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: July 22, 2021

Down to Earth: Complexities of Geology Affect Nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse Hazard 

Geoelectric hazards generated by a nuclear explosion at the outer edge of Earth’s atmosphere can be strongly affected by the electrical conductivity of rock structures beneath the Earth's surface, according to a study led by the U.S. Geological Survey.  

Date published: July 21, 2021

Studying earthquakes from lake sediment: Lacustrine paleoseismology in Alaska

USGS researchers in Alaska, including geologist and Mendenhall Fellow Drake Singleton of the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, are using techniques from a discipline known as lake paleoseismology, studying cores of lake sediment to reconstruct past seismic activity. 

Publications

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Year Published: 2021

Hazard analysis of landslides triggered by Typhoon Chata'an on July 2, 2002, in Chuuk State, Federated States of Micronesia

More than 250 landslides were triggered across the eastern volcanic islands of Chuuk State in the Federated States of Micronesia by torrential rainfall from tropical storm Chata’an on July 2, 2002. Landslides triggered during nearly 20 inches of rainfall in less than 24 hours caused 43 fatalities and the destruction or damage of 231 structures,...

Harp, Edwin L.; Reid, Mark E.; Michael, John A.
Harp, E.L., Reid, M.E., and Michael, J.A., 2004, Hazard analysis of landslides triggered by Typhoon Chata'an on July 2, 2002, in Chuuk State, Federated States of Micronesia (ver. 1.1, July 2021): U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2004−1348, 22 p., 2 pls., scale 1:25,000, https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20041348.

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Year Published: 2021

A numerical model for the cooling of a lava sill with heat pipe effects

Understanding the cooling process of volcanic intrusions into wet sediments is a difficult but important problem, given the presence of extremely large temperature gradients and potentially complex water-magma interactions. This report presents a numerical model to study such interactions, including the effect of heat pipes on the cooling of...

Williams, Kaj E.; Dundas, Colin M.; Kestay, Laszlo P.
Williams, K.E., Dundas, C.M., and Kestay, L.P., 2021, A numerical model for the cooling of a lava sill with heat pipe effects: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, book 13, chap. B2, 14 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/tm13B2.

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Year Published: 2021

Preliminary assessment of the wave generating potential from landslides at Barry Arm, Prince William Sound, Alaska

We simulated the concurrent rapid motion of landslides on an unstable slope at Barry Arm, Alaska. Movement of landslides into the adjacent fjord displaced fjord water and generated a tsunami, which propagated out of Barry Arm. Rather than assuming an initial sea surface height, velocity, and location for the tsunami, we generated the tsunami...

Barnhart, Katherine R.; Jones, Ryan P.; George, David L.; Coe, Jeffrey A.; Staley, Dennis M.
Barnhart, K.R., Jones, R.P., George, D.L., Coe, J.A., and Staley, D.M., 2021, Preliminary assessment of the wave generating potential from landslides at Barry Arm, Prince William Sound, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1071, 28 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20211071.