Skip to main content

Natural Hazards

The USGS monitors and conducts research on a wide range of natural hazards to help decision-makers prepare for and respond to hazard events that threaten life and property.

Filter Total Items: 220

Can we drill into Yellowstone to stop it from erupting?

In some cases, limited scientific drilling for research can help us understand magmatic and hydrothermal (hot water) systems; however, drilling to mitigate a volcanic threat is a much different subject with unknown consequences, high costs, and severe environmental impacts. In addition to the enormous expense and technological difficulties in drilling through hot, mushy rock, drilling is unlikely...

link

Can we drill into Yellowstone to stop it from erupting?

In some cases, limited scientific drilling for research can help us understand magmatic and hydrothermal (hot water) systems; however, drilling to mitigate a volcanic threat is a much different subject with unknown consequences, high costs, and severe environmental impacts. In addition to the enormous expense and technological difficulties in drilling through hot, mushy rock, drilling is unlikely...

Learn More

Can we use the heat from Yellowstone for energy?

Geothermal energy (heat energy from the Earth's interior), is used to generate electricity in a variety of places throughout the world. Although Yellowstone National Park and its surroundings are a significant geothermal resource, the Park itself is off limits to development. Geothermal developments often cause a decrease in the flow of nearby hot springs and other geothermal features (like...

link

Can we use the heat from Yellowstone for energy?

Geothermal energy (heat energy from the Earth's interior), is used to generate electricity in a variety of places throughout the world. Although Yellowstone National Park and its surroundings are a significant geothermal resource, the Park itself is off limits to development. Geothermal developments often cause a decrease in the flow of nearby hot springs and other geothermal features (like...

Learn More

Could a large Yellowstone eruption significantly change the climate?

If another catastrophic, caldera-forming Yellowstone eruption were to occur, it would probably alter global weather patterns and have enormous impacts on human activity (especially agricultural production) for many years. At this time, however, scientists do not have the ability to predict specific consequences or durations of possible global impacts from such large eruptions.The 1991 eruption of...

link

Could a large Yellowstone eruption significantly change the climate?

If another catastrophic, caldera-forming Yellowstone eruption were to occur, it would probably alter global weather patterns and have enormous impacts on human activity (especially agricultural production) for many years. At this time, however, scientists do not have the ability to predict specific consequences or durations of possible global impacts from such large eruptions.The 1991 eruption of...

Learn More

How quickly is earthquake information posted to the USGS website and sent out via the Earthquake Notification Service (ENS) and other feeds?

USGS earthquake information mechanisms are all triggered by the same system, so they all receive the information at the same time. The time it takes for the system to receive the information primarily depends on the size and location of the earthquake:An earthquake in California is processed and posted to the system in 2.5 minutes (on average). This is because our seismic network is very extensive...

link

How quickly is earthquake information posted to the USGS website and sent out via the Earthquake Notification Service (ENS) and other feeds?

USGS earthquake information mechanisms are all triggered by the same system, so they all receive the information at the same time. The time it takes for the system to receive the information primarily depends on the size and location of the earthquake:An earthquake in California is processed and posted to the system in 2.5 minutes (on average). This is because our seismic network is very extensive...

Learn More

Where can I see current or past seismograms?

The USGS Earthquake Hazards Program has helicorders (seismogram displays) available for several areas in the United States and the World.Our research partner IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology) has two applications, the Station Monitor and the Global Seismogram Viewer, for viewing seismograms. IRIS also supplies software that allows users to collect and view seismic data from...

link

Where can I see current or past seismograms?

The USGS Earthquake Hazards Program has helicorders (seismogram displays) available for several areas in the United States and the World.Our research partner IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology) has two applications, the Station Monitor and the Global Seismogram Viewer, for viewing seismograms. IRIS also supplies software that allows users to collect and view seismic data from...

Learn More

Why do so many earthquakes occur at a depth of 10km?

Ten kilometers is a "fixed depth". Sometimes data are too poor to compute a reliable depth for an earthquake. In such cases, the depth is assigned to be 10 km. Why that number? In many areas around the world, reliable depths tend to average 10 km or close to it. For example, if we made a histogram of the reliable depths in such an area, we'd expect to see a peak around 10 km. So if we don't know...

link

Why do so many earthquakes occur at a depth of 10km?

Ten kilometers is a "fixed depth". Sometimes data are too poor to compute a reliable depth for an earthquake. In such cases, the depth is assigned to be 10 km. Why that number? In many areas around the world, reliable depths tend to average 10 km or close to it. For example, if we made a histogram of the reliable depths in such an area, we'd expect to see a peak around 10 km. So if we don't know...

Learn More

Why do USGS earthquake magnitudes differ from those published by other agencies?

Magnitude estimates for a given earthquake can vary between reporting agencies due to differences in methodology, data availability, and inherent uncertainties in seismic data. Individual agencies use magnitude estimation procedures designed to meet the agency's specific needs and monitoring capabilities. Even for well-recorded events, differences in magnitude of 0.2 or 0.3 units are common and...

link

Why do USGS earthquake magnitudes differ from those published by other agencies?

Magnitude estimates for a given earthquake can vary between reporting agencies due to differences in methodology, data availability, and inherent uncertainties in seismic data. Individual agencies use magnitude estimation procedures designed to meet the agency's specific needs and monitoring capabilities. Even for well-recorded events, differences in magnitude of 0.2 or 0.3 units are common and...

Learn More

Why/When does the USGS update the magnitude of an earthquake?

The USGS often updates an earthquake's magnitude in the hours and sometimes days following the event. Updates occur as more data become available for analysis and more time-intensive analysis is performed. Additional updates are possible as part of the standard procedure of assembling a final earthquake catalog.There are physical and operational constraints on how quickly seismic data are...

link

Why/When does the USGS update the magnitude of an earthquake?

The USGS often updates an earthquake's magnitude in the hours and sometimes days following the event. Updates occur as more data become available for analysis and more time-intensive analysis is performed. Additional updates are possible as part of the standard procedure of assembling a final earthquake catalog.There are physical and operational constraints on how quickly seismic data are...

Learn More

Can I get on a list to receive an email message when there is an earthquake? How do I sign up for earthquake notifications?  Are there any Feeds I can subscribe to?

Yes, please go to the USGS Earthquake Notification Services (ENS) to sign up for free emails or text messages to your phone. Use the default settings or customize ENS to fit your needs. Also check out the many different Earthquake Feeds.

link

Can I get on a list to receive an email message when there is an earthquake? How do I sign up for earthquake notifications?  Are there any Feeds I can subscribe to?

Yes, please go to the USGS Earthquake Notification Services (ENS) to sign up for free emails or text messages to your phone. Use the default settings or customize ENS to fit your needs. Also check out the many different Earthquake Feeds.

Learn More

Why isn't the fault on which the earthquake occurred or the distance to the nearest fault provided?

Seismologists evaluate the hypocenter location and the focal mechanism of an earthquake to decide if the earthquake occurs on a named fault. Research shows that many earthquakes occur on small, un-named faults located near well-known faults. For example, most of the aftershocks of the 1989 M6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake occurred on small, subsidiary faults within a few hundred meters of the mainshock...

link

Why isn't the fault on which the earthquake occurred or the distance to the nearest fault provided?

Seismologists evaluate the hypocenter location and the focal mechanism of an earthquake to decide if the earthquake occurs on a named fault. Research shows that many earthquakes occur on small, un-named faults located near well-known faults. For example, most of the aftershocks of the 1989 M6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake occurred on small, subsidiary faults within a few hundred meters of the mainshock...

Learn More

Did I feel an earthquake? Can I report feeling an earthquake?

Report an earthquake experience or related observation through the Did You Feel It? citizen science webpage.The best way to do this is to click on the earthquake that you think you felt on one of the lists on the Earthquakes webpage, and then select the "Tell Us!" link.If you don't see the earthquake you think you felt, use the green "Report an Unknown Event" button on our Did You Feel It? page...

link

Did I feel an earthquake? Can I report feeling an earthquake?

Report an earthquake experience or related observation through the Did You Feel It? citizen science webpage.The best way to do this is to click on the earthquake that you think you felt on one of the lists on the Earthquakes webpage, and then select the "Tell Us!" link.If you don't see the earthquake you think you felt, use the green "Report an Unknown Event" button on our Did You Feel It? page...

Learn More

Why is the earthquake that was reported/recorded by network X, or that I felt, not on the Latest Earthquakes map/list?

The USGS Latest Earthquakes map and lists show events that have been located by the USGS and contributing agencies within the last 30 days. They should NOT be considered complete lists of all events in the U.S. and adjacent areas and especially should NOT be considered complete lists of all magnitude 4.5 and greater events that occur around the globe.In most cases, we locate and report an...

link

Why is the earthquake that was reported/recorded by network X, or that I felt, not on the Latest Earthquakes map/list?

The USGS Latest Earthquakes map and lists show events that have been located by the USGS and contributing agencies within the last 30 days. They should NOT be considered complete lists of all events in the U.S. and adjacent areas and especially should NOT be considered complete lists of all magnitude 4.5 and greater events that occur around the globe.In most cases, we locate and report an...

Learn More