) analysis for site characterization: State of the art

    Nakamura (Q Rep Railway Tech Res Inst 30:25–33, 1989) popularized the application of the horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio (HVSR) analysis of microtremor (seismic noise or ambient vibration) recordings to estimate the predominant frequency and amplification factor of earthquake shaking. During the following quarter century, popularity in the...

    Molnar, S.; Cassidy, J. F. ; Castellaro, S.; Cornou, C.; Crow, H.; Hunter, J. A.; Matsushima, S.; Sanchez-Sesma, F. J.; Yong, Alan
    S. Molnar, J. F. Cassidy, S. Castellaro, C. Cornou, H. Crow, J. A. Hunter, S. Matsushima, & F. J. Sánchez-Sesma, and A. Yong (2018). Application of microtremor horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio (MHVSR) analysis for site characterization: state of the art, Surveys in Geophysics, p 1-19, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10712-018-9464-4.

    Year Published: 2018

    Strong variation in weathering of layered rock maintains hillslope‐scale strength under high precipitation

    The evolution of volcanic landscapes and their landslide potential are both dependent upon the weathering of layered volcanic rock sequences. We characterize critical zone structure using shallow seismic Vp and Vs profiles and vertical exposures of rock across a basaltic climosequence on Kohala peninsula, Hawai’i, and exploit...

    Von Voigtlander, Jennifer; Clark, Marin K.; Zekkos, Dimitrios; Greenwood, William W.; Anderson, Suzanne P.; Anderson, Robert S.; Godt, Jonathan W.
    Attribution: Natural Hazards
    Von Voigtlander, J., Clark, M.K., Zekkos, D., Greenwood, W.W., Anderson, S.P., Anderson, R.S., and Godt, J.W., 2018, Strong variation in weathering of layered rock maintains hillslope-scale strength under high precipitation: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, v. 43, p. 1183-1194.

    Year Published: 2018

    Interaction between hydraulic fracture and a preexisting fracture under triaxial stress conditions

    Enhanced reservoir connectivity generally requires maximizing the intersection between hydraulic fracture (HF) and preexisting underground natural fractures (NF), while having the hydraulic fracture cross the natural fractures (and not arrest). We have studied the interaction between a hydraulic fracture and a polished saw-cut fault. The...

    Mighani, Saied; Lockner, David A.; Kilgore, Brian D.; Sheibani, Farrokh; Evans, Brian
    Mighani, S., Lockner, D.A., Kilgore, B.D., Sheibani, F., and Evans, B., 2018, Interaction between hydraulic fracture and a preexisting fracture under triaxial stress conditions: Society of Petroleum Engineers International Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference and Exhibition, 23-25 January, The Woodlands, Texas, USA, https://doi.org/10.2118/189901-MS.

    Year Published: 2018

    A suite of exercises for verifying dynamic earthquake rupture codes

    We describe a set of benchmark exercises that are designed to test if computer codes that simulate dynamic earthquake rupture are working as intended. These types of computer codes are often used to understand how earthquakes operate, and they produce simulation results that include earthquake size, amounts of fault slip, and the patterns of...

    Harris, Ruth A.; Barall, Michael; Aagaard, Brad T.; Ma, Shuo; Roten, Daniel; Olsen, Kim B.; Duan, Benchun; Liu, Dunyu; Luo, Bin; Bai, Kangchen; Ampuero, Jean-Paul; Kaneko, Yoshihiro; Gabriel, Alice-Agnes; Duru, Kenneth; Ulrich, Thomas; Wollherr, Stephanie; Shi, Zheqiang; Dunham, Eric; Bydlon, Sam; Zhang, Zhenguo; Chen, Xiaofei; Somala, Surendra N.; Pelties, Christian; Tago, Josue; Cruz-Atienza, Victor Manuel; Kozdon, Jeremy; Daub, Eric; Aslam, Khurram; Kase, Yuko; Withers, Kyle; Dalguer, Luis
    Harris, R.A., M. Barall, B. Aagaard, S. Ma, D. Roten, K. Olsen, B. Duan, B. Luo, D. Liu, K. Bai, J.-P. Ampuero, Y. Kaneko, A.-A. Gabriel, K. Duru, T. Ulrich, S. Wollherr, Z. Shi, E. Dunham, S. Bydlon, Z. Zhang, X. Chen, S.N. Somala, C. Pelties, J. Tago, V.M. Cruz-Atienza, J. Kozdon, E. Daub, K. Aslam, Y. Kase, K. Withers, and L. Dalguer (2018), A suite of exercises for verifying dynamic earthquake rupture codes, Seism. Res. Lett., 89(3), 1146-1162, https://doi.org/10.1785/0220170222.

    Filter Total Items: 2,698
    Laze plume from ocean entry
    July 9, 2018

    Kīlauea Volcano — Warm Ponds Ocean Entry

    Southern end of the active fissure 8 flow margin north of the Analannui Park, known as the warm ponds. The flow margin is estimated to be about 500 m (0.3 mi) from the park.

    Lava entering the ocean through steam
    July 9, 2018

    Kīlauea Volcano — Lava Entering Ocean

    Lava entering the ocean as seen through steam and rain early this morning.

    Lava running past a residential area
    July 9, 2018

    Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 and Leilani Estates

    Fissure 8 and Leilani Estates viewed from the south. Houses in the foreground are located in the southern portion of Leilani Estates. Fissure 8 and surrounding 

    ...
    Dr. Meagan Gonneea (Cape Cod, MA) retrieves a core from an infilling salt marsh pond in the Great Barnstable Marsh
    July 9, 2018

    Core retrieval

    Dr. Meagan Gonneea (Cape Cod, MA) retrieves a core from an infilling salt marsh pond in the Great Barnstable Marsh.

    Crusted over lava flow
    July 9, 2018

    Kīlauea Volcano — Lower Section of Fissure 8 Flow

    The lower section of the fissure 8 lava channel appears to be almost completely crusted over, and the lava level in the channel was lower during this morning's

    ...
    Rain over a lava flow area
    July 9, 2018

    Kīlauea Volcano — Rain at Leilani Estates

    This photograph taken during this morning's overflight shows heavy, localized rain at 

    ...
    Laze plumes
    July 8, 2018

    Kīlauea Volcano — Multiple Laze Plumes

    Multiple ocean entries were active this early morning, each contributing to the prominent "laze" 

    ...
    Aerial view over residential area
    July 8, 2018

    Kīlauea Volcano — Lava Near Cape Kumukahi

    Lava still oozes from the northern edge of the ‘a‘ā flow near the lighthouse at Cape Kumukahi (upper right). Smoke from burning vegetation marks location of lava oozeouts. View is toward the northeast. 

    Aerial of braided lava channel
    July 8, 2018

    Kīlauea Volcano — Braided Lava Channel

    Braided section of the lava channel located "downstream" between about 3.5 to 6 km (2.2 to 3.7 mi) from fissure 8 (upper right). The width of the two channels in the middle center is about 325 m (1,065 ft). View is toward the southwest.

    Aerial of lava flow
    July 8, 2018

    Kīlauea Volcano — Kapoho Crater

    View of the partially filled Kapoho Crater (center) and the open lava channel where it makes a 90-degree turn around the crater. The open channel no longer directly enters the ocean. Lava flows freely through the channel only to the southern edge of Kapoho Crater (left side of image). Clearly, lava moves into and through the molten core of the thick ‘a‘ā flow across a

    ...
    Filter Total Items: 407
    Date published: April 9, 2018

    The Electric Storm of November 1882

    Strange things started happening on November 17, 1882, and no one knew quite what to make of it.

    Date published: April 4, 2018

    USGS Seeks Earthquake Hazards Research Proposals

    Applications due May 22, 2018

    Date published: March 29, 2018

    International Mapping Standards Updated for Planets throughout Solar System

    Clarifying Latitude and Longitude for Planets besides Earth

    Date published: March 28, 2018

    Tracking the movement of sediment and contaminants from northern California wildfire areas to San Francisco Bay

    USGS research geologist Renee Takesue of the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center collected 20 sediment samples from Sonoma Creek and Napa River north of San Francisco Bay on March 17.

    Date published: March 27, 2018

    Earthquake Early Warning! New Study Examines Safety Potentials and Limits

    In a newly published study, U.S. Geological Survey scientists and their partners calculate possible alert times that earthquake early warning systems can provide people at different levels of ground motion from light to very strong shaking.

    Date published: March 26, 2018

    Mapping Beach Changes After Devastating Montecito Debris Flows

    MEDIA ADVISORY

    During the week of March 26, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey will begin four days of mapping selected beaches and the adjacent seafloor in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Results will be compared to surveys from last fall to highlight changes due to winter waves, and to sediment inputs from area streams. 

    Date published: March 26, 2018

    55-Story Tall Building – Before and After Earthquake Retrofit

    A building in Japan was analyzed before and after a seismic retrofit to make it more resilient to shaking.

    Date published: March 23, 2018

    Collecting clues to the geologic history and mineral resources of the Rio Grande Rise, southwest Atlantic Ocean

    USGS scientists James Hein and Kira Mizell participated in a University of São Paulo research cruise to the western Rio Grande Rise, an underwater plateau in international waters of the Atlantic Ocean off Brazil.

    Date published: March 23, 2018

    Beach surveys planned near deadly California debris flows

    Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center researchers plan to survey selected beaches and parts of the shallow seafloor in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties from March 27-30.

    Date published: March 22, 2018

    USGS and NASA hold collaborative methane workshop

    USGS and NASA held a joint workshop titled “From Cells to Satellites: Methane Biogeochemistry at Multiple Scales” on March 16 at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

    Date published: March 20, 2018

    USGS scientists lead investigation of tropical subterranean estuaries in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico!

    USGS scientists lead investigation of tropical subterranean estuaries in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico!

    Date published: March 14, 2018

    Untangling Faults at Depth – What Lies Beneath Panamint Valley, California?

    The eastern edge of Panamint Valley,CA has two types of faults that can be seen in the near-surface geology. 150 geophones and a seismic source will help reveal the subsurface picture.

    Filter Total Items: 177