Mission Areas

Natural Hazards

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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.

Hurricane Sandy Science

Hurricane Sandy Science

Hurricane Sandy made a variety of impacts along the highly populated northeastern Atlantic seaboard in October 2012. Improved understanding of these impacts will better prepare us for the next large storm.

Explore the Science

Hazards Risk Reduction

Hazards Risk Reduction

Americans are more at risk from natural hazards today than at any other time in our nation's history. The Science Application for Risk Reduction (SAFRR) Project builds natural hazards resilience through research and communication of hazards science.

Become SAFRR

Natural Hazards Programs

Through these programs, the USGS provides alerts and warnings of geologic hazards and supports the warning responsibilities of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for geomagnetic storms, tsunamis, and volcanic ash.

Coastal and Marine Geology

Earthquake Hazards

Geomagnetism

Global Seismographic Network

Landslide Hazards

Volcano Hazards

Emergency Management

Learn About Hazards

News

house perched at the top of cliff edge above beach.
March 27, 2017

Using a newly-developed computer model called “CoSMoS-COAST” (Coastal Storm Modeling System – Coastal One-line Assimilated Simulation Tool) scientists predict that with limited human intervention, 31 to 67 percent of Southern California beaches may become completely eroded (up to existing coastal infrastructure or sea-cliffs) by the year 2100 under scenarios of sea-level rise of one to two meters.

USGS logo
March 20, 2017

Seal Beach, Calif.— A new collaborative study shows evidence of prior abrupt sinking of the wetlands near Seal Beach, caused by ancient earthquakes that shook the area at least three times in the past 2,000 years, according to researchers.

person standing next to large boulder
March 20, 2017

Geologists have discovered evidence that unusual seas detached living corals from a Caribbean reef and scattered them far inland, as boulders, during the last centuries before Columbus arrived. The new findings will reinforce precautions against coastal hazards, Caribbean tsunami specialists said.

Costs and consequences of natural hazards can be enormous; each year more people and infrastructure are at risk. We develop and apply hazards science to help protect U.S. safety, security, and economic well being. These scientific observations, analyses, and research are crucial for the Nation to become more resilient to natural hazards.

Read Our Science Strategy
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Scientist collects samples from a temporary wooden platform in a New Jersey salt marsh
February 23, 2017

The Estuarine Physical Response to Storms Project will assess the estuarine and adjacent wetland  responses of three Atlantic lagoonal estuaries to major storm events such as Hurricane Sandy. The estuarine systems include the Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary, the Chincoteague Bay, and Jamaica Bay, NY. Evaluations of sediment transport, geomorphic change, circulation, wetland...

Oblique aerial photograph of an estuarine wetland area.
December 5, 2016

A quantitative understanding of long- and short-term physical changes along wetland coastlines is required to support assessments of ecological and societal vulnerabilities to environmental change. The Barrier Island and Estuarine Wetland Physical Change Assessment project will integrate a wetland assessment with existing coastal-change hazard assessments for the adjacent dunes and beaches,...

Tsunami Messaging Image
September 2, 2016

SAFRR brings together tsunami and communication experts to discuss potential changes to safety messages, based on improved scientific understanding of Hawaii's tsunami hazard.

Tsunami Awareness Image
September 1, 2016

Students at Art Center College of Design learned about tsunamis from SAFRR partners in natural science, social science, and emergency management, then designed a fun, engaging, multi-faceted awareness campaign.

homes damaged by hurricane Sandy on Fire Island, New York
April 13, 2016

Scientists perform a range of studies that document, assess, and model coastal change, risk, and vulnerability. Studies include historical shoreline change, the geologic structure and history of coastal regions, sediment supply and transport, sea-level rise, and how extreme storm events affect rates and impacts of coastal change.

Devastation of the coastal city of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
April 13, 2016

We study the distribution and hazard potential of coastal and submarine events such as earthquakes and submarine landslides and associated tsunami potential, hurricane induced coastal inundation, extreme storms, sea-level rise and oil and gas spills. We also model development to help evaluate and forecast coastal hazard probability and occurrence.

Methane hydrate
April 13, 2016

Our scientists conduct research studies focused on geologic mapping, sampling and understanding of mineral and energy resources and studies of the geologic setting and processes to inform renewable energy development offshore.

crustose coralline algae
April 13, 2016

We bring together multidisciplinary expertise focused on developing tools and models to improve understanding of how healthy ecosystems function as well as how they respond to environmental changes and human impacts including ecosystem restoration. Research studies address coral reef, coastal wetland, benthic habitat and groundwater resources.

Satellite image of Hurricane Sandy
April 12, 2016

USGS scientists at the Wetland and Aquatic Research Center and other offices received funding for studies related to habitat change, storm surge and ecological modeling, migratory bird impacts, and other topics of interest. The Hurricane Sandy Spatial Data Mapping Application showcases the data and analytical products resulting from these studies.

Mount Rainier seen from Puyallup, Washington
March 17, 2016

The Volcano Hazards Program develops long-range volcano hazards assessments. These includes a summary of the specific hazards, their impact areas, and a map showing ground-hazard zones. The assessments are also critical for planning long-term land-use and effective emergency-response measures, especially when a volcano begins to show signs of unrest.

HayWired Scenario ShakeMap
March 15, 2016

The HayWired project is an earthquake scenario currently underway to model and study impacts on the San Francisco Bay area from a Mw 7.05 earthquake on the Hayward fault.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 7, 2016

View recent events or search for past earthquakes. Optimized for mobile and desktop.

Filter Total Items: 32
Hurricane Sandy Data Viewer - Olga
February 23, 2017

Data Viewer—Post-Hurricane Sandy Lidar Elevations and Features

This viewer provides visualization for and accessibility to USGS lidar data obtained following Hurricane Sandy (October 2012). Access and download data and publications that include the source lidar data and the coastal dune and shoreline data needed to examine coastal change and erosion hazards.

Fish on seafloor, Offshore Northern California
April 18, 2016

Coastal and Marine Geology Video and Photography Portal

This portal contains U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) video and photography of the seafloor off of coastal California and Massachusetts, and aerial imagery of the coastline along segments of the Gulf of Mexico and mid-Atlantic coasts. These data were collected as part of several USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program Seafloor Mapping projects and Hurricane and Extreme Storm research.

Satellite image of Hurricane Sandy
April 12, 2016

Hurricane Sandy Spatial Data Map

The Hurricane Sandy Spatial Data Mapping Application showcases data and analytical products from Aerial reconnaissance imagery; Environmental Contaminants; and Reproductive success of piper plovers.

Tephra and gas eruption from Mount St. Helens crater with dome
March 17, 2016

Volcano Monitoring Data

Many volcanoes in the U.S. are monitored by arrays of several instruments that detect subtle movements within the earth and changes in gas and water chemistry. The Volcano Hazards Program streams this data to its Volcano Observatories and makes it available on volcano-specific websites.

Lidar data of the Gulf Islands, Florida
March 17, 2016

Coastal and Marine Geoscience Data System

Site provides access to Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP) data via Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards services; serving data to GeoMapApp and Virtual Ocean 2-D and 3-D earth browsing tools, for data integration, visualization and analysis; and metadata catalogs for data discovery.

Colored, shaded multibeam data, offshore of Monterey, CA.
March 15, 2016

California State Waters Map Series GIS Data and Metadata

GIS data files for map areas offshore of California are listed with a brief description, a small image, and links to the metadata files and the downloadable data files.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 7, 2016

Real-time Earthquake Information

Get real-time earthquake notifications sent to you using a number of popular mediums: Feeds, Email, Twitter, etc…

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 7, 2016

Flood Watch

Maps of flood and high flow conditions within the U.S.

Screenshot of Waterwatch website drought page
March 7, 2016

Drought Watch

Where in the Nation are droughts or very low flows occurring now? How can I see these sites on a map and get to the data?

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 7, 2016

Real-time Streamflow

Map and data of real-time streamflow compared to historical streamflow for the day of the year in the U.S.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 7, 2016

ISIS – The Integrated System for Imagers and Spectrometers

ISIS has many standard image processing operations such as contrast stretch, image algebra, filters, and statistical analysis. Isis operates on both classical two-dimensional images as well as three-dimensional cubes collected from imaging spectrometers. It also has unique capabilities for processing data from NASA spacecraft missions.

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Fish on seafloor, Offshore Northern California
April 14, 2016

CSMP is a cooperative program to create a comprehensive coastal and marine geologic and habitat base map series for all of California's State waters. Data collected during this project reveal the seafloor offshore of the California coast in unprecedented detail and provide an ecosystem context for the effective management of this precious marine resource.

Map shows color-coded seafloor character offshore of Monterey, California
March 7, 2016

This portal is a “go to” source for maps related to ocean and coastal mapping. Information is organized by geography or region, by theme, and by the year data was published.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 7, 2016

Maps of flood and high flow conditions within the U.S.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 7, 2016

Map of USGS Magnetic observatory locations.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 7, 2016

We conduct post-fire debris-flow hazard assessments for select fires in the Western U.S. We use geospatial data related to basin morphometry, burn severity, soil properties, and rainfall characteristics to estimate the probability and volume of debris flows that may occur in response to a design storm.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 7, 2016

This map and the original delineate areas where large numbers of landslides have occurred and areas which are susceptible to landsliding in the conterminous United States.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 7, 2016

The purpose of the Inventory Project is to provide a framework and tools for displaying and analyzing landslide inventory data collected in a spatially aware digital format from individual states.

March 7, 2016

The Planetary Geologic Mapping Program serves the international science community through the production of high-quality and refereed geologic maps of planetary bodies. This program is in coordination between NASA science programs and the USGS Astrogeology Science Center.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 7, 2016

View recent events or search for past earthquakes. Optimized for mobile and desktop.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 7, 2016

View recent events or search for past earthquakes. Optimized for mobile and desktop.

The Natural Hazards Science Strategy is a 10-year plan to provide scientific observations, analyses, and research that are critical for the Nation to become more resilient to natural hazards.

Read Our Science Strategy
Filter Total Items: 62
Development of a coupled wave-flow-vegetation interaction model
Year Published: 2017

Development of a coupled wave-flow-vegetation interaction model

Emergent and submerged vegetation can significantly affect coastal hydrodynamics. However, most deterministic numerical models do not take into account their influence on currents, waves, and turbulence. In this paper, we describe the implementation of a wave-flow-vegetation module into a Coupled-Ocean-Atmosphere-Wave-Sediment Transport (COAWST)...

Beudin, Alexis; Kalra, Tarandeep; Ganju, Neil Kamal; Warner, John C.
Alexis Beudin, Tarandeep S. Kalra, Neil K. Ganju, John C. Warner, Development of a coupled wave-flow-vegetation interaction model, Computers & Geosciences, Volume 100, March 2017, Pages 76-86, ISSN 0098-3004, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cageo.2016.12.010.
Barrier island breach evolution: Alongshore transport and bay-ocean pressure gradient interactions
Year Published: 2016

Barrier island breach evolution: Alongshore transport and bay-ocean pressure gradient interactions

Physical processes controlling repeated openings and closures of a barrier island breach between a bay and the open ocean are studied using aerial photographs and atmospheric and hydrodynamic observations. The breach site is located on Pea Island along the Outer Banks, separating Pamlico Sound from the Atlantic Ocean. Wind direction was a major...

Safak, Ilgar; Warner, John C.; List, Jeffrey
Safak, I., J. C. Warner, and J. H. List (2016), Barrier island breach evolution: Alongshore transport and bay-ocean pressure gradient interactions, J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 121, doi:10.1002/2016JC012029.
Biogeomorphic classification and images of shorebird nesting sites on the U.S. Atlantic coast
Year Published: 2016

Biogeomorphic classification and images of shorebird nesting sites on the U.S. Atlantic coast

Atlantic coast piping plover (Charadrius melodus) nest sites are typically found on low-lying beach and dune systems, which respond rapidly to coastal processes like sediment overwash, inlet formation, and island migration that are sensitive to climate-related changes in storminess and the rate of sea-level rise. Data were obtained to understand...

Sturdivant, Emily; Thieler, E. Robert; Zeigler, Sara; Winslow, Luke; Hines, Megan K.; Read, Jordan S.; Walker, Jordan I.
Sturdivant, E.J., Thieler, E.R., Zeigler, S.L., Winslow, L.A., Hines, M.K., Read, J.S., Walker, J.I., 2016, Biogeomorphic classification and images of shorebird nesting sites on the U.S. Atlantic coast: U.S. Geological Survey data release, http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F70V89X3.
Oceanographic and water-quality measurements collected south of Martha’s Vineyard, MA, 2014–2015
Year Published: 2016

Oceanographic and water-quality measurements collected south of Martha’s Vineyard, MA, 2014–2015

This web page provides access to oceanographic and water-quality observations made at seven sites near the Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Observatory (MVCO) as part of National Science Foundation “Bottom Stress and the Generation of Vertical Vorticity Over the Inner Shelf” project. The objective was to measure bottom stress at several locations with...

Montgomery, Ellyn T.; Sherwood, Christopher R.; Martini, Marinna A.; Trowbridge, Jannelle; Scully, M.; Brosnahan, Sandra M.
Montgomery, E.T., Sherwood, C.R., Martini, M.A., Trowbridge, J., Scully, M, and Brosnahan, S.M., 2016, Oceanographic and water-quality measurements collected south of Martha’s Vineyard, MA, 2014–2015: U.S. Geological Survey data release, http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F7542KQR.
High-resolution geophysical data collected along the Delmarva Peninsula, 2014, USGS Field Activity 2014-002-FA
Year Published: 2016

High-resolution geophysical data collected along the Delmarva Peninsula, 2014, USGS Field Activity 2014-002-FA

The Delmarva Peninsula is a 220-kilometer-long headland, spit, and barrier island complex that was significantly affected by Hurricane Sandy. A U.S. Geological Survey cruise was conducted in the summer of 2014 to map the inner continental shelf of the Delmarva Peninsula using geophysical and sampling techniques to define the geologic framework...

Pendleton, Elizabeth; Ackerman, Seth D.; Baldwin, Wayne E.; Danforth, William W.; Foster, David S.; Thieler, E. Robert; Brothers, Laura L.
Pendleton, E.A., Ackerman, S.D., Baldwin, W.E., Danforth, W.W., Foster, D.S., Thieler, E.R., and Brothers, L.L. 2015, High-resolution geophysical data collected along the Delmarva Peninsula, 2014, USGS Field Activity 2014-002-FA (ver. 2.0, March 2015): U.S. Geological Survey data release. http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F7MW2F60
Low-altitude aerial imagery and related field observations associated with unmanned aerial systems (UAS) flights over Coast Guard Beach, Nauset Spit, Nauset Inlet, and Nauset Marsh, Cape Cod National Seashore, Eastham, Massachusetts on 1 March 2016
Year Published: 2016

Low-altitude aerial imagery and related field observations associated with unmanned aerial systems (UAS) flights over Coast Guard Beach, Nauset Spit, Nauset Inlet, and Nauset Marsh, Cape Cod National Seashore, Eastham, Massachusetts on 1 March 2016

Low-altitude (approximately 120 meters above ground level) digital images were obtained from cameras mounted in a fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flown from the lawn adjacent to the Coast Guard Beach parking lot on 1 March, 2016. The UAV was a Skywalker X8 operated by Raptor Maps, Inc., contractors to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)...

Sherwood, Christopher R.
Sherwood, C., 2016, Low-altitude aerial imagery and related field observations associated with unmanned aerial systems (UAS) flights over Coast Guard Beach, Nauset Spit, Nauset Inlet, and Nauset Marsh, Cape Cod National Seashore, Eastham, Massachusetts on 1 March 2016: U.S. Geological Survey data release, http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F7CN721H.
Geomorphological control on variably saturated hillslope hydrology and slope instability
Year Published: 2016

Geomorphological control on variably saturated hillslope hydrology and slope instability

In steep topography, the processes governing variably saturated subsurface hydrologic response and the interparticle stresses leading to shallow landslide initiation are physically linked. However, these processes are usually analyzed separately. Here, we take a combined approach, simultaneously analyzing the influence of topography on both...

Giuseppe, Formetta; Simoni, Silvia; Godt, Jonathan W.; Lu, Ning; Rigon, Riccardo
Formetta, G., Simoni, S., Godt, J.W., Lu, N., and Rigon, R., 2016, Geomophological control on variably saturated hillslope hydrology and slope instability: Water Resources Research, v. 52, no. 6, p. 4590-4607
Coastal bathymetry data collected in June 2014 from Fire Island, New York—The wilderness breach and shoreface
Year Published: 2016

Coastal bathymetry data collected in June 2014 from Fire Island, New York—The wilderness breach and shoreface

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center in St. Petersburg, Florida, collected bathymetric data along the upper shoreface and within the wilderness breach at Fire Island, New York, in June 2014. The U.S. Geological Survey is involved in a post-Hurricane Sandy effort to map and monitor the...

Nelson, Timothy R.; Miselis, Jennifer L.; Hapke, Cheryl J.; Wilson, Kathleen E.; Henderson, Rachel E.; Brenner, Owen T.; Reynolds, Billy J.; Hansen, Mark E.
Nelson, T.R., Miselis, J.L., Hapke, C.J., Wilson, K.E., Henderson, R.E., Brenner, O.T., Reynolds, B.J., and Hansen, M.E., 2016, Coastal bathymetry data collected in June 2014 from Fire Island, New York—The wilderness breach and shoreface: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1007, http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ds1007.
Seasonal sediment dynamics shape temperate bedrock reef communities
Year Published: 2016

Seasonal sediment dynamics shape temperate bedrock reef communities

Mobilized seafloor sediment can impact benthic reef communities through burial, scour, and turbidity. These processes are ubiquitous in coastal oceans and, through their influence on the survival, fitness, and interactions of species, can alter the structure and function of benthic communities. In northern Monterey Bay, California, USA, as much as...

Jared D. Figurski, Jan Freiwald, Steve I. Lonhart, and Curt D. Storlazzi
Figurski, J.D., Freiwald, J., Lonhart, S.I., and Storlazzi, C.D., 2016, Seasonal sediment dynamics shape temperate bedrock reef communities: Marine Ecology Progress Series, v. 552, pp. 19–29, doi: 10.3354/meps11763
Conversion to drip irrigated agriculture may offset historic anthropogenic and wildfire contributions to sediment production
Year Published: 2016

Conversion to drip irrigated agriculture may offset historic anthropogenic and wildfire contributions to sediment production

This study is an investigation into the roles of wildfire and changing agricultural practices in controlling the inter-decadal scale trends of suspended sediment production from semi-arid mountainous rivers. In the test case, a decreasing trend in suspended sediment concentrations was found in the lower Salinas River, California between 1967 and...

A.B. Gray, G.B. Pasternack, E.B. Watson, M.A. Goñi, J.A. Hatten, J.A. Warrick
Gray, A.B., Pasternack, G.B., Watson, E.B., Goñi, M.A., Hatten, J.A., and Warrick, J.A., 2016, Conversion to drip irrigated agriculture may offset historic anthropogenic and wildfire contributions to sediment production: Science of The Total Environment, v. 556, pp. 219–230, doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.03.018.
Highstand shelf fans: The role of buoyancy reversal in the deposition of a new type of shelf sand body
Year Published: 2016

Highstand shelf fans: The role of buoyancy reversal in the deposition of a new type of shelf sand body

Although sea-level highstands are typically associated with sediment-starved continental shelves, high sea level does not hinder major river floods. Turbidity currents generated by plunging of sediment-laden rivers at the fluvial-marine interface, known as hyperpycnal flows, allow for cross-shelf transport of suspended sand beyond the coastline...

Elisabeth Steel, Alexander R. Simms, Jonathan Warrick, Yusuke Yokoyama
Steel, E., Simms, A.R., Warrick, J., and Yokoyama, Y., 2016, Highstand shelf fans: The role of buoyancy reversal in the deposition of a new type of shelf sand body: Geological Society of America Bulletin, doi: 10.1130/B31438.1
End of the chain? Rugosity and fine-scale bathymetry from existing underwater digital imagery using structure-from-motion (SfM) technology
Year Published: 2016

End of the chain? Rugosity and fine-scale bathymetry from existing underwater digital imagery using structure-from-motion (SfM) technology

The rugosity or complexity of the seafloor has been shown to be an important ecological parameter for fish, algae, and corals. Historically, rugosity has been measured either using simple and subjective manual methods such as ‘chain-and-tape’ or complicated and expensive geophysical methods. Here, we demonstrate the application of structure-from-...

Curt D. Storlazzi, Peter Dartnell, Gerald A. Hatcher, Ann E. Gibbs
Storlazzi, C.D., Dartnell, P., Hatcher, G.A., and Gibbs, A.E., 2016, End of the chain? Rugosity and fine-scale bathymetry from existing underwater digital imagery using structure-from-motion (SfM) technology: Coral Reefs, v. 35 no. 3, pp. 889–894, doi: 10.1007/s00338-016-1462-8.
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2017 (approx.)
Seismometers record vibrations from a wide assortment of ground motion events. Each event type has a distinctive ground-motion signal with unique frequency and amplitude—its own seismic signature. Seismologists are trained to identify the source of seismic events seen on a webicorder based on its ‘seismic signature’. Although most ground vibrations have a frequency too low for human hearing, we...
row of palm trees along a low cliff behind a narrow beach with very little sand
February 2017 (approx.)
Beach loss and armoring at Goleta Beach, very low (negative) tide
house perched at the top of cliff edge above beach.
February 2017 (approx.)
Exposed bedrock on the beach during very low (negative) tide at Isla Vista, California
photo of bare rocks exposed below cliffs at low tide along a shoreline.
February 2017 (approx.)
Exposed bedrock on the beach, below the University of California, Santa Barbara.
long stretch of beach, with row of houses teetering on the edge of the cliff above beach. Bare rocks exposed & no sand on beach
February 2017 (approx.)
Bedrock exposed at low tide along the beach at Isla Vista, California
Photo of shoreline with very little sandy beach. Heavy equipment is  piling up large boulders (rip rap) along the eroded shore
February 2017 (approx.)
Installing large boulders as rip rap to armor the shore against further erosion at Goleta Beach in Southern California. The tide is very low (negative).
February 23, 2017
How does a scanning electron microscope (SEM) work? What does USGS study with the SEM? Earthquakes Volcanoes Mineral and energy resources Soil and aquifer processes By Leslie Hayden, USGS Geologist, Diane Moore, USGS Geologist, Kathryn Watts, USGS Research Geologist, Marjorie Schulz, USGS Research Hydrologist, and Laura Stern, USGS Research Geophysicist
Aerial photo of snow-covered mountaIns with umbrella-shaped volcanic ash plume rising in the background
February 19, 2017
February 19 Bogoslof eruption plume as seen from Unalaska Island, 53 miles ESE of Bogoslof volcano. Photo taken from helicopter during fieldwork by AVO geologists at 5:22PM, approximately 14 minutes after the start of the eruption.
person standing up riding a personal watercraft across small ocean swells, with buildings and a long pier in the background
January 2017 (approx.)
A sonar-equipped personal watercraft mapping the bathymetry underwater near Santa Cruz, Calif.
two young men standing on a pier with a large tripod, looking down at camera, and holding equipment.
January 2017 (approx.)
USGS scientists setting up a lidar scanner on the pier to map the beach near Capitola, California.
two men standing in a boat tied up to a dock
January 2017 (approx.)
USGS scientists readying a sonar-equipped boat to map the ocean bottom near Santa Cruz, Calif.
man walking along wet sand on beach wearing a backpack with an antenna sticking pout of it
January 2017 (approx.)
USGS scientist Daniel Hoover mapping the beach at Santa Cruz with a GPS-equipped backpack unit.
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house perched at the top of cliff edge above beach.
March 27, 2017

Using a newly-developed computer model called “CoSMoS-COAST” (Coastal Storm Modeling System – Coastal One-line Assimilated Simulation Tool) scientists predict that with limited human intervention, 31 to 67 percent of Southern California beaches may become completely eroded (up to existing coastal infrastructure or sea-cliffs) by the year 2100 under scenarios of sea-level rise of one to two meters.

USGS logo
March 20, 2017

Seal Beach, Calif.— A new collaborative study shows evidence of prior abrupt sinking of the wetlands near Seal Beach, caused by ancient earthquakes that shook the area at least three times in the past 2,000 years, according to researchers.

person standing next to large boulder
March 20, 2017

Geologists have discovered evidence that unusual seas detached living corals from a Caribbean reef and scattered them far inland, as boulders, during the last centuries before Columbus arrived. The new findings will reinforce precautions against coastal hazards, Caribbean tsunami specialists said.

bue and white street sign, circle with wave -shaped drawing indicating a tsunami evacuation route
March 20, 2017

Hours before Japan was struck by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and the ensuing catastrophic tsunami, John Schelling spoke at a public meeting in the coastal community of Oceans Shores, Washington, about preparing for tsunami hazards. The few dozen people attending the meeting went home that evening and watched in horror as the events in Japan unfolded.

Annotated aerial photo of crescent shaped island surrounded by open ocean.
March 3, 2017

Bogoslof volcano, located in the Aleutian Islands about 98 km (61 mi) northwest of Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, is in an active eruption sequence that began in mid-December 2016 and continues today.

Image Placeholder
March 2, 2017

Pasadena, Calif. – A new U.S. Geological Survey study offers a view into the past behavior of large earthquakes along the southern San Andreas Fault. 

 

Large waves crashing on rocks at beach.
February 22, 2017

Atmospheric rivers are a global weather phenomenon that can bring large amounts of rain or snow to the U.S. West Coast each year. These rivers of wet air form over the Pacific Ocean near Hawaiʻi and pick up large amounts of moisture from the tropics and on their way to the West Coast. This moisture is carried in narrow bands across the Pacific Ocean to California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada.

Image: Debris Flow Damage in California
February 21, 2017

When wildfires spread and scorch the earth, people like Penny Luehring have to act fast. Secondary impacts such as debris flows can be devastating to nearby communities.

USGS logo
February 17, 2017

Small variations in the density of the earth’s crust—undetectable to humans without sensitive instruments—influence where earthquakes may occur in the central United States. These new findings from the U.S. Geological Survey, published today in Nature Communications, may allow scientists to map where future seismicity in the center of the country is most likely.

Sandy ocean beach with low cliffs on the right side. Ocean visible at left side. One person walking on beach
February 14, 2017

In a study released today, U.S. Geological Survey scientists and their colleagues document how the 2015-16 winter featured one of the most powerful El Niño climate events of the last 145 years.

Image shows an undersea gas hydrate formation with shellfish on it.
February 9, 2017

A recent interpretive review of scientific literature performed by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Rochester sheds light on the interactions of gas hydrates and climate.

K2 Seismic Station
February 2, 2017

The U. S. Geological Survey is seeking volunteers to host temporary seismic stations in the Walnut Creek/Pleasant Hill/Concord California area. Volunteers will be assisting with a new ground motion study that will begin in March 2017.