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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 primary objective of this project is to increase our understanding of the physical processes that cause coastal change, and ultimately improve our capability to predict the processes and their impacts. This will be approached by using geophysical surveys, oceanographic studies, and predictive models to investigate the interactions of shoreline, nearshore, and offshore sediment transport...
Landslide hazard and risk assessments help people understand the dangers from landslides to their towns and cities, homes, facilities, and businesses. Landslide hazard assessments are estimates of the probability that landslides will affect a particular area or location, typically within a given timeframe.
Although they are relatively uncommon, large catastrophic landslides move rapidly destroying everything in their paths. Such landslides are difficult to predict as shown by the following examples.
The most frequent and widespread damaging landslides in the U.S. are induced (started) by prolonged or heavy rainfall. The majority of rainfall-induced landslides are shallow (less than a few meters deep), small, and move rapidly. Many rainfall-induced landslides transform into debris flows (fast-moving slurries of water, soil, and rock) as they travel down steep slopes, especially those...
New instruments installed to measure Arctic coastal erosion; community outreach event held
GIS data files for map areas offshore of California are listed with a brief description, a small image, and links to the metadata files and the downloadable data files.
ISIS has many standard image processing operations such as contrast stretch, image algebra, filters, and statistical analysis. Isis operates on both classical two-dimensional images as well as three-dimensional cubes collected from imaging spectrometers. It also has unique capabilities for processing data from NASA spacecraft missions.
PILOT is a web based search tool for the Unified Planetary Coordinate (UPC) database of the Planetary Data System. PILOT features SPICE-corrected image locations and searching capabilities using a navigable map, user selectable image constraints, and facilitates bulk downloads and/or image processing using POW.
Astro Web Maps – Our Web Mapping Services (WMS) and Web Feature Services (WFS) are based on Open Geospatial Consortium standards and allow capable mapping clients to view full-resolution planetary mosaicked Basemaps. Services are available for community use and are critical for our Planetary Nomenclature, Planetary Geologic Mapping and PILOT sites
Allows existing map-projected (derived) image products to be re-projected, stretched, clipped, and converted into a variety of useful formats. Version 2 allows us to quickly add new mosaics and potentially many other derived science products for conversion and download.
GDAL is a translator library for raster geospatial data formats that is released under an X/MIT style Open Source license by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation. As a library, it presents a single abstract data model for all supported formats. It also comes with a variety of useful commandline utilities for data translation and processing.
THRESH—Software for tracking rainfall thresholds for landslide and debris-flow occurrence, user manual
Precipitation thresholds are used in many areas to provide early warning of precipitation-induced landslides and debris flows, and the software distribution THRESH is designed for automated tracking of precipitation, including precipitation forecasts, relative to thresholds for landslide occurrence. This software is also useful for analyzing...Baum, Rex L.; Fischer, Sarah J.; Vigil, Jacob C.
Spatial and spectral interpolation of ground-motion intensity measure observations
Following a significant earthquake, ground‐motion observations are available for a limited set of locations and intensity measures (IMs). Typically, however, it is desirable to know the ground motions for additional IMs and at locations where observations are unavailable. Various interpolation methods are available, but because IMs or their...Worden, Charles; Thompson, Eric M.; Baker, Jack W.; Bradley, Brendon A.; Luco, Nicolas; Wald, David J.
The evolution of a colluvial hollow to a fluvial channel with periodic steps following two transformational disturbances: A wildfire and a historic flood
The transition of a colluvial hollow to a fluvial channel with discrete steps was observed after two landscape-scale disturbances. The first disturbance, a high-severity wildfire, changed the catchment hydrology to favor overland flow, which incised a colluvial hollow, creating a channel in the same location. This incised channel became armored...Rengers, Francis K.; McGuire, Luke; Ebel, Brian A.; Tucker, G. E.
A flatfile of ground motion intensity measurements from induced earthquakes in Oklahoma and Kansas
We have produced a uniformly processed database of orientation-independent (RotD50, RotD100) ground motion intensity measurements containing peak horizontal ground motions (accelerations and velocities) and 5-percent-damped pseudospectral accelerations (0.1–10 s) from more than 3,800 M ≥ 3 earthquakes in Oklahoma and Kansas that occurred...Rennolet, Steven B.; Moschetti, Morgan P.; Thompson, Eric M.; Yeck, William L.
Calculation of voltages in electric power transmission lines during historic geomagnetic storms: An investigation using realistic earth impedances
Commonly, one-dimensional (1-D) Earth impedances have been used to calculate the voltages induced across electric power transmission lines during geomagnetic storms under the assumption that much of the three-dimensional structure of the Earth gets smoothed when integrating along power transmission lines. We calculate the voltage across power...Lucas, Greg M.; Love, Jeffrey J.; Kelbert, Anna
The 2013–2016 induced earthquakes in Harper and Sumner Counties, southern Kansas
We examine the first four years (2013–2016) of the ongoing seismicity in southern Kansas using high‐precision locations derived from a local seismometer network. The earthquakes occur almost exclusively in the shallow crystalline basement, below the wastewater injection horizon of the Arbuckle Group at the base of the sedimentary section. Multiple...Rubinstein, Justin L.; Ellsworth, William L.; Dougherty, Sara L.
Rayleigh and S wave tomography constraints on subduction termination and lithospheric foundering in central California
The crust and upper mantle structure of central California have been modified by subduction termination, growth of the San Andreas plate boundary fault system, and small-scale upper mantle convection since the early Miocene. Here we investigate the contributions of these processes to the creation of the Isabella Anomaly, which is a high seismic...Jiang, Chengxin; Schmandt, Brandon; Hansen, Steven M.; Dougherty, Sara L.; Clayton, Robert W.; Farrell, Jamie; Lin, Fan-Chi
Temporal stress changes caused by earthquakes: A review
Earthquakes can change the stress field in the Earth’s lithosphere as they relieve and redistribute stress. Earthquake-induced stress changes have been observed as temporal rotations of the principal stress axes following major earthquakes in a variety of tectonic settings. The stress changes due to the 2011 Mw9.0 Tohoku-Oki, Japan, earthquake...Hardebeck, Jeanne L.; Okada, Tomomi
Testing for the ‘predictability’ of dynamically triggered earthquakes in Geysers Geothermal Field
The Geysers geothermal field is well known for being susceptible to dynamic triggering of earthquakes by large distant earthquakes, owing to the introduction of fluids for energy production. Yet, it is unknown if dynamic triggering of earthquakes is ‘predictable’ or whether dynamic triggering could lead to a potential hazard for energy production...Aiken, Chastity; Meng, Xiaofeng; Hardebeck, Jeanne L.
Clayey landslide initiation and acceleration strongly modulated by soil swelling
Largely unknown mechanisms restrain motion of clay-rich, slow-moving landslides that are widespread worldwide and rarely accelerate catastrophically. We studied a clayey, slow-moving landslide typical of thousands in northern California, USA, to decipher hydrologic-mechanical interactions that modulate landslide dynamics. Similar to some other...Schulz, William; Smith, Joel B.; Wang, Gonghui; Jiang, Yao; Roering, Joshua J.
Variability in soil-water retention properties and implications for physics-based simulation of landslide early warning criteria
Rainfall-induced shallow landsliding is a persistent hazard to human life and property. Despite the observed connection between infiltration through the unsaturated zone and shallow landslide initiation, there is considerable uncertainty in how estimates of unsaturated soil-water retention properties affect slope stability assessment. This source...Thomas, Matthew A.; Mirus, Benjamin B.; Collins, Brian D.; Lu, Ning; Godt, Jonathan W.
Combining InSAR and GPS to determine transient movement and thickness of a seasonally active low-gradient translational landslide
The combined application of continuous Global Positioning System data (high temporal resolution) with spaceborne interferometric synthetic aperture radar data (high spatial resolution) can reveal much more about the complexity of large landslide movement than is possible with geodetic measurements tied to only a few specific measurement sites....Hu, Xie; Lu, Zhong; Pierson, Thomas C.; Kramer, Rebecca; George, David L.
Aerial view of the lava channel and active margins between Kapoho Crater (upper right) and the coast (lower left). The northern margin of the flow field is advancing at several points in the area of Kapoho Ag and Beach Lots (vegetated areas in center of image). Image courtesy of Hawaii County Fire Department.
USGS scientist Cordell Johnson points to the Raspberry Shake, a sensitive instrument used to detect ground shaking. Johnson mounted the Raspberry Shake to an aluminum pole which he will then drive into the ground to bury the instrument beneath the tundra. This process will help isolate it from the wind.
This device, called a Raspberry Shake, is a sensitive instrument used to detect ground shaking. It is being carefully buried in this shallow hole in the tundra, to isolate it from wind.
Lava within the fissure 8 cone roils and churns where it eupts from the vent and flows rapidly down the well-established channel. This image was captured via a Mavic Pro drone courtesy of the DOI/USGS Unmanned Aircraft Systems team.
USGS Unmanned Aircraft Systems image of fissure 8 looking east. Below the prominent fissure 8 cone, smaller vents above the original fissure emit volcanic gas. Lava has a brighter glow near the vent exit where it is more turbulent than in the downstream channel, which has portions of darker, cooled crust on its surface.
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...
The lava channel from fissure 8 jumped its banks near Kapoho Crater where the channel makes a 90 degree bend. The flow within the channel was diverted around a constricted area and joined the channel again "downstream" to the south (left).
Near the coast, the northern margin of the flow field is still oozing pasty lava at several points in the area of Kapoho Agricultural and Beach Lots.
Early in his college career, U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Rufus Catchings became drawn to the mysteries that lie beneath the earth’s surface — and was determined to understand them.
The USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center hosted two back-to-back subduction-zone workshops in Santa Cruz, California, from February 5–8, 2018.
False-alarm tsunami alerts across the U.S. East Coast, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean prompt calls to USGS
USGS research geologist Curt Storlazzi led a workshop on “Understanding Flooding on Reef-lined Island Coastlines” (UFORIC) in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, from 5–7 February.
Imagine dragging your outstretched fingers through wet beach sand, leaving long grooves behind. Scientists recently discovered enormous grooves buried under the seafloor near Costa Rica. The detailed three-dimensional data they used to uncover these corrugations can help them better understand large subduction zone earthquakes and related tsunamis worldwide.
The USGS Gas Hydrates Project has published two new Fact Sheets. One describes the goals and scope of the Project and the other describes "Gas Hydrates in Nature," including where they form, how they are studied, and why researchers focus on gas hydrates for energy resource and environmental studies.
USGS 360-degree videos of king tides show how rising seas will transform California beaches in the future
Acting deputy director of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center Nadine Golden attended a workshop on restoring a sand-mining operation on California’s Monterey Bay.
One week ago, on January 23rd at 12:31 a.m. local time, Alaskans were rocked by a magnitude 7.9 earthquake, with an epicenter in the Gulf of Alaska, about 350 miles southwest of Anchorage, and about 175 miles southeast of Kodiak Island.
On January 17, 4th and 5th graders from De Laveaga Elementary School visited the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California.