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Science

The USGS provides science about natural hazards that threaten lives and livelihoods; the water, energy, minerals, and other natural resources we rely on; the health of our ecosystems and environment; and the impacts of climate and land-use change. Our scientists develop new methods and tools to supply timely, relevant, and useful information about the Earth and its processes. Learn more below.

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Types of Water

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How We Use Water

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Measuring and Monitoring Water

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Aquatic Biology and Ecosystems

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Common Water Issues

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Essential Tools and Products

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Advanced Capabilities and Research

FAQs

What is a landslide and what causes one?

A landslide is defined as the movement of a mass of rock, debris, or earth down a slope. Landslides are a type of "mass wasting," which denotes any down-slope movement of soil and rock under the direct influence of gravity. The term "landslide" encompasses five modes of slope movement: falls, topples, slides, spreads, and flows. These are further subdivided by the type of geologic material...

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What is a landslide and what causes one?

A landslide is defined as the movement of a mass of rock, debris, or earth down a slope. Landslides are a type of "mass wasting," which denotes any down-slope movement of soil and rock under the direct influence of gravity. The term "landslide" encompasses five modes of slope movement: falls, topples, slides, spreads, and flows. These are further subdivided by the type of geologic material...

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Can major landslides and debris flows happen in all areas of the U.S.?

Landslides can and do occur in every state and territory of the U.S.; however, the type, severity, and frequency of landslide activity varies from place to place, depending on the terrain, geology, and climate. Major storms have caused major or widespread landslides in Washington state, Oregon, California, Colorado, Idaho, Hawaii, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, North Carolina, Puerto...

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Can major landslides and debris flows happen in all areas of the U.S.?

Landslides can and do occur in every state and territory of the U.S.; however, the type, severity, and frequency of landslide activity varies from place to place, depending on the terrain, geology, and climate. Major storms have caused major or widespread landslides in Washington state, Oregon, California, Colorado, Idaho, Hawaii, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, North Carolina, Puerto...

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How do landslides cause tsunamis?

Tsunamis are large, potentially deadly and destructive sea waves, most of which are formed as a result of submarine earthquakes. They can also result from the eruption or collapse of island or coastal volcanoes and from giant landslides on marine margins. These landslides, in turn, are often triggered by earthquakes. Tsunamis can be generated on impact as a rapidly moving landslide mass enters the...

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How do landslides cause tsunamis?

Tsunamis are large, potentially deadly and destructive sea waves, most of which are formed as a result of submarine earthquakes. They can also result from the eruption or collapse of island or coastal volcanoes and from giant landslides on marine margins. These landslides, in turn, are often triggered by earthquakes. Tsunamis can be generated on impact as a rapidly moving landslide mass enters the...

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Education

USGS On The Road

Join us every Wednesday, starting April 20 and continuing for the next month-plus, for 1-minute episodes of USGS On The Road, a web-series about USGS scientists and water science from all corners of Maryland, Delaware, and DC.

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USGS On The Road

Join us every Wednesday, starting April 20 and continuing for the next month-plus, for 1-minute episodes of USGS On The Road, a web-series about USGS scientists and water science from all corners of Maryland, Delaware, and DC.

Learn More

Karst Interest Group (KIG) Workshop

The Karst Interest Group’s (KIG) mission is to encourage and support inter-disciplinary collaboration and technology transfer among scientists working in karst areas.

The 8th USGS Karst Interest Group was held virtually in October 2021.   

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Karst Interest Group (KIG) Workshop

The Karst Interest Group’s (KIG) mission is to encourage and support inter-disciplinary collaboration and technology transfer among scientists working in karst areas.

The 8th USGS Karst Interest Group was held virtually in October 2021.   

Learn More

Water Science School

Welcome to the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Water Science School. We offer information on many aspects of water, along with pictures, data, maps, and an interactive center where you can give opinions and test your water knowledge.

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Water Science School

Welcome to the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Water Science School. We offer information on many aspects of water, along with pictures, data, maps, and an interactive center where you can give opinions and test your water knowledge.

Learn More