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: 273
Date published: July 20, 2018
Status: Active

Boulder (BOU)

The Boulder observatory was established in 1963. The grounds for the observatory are overseen by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the Department of Commerce. This observatory is closest to Program headquarters in Golden. Therefore, in addition to serving as a site for routine data collection, Boulder also functions as the...

Date published: July 20, 2018
Status: Active

Observatories

Get information on and locations of geomagnetic observatories operated by the USGS and partners of the USGS geomagnetism program.

Date published: July 20, 2018
Status: Active

Instrumentation

See the instruments we use at our geomagnetic observatories and how they help us to gather data.

Date published: July 18, 2018
Status: Active

Overview

USGS Geomagnetism Program research staff evaluate data produced by magnetic observatories, including those operated by the USGS, data processing methods, and magnetic indices derived from observatory data.

Contacts: Jeffrey J Love
Date published: July 18, 2018
Status: Active

Overview

Geomagnetically-induced currents (GICs) flowing along electric power-transmission systems and other electrically-conducting infrastructure are produced by a naturally induced geo-electric field during geomagnetic disturbances.

Date published: July 18, 2018
Status: Active

Science for Everyone

Science briefs about new landslides research written for non-scientists.

Contacts: Lisa A Wald
Date published: July 18, 2018
Status: Active

Overview

Reliable earthquake prediction is a worthwhile goal that, if ever attained, would reduce the loss of life and property.

Contacts: Jeffrey J Love
Date published: July 17, 2018
Status: Active

Declination of the Earth 1590-1990

Models created of the declination of the Earth through time.

Date published: July 17, 2018
Status: Active

Operations

Learn more about the USGS Geomagnetism operations.

Date published: July 16, 2018
Status: Active

Landslide Preparedness

Landslide and debris flow warning signs, what to do before, during, and after. 

Date published: July 14, 2018
Status: Active

Landslides 101

What is a landslide? Where do landslides occur? Why study landslides?

Date published: July 12, 2018
Status: Active

U.S. West Coast and Alaska Marine Geohazards

Marine geohazards are sudden and extreme events beneath the ocean that threaten coastal populations. Such underwater hazards include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and tsunamis.

Devastating earthquakes in Japan (2011) and Chile (2010) that spawned pan-oceanic tsunamis sent a sobering reminder that U.S. coastlines are also vulnerable to natural disasters that originate in...

Filter Total Items: 119
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. Each data item represents an individual research product, with some items grouped together as aggregates to show the breadth of the topic and make it easy to explore.

Date published: July 25, 2017

Data Release for USGS Field Activity 2014-607-FA--Oregon OCS Seafloor Mapping: Selected Lease Blocks Relevant to Renewable Energy

Data collected during 12-hour day operations in 2014, out of Charleston Harbor near Coos Bay, Oregon. The cruise plan consisted of 23 days on site split between sonar mapping and video ground truth surveying.

Date published: June 1, 2017

Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS)

The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) makes detailed predictions of storm-induced coastal flooding, erosion, and cliff failures over large geographic scales. CoSMoS projections are currently available for the north-central coast (Half Moon Bay to Pt. Arena), San Francisco Bay, and southern California.

Date published: May 26, 2017

Data from Earthquake-Induced Landslide Hazards for a M7.0 Scenario Earthquake on the Hayward Fault

The seismic-landslide probability map covers the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma. The slope failures are triggered by a hypothetical earthquake with a moment magnitude of 7.0 occurring on April 18, 2018, at 4:18 p.m. on the Hayward Fault in the east bay part of California’s San Francisco Bay region.

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Date published: April 18, 2017

Liquefaction potential as a result of HayWired earthquake scenario mainshock (April 18, 2018) shaking in Alameda and Santa Clara Counties, San Francisco Bay area, California

These data are a geospatial representation of liquefaction potential for the HayWired earthquake scenario, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake occurring on the Hayward Fault on April 18, 2018, with an epicenter in the city of Oakland, CA. These data are the product of an analysis that created a detailed liquefaction probability map covering the northern Santa Clara County and western Alameda County...

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Date published: February 23, 2017

Data Viewer—Post-Hurricane Sandy Lidar Elevations and Features

This viewer provides visualization for and accessibility to USGS lidar data obtained following Hurricane Sandy (October 2012). Access and download data and publications that include the source lidar data and the coastal dune and shoreline data needed to examine coastal change and erosion hazards.

Date published: April 18, 2016

Coastal and Marine Geology Video and Photography Portal

This portal contains U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) video and photography of the seafloor off of coastal California and Massachusetts, and aerial imagery of the coastline along segments of the Gulf of Mexico and mid-Atlantic coasts. These data were collected as part of several USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program Seafloor Mapping projects and Hurricane and Extreme Storm research.

Date published: April 12, 2016

Hurricane Sandy Spatial Data Map

The Hurricane Sandy Spatial Data Mapping Application showcases data and analytical products from Aerial reconnaissance imagery; Environmental Contaminants; and Reproductive success of piper plovers.

Date published: March 17, 2016

Volcano Monitoring Data

Many volcanoes in the U.S. are monitored by arrays of several instruments that detect subtle movements within the earth and changes in gas and water chemistry. The Volcano Hazards Program streams this data to its Volcano Observatories and makes it available on volcano-specific websites.

Date published: March 17, 2016

Coastal and Marine Geoscience Data System

Site provides access to Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP) data via Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards services; serving data to GeoMapApp and Virtual Ocean 2-D and 3-D earth browsing tools, for data integration, visualization and analysis; and metadata catalogs for data discovery.

Date published: March 15, 2016

High-resolution geophysical data collected along the Delmarva Peninsula in 2015, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity 2015-001-FA

The Delmarva Peninsula is a 220-kilometer-long headland, spit, and barrier island complex that was significantly affected by Hurricane Sandy in the fall of 2012. The U.S. Geological Survey conducted cruises during the summers of 2014 and 2015 to map the inner continental shelf of the Delmarva Peninsula using geophysical and sampling techniques to define the geologic framework

Filter Total Items: 4,465
Year Published: 2018

The HayWired earthquake scenario—We can outsmart disaster

The HayWired earthquake scenario, led by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), anticipates the impacts of a hypothetical magnitude-7.0 earthquake on the Hayward Fault. The fault is along the east side of California’s San Francisco Bay and is among the most active and dangerous in the United States, because it runs through a densely urbanized and...

Hudnut, Kenneth W.; Wein, Anne M.; Cox, Dale A.; Porter, Keith A.; Johnson, Laurie A.; Perry, Suzanne C.; Bruce, Jennifer L.; LaPointe, Drew
Hudnut, K.W., Wein, A.M., Cox, D.A., Porter, K.A., Johnson, L.A., Perry, S.C., Bruce, J.L., and LaPointe, D., 2018, The HayWired earthquake scenario—We can outsmart disaster: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2018–3016, 6 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20183016.

Year Published: 2018

Measuring impact crater depth throughout the solar system

One important, almost ubiquitous, tool for understanding the surfaces of solid bodies throughout the solar system is the study of impact craters. While measuring a distribution of crater diameters and locations is an important tool for a wide variety of studies, so too is measuring a crater's “depth.” Depth can inform numerous studies including...

Robbins, Stuart J.; Watters, Wesley A.; Chappelow, John E.; Bray, Veronica J.; Daubar, Ingrid J.; Craddock, Robert A.; Beyer, Ross A.; Landis, Margaret E.; Ostrach, Lillian; Tornabene, Livio L.; Riggs, Jamie D.; Weaver, Brian P.
Robbins, S.J. et al., 2018. Measuring impact crater depth throughout the solar system. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 53(4), 583-626.

Year Published: 2018

Ancient Martian aeolian processes and palaeomorphology reconstructed from the Stimson formation on the lower slope of Aeolis Mons, Gale crater, Mars

Reconstruction of the palaeoenvironmental context of Martian sedimentary rocks is central to studies of ancient Martian habitability and regional palaeoclimate history. This paper reports the analysis of a distinct aeolian deposit preserved in Gale crater, Mars, and evaluates its palaeomorphology, the processes responsible for its deposition, and...

Banham, Steve G.; Gupta, Sanjeev; Rubin, David M.; Watkins, Jessica A.; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Edgett, Kenneth S.; Grotzinger, John P.; Lewis, Kevin W.; Edgar, Lauren; Stack, Kathryn M.; Barnes, Robert; Bell, Jame F. III; Day, Mackenzie D.; Ewing, Ryan C.; Lapotre, Mathieu G.A.; Stein, Nathan T.; Rivera-Hernandez, Frances; Vasavada, Ashwin R.
Banham, S. G., Gupta, S., Rubin, D. M., Watkins, J. A., Sumner, D. Y., Edgett, K. S., Grotzinger, J. P., Lewis, K. W., Edgar, L. A., Stack-Morgan, K. M., Barnes, R., Bell, J. F., Day, M. D., Ewing, R. C., Lapotre, M. G.A., Stein, N. T., Rivera-Hernandez, F. and Vasavada, A. R. (2018), Ancient Martian aeolian processes and palaeomorphology reconstructed from the Stimson formation on the lower slope of Aeolis Mons, Gale crater, Mars. Sedimentology. https://doi.org/10.1111/sed.12469

Year Published: 2018

Relaxed impact craters on Ganymede: Regional variation and high heat flows

Viscously relaxed craters provide a window into the thermal history of Ganymede, a satellite with copious geologic signs of past high heat flows. Here we present measurements of relaxed craters in four regions for which suitable imaging exists: near Anshar Sulcus, Tiamat Sulcus, northern Marius Regio, and Ganymede's south pole. We describe a...

Singer, Kelsi N.; Bland, Michael T.; Schenk, Paul M.; McKinnon, William B.
Sing, K. N., Bland, M. T., Schenk, P. M., McKinnon, W. B., 2018. Relaxed impact craters on Ganymede: Regional variation and high heat flows. Icarus 306, 214-224.

Year Published: 2018

Incorporating spatially heterogeneous infiltration capacity into hydrologic models with applications for simulating post‐wildfire debris flow initiation

Soils in post‐wildfire environments are often characterized by a low infiltration capacity with a high degree of spatial heterogeneity relative to unburned areas. Debris flows are frequently initiated by run‐off in recently burned steeplands, making it critical to develop and test methods for incorporating spatial variability in infiltration...

McGuire, Luke A.; Rengers, Francis K.; Kean, Jason W.; Staley, Dennis M.; Mirus, Benjamin B.

Year Published: 2018

2018 one‐year seismic hazard forecast for the central and eastern United States from induced and natural earthquakes

This article describes the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 2018 one‐year probabilistic seismic hazard forecast for the central and eastern United States from induced and natural earthquakes. For consistency, the updated 2018 forecast is developed using the same probabilistic seismicity‐based methodology as applied in the two previous forecasts....

Petersen, Mark D.; Mueller, Charles; Moschetti, Morgan P.; Hoover, Susan M.; Rukstales, Kenneth S.; McNamara, Daniel E.; Williams, Robert A.; Shumway, Allison; Powers, Peter; Earle, Paul; Llenos, Andrea L.; Michael, Andrew J.; Rubinstein, Justin L.; Norbeck, Jack; Cochran, Elizabeth S.
Mark D. Petersen, Charles S. Mueller, Morgan P. Moschetti, Susan M. Hoover, Kenneth S. Rukstales, Daniel E. McNamara, Robert A. Williams, Allison M. Shumway, Peter M. Powers, Paul S. Earle, Andrea L. Llenos, Andrew J. Michael, Justin L. Rubinstein, Jack H. Norbeck, Elizabeth S. Cochran; 2018 One‐Year Seismic Hazard Forecast for the Central and Eastern United States from Induced and Natural Earthquakes. Seismological Research Letters ; 89 (3): 1049–1061. doi: https://doi.org/10.1785/0220180005

Year Published: 2018

Improving near‐real‐time coseismic landslide models: Lessons learned from the 2016 Kaikōura, New Zealand, earthquake

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is developing near‐real‐time global earthquake‐triggered‐landslide products to augment the USGS Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response (PAGER) system. The 14 November 2016 Mw">MwMw 7.8 Kaikōura, New Zealand, earthquake provided a test case for evaluating the performance and near‐real‐...

Allstadt, Kate E.; Jibson, Randall W.; Thompson, Eric M.; Massey, Chris; Wald, David J.; Godt, Jonathan W.; Rengers, Francis K.
Allstadt, K.E., Jibson, R.W., Thompson, E.M., Massey, C.I., Wald, D.J., Godt, J.W., Rengers, F.K., 2018, Improving Near‐Real‐Time Coseismic Landslide Models: Lessons Learned from the 2016 Kaikōura, New Zealand, Earthquake, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (2018) 108 (3B): 1649-1664.

Year Published: 2018

Overview of the geologic effects of the November 14, 2016, Mw 7.8 Kaikoura, New Zealand, earthquake

The November 14, 2016, Kaikoura, New Zealand, earthquake (moment magnitude [Mw] 7.8) triggered more than 10,000 landslides over an area of about 12,000 square kilometers in the northeastern part of the South Island of New Zealand. In collaboration with GNS Science (the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Science Limited), we conducted ground and...

Jibson, Randall W.; Allstadt, Kate E.; Rengers, Francis K.; Godt, Jonathan W.
Jibson, R.W., Allstadt, K.E., Rengers, F.K., and Godt, J.W., 2018, Overview of the geologic effects of the November 14, 2016, Mw 7.8 Kaikoura, New Zealand, earthquake: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5146, 39 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175146.

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.; Sánchez-Sesma, F. J.; Yong, Alan K.
Molnar, S., F. Cassidy, J., Castellaro, S., Cornou, C., Crow, H., Hunter, J., Matsushima, S., J. Sánchez-Sesma, F, and Yong, A., 2018, Application of Microtremor Horizontal-to-Vertical Spectral Ratio (MHVSR) Analysis for Site Characterization; State of the Art: Surveys in Geophysics, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10712-018-9464-4.

Year Published: 2018

Geologic map of the Nepenthes Planum Region, Mars

This map product contains a map sheet at 1:1,506,000 scale that shows the geology of the Nepenthes Planum region of Mars, which is located between the cratered highlands that dominate the southern hemisphere and the less-cratered sedimentary plains that dominate the northern hemisphere.  The map region contains cone- and mound-shaped...

Skinner, James A.; Tanaka, Kenneth L.
Skinner, J.A., Jr., and Tanaka, K.L., 2018, Geologic map of the Nepenthes Planum Region, Mars: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3389, pamphlet 11 p., scale 1:1,506,000, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3389.

Year Published: 2018

Geoelectric hazard assessment: the differences of geoelectric responses during magnetic storms within common physiographic zones

Geomagnetic field data obtained through the INTERMAGNET program are convolved with with magnetotelluric surface impedance from four EarthScope USArray sites to estimate the geoelectric variations throughout the duration of a magnetic storm. A duration of time from June 22, 2016, to June 25, 2016, is considered which encompasses a...

Cuttler, Stephen W.; Love, Jeffrey J.; Swidinsky, Andrei
Cuttler, S. W., Love, J. J. & Swidinsky, A., 2018. Geoelectric hazard assessment: the differences of geoelectric responses during magnetic storms within common physiographic zones, Earth Planets Space, 70, 35, doi:10.1186/s40623-018-0807-7.

Year Published: 2018

Integrate urban‐scale seismic hazard analyses with the U.S. National Seismic Hazard Model

For more than 20 yrs, damage patterns and instrumental recordings have highlighted the influence of the local 3D geologic structure on earthquake ground motions (e.g., M">M 6.7 Northridge, California, Gao et al., 1996; M">M 6.9 Kobe, Japan, Kawase, 1996; M">M 6.8 Nisqually, Washington, Frankel...

Moschetti, Morgan P.; Luco, Nicolas; Frankel, Arthur; Petersen, Mark D.; Aagaard, Brad T.; Baltay, Annemarie S.; Blanpied, Michael; Boyd, Oliver S.; Briggs, Richard; Gold, Ryan D.; Graves, Robert; Hartzell, Stephen; Rezaeian, Sanaz; Stephenson, William J.; Wald, David J.; Williams, Robert A.; Withers, Kyle

Filter Total Items: 2,695
animated GIF showing subsidence at a crater
July 8, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Animated GIF of Crater Subsidence

This animated GIF shows a sequence of radar amplitude images that were acquired by the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana CosmoSkyMed satellite system. The images illustrate changes to the 

...
A man stands smiling on a high coastal bluff near solar panels and a pole supported by guy wires, with a camera mounted on top.
July 8, 2018

Video camera installation, Barter Island

USGS oceanographer Shawn Harrison poses in front of the USGS video camera installation atop the coastal bluff of Barter Island in northern Alaska.

Fissure eruption
July 7, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8

View of Fissure 8 and channel during the morning overflight on July 7.

July 7, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Timelapse Changes at Caldera (6/13 - 7/7)

This series of images from June 13 through July 7, 2018, show dramatic down-dropping of part of Kīlauea Volcano's summit caldera floor. For weeks,

...
Men and women sitting in a room with tables and chairs listening to a woman talk, she's pointing at a screen on the wall.
July 7, 2018

USGS hosts community outreach event on Barter Island

USGS oceanographer Li Erikson speaks at a community outreach event on Barter Island, Alaska, to present results from earlier USGS studies and to discuss ongoing USGS research.

Camera looking over a summit
July 7, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — SO2 Camera

For several years, a special ultraviolet camera has been located near Keanakākoʻi Crater at Kīlauea's summit. The camera was capable of detecting SO2 gas coming from Halema‘uma‘u crater. This morning, the camera was removed because there is very little SO2 to measure these days at the summit. In addition, cracking near Keanakākoʻi Crater was making access difficult.

...
Lava entering the ocean
July 6, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Kapoho Bay

Ocean entry in Kapoho as viewed from morning helicopter overflight.

Satellite image over crater
July 6, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Satellite View of Kīlauea Summit

The WorldView-3 satellite acquired this view of Kīlauea's summit on July 3. Despite a few clouds, the area of heaviest fractures in the caldera is clear. Views into the expanding Halema‘uma‘u crater reveal a pit floored by rubble. HVO, on the northwest caldera rim, is labeled.

Dust rising from inside a crater after a rock collapse
July 5, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Dust from Summit Explosion

Rocks generate brown dust as they tumble down the western caldera wall during the collapse explosion event on July 5, 2018.

Dust rising from a crater after a rock collapse
July 5, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Collapse and Dust Rising at Halema`uma`u Crater

At 1:20 PM HST on July 5, a collapse explosion event occurred at Kīlauea's summit. The energy released by the event was equivalent to a M5.2 earthquake. The shaking

...
A small lavafall in the middle of a lava flow.
July 5, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Lavafall Near Kapoho Crater

Near the Kapoho Crater, in the area called Four Corners, the lava channel makes a 90-degree bend. After lava exits the bend, it makes a short drop to form a lavafall. A side channel makes a short surface diversion before rejoining the existing channel.

Filter Total Items: 391
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

USGS Authors New Report on Seismic Hazard, Risk, and Design for South America

New seismic hazard and risk assessments can help at-risk communities prepare for future earthquake disasters

Date published: March 8, 2018

New 3D Measurements Improve Understanding of Geomagnetic Storm Hazards

Measurements of the three-dimensional structure of the earth, as opposed to the one-dimensional models typically used, can help scientists more accurately determine which areas of the United States are most vulnerable to blackouts during hazardous geomagnetic storms.

Date published: March 8, 2018

Fulbright Scholar Joins Coral Reef Project at Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

The Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (PCMSC) in Santa Cruz, California, recently welcomed Andrew Pomeroy, a Fulbright scholar from Australia who will spend approximately 6 months here conducting research on sediment movement in coral reef systems.

Date published: March 8, 2018

Modern Perspective on Gas Hydrates

After lying hidden in sediments for thousands of years, delicate frozen gas structures are in the spotlight for both scientific research and the national interest. These structures, known as gas hydrate, are being investigated by scientists the world over for their possible contributions to the global energy mix, as well as their potential interaction with the environment.

Date published: February 25, 2018

Magnitude 7.5 Earthquake, Papua New Guinea

The USGS has up-to-date details on the February 25, 2018 event.

Date published: February 23, 2018

USGS in South Korea

 For several years, KIGAM, the Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources, has hosted an international program for geoscience resources (IS-Geo).  The IS-Geo program draws together federal and private-sector professionals from the international community to discuss a range of specific geoscience and mineral topics.

Date published: February 21, 2018

Newspaper story on earthquake hazards in Santa Rosa, California, features information from USGS scientists

USGS scientists Janet Watt and Suzanne Hecker provided information to the article’s author.

Date published: February 20, 2018

Pacific Missile Tracking Site Could Be Unusable in 20 Years Due to Climate Change

Living and working on the Pacific islands hosting a key missile tracking site soon could be almost impossible due to the impacts of climate change.

Filter Total Items: 177