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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: 290
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...

Date published: July 10, 2018
Status: Active

Landslides Glossary

Definitions of landslide science terms.

Date published: July 8, 2018
Status: Active

Fact Sheets

Date published: July 6, 2018
Status: Active

Videos

Educational videos about the science of landslides and debris flows.

Filter Total Items: 143
Date published: May 20, 2016

Oceanographic and Water Quality Measurements in Chincoteague Bay, Maryland/Virginia, 2014 - 2015

The primary objective was to measure the physical response of the system to storm events, and identify processes that may affect estuarine resilience. Bottom landing platforms with instrumentation to measure currents, waves, water level, optical turbidity, water temperature, conductivity and water quality parameters were deployed at most sites. 

Date published: May 20, 2016

Oceanographic and Water Quality Measurements in Chincoteague Bay, Maryland/Virginia, 2014 - 2015

The primary objective was to measure the physical response of the system to storm events, and identify processes that may affect estuarine resilience. Bottom landing platforms with instrumentation to measure currents, waves, water level, optical turbidity, water temperature, conductivity and water quality parameters were deployed at most sites. 

Date published: May 20, 2016

Oceanographic and Water Quality Measurements in Chincoteague Bay, Maryland/Virginia, 2014 - 2015

The primary objective was to measure the physical response of the system to storm events, and identify processes that may affect estuarine resilience. Bottom landing platforms with instrumentation to measure currents, waves, water level, optical turbidity, water temperature, conductivity and water quality parameters were deployed at most sites. 

Date published: May 20, 2016

Oceanographic and Water Quality Measurements in Chincoteague Bay, Maryland/Virginia, 2014 - 2015

The primary objective was to measure the physical response of the system to storm events, and identify processes that may affect estuarine resilience. Bottom landing platforms with instrumentation to measure currents, waves, water level, optical turbidity, water temperature, conductivity and water quality parameters were deployed at most sites. 

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 20, 2016

Oceanographic and Water-Quality Measurements in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey, 2014-2015

A bottom platform with an upward-looking velocimeter was paired with mid-water pole-mounted water quality sensors at each site for the Aug 2014 to Jan 2015 deployment. Water quality sensors were mounted on a bottom landing platform with an upward-looking velocimeter for the Apr-Jul 2015 deployment. The water quality sensor deployments for Aug 2014 to Jan 2015 were conducted in 2 segments

Date published: March 20, 2016

Oceanographic and Water Quality Measurements in two Southern California Coastal Wetlands, 2013-2014

The objective was to compare an urbanized wetland with limited sediment supply (Seal Beach) with a less modified marsh (Pt. Mugu) with fluvial sediment supply. Marine temperature, conductivity, pressure sensors, optical turbidity sensors and acoustic velocity meters were deployed on bottom platforms to quantify the conditions in the water column.

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

Date published: March 15, 2016

California State Waters Map Series Data Catalog

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.

Filter Total Items: 4,633
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 M.; 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 W.; Gold, Ryan D.; Graves, Robert; Hartzell, Stephen H.; Rezaeian, Sanaz; Stephenson, William J.; Wald, David J.; Williams, Robert A.; Withers, Kyle

Year Published: 2018

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.
Baum, R.L., Fischer, S.J., and Vigil, J.C., 2018, THRESH—Software for tracking rainfall thresholds for landslide and debris-flow occurrence, user manual: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, book 14, chap. A2, 33 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/tm14A2.

Year Published: 2018

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.
C. Bruce Worden, Eric M. Thompson, Jack W. Baker, Brendon A. Bradley, Nicolas Luco, David J. Wald; Spatial and Spectral Interpolation of Ground‐Motion Intensity Measure Observations. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America doi: https://doi.org/10.1785/0120170201

Year Published: 2018

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.

Year Published: 2018

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.

Year Published: 2018

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
Lucas, G. M., Love, J. J., & Kelbert, A. (2018). Calculation of voltages in electric power transmission lines during historic geomagnetic storms: An investigation using realistic earth impedances. Space Weather, 16. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017SW001779

Filter Total Items: 2,698
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.

Levees created from cooled lava
July 5, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Lava Levees

Lava, from small overflows, cools and congeals along the banks of the lava channel to build lava levees. The levees also build up as moving lava pushes cooled 

...
Lava entering the ocean with laze plumes rising
July 5, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Kapoho Coastline Delta

Lava enters the sea along the Kapoho coastline, building a delta that is now over 555 acres in size.

Aerial photo over Kapoho area showing lava entering ocean and passing residential areas
July 5, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Aerial of Kapoho Area

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.

A man wearing cold-weather gear and standing on a high coastal bluff points to an instrument that is mounted on short a pole.
July 5, 2018

Installing ground-shaking detection instrument

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.

Lave entering the ocean with laze plumes rising
July 5, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Ocean Entry at Kapoho

Having crusted over about 0.8 km (0.5 mi) upchannel from the ocean entry, lava oozes from the flow's

...
A small instrument with a USGS logo sticker with wires coming out of it is in a hole in the ground.
July 5, 2018

Sensitive instrument used to detect ground shaking

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.

July 4, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Lava Flowing from Fissure 8

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.

Lava flowing at night time seen as bright red and orange
July 4, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 at Night

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.

Scientist looks at an active fissure eruption
July 4, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Scientist Observing Fissure 8

USGS scientist observes the glow of fissure 8 fountain and channel within Leilani Estates. Steam rises from cracks and hot spots within the 

...
Animated GIF showing changes in size of the crater over a two month period
July 4, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Animation of Summit 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 

...
Lava flowing
July 4, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Lava Channel Bend

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).

Filter Total Items: 408
Date published: February 16, 2018

One of the first Black USGS geophysicists, pioneers subsurface research

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. 

Date published: February 16, 2018

Workshops on subduction-zone science to reduce risk for communities

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.

Date published: February 15, 2018

False-alarm tsunami alerts across the U.S. East Coast, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean prompt calls to USGS

On February 6, USGS research geophysicist Eric Geist spoke to reporters Rachel Becker of The Verge and Grace Toohey of The Advocate about tsunami hazards on Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico shores.

Date published: February 14, 2018

USGS research featured on the cover of Eos

USGS research on a big earthquake fault off Alaska and Canada is featured on the cover of Eos, a journal of Earth and space science news published by the American Geophysical Union.

Date published: February 13, 2018

International workshop on “Understanding Flooding on Reef-lined Island Coastlines”

USGS research geologist Curt Storlazzi led a workshop on “Understanding Flooding on Reef-lined Island Coastlines” (UFORIC) in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, from 5–7 February. 

Date published: February 12, 2018

Giant grooves discovered on an earthquake fault offshore Costa Rica

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.

Date published: February 9, 2018

USGS Gas Hydrates Project Releases New Fact Sheets!

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. 

Date published: February 7, 2018

USGS 360-degree videos of king tides show how rising seas will transform California beaches in the future

USGS oceanographer Juliette Finzi Hart shot 360-degree videos of king tides—the highest high tides of the year—throughout the Los Angeles region in 2016 and 2017.

Date published: February 5, 2018

USGS participates in workshop on restoring Monterey Bay sand-mining site

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.

Date published: January 30, 2018

January 23, 2018 M7.9 Gulf of Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami

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.

Date published: January 29, 2018

Elementary school students visit USGS office in Santa Cruz

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.

Date published: January 26, 2018

USGS Geologists Join Efforts in Montecito to Assess Debris-Flow Aftermath

Days after fatal debris flows devastated Southern California’s Montecito community,  a team of U.S. Geological Survey geologists joined county, state, and federal partners to survey and  evaluate the aftermath.

 

Filter Total Items: 177