Mission Areas

Natural Hazards

Every year in the United States, natural hazards threaten lives and livelihoods and result in billions of dollars in damage. We work with many partners to monitor, assess, and conduct targeted research on a wide range of natural hazards so that policymakers and the public have the understanding they need to enhance preparedness, response, and resilience.

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Reducing Risk

Reducing Risk

USGS scientists develop new products to make science available to the public, emergency managers, and decision-makers. These efforts increase public safety and reduce risk and economic losses caused by natural hazards.

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Subduction Zone Science

Subduction Zone Science

The most powerful earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and volcanic eruptions occur in subduction zones, where two plates collide and one is thrust beneath another.

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News

Date published: January 14, 2021

Federal Agencies Partner to Strengthen ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning Capacity Along the West Coast

A lone solar panel in the middle of California’s largest national forest is powering a seismometer able to detect Earth’s vibrations, a piece of the puzzle necessary to help protect life and property by providing critical seconds of warning that an earthquake is occurring and shaking is imminent.  

Date published: January 13, 2021

Groundwater discharge impacts marine isotope budgets.

Groundwater is an important pathway for materials to flow from land to sea. This is particularly true for materials that are concentrated in groundwater due to chemical interactions between water and aquifer rocks as groundwater flows to the coast. 

Date published: January 13, 2021

Geologic Origins: Tracking geologic change along Cape Cod

Rob Thieler, Center Chief of the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, contributed to the January 8, 2021 article, Cape Cod: Shipwrecks, Dune Shacks, and Shifting Sands. Living in Geologic Time: How long will the cape keep its fist raised against the waves?  in Eos; Science News by AGU.  

Publications

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Year Published: 2021

Modeling hydrologic processes associated with soil saturation and debris flow initiation during the September 2013 storm, Colorado Front Range

Seven days of extreme rainfall during September 2013 produced more than 1100 debris flows in the Colorado Front Range, about 78% of which occurred on south-facing slopes (SFS). Previously published soil moisture (volumetric water content) observations suggest that SFS were wetter than north-facing slopes (NFS) during the event, which contrasts...

Timilsina, Sujana; Niemann, Jeffrey D.; Rathburn, Sara L.; Rengers, Francis K.; Nelson, Peter A.

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Year Published: 2021

Evaluation of simulated ground motions using probabilistic seismic demand analysis: CyberShake (ver. 15.12) simulations for Ordinary Standard Bridges

There is a need for benchmarking and validating simulated ground motions in order for them to be utilized by the engineering community. Such validation may be geared towards a specific ground motion simulation method, a target engineering application, and a specific location; the validation presented herein focuses on a bridge engineering...

Fayaz, Jawad; Rezaeian, Sanaz; Zareian, Farzin

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Year Published: 2021

Rapid sensitivity analysis for reducing uncertainty in landslide hazard assessments

One of the challenges in assessing temporal and spatial aspects of landslide hazard using process-based models is estimating model input parameters, especially in areas where limited measurements of soil and rock properties are available. In an effort to simplify and streamline parameter estimation, development of a simple, rapid approach to...

Baum, Rex L.