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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Hazard Research

Hazard Research

USGS scientists conduct research to understand earth processes and the natural hazards they can pose to society in order to increase public safety and reduce risk and economic loss.

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Date published: May 27, 2020

The USGS is Ready to Respond During the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1, and the U.S. Geological Survey is prepared to provide science that can help guide efforts to protect lives and property if a major storm makes landfall this season.

Date published: May 26, 2020

USGS Scientists Find Seafloor Faults Near Puerto Rico Quakes’ Epicenters

Most residents of southern Puerto Rico were startled by the sequence of earthquakes that began Dec. 28, 2019 and included a magnitude 6.4 quake on Jan. 7, 2020. Aftershocks are expected to continue for years, including some relatively strong ones, like a May 2 magnitude 5.4 temblor

Date published: May 25, 2020

Aftershocks? Swarm? What is the difference, and what do they mean?

In Yellowstone, we often talk about earthquake swarms.  But especially in recent weeks, we’ve also discussed aftershock sequences.  What is the difference?  And what to these different types of seismic events mean?


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Year Published: 2020

Ten ways Mount St. Helens changed our world—The enduring legacy of the 1980 eruption

Mount St. Helens was once enjoyed for its serene beauty and was considered one of America’s most majestic volcanoes because of its perfect cone shape, similar to Japan’s beloved Mount Fuji. Nearby residents assumed that the mountain was solid and enduring. That perception changed during the early spring of 1980. Then, on May 18, 1980,...

Driedger, Carolyn L.; Major, Jon J.; Pallister, John S.; Clynne, Michael A.; Moran, Seth C.; Westby, Elizabeth G.; Ewert, John W.
Driedger, C.L., Major, J.J., Pallister, J.S., Clynne, M.A., Moran, S.C., Westby, E.G., and Ewert, J.W., 2020, Ten ways Mount St. Helens changed our world—The enduring legacy of the 1980 eruption: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2020-3031, 6 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20203031.

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Year Published: 2020

Ground failure triggered by shaking during the November 30, 2018, magnitude 7.1 Anchorage, Alaska, earthquake

We developed an initial inventory of ground failure features from the November 30, 2018, magnitude 7.1 Anchorage earthquake. This inventory of 153 features is from ground-based observations soon after the earthquake (December 5–10) that include the presence or absence of liquefaction, landslides, and individual crack traces of lateral spreads and...

Grant, Alex R. R. ; Jibson, Randall W.; Witter, Robert C.; Allstadt, Kate E.; Thompson, Eric M.; Bender, Adrian M.
Grant, A.R.R., Jibson, R.W., Witter, R.C., Allstadt, K.E., Thompson, E.M., and Bender, A.M., 2020, Ground failure triggered by shaking during the November 30, 2018, magnitude 7.1 Anchorage, Alaska, earthquake: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020–1043, 21 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201043.

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Year Published: 2020

Geometric and material variability influences stress states relevant to coastal permafrost bluff failure

Scientific knowledge and engineering tools for predicting coastal erosion are largely confined to temperate climate zones that are dominated by non-cohesive sediments. The pattern of erosion exhibited by the ice-bonded permafrost bluffs in Arctic Alaska, however, is not well explained by these tools. Investigation of the oceanographic, thermal,...

Thomas, Matthew A.; Mota, Alejandro; Jones, Benjamin M.; Choens, R. Charles; Frederick, Jennifer M.; Bull, Diana L.