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Science

The USGS Coastal and Marine Hazards and Resources Program conducts a wide variety of research in coastal and marine environments to support scientific understanding, develop tools and technology, and provide maps, data, and other information needed by resource managers and decision-makers.

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Hazards

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Coastal Change

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Ocean Resources

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Coastal Ecosystems

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Ocean Ecosystems

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Capabilities

FAQs

Can you predict earthquakes?

No. Neither the USGS nor any other scientists have ever predicted a major earthquake. We do not know how, and we do not expect to know how any time in the foreseeable future. USGS scientists can only calculate the probability that a significant earthquake will occur (shown on our hazard mapping) in a specific area within a certain number of years. An earthquake prediction must define 3 elements: 1...

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Can you predict earthquakes?

No. Neither the USGS nor any other scientists have ever predicted a major earthquake. We do not know how, and we do not expect to know how any time in the foreseeable future. USGS scientists can only calculate the probability that a significant earthquake will occur (shown on our hazard mapping) in a specific area within a certain number of years. An earthquake prediction must define 3 elements: 1...

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Can animals predict earthquakes?

The earliest reference we have to unusual animal behavior prior to a significant earthquake is from Greece in 373 BC. Rats, weasels, snakes, and centipedes reportedly left their homes and headed for safety several days before a destructive earthquake. Anecdotal evidence abounds of animals, fish, birds, reptiles, and insects exhibiting strange behavior anywhere from weeks to seconds before an...

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Can animals predict earthquakes?

The earliest reference we have to unusual animal behavior prior to a significant earthquake is from Greece in 373 BC. Rats, weasels, snakes, and centipedes reportedly left their homes and headed for safety several days before a destructive earthquake. Anecdotal evidence abounds of animals, fish, birds, reptiles, and insects exhibiting strange behavior anywhere from weeks to seconds before an...

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Why are we having so many earthquakes? Has naturally occurring earthquake activity been increasing? Does this mean a big one is going to hit? OR We haven't had any earthquakes in a long time; does this mean that the pressure is building up for a big one?

A temporary increase or decrease in seismicity is part of the normal fluctuation of earthquake rates. Neither an increase nor decrease worldwide is a positive indication that a large earthquake is imminent. The ComCat earthquake catalog contains an increasing number of earthquakes in recent years--not because there are more earthquakes, but because there are more seismic instruments and they are...

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Why are we having so many earthquakes? Has naturally occurring earthquake activity been increasing? Does this mean a big one is going to hit? OR We haven't had any earthquakes in a long time; does this mean that the pressure is building up for a big one?

A temporary increase or decrease in seismicity is part of the normal fluctuation of earthquake rates. Neither an increase nor decrease worldwide is a positive indication that a large earthquake is imminent. The ComCat earthquake catalog contains an increasing number of earthquakes in recent years--not because there are more earthquakes, but because there are more seismic instruments and they are...

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Education

Life of a Tsunami

Life of a Tsunami

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Life of a Tsunami

Life of a Tsunami

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Could It Happen Here?

The Question: Soon after the devastating tsunamis in the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004 and in Japan on March 11, 2011, many people have asked, "Could such a tsunami happen in the United States?"

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Could It Happen Here?

The Question: Soon after the devastating tsunamis in the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004 and in Japan on March 11, 2011, many people have asked, "Could such a tsunami happen in the United States?"

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Local Tsunamis in the Pacific Northwest

In the past century, several damaging tsunamis have struck the Pacific Northwest coast (Northern California, Oregon, and Washington). All of these tsunamis were distant tsunamis generated from earthquakes located far across the Pacific basin and are distinguished from tsunamis generated by earthquakes near the coast—termed local tsunamis.

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Local Tsunamis in the Pacific Northwest

In the past century, several damaging tsunamis have struck the Pacific Northwest coast (Northern California, Oregon, and Washington). All of these tsunamis were distant tsunamis generated from earthquakes located far across the Pacific basin and are distinguished from tsunamis generated by earthquakes near the coast—termed local tsunamis.

Learn More