Mission Areas

Natural Hazards

Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

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

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.

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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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.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 7, 2016

View current advisories, events, and what is going on in the news.

Redoubt Volcano viewed from the northwest following the April 4, 2009 eruption (Event 19). Steam rises from the summit crater, p
March 7, 2016

There are 169 potentially active volcanoes in the U.S., and the USGS Volcano Hazards Program provides warnings of unrest and eruption for these volcanoes. We offer volcano monitoring data, provide maps and geologic information, conduct research how volcanoes work, and engage with community education and outreach.

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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.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 7, 2016

PILOT – The Planetary Image LOcator Tool

PILOT is a web based search tool for the Unified Planetary Coordinate (UPC) database of the Planetary Data System. PILOT features SPICE-corrected image locations and searching capabilities using a navigable map, user selectable image constraints, and facilitates bulk downloads and/or image processing using POW.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 7, 2016

POW – The Map Projection on the Web

The Map Projection on the Web service was created to help researchers convert raw Planetary Data System images to a science-ready map projected images. The system integrates the Planetary Image LOcator Tool (PILOT) and the Unified Planetary Coordinate (UPC), ISIS3, GDAL, and the Astrogeology processing cluster for its’ processing needs.

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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: 53
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
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.
Tidally dominated sediment dispersal offshore of a small mountainous river: Elwha River, Washington State
Year Published: 2016

Tidally dominated sediment dispersal offshore of a small mountainous river: Elwha River, Washington State

Sediment supplied by small mountainous rivers (SMRs) represents a major fraction of the global ocean sediment budget. Studies from the past two decades have shown that much of this sediment is dispersed by episodic wind and wave energy along storm-dominated coasts. In tidally dominated environments, however, different transport styles and deposits...

E.F. Eidam, A.S. Ogston, C.A. Nittrouer, J.A. Warrick
Eidam, E.F., Ogston, A.S., Nittrouer, C.A., and Warrick, J.A., 2016, Tidally dominated sediment dispersal offshore of a small mountainous river: Elwha River, Washington State: Continental Shelf Research, v. 116, pp. 136–148, doi: 10.1016/j.csr.2016.01.009.
Get your science used—Six guidelines to improve your products
Year Published: 2016

Get your science used—Six guidelines to improve your products

Introduction Natural scientists, like many other experts, face challenges when communicating to people outside their fields of expertise. This is especially true when they try to communicate to those whose background, knowledge, and experience are far distant from that field of expertise. At a recent workshop, experts in risk communication offered...

Perry, Suzanne C.; Blanpied, Michael L.; Burkett, Erin R.; Campbell, Nnenia M.; Carlson, Anders; Cox, Dale A.; Driedger, Carolyn L.; Eisenman, David P.; Fox-Glassman, Katherine T.; Hoffman, Sherry; Hoffman, Susanna M.; Jaiswal, Kishor S.; Jones, Lucile M.; Luco, Nicolas; Marx, Sabine M.; McGowan, Sean M.; Mileti, Dennis S.; Moschetti, Morgan P.; Ozman, David; Pastor, Elizabeth; Petersen, Mark D.; Porter, Keith A.; Ramsey, David W.; Ritchie, Liesel A.; Fitzpatrick, Jessica K.; Rukstales, Kenneth S.; Sellnow, Timothy L.; Vaughon, Wendy L.; Wald, David J.; Wald, Lisa A.; Wein, Anne; Zarcadoolas, Christina
Perry, S.C., Blanpied, M.L., Burkett, E.R., Campbell, N.M., Carlson, A., Cox, D.A., Driedger, C.L., Eisenman, D.P., Fox-Glassman, K.T., Hoffman, S., Hoffman, S.M., Jaiswal, K.S., Jones, L.M., Luco, N., Marx, S.M., McGowan, S.M., Mileti, D.S., Moschetti, M.P., Ozman, D., Pastor, E., Petersen, M.D., Porter, K.A., Ramsey, D.W., Ritchie, L.A., Fitzpatrick, J.K., Rukstales, K.S., Sellnow, T.S., Vaughon, W.L., Wald, D.J., Wald, L.A., Wein, A., and Zarcadoolas, C., 2016, Get your science used—Six guidelines to improve your products: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1419, 37 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/cir1419.
Get your science used—Six guidelines to improve your products
Year Published: 2016

Get your science used—Six guidelines to improve your products

Suzanne C. Perry, Michael L. Blanpied, Erin R. Burkett, Nnenia M. Campbell, Anders Carlson, Dale A. Cox, Carolyn L. Driedger, David P. Eisenman, Katherine T. Fox-Glassman, Sherry Hoffman, Susanna M. Hoffman, Kishor S. Jaiswal, Lucile M. Jones, Nicolas Luco, Sabine M. Marx, Sean M. McGowan, Dennis S. Mileti, Morgan P. Moschetti, David Ozman, Elizabeth Pastor, Mark D. Petersen, Keith A. Porter, David W. Ramsey, Liesel A. Ritchie, Jessica K. Fitzpatrick, Kenneth S. Rukstales, Timothy L. Sellnow, Wendy L. Vaughon, David J. Wald, Lisa A. Wald, Anne Wein, and Christina Zarcadoolas
Kelp, cobbles, and currents: Biologic reduction of coarse grain entrainment stress
Year Published: 2015

Kelp, cobbles, and currents: Biologic reduction of coarse grain entrainment stress

Models quantifying the onset of sediment motion do not typically account for the effect of biotic processes because they are difficult to isolate and quantify in relation to physical processes. Here we investigate an example of the interaction of kelp (Order Laminariales) and coarse sediment transport in the coastal zone, where it is possible to...

Masteller, Claire C; Finnegan, Noah J; Warrick, Jonathan; Miller, Ian M.
66. Masteller, C.C., N.J. Finnegan, J.A. Warrick, and I.M. Miller, 2015, Kelp, cobbles, and currents: Biologic reduction of coarse grain entrainment stress. Geology, v. 43, no. 6, p. 543-546.
Rapid water quality change in the Elwha River estuary complex during dam removal
Year Published: 2015

Rapid water quality change in the Elwha River estuary complex during dam removal

Dam removal in the United States is increasing as a result of structural concerns, sedimentation of reservoirs, and declining riverine ecosystem conditions. The removal of the 32 m Elwha and 64 m Glines Canyon dams from the Elwha River in Washington, U.S.A., was the largest dam removal project in North American history.

Foley, Melissa M.; Duda, Jeffrey J.; Beirne, Matthew M.; Paradis, Rebecca; Ritchie, Andrew; Warrick, Jonathan A.
Foley, M.M., J.J. Duda, M.M. Beirne, R. Paradis, A. Ritchie, J.A. Warrick (2015). Rapid water quality change in the Elwha River estuary complex during dam removal. Limnology and Oceanography. doi: 10.1002/lno.10129
Effects of antecedent hydrologic conditions, time dependence, and climate cycles on the suspended sediment load of the Salinas River, California
Year Published: 2015

Effects of antecedent hydrologic conditions, time dependence, and climate cycles on the suspended sediment load of the Salinas River, California

Previous estimations of sediment flux for the Salinas River of central California were based on data collected in the 1970s and assumptions of time invariant suspended sediment–discharge behavior. The goals of this study were to estimate sediment flux from the Salinas River using data from 1967–2011 by incorporating time dependent behavior and...

Andrew B. Gray, Gregory B. Pasternack, Elizabeth B. Watson, Jonathan A. Warrick, Miguel A. Goñi
Gray, A.B., Pasternack, G.B., Watson, E.B., Warrick, J.A., and Goñi, M.A., 2015, Effects of antecedent hydrologic conditions, time dependence, and climate cycles on the suspended sediment load of the Salinas River, California: Journal of Hydrology, v. 525, pp. 632–649, doi: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.04.025.
High-rate injection is associated with the increase in U.S. mid-continent seismicity
Year Published: 2015

High-rate injection is associated with the increase in U.S. mid-continent seismicity

An unprecedented increase in earthquakes in the U.S. mid-continent began in 2009. Many of these earthquakes have been documented as induced by wastewater injection. We examine the relationship between wastewater injection and U.S. mid-continent seismicity using a newly assembled injection well database for the central and eastern United States. We...

Weingarten, Matthew; Ge, Shemin; Godt, Jonathan W.; Bekins, Barbara A.; Rubinstein, Justin L.
Weingarten, M., Ge, S., Godt, J.W., Bekins, B.A., and Rubinstein, J.L., 2015, High-rate injection is associated with the increase in U.S. mid-continent seismicity: Science, v. 348, no. 6241, p. 1336-1340.
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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...
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.
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.
head shot of man
January 2017 (approx.)
Dr. Guy Gelfenbaum, geologist and director of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center.
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.
January 26, 2017
A presentation on "Unusual Sources of Tsunamis From Krakatoa to Monterey Bay" by Eric Geist, USGS Research Geophysicist - Not all tsunamis are generated by earthquakes. - Tsunamis can be caused by volcanoes, landslides, and even atmospheric disturbances - Data from tide gauges can help unravel the complex physics of these sources Videographers: Mitch Adelson, William Seelig, USGS
January 20, 2017
The June 2016 Fish Fire burned over 12 km^2 in Los Angeles County, California. After the fire, the USGS installed an automated rain-triggered camera to monitor post-wildfire flooding and debris flow in a small canyon above the Las Lomas debris basin in Duarte. This video shows the peak flow triggered by an intense rainstorm on January 20, 2017.
2016 (approx.)
This video will provide a brief history and purpose for one of the oldest streamgages in Indiana. The gage is at the Wabash River at Lafayette, Indiana. The site number is 03335500. This video was produced at the request of the West Lafayette Parks Department where this historic gage is located. A QR code is displayed on an interpretive plaque next to the gage which is located in a high profile...
Large waves crashing on rocks at beach.
2016 (approx.)
Large storm waves crashing on the rocks near Santa Cruz, California
The Chimney Tops 2 fire in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
November 2016 (approx.)
The fire that became known as Chimney Tops 2 started near a Great Smoky Mountains National Park landmark known as The Chimneys on or about Nov. 23, 2016.
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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.

Dr. Christian Zimmerman, USGS Alaska Science Center Director
February 1, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Christian Zimmerman as the new director of their Alaska Science Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Zimmerman succeeds Dr. Mark Shasby who held the position for the past six years.

A gas plume arising from Augustine Volcano during it's eruptive phase 2005-06.
January 31, 2017

On average, how much are landslides estimated to cost the nation per year?

head shot of man
January 19, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Guy Gelfenbaum as the new director of their Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California Gelfenbaum succeeds Dr. Robert Rosenbauer who held the position for the past six years. Rosenbauer is retiring to a Scientist Emeritus position.

Aerial view of the caldera of Mt Tambora, island of Sumbawa, Indonesia.
January 18, 2017

Hundreds of articles have been written about the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history, at Indonesia’s Mt. Tambora just over 200 years ago. But for a small group of New England-based researchers, one more Tambora story needed to be told, one related to its catastrophic effects in the Gulf of Maine that may carry lessons for intertwined human-natural systems facing climate change today.

Man in orange safety suit and helmet, and thumb up,  standing while riding a personal watercraft
January 12, 2017

On January 13, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey will be working on the beach in Santa Cruz at the mouth of the San Lorenzo River. Using a sonar-equipped boat and personal watercraft, they will be surveying the beach and the nearby ocean bottom to compile a three-dimensional map of how the beach changed during storms that struck this week.

Mt. Merapi
January 9, 2017

In early September of 2010, a pattern of increased earthquake activity occurred at the Mount Merapi volcano in Indonesia. A few days later, an avalanche was observed south of the mountain, and white plumes were seen rising above the crater. A lava dome detected in March began to increase rapidly.