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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.
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
Fire Island Coastal Change research is primarily focused on understanding the long- and short-term behavior of the Fire Island barrier island system.
As Hurricane Sandy moved northward along the U.S. Atlantic coast in October 2012, USGS scientists worked to determine where and how the storm’s waves and surge might dramatically reshape the beaches and dunes that stand between the storm and coastal developments.
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,...
SAFRR brings together tsunami and communication experts to discuss potential changes to safety messages, based on improved scientific understanding of Hawaii's tsunami hazard.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
View reports on magnetic disturbance events.
Track hurricane data and USGS resources.
Track hurricane data and USGS resources.
Track hurricane data and USGS resources.
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.
High-resolution geophysical data collected along the Delmarva Peninsula 2014, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity 2014-002-FA
High-resolution geophysical data collected along the Delmarva Peninsula in 2014.
Download real-time and definitive data and indices from USGS geomagnetic observatories.
Real-time HEZF data from USGS geomagnetic observatories with satellite data used to fill gaps.
Real-time Dst data from USGS observatories as well as other world partners.
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.
The Hurricane Sandy Spatial Data Mapping Application showcases data and analytical products from Aerial reconnaissance imagery; Environmental Contaminants; and Reproductive success of piper plovers.
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.
Location of 1D Earth Resistivity Models with respect to Physiographic Regions of the USA
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.
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.
Maps of flood and high flow conditions within the U.S.
Map of USGS Magnetic observatory locations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
View recent events or search for past earthquakes. Optimized for mobile and desktop.
Designing a solution to enable agency-academic scientific collaboration for disasters
As large-scale environmental disasters become increasingly frequent and more severe globally, people and organizations that prepare for and respond to these crises need efficient and effective ways to integrate sound science into their decision making. Experience has shown that integrating nongovernmental scientific expertise into disaster...Mease, Lindley A.; Gibbs-Plessl, Theodora; Erickson, Ashley; Ludwig, Kristin A.; Reddy, Christopher M.; Lubchenco, Jane
Reducing risk where tectonic plates collide—U.S. Geological Survey subduction zone science plan
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) serves the Nation by providing reliable scientific information and tools to build resilience in communities exposed to subduction zone earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and volcanic eruptions. Improving the application of USGS science to successfully reduce risk from these events relies on whole community efforts...Gomberg, Joan S.; Ludwig, Kristin A.; Bekins, Barbara; Brocher, Thomas M.; Brock, John C.; Brothers, Daniel; Chaytor, Jason D.; Frankel, Arthur; Geist, Eric L.; Haney, Matt; Hickman, Stephen H.; Leith, William S.; Roeloffs, Evelyn A.; Schulz, William H.; Sisson, Thomas W.; Wallace, Kristi; Watt, Janet; Wein, Anne
Reducing risk where tectonic plates collide
Most of the world’s earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and volcanic eruptions are caused by the continuous motions of the many tectonic plates that make up the Earth’s outer shell. The most powerful of these natural hazards occur in subduction zones, where two plates collide and one is thrust beneath another. The U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) “...Gomberg, Joan S.; Ludwig, Kristin A.
Observations and a linear model of water level in an interconnected inlet-bay system
A system of barrier islands and back-barrier bays occurs along southern Long Island, New York, and in many coastal areas worldwide. Characterizing the bay physical response to water level fluctuations is needed to understand flooding during extreme events and evaluate their relation to geomorphological changes. Offshore sea level is one of the...Aretxabaleta, Alfredo; Ganju, Neil K.; Butman, Bradford; Signell, Richard
Inner-shelf ocean dynamics and seafloor morphologic changes during Hurricane Sandy
Hurricane Sandy was one of the most destructive hurricanes in US history, making landfall on the New Jersey coast on Oct 30, 2012. Storm impacts included several barrier island breaches, massive coastal erosion, and flooding. While changes to the subaerial landscape are relatively easily observed, storm-induced changes to the adjacent shoreface...Warner, John C.; Schwab, William C.; List, Jeffrey; Safak, Ilgar; Liste, Maria; Baldwin, Wayne E.
Evidence for coseismic subsidence events in a southern California coastal saltmarsh
Paleoenvironmental records from a southern California coastal saltmarsh reveal evidence for repeated late Holocene coseismic subsidence events. Field analysis of sediment gouge cores established discrete lithostratigraphic units extend across the wetland. Detailed sediment analyses reveal abrupt changes in lithology, percent total organic matter,...Leeper, Robert; Rhodes, Brady P.; Kirby, Matthew E.; Scharer, Katherine M.; Carlin, Joseph A.; Hemphill-Haley, Eileen; Avnaim-Katav, Simona; MacDonald, Glen M.; Starratt, Scott W.; Aranda, Angela
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 S.; Ganju, Neil K.; Warner, John C.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dark features previously proposed as evidence for significant liquid water flowing on Mars have now been identified as granular flows, where sand and dust move rather than liquid water, according to a new article published in Nature Geoscience by the U.S. Geological Survey.
The USGS has up-to-date details on the November 12, 2017 event.
Coastal communities count on beaches for recreation and for protection from large waves, but beaches are vulnerable to threats such as erosion by storms and flooding. Whether beaches grow, shrink, or even disappear depends in part on what happens just offshore. How do features like shifting sandbars affect waves, currents, and the movement of sand from the beach to offshore and back?
In the public interest, and in accordance with FAA regulations, the USGS is announcing this low-level airborne project. Your assistance in informing the local communities is appreciated.
On October 12, USGS drones collected video footage of the Mud Creek landslide, which buried California State Highway 1 under a third-of-a-mile-wide mass of rock and dirt on May 20.
Coral reef expert Caroline Rogers was the only USGS employee in the Virgin Islands when the Category 5 storm hit.
In the past decade, the development of the Barnett, Eagle Ford, Marcellus, and other shales has dominated the national consciousness regarding natural gas. But in Alaska, another form of natural gas has been the focus of research for decades—methane hydrate.
An international team of scientists just finished probing the depths of the Pacific Ocean offshore of Alaska and British Columbia, to better understand the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather Fault. During the past century, the 700-mile-long fault has generated at least half a dozen major earthquakes, and future shocks threaten coastal communities in both the United States and Canada.
Do you know what to do the moment the ground starts shaking? Drop, Cover, and Hold On!
No, this EarthWord isn’t how natural gas quenches its thirst-it just sounds like it...
A study finds that although the “wilderness breach” created by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 has reached a relatively stable size and location, the channel and shoals will keep changing in response to weather. Related research shows the breach isn’t likely to increase storm-tide flooding in Great South Bay.