Coastal and Marine Hazards and Resources Program


Ocean hazard events, like tsunamis triggered by earthquakes and landslides, storm surges associated with hurricanes and extreme storms, oil and gas spills, and floods and associated watershed contaminants, affect the health and safety of our Nation's ocean and coastal communities and ecosystems. USGS scientists study the causes, distribution, and hazard potential of these events including earthquakes, submarine landslides, and tsunamis; coastal inundation associated with hurricanes, extreme storms, and sea-level rise; and oil and gas spills. USGS also develops computer models and tools that, when combined with our science, help evaluate and forecast coastal hazard probability and occurrence.

Filter Total Items: 85
Date published: September 17, 2020
Status: Completed

USGS Scientists in Samoa and American Samoa Studying Impacts of Tsunami in 2009

On September 29, 2009, an M 8.1 earthquake in the Samoa Islands region of the South Pacific Ocean caused a tsunami that resulted in 100's of lost lives. A rapid-response team of USGS scientists traveled to the Samoa Islands in October-November 2009 to collect time-sensitive data that would have been quickly...

Contacts: Bruce Jaffe
Date published: August 28, 2020
Status: Active

Featured Photos and Videos

Keep watching this page for more photos from our scientists!

Contacts: Laura Torresan
Date published: August 27, 2020
Status: Active

COAWST: A Coupled-Ocean-Atmosphere-Wave-Sediment Transport Modeling System

Understanding the processes responsible for coastal change is important for managing both our natural and economic coastal resources. Storms are one of the primary driving forces causing coastal change from a coupling of wave- and wind-driven flows. To better understand storm impacts and their effects on our coastlines, there is an international need to better predict storm paths and...

Date published: August 19, 2020
Status: Active

Remote Sensing Coastal Change

We use remote-sensing technologies—such as aerial photography, satellite imagery, and lidar (laser-based surveying)—to measure coastal change along U.S. shorelines.

Date published: August 17, 2020
Status: Active

Sediment Transport in Coastal Environments

Our research goals are to provide the scientific information, knowledge, and tools required to ensure that decisions about land and resource use, management practices, and future development in the coastal zone and adjacent watersheds can be evaluated with a complete understanding of the probable effects on coastal ecosystems and communities, and a full assessment of their vulnerability to...

Date published: August 12, 2020
Status: Active

EXPRESS: Expanding Pacific Research and Exploration of Submerged Systems

EXPRESS is a multi-year, multi-institution cooperative research campaign in deep sea areas of California, Oregon, and Washington, including the continental shelf and slope. EXPRESS data and information are intended to guide wise use of living marine resources and habitats, inform ocean energy and mineral resource decisions, and improve offshore hazard assessments.

Read the June 11, 2020...

Date published: July 28, 2020
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 20, 2020
Status: Active

Coastal Climate Impacts

The impacts of climate change and sea-level rise around the Pacific and Arctic Oceans can vary tremendously. Thus far the vast majority of national and international impact assessments and models of coastal climate change have focused on low-relief coastlines that are not near seismically active zones. Furthermore, the degree to which extreme waves and wind will add further stress to coastal...

Date published: July 20, 2020
Status: Active

The Value of U.S. Coral Reefs for Risk Reduction

Summary of the report, “Rigorously valuing the role of U.S. coral reefs in coastal hazard risk reduction”

    Contacts: Curt Storlazzi, PhD, Michael Beck
    Date published: July 17, 2020
    Status: Active

    Probabilistic Forecasting of Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Earthquake Effects in the Coastal Zone

    The nation's coastlines are vulnerable to the interrelated hazards posed by earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis. In the marine environment these events often occur in concert, and distant triggers can cause severe local effects, making the issue global in scope. As the population continues to migrate toward the coastlines, the social impacts of these hazards are expected to grow.

    Date published: July 7, 2020
    Status: Active

    Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS)

    The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) makes detailed predictions of storm-induced coastal flooding, erosion, and cliff failures over large geographic scales. CoSMoS was developed for hindcast studies, operational applications and future climate scenarios to provide emergency responders and coastal planners with critical storm-hazards information that can be used to increase public safety...

    Date published: June 16, 2020
    Status: Active

    Coastal Change Hazards

    Natural processes such as waves, tides, and weather, continually change coastal landscapes. The integrity of coastal homes, businesses, and infrastructure can be threatened by hazards associated with event-driven changes, such as extreme storms and their impacts on beach and dune erosion, or longer-term, cumulative...