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.

2017 Hurricane Season

2017 Hurricane Season

Four major storms impacted the United States during the 2017 hurricane season. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey are analyzing information that will help with recovery from these historic hurricanes and with preparing for the next 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

Emergency Management

Geomagnetism

Global Seismographic Network

Landslide Hazards

Volcano Hazards

Learn About Hazards

News

Date published: April 24, 2018

East vs West Coast Earthquakes

Why was an earthquake in Virginia felt at more than twice the distance than a similar-sized earthquake in California? The answer is one that many people may not realize. Earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains can cause noticeable ground shaking at much farther distances than comparably-sized earthquakes in the West.

Date published: April 18, 2018

USGS Rolls Out Groundbreaking Earthquake Study: The HayWired Earthquake Scenario

USGS collaborates with key academic, state, local, and industry partners to provide a new look at what could happen during a major earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Date published: April 16, 2018

USGS 2017 Excellence in Leadership Award honors scientists who assess coastal flooding threats

Research geologist Patrick Barnard and research oceanographer Li Erikson have been recognized for leading efforts to better assess coastal vulnerability to flooding.

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
Filter Total Items: 113
Date published: April 17, 2018
Status: Active

Sea-Level Rise and Climate Change Impacts to Reefs

Based on rates of vertical reef accretion in Hawaiʻi and throughout the Pacific, it is unlikely that reefs there and other locations will keep pace with the rising sea levels, and their inability to do so will lead to subtle but important changes in selected physical processes on some coral reefs.

Contacts: Curt Storlazzi
Date published: April 13, 2018
Status: Active

Coral Reef Project

Welcome to the USGS Coral Reef Project website

Explore the fascinating undersea world of coral reefs. Learn how we map, monitor, and model coral reefs so we can better understand, protect, and preserve our Nation's reefs.

Contacts: Curt Storlazzi
Date published: April 10, 2018
Status: Active

What to Expect in a Big Urban Earthquake

When a big earthquake hits a populated area, expect these effects.

Date published: April 10, 2018
Status: Active

The HayWired Scenario: An Urban Earthquake in a Connected World

An interactive, graphics-rich summary of the hazards in the HayWired Scenario.

Date published: April 9, 2018
Status: Active

Global Ocean Mineral Resources

Addressing issues concerning mineral resources that occur within the Exclusive Economic Zone of Pacific coastal States, Pacific islands of U.S. affiliation, and areas beyond national jurisdictions.

Date published: April 5, 2018

Kilauea Advisory Messages Usability Study

Improving Advisories for volcanic activity.

Date published: March 30, 2018
Status: Completed

Tropical Storm Colin - Forecast of Coastal Change

Forecast of coastal change for Tropical Storm Colin.

Date published: March 29, 2018
Status: Active

Climate Check in our Santa Cruz Backyard

For a beach town like Santa Cruz, preserving beaches by mitigating coastal erosion is vital. Surveys conducted now and regularly in the future will help scientists understand the short- and long-term impacts of climate change, El Niño years, and sea-level rise on a populated and vulnerable coastline.

Date published: March 28, 2018
Status: Completed

Hurricane Joaquin - Forecast and Documentation of Coastal Change

Hurricane Joaquin coastal change forecast and pre- and post-storm photos documenting coastal change.

Date published: March 20, 2018
Status: Active

Geomagnetism Research

Research projects within the USGS Geomagnetism Program are targeted for societal relevance, especially for space-weather hazard science.

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Date published: March 20, 2018
Status: Active

Volcano Hazards Preparedness Resources

Be ready for the next volcanic event.

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Date published: March 20, 2018
Status: Active

Volcano Notification Service (VNS)

The Volcano Notification Service (VNS) is a free service that sends you notification emails about volcanic activity happening at US monitored volcanoes.

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Filter Total Items: 93
Date published: April 12, 2018

HayWired aftershock (M> 5) ShakeMaps

The maps in this archive display estimated intensities and ground motions for the earthquake scenarios - events on faults that have ruptured in the past or have a likelihood of rupturing in the future. These maps are typically used for emergency response exercises and planning as well as for understanding the potential consequences of future large earthquakes.

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Date published: April 12, 2018

The HayWired Scenario: An Urban Earthquake in a Connected World - A Geonarrative

What might it be like the next time the Hayward Fault has a large earthquake? A geonarrative and related imagery examines a hypothetical earthquake, the magnitude 7.0 HayWired earthquake scenario.”

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Date published: April 12, 2018

What to Expect in a Big Urban Earthquake - A Geonarrative

How do we get ready for big earthquakes in populated areas? An important first step is to learn what a big earthquake could be like. These pages summarize the main patterns — the earthquake effects that show up again and again. Here, urban is shorthand for “cities, towns, and suburbs”.

Date published: April 9, 2018

Marsh shorelines of the Massachusetts coast from 2013-14 topographic lidar data

The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) launched the Shoreline Change Project in 1989 to identify erosion-prone areas of the Massachusetts coast. This update included a marsh shoreline, which was defined to be the tonal difference between low- and high-marsh seen in ortho-photos. Further cooperation between CZM and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has resulted in another...

Date published: April 6, 2018

Collection, analysis, and age-dating of sediment cores from salt marshes on the south shore of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, from 2013 through 2014

Elevation of the marsh surface was measured with RTK-GPS to evaluate where the marsh falls within the current tidal frame. The historic marsh surface elevation was then reconstructed using the calculated age of each depth interval and its elevation, assuming that elevations within this shallow zone (less than 30 cm) have been preserved for the past century.

 

Date published: April 4, 2018

U.S. Geological Survey Oceanographic Time-Series Data Collection

Oceanographic time-series measurements made by the U.S. Geological Survey between 1975 and the present as part of research programs. The data were collected to address specific research questions and were primarily collected over durations less than a year, using stationary platforms, with sensors near the sea floor. These data have been used to study of ocean dynamics and to validate ocean...

Date published: April 4, 2018

Coastal and Marine Geology Program Internet Map Server and GIS Data

Welcome to the CMGP Internet Map Server, an internet map server and downloadable list of GIS data being served by the USGS, Coastal and Marine Geology Program.

Date published: April 4, 2018

Sampling data collected in Cape Cod Bay, Buzzards Bay, and Vineyard Sound; south of Martha's Vineyard; and south and east of Nantucket, Massachusetts, in 2011, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity 2011-015-FA

These survey data are used to explore the nature of the sea floor and, in conjunction with high-resolution geophysical data, to make interpretive maps of sedimentary environments and validate acoustic remote sensing data.

Date published: April 4, 2018

Continuous Bathymetry and Elevation Models of the Massachusetts Coastal Zone and Continental Shelf

Integrated terrain models covering 16,357 square kilometers of the Massachusetts coastal zone and offshore waters were built to provide a continuous elevation and bathymetry terrain model for ocean planning purposes.  A Triangulated Irregular Network was created from public-domain bathymetric and LiDAR data using the ArcGIS terrain-model framework.

Date published: April 4, 2018

Conceptual salt marsh units for wetland synthesis: Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey

The salt marsh complex of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (EBFNWR), which spans over Great Bay, Little Egg Harbor, and Barnegat Bay (New Jersey, USA), was delineated to smaller, conceptual marsh units by geoprocessing of surface elevation data. Flow accumulation based on the relative elevation of each location is used to determine the ridge lines that separate each marsh unit....

Date published: March 29, 2018

Geophysical data collected along the Atlantic continental slope and rise 2014, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity 2014-011-FA, cruise MGL1407

In summer 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey conducted a 21-day geophysical program in deep water along the Atlantic continental margin by using R/V Marcus G. Langseth (Field Activity Number 2014-011-FA). The purpose of the seismic program was to collect multichannel seismic reflection and refraction data to determine sediment thickness

Date published: March 29, 2018

Swath bathymetry collected offshore of Fire Island and western Long Island, New York in 2014, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity 2014-072-FA

Hurricane Sandy, the largest storm of historical record in the Atlantic basin, severely impacted southern Long Island, New York in October 2012. In 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), conducted a high-resolution multibeam echosounder survey with Alpine Ocean Seismic Survey, Inc., offshore of Fire Island and western Long Island...

Filter Total Items: 17
Date published: April 16, 2018

Earthquake outlook for the San Francisco Bay region 2014–2043

Using information from recent earthquakes, improved mapping of active faults, and a new model for estimating earthquake probabilities, the 2014 Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities updated the 30-year earthquake forecast for California. They concluded that there is a 72 percent probability (or likelihood) of at least one earthquake of magnitude 6.7 or greater striking somewhere in

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Date published: April 11, 2018

Digital database of recently active traces of the Hayward Fault, California

This map shows the location of and evidence for recent movement on active fault traces within the Hayward Fault Zone, California.

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Date published: April 11, 2018

HayWired aftershock (M> 5) ShakeMaps

The maps in this archive display estimated intensities and ground motions for the largest earthquakes in the HayWired aftershock sequence. The aftershock sequence follows the HayWired M7.0 mainshock that is imagined to occur on April 18, 2018 along the Hayward Fault.These maps have been used in analyses of the HayWired scenario.

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Date published: April 11, 2018

Ground motion and regional information of the M 7.0 mainshock

The HayWired scenario depicts a hypothetical M7.0 earthquake on California’s Hayward Fault. This site includes an interactive map showing fault traces and ShakeMap contours, information on the tectonic setting of the Hayward Fault and fault rupture history; and a USGS ShakeMap, which provides ground motion information for the HayWired scenario mainshock.

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Date published: March 23, 2018

The HayWired Scenario: An Urban Earthquake in a Connected World - A Geonarrative

What might it be like the next time the Hayward Fault has a large earthquake? A geonarrative and related imagery examines a hypothetical earthquake, the magnitude 7.0 HayWired earthquake scenario.

Date published: October 16, 2017

Regional Conductivity Maps

Location of 1D Earth Resistivity Models with respect to Physiographic Regions of the USA

Date published: May 26, 2017

Data from Earthquake-Induced Landslide Hazards for a M7.0 Scenario Earthquake on the Hayward Fault

The seismic-landslide probability map covers the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma. The slope failures are triggered by a hypothetical earthquake with a moment magnitude of 7.0 occurring on April 18, 2018, at 4:18 p.m. on the Hayward Fault in the east bay part of California’s San Francisco Bay region.

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Date published: April 14, 2016

California Seafloor Mapping Program

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.

Date published: March 7, 2016

Coastal and Marine Geology Program Interactive Maps

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.

Date published: March 7, 2016

Interactive Flood Map

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

Date published: March 7, 2016

Observatories

Map of USGS Magnetic observatory locations.

Date published: March 7, 2016

Emergency Assessment of Post-Wildfire Debris-Flow Hazards

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.

Filter Total Items: 65
Year Published: 2018

The size, distribution, and mobility of landslides caused by the 2015 Mw7.8 Gorkha earthquake, Nepal

Coseismic landslides pose immediate and prolonged hazards to mountainous communities, and provide a rare opportunity to study the effect of large earthquakes on erosion and sediment budgets. By mapping landslides using high-resolution satellite imagery, we find that the 25 April 2015 Mw7.8 Gorkha earthquake and aftershock sequence produced at...

Roback, Kevin; Clark, Marin K.; West, A. Joshua; Zekkos, Dimitrios; Li, Gen; Gallen, Sean F.; Chamlagain, Deepak; Godt, Jonathan W.
Attribution: Natural Hazards
Roback, K., Clark, M. K., West, A. J., Zekkos, D., Li, G., Gallen, S. F., Chamlagain, D., and Godt, J. W., 2018, The size, distribution, and mobility of landslides caused by the 2015 Mw7.8 Gorkha earthquake, Nepal: Geomorphology, v. 301, p. 121-138.

Year Published: 2017

The HayWired Earthquake Scenario

ForewordThe 1906 Great San Francisco earthquake (magnitude 7.8) and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake (magnitude 6.9) each motivated residents of the San Francisco Bay region to build countermeasures to earthquakes into the fabric of the region. Since Loma Prieta, bay-region communities, governments, and utilities have invested tens of billions of...

Detweiler, Shane T.; Wein, Anne M.
Detweiler, S.T., and Wein, A.M., eds., 2017, The HayWired earthquake scenario: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5013, https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175013.

Year Published: 2017

Application and evaluation of a rapid response earthquake-triggered landslide model to the 25 April 2015 Mw 7.8 Gorkha earthquake, Nepal

The 25 April 2015 Mw 7.8 Gorkha earthquake produced strong ground motions across an approximately 250 km by 100 km swath in central Nepal. To assist disaster response activities, we modified an existing earthquake-triggered landslide model based on a Newmark sliding block analysis to estimate the extent and intensity of landsliding...

Gallen, Sean F.; Clark, Marin K.; Godt, Jonathan W.; Roback, Kevin; Niemi, Nathan A
Attribution: Natural Hazards
Gallen, S. F., Clark, M. K., Godt, J. W., Roback, K., and Niemi, N. A., 2017, Application and evaluation of a rapid response earthquake-triggered landslide model to the 25 April 2015 Mw 7.8 Gorkha earthquake, Nepal: Tectonophysics, v. 714-715, p. 173-187.

Year Published: 2017

Evolution of strain localization in variable-width three-dimensional unsaturated laboratory-scale cut slopes

To experimentally validate a recently developed theory for predicting the stability of cut slopes under unsaturated conditions, the authors measured increasing strain localization in unsaturated slope cuts prior to abrupt failure. Cut slope width and moisture content were controlled and varied in a laboratory, and a sliding door that extended the...

Morse, Michael S.; Lu, Ning; Wayllace, Alexandra; Godt, Jonathan W.
Attribution: Natural Hazards
Morse, M.S.,Lu, N., Wayllace, A., and Godt, J.W., 2017, Evolution of strain localization in variable-width three-dimensional unsaturated laboratory-scale cut slopes: Journal of Engineering Mechanics, v. 143, no. 9, doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)EM.1943-7889.0001286

Year Published: 2017

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
Attribution: Natural Hazards
Mease, L. A., T. Gibbs-Plessl, A. L. Erickson, K. A. Ludwig, C. M. Reddy, and J. Lubchenco. 2017. Designing a solution to enable agency-academic scientific collaboration for disasters. Ecology and Society 22(2):18.

Year Published: 2017

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 M.
Gomberg, J.S., Ludwig, K.A., Bekins, B.A., Brocher, T.M., Brock, J.C., Brothers, Daniel, Chaytor, J.D., Frankel, A.D., Geist, E.L., Haney, Matthew, Hickman, S.H., Leith, W.S., Roeloffs, E.A., Schulz, W.H., Sisson, T.W., Wallace, Kristi, Watt, J.T., Wein, Anne, 2017, Reducing risk where tectonic plates collide—U.S. Geological Survey subduction zone science plan: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1428, 45 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1428.

Year Published: 2017

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.
Gomberg, J.S., and Ludwig, K.A., 2017, Reducing risk where tectonic plates collide: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017–3024, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20173024.

Year Published: 2017

The HayWired Earthquake Scenario—Earthquake Hazards

The HayWired scenario is a hypothetical earthquake sequence that is being used to better understand hazards for the San Francisco Bay region during and after an earthquake of magnitude 7 on the Hayward Fault. The 2014 Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities calculated that there is a 33-percent likelihood of a large (magnitude 6.7 or...

Detweiler, Shane T.; Wein, Anne M.
Detweiler, S.T., and Wein, A.M., eds., 2017, The HayWired earthquake scenario—Earthquake hazards (ver. 1.1, March 2018): U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5013–A–H, 126 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175013v1.

Year Published: 2017

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
Aretxabaleta, A. L., N. K. Ganju, B. Butman, and R. P. Signell (2017), Observations and a linear model of water level in an interconnected inlet-bay system, J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 122, doi:10.1002/2016JC012318.

Year Published: 2017

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.
Warner, J.C., Schwab, W.C., List, J.H., Safak, I., Liste, M., and Baldwin, W, 2017, Inner-shelf ocean dynamics and seafloor morphologic changes during Hurricane Sandy: Continental Shelf Research, v. 138, 1-18 p doi:10.1016/j.csr.2017.02.003.

Year Published: 2017

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
Attribution: Natural Hazards
Leeper, R., Rhodes, B., Kirby, M., Scharer, K., Carlin, J., Hemphill-Haley, E., Avnaim-Katav, S., MacDonald, G., Starratt, S., Arranda, A.,

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 S.; Ganju, Neil K.; 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.

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Image showing MTL contour, marsh edge, and example of calculating the marsh edge
December 31, 2018

Marsh edge browse graphhic

Image showing MTL contour, marsh edge, and example of calculating the marsh edge

Cover of The HayWired Earthquake Scenario—We Can Outsmart Disaster
April 30, 2018

Cover of The HayWired Earthquake Scenario—We Can Outsmart Disaster

Cover of The HayWired Earthquake Scenario—We Can Outsmart Disaster, USGS Fact Sheet 2018-3016

Attribution: Natural Hazards
April 18, 2018

HayWired Scenario - Movie

The HayWired earthquake scenario, led by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), anticipates the impacts of a hypothetical magnitude-7.0 earthquake on the Hayward Fault. The fault is along the east side of California’s San Francisco Bay and is among the most active and dangerous in the United States, because it runs through a densely urbanized and interconnected region. 

Get Ready! Analyses...

Man wearing a safety helmet rides an all-terrain vehicle with equipment on it, driving on a flat beach on wet sand and pebbles.
March 30, 2018

Surveying beach in Goleta, CA

USGS geomorphologist Pat Limber drives an all-terrain vehicle equipped with differential GPS, on Ellwood Beach in Goleta, California, collecting topographic, or elevation and contour, data. These data, accurate to about 1 inch (about 2 centimeters) both horizontally and vertically, are used to monitor seasonal beach changes.

Man walks on beach wearing a backpack with equipment, nearby buildings in background, coastal mountains in far background.
March 28, 2018

Surveying beaches near Montecito, CA

USGS volunteer Josh Brown on Santa Claus Beach, Carpinteria, at the start of a 14-mile walking survey of southern California beaches. The differential GPS equipment carried in the backpack collects elevation, or topographic, data of the beach, accurate to about 1 inch (2 centimeters) both horizontally and vertically. Data are used to monitor seasonal beach changes and are incorporated into...

Man wearing a safety helmet rides an all-terrain vehicle with equipment on it, driving on a flat beach on packed sand and stones
March 28, 2018

Surveying beaches near Ventura, CA

USGS geomorphologist Pat Limber drives an all-terrain vehicle equipped with differential GPS, on San Buenaventura Beach south of Ventura Pier, Ventura California, collects topographic, or elevation and contour, data. These data, accurate to about 1 inch (about 2 centimeters) both horizontally and vertically, are used to monitor seasonal beach changes.

March 28, 2018

Getting Down with USGS Science!

Cave diving scientist David Brankovits from the USGS and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and DSO Jake Emmert (Moody Gardens) recover the OPP water sampling device designed and engineered by Emile Bergeron (USGS). The OPP collects samples across a chemical interface where bacteria entrain methane -- a dissolved gas -- into the food web. The OPP is powered by compressed gas and is able to...

Late afternoon sun on a beach with two people on personal watercraft in the nearshore with very gentle ocean wave action.
March 28, 2018

Surveying off Montecito, CA

Jackson Currie and Alex Snyder of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center drive personal watercraft (PWCs) offshore of San Ysidro and Oak Creeks, which let out onto Miramar Beach in Montecito, California. The equipment on the PWCs collects bathymetry, or depth, data which is used to map the nearshore. USGS has been mapping this area twice yearly—every spring and fall—since 2005. The...

Beach and boardwalk area with palm trees in background, and a single person driving a personal watercraft just offshore.
March 28, 2018

Surveying off Montecito, CA

Jackson Currie of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center drives a personal watercraft (PWC) offshore of Butterfly Beach in Montecito, California. The equipment on the PWC collects bathymetry, or depth, data which is used to map the nearshore. USGS has been mapping this area twice yearly—every spring and fall—since 2005. The data collected is incorporated into models of future...

Drone image of Nauset Spit, Massachusetts
March 27, 2018

Drone image of Nauset Inlet, Massachusetts

Drone image of Nauset Inlet, Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts

Beach with large rock rip-rap lining the low bluff near homes, sand has footprints going to and fro.
March 27, 2018

Footprints in mud overlaying beach sand

Footprints in mud layer deposited on the sand at Miramar Beach in Montecito, California, by January 9 flood waters coming down San Ysidro Creek.

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Date published: April 24, 2018

East vs West Coast Earthquakes

Why was an earthquake in Virginia felt at more than twice the distance than a similar-sized earthquake in California? The answer is one that many people may not realize. Earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains can cause noticeable ground shaking at much farther distances than comparably-sized earthquakes in the West.

Date published: April 18, 2018

USGS Rolls Out Groundbreaking Earthquake Study: The HayWired Earthquake Scenario

USGS collaborates with key academic, state, local, and industry partners to provide a new look at what could happen during a major earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Date published: April 16, 2018

USGS 2017 Excellence in Leadership Award honors scientists who assess coastal flooding threats

Research geologist Patrick Barnard and research oceanographer Li Erikson have been recognized for leading efforts to better assess coastal vulnerability to flooding.

Date published: April 16, 2018

Public lecture on coral reefs as coastal protection

On Thursday, April 26, research geologist Curt Storlazzi of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center will give a public lecture on “The Role of U.S. Coral Reefs in Coastal Protection—Rigorously valuing flood reduction benefits to inform coastal zone management decisions.”

Date published: April 13, 2018

Documentary about sea-level rise threatening the Republic of the Marshall Islands features USGS findings

USGS research in the Republic of the Marshall Islands forms part of the scientific foundation of an interactive documentary released April 6 by PBS Frontline.

Date published: April 12, 2018

USGS beach and nearshore surveys in the media

USGS oceanographer Dan Hoover explained how USGS coastal surveys are conducted and why they are important in a radio interview with NPR affiliate KCLU. KCLU was one of several outlets that reported on ...

Date published: April 4, 2018

USGS Seeks Earthquake Hazards Research Proposals

Applications due May 22, 2018

Date published: March 29, 2018

International Mapping Standards Updated for Planets throughout Solar System

Clarifying Latitude and Longitude for Planets besides Earth

Date published: March 28, 2018

Tracking the movement of sediment and contaminants from northern California wildfire areas to San Francisco Bay

USGS research geologist Renee Takesue of the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center collected 20 sediment samples from Sonoma Creek and Napa River north of San Francisco Bay on March 17.

Date published: March 27, 2018

Earthquake Early Warning! New Study Examines Safety Potentials and Limits

In a newly published study, U.S. Geological Survey scientists and their partners calculate possible alert times that earthquake early warning systems can provide people at different levels of ground motion from light to very strong shaking.

Date published: March 26, 2018

Mapping Beach Changes After Devastating Montecito Debris Flows

MEDIA ADVISORY

During the week of March 26, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey will begin four days of mapping selected beaches and the adjacent seafloor in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Results will be compared to surveys from last fall to highlight changes due to winter waves, and to sediment inputs from area streams. 

Date published: March 23, 2018

Collecting clues to the geologic history and mineral resources of the Rio Grande Rise, southwest Atlantic Ocean

USGS scientists James Hein and Kira Mizell participated in a University of São Paulo research cruise to the western Rio Grande Rise, an underwater plateau in international waters of the Atlantic Ocean off Brazil.