Mission Areas

Natural Hazards

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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.

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Filter Total Items: 55
USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

Worked with USGS California Volcano Observatory (CalVO) and California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to plan and stage a workshop to raise awareness, increase buy-in, and gather information for a volcano hazards annex to the California's State emergency plan.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

The Earthquake Hazards Program monitors and reports earthquakes, assesses earthquake impacts and hazards, and researches the causes and effects of earthquake.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

A modeled scenario of U.S. West Coast winter storm events induced by the formation of Atmospheric Rivers (AR) and capable of causing massive and devastating flooding.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

In the late summer of 2005, the remarkable flooding brought by Hurricane Katrina, which caused more than $200 billion in losses, constituted the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. However, even in typical years, flooding causes billions of dollars in damage and threatens lives and property in every State.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

Students at Art Center College of Design prototyped wildfire awareness campaigns after SAFRR exposed them to wildfire research and safety issues.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

This website brings together information about current and past flooding and USGS flood-focused resources. The USGS provides practical, unbiased information about the Nation's rivers and streams that is crucial in mitigating hazards associated with floods.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

Explore critical pre- and post-disaster images and datasets online for immediate viewing and downloading. These images are used in disaster preparations, rescue and relief operations, damage assessments, and reconstruction efforts. We supply satellite and aerial images for analysis of disaster areas before, during, and after a disaster.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

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

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

The IGEMS provides the public with both an overview and more specific information on current natural hazard events. The Department of the Interior’s Office of Emergency Management provides it as an internet-accessible service.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

The USGS Geomagnetism Program currently operates 14 magnetic observatories. Magnetometer data are collected at these facilities, and the data are then transmitted to Program headquarters in Golden, Colorado.

Alaska Volcano Observatory logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

The AVO is a partnership among the USGS, the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys. To mitigate volcanic hazards, AVO monitors and studies Alaska's hazardous volcanoes to forecast and record eruptive activity. AVO also monitors volcanic activity in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

Our Program researches activities to make accurate landslide hazard maps and forecasts of landslide occurrences.

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USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

Wildfires: GEOMAC

Maps of current fire locations and perimeters in the conterminous 48 States and Alaska.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

Landfire Data Distribution

Map interface to view and download landfire data sets, receive alerts and notifications.

Ash-rich plume rises out of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, Kilauea Volcano Hawaiʻi
March 4, 2016

Current Alerts for U.S. Volcanoes

Volcano-alert notifications are produced by Volcano Observatory scientists based on analysis of data from monitoring networks, direct observations, and satellite sensors. They are issued for both increasing and decreasing volcanic activity and include text about the nature of the unrest or eruption and about potential or current hazards and likely outcomes.

March 4, 2016

/data-tools/volcano-notification-service-vns" target="">Volcano Notification Service (VNS)

The Volcano Notification Service (VNS) is a free service that sends you notification emails about volcanic activity happening at U.S. monitored volcanoes. You can customize the VNS to deliver notifications for certain volcanoes or a range of volcanoes, and you can also choose the notification types you want to receive.

Filter Total Items: 59
Year Published: 2011

Geoinformatics in the public service: building a cyberinfrastructure across the geological surveys

Advanced information technology infrastructure is increasingly being employed in the Earth sciences to provide researchers with efficient access to massive central databases and to integrate diversely formatted information from a variety of sources. These geoinformatics initiatives enable manipulation, modeling and visualization of data in a...

Keller, G. Randy; Baru, Chaitanya; Allison, M. Lee; Gundersen, Linda C.; Richard, Stephen M.
Attribution: Natural Hazards

Year Published: 2010

Temporal variations in Global Seismic Stations ambient noise power levels

Recent concerns about time-dependent response changes in broadband seismometers have motivated the need for methods to monitor sensor health at Global Seismographic Network (GSN) stations. We present two new methods for monitoring temporal changes in data quality and instrument response transfer functions that are independent of Earth seismic...

Ringler, A.T.; Gee, L.S.; Hutt, C.R.; McNamara, D.E.
Temporal variations in Global Seismic Stations ambient noise power levels; 2010; Article; Journal; Seismological Research Letters; Ringler, A.T.; Gee, L.S.; Hutt, C.R.; McNamara, D.E.

Year Published: 2010

OMG earthquake! can twitter improve earthquake response?

[No abstract available]

Earle, P.; Guy, M.; Buckmaster, R.; Ostrum, C.; Horvath, S.; Vaughan, A.
OMG earthquake! can twitter improve earthquake response?; 2010; Article; Journal; Seismological Research Letters; Earle, P.; Guy, M.; Buckmaster, R.; Ostrum, C.; Horvath, S.; Vaughan, A.

Year Published: 2007

Natural Hazards - A National Threat

The USGS Role in Reducing Disaster Losses -- In the United States each year, natural hazards cause hundreds of deaths and cost billions of dollars in disaster aid, disruption of commerce, and destruction of homes and critical infrastructure. Although the number of lives lost to natural hazards each year generally has declined, the economic cost...

Geological Survey, U.S.
Attribution: Natural Hazards
Natural Hazards - A National Threat; 2007; FS; 2007-3009; Geological Survey, U.S.

Year Published: 2007

A deep reef in deep trouble

The well-documented degradation of shallower reefs which are often closer to land and more vulnerable to pollution, sewage and other human-related stressors has led to the suggestion that deeper, more remote offshore reefs could possibly serve as sources of coral and fish larvae to replenish the shallower reefs. Yet, the distribution, status, and...

Menza, Charles; Kendall, M.; Rogers, C.; Miller, J.
A deep reef in deep trouble; 2007; Article; Journal; Continental Shelf Research; Menza, C.; Kendall, M.; Rogers, C.; Miller, J.

Year Published: 2006

Hurricanes 2004: An overview of their characteristics and coastal change

Four hurricanes battered the state of Florida during 2004, the most affecting any state since Texas endured four in 1884. Each of the storms changed the coast differently. Average shoreline change within the right front quadrant of hurricane force winds varied from 1 m of shoreline advance to 20 m of retreat, whereas average sand volume change...

Sallenger, Asbury H.; Stockdon, Hilary; Fauver, Laura A.; Hansen, Mark; Thompson, David; Wright, C. Wayne; Lillycrop, Jeff

Year Published: 1998

Experimental Investigations Regarding the Use of Sand as an Inhibitor of Air Convection in Deep Seismic Boreholes

INTRODUCTION Tilt has been the nemesis of horizontal long period seismology since its inception. Modern horizontal long period seismometers with their long natural periods are incredibly sensitive to tilt. They can sense tilts smaller than 10 -11 radians. To most readers, this is just a very very small number, so we will begin with an example...

Holcomb, L. Gary; Sandoval, Leo; Hutt, Bob
Experimental Investigations Regarding the Use of Sand as an Inhibitor of Air Convection in Deep Seismic Boreholes; 1998; OFR; 98-362; Holcomb, L. Gary; Sandoval, Leo; Hutt, Bob

Year Published: 1997

Taking the Earth's pulse

During the past 35 years, scientists have developed a vast network of seismometers that record earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and nuclear explosions throughout the world. Seismographic data support disaster response, scientific research, and global security. With this network, the United States maintains world leadership in monitoring the...

Woodward, Robert L.; Benz, Harly M.; Brown, William M.
Taking the Earth's pulse; 1997; FS; 103-97; Woodward, Robert L.; Benz, Harly M.; Brown, William M., III

Year Published: 1993

Observations and Modeling of Seismic Background Noise

INTRODUCTION The preparation of this report had two purposes. One was to present a catalog of seismic background noise spectra obtained from a worldwide network of seismograph stations. The other purpose was to refine and document models of seismic background noise that have been in use for several years. The second objective was, in...

Peterson, Jon R.
Observations and Modeling of Seismic Background Noise; 1993; OFR; 93-322; Peterson, Jon R.

Year Published: 1992

An Evaluation of Installation Methods for STS-1 Seismometers

INTRODUCTION This report documents the results of a series of experiments conducted by the authors at the Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory (ASl) during the spring and summer of 1991; the object of these experiments was to obtain and document quantitative performance comparisons of three methods of installing STS-1 seismometers....

Holcomb, L. Gary; Hutt, Charles R.
An Evaluation of Installation Methods for STS-1 Seismometers; 1992; OFR; 92-302; Holcomb, L. Gary; Hutt, Charles R.

Year Published: 1991

A C Language Implementation of the SRO (Murdock) Detector/Analyzer

A signal detector and analyzer algorithm was described by Murdock and Hutt in 1983. The algorithm emulates the performance of a human interpreter of seismograms. It estimates the signal onset, the direction of onset (positive or negative), the quality of these determinations, the period and amplitude of the signal, and the background noise at the...

Murdock, James N.; Halbert, Scott E.
A C Language Implementation of the SRO (Murdock) Detector/Analyzer; 1991; OFR; 87-158; Murdock, James N.; Halbert, Scott E.

Year Published: 1990

A Numerical Study of Some Potential Sources of Error in Side-by-Side Seismometer Evaluations

INTRODUCTION This report presents the results of a series of computer simulations of potential errors in test data, which might be obtained when conducting side-by-side comparisons of seismometers. These results can be used as guides in estimating potential sources and magnitudes of errors one might expect when analyzing real test data....

Holcomb, L. Gary
A Numerical Study of Some Potential Sources of Error in Side-by-Side Seismometer Evaluations; 1990; OFR; 90-406; Holcomb, L. Gary

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 USGS scientist Carol Reiss holding a hydrothermal vent sample; hydrothermal vent poster in the background
September 12, 2017
USGS scientist Carol Reiss holding a hydrothermal vent sample. The poster in the background is a scientific rendering by Véronique Robigou (then at University of Washington) of a hydrothermal vent deposit with the submersible Alvin drawn to scale. This structure stood 45 meters above the seafloor when it was discovered by University of Washington researchers using Alvin in July 1991. It formed...
Carol Reiss examining hydrothermal vent sample using hand lens
September 12, 2017
USGS geologist Carol Reiss examining hydrothermal vent sample using hand lens. Sulfide-silicate minerals precipitate from 330°C mineral laden water venting along volcanically active spreading ridges.
September 8, 2017
Hurricane Harvey dumped over 50 inches of rain near Houston, leaving extensive flooding throughout the area. At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface. USGS EROS Center ( https://eros.usgs.gov/ )
Pre- and post-Harvey photos for San Jose Island, Texas
September 5, 2017
Location 2. Multiple breaches were cut through the south end of San Jose Island, Texas, just north of Aransas Pass. The predicted probability of inundation was low, only 21%, however the probability of overwash was 87%. When water levels are elevated through several tidal cycles, as was likely the case during Hurricane Harvey, the dunes can continue to erode through time and may even erode...
Pre- and post-Harvey photos for Matagorda Island, Texas
September 5, 2017
Locatinon 3. At the north end of Matagorda Island, Texas, storm waves and surge inundated a low-lying section of the coastline causing a 340-meter wide breach. The predicted probability of inundation here was 90%
Hurricane Irma satellite image
September 5, 2017
Satellite Image of Hurricane Irma on September 5, 2017. Photo by NASA/NOAA GOES Project
Pre- and post-Harvey photos for Surfside, Texas
September 5, 2017
Location 5. Erosion of the beach in front of this developed area in Surfside, Texas, occurred as a result of elevated water levels during the storm. The vegetated dune at the bottom of the image was overwashed with sand being moved between and behind the oceanfront homes. The predicted probability of overwash here was 88%.
Pre- and post-Harvey photos for Mustang Island, Texas
September 5, 2017
Location 1. Elevated water levels during Hurricane Harvey reached the base but did not overtop the ~5m high dunes in Mustang Island, Texas, leading to dune erosion. The predicted probability of dune erosion for this section of coast was 99%.
Pre- and post-Harvey photos for Sargent, Texas
September 5, 2017
Location 4. Sand dunes along this stretch of coast in Sargent, Texas, were overwashed by large waves during the storm. Sand from the beach and dunes is covering the roadway behind the dunes and which may be impassable. The predicted probability of overwash in this area was 94%.
Preparing to measure Irma's storm surge in Puerto Rico
September 4, 2017
Along the northeast coast of Puerto Rico, USGS hydrologic technician Francisco Almanzar surveys reference elevation points to ensure the accuracy of water level data. Almanzar and other USGS employees installed nine storm surge sensors along the coast on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4, 2017 as Hurricane Irma approached.
2017 (approx.)
SEABed Observation and Sampling System (SeaBOSS) operations were conducted near Stellwagen Bank offshore of Massachusetts in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary aboard the sanctuary's research vessel, the R/V Auk.
USGS scientist Lisa Ashmore services a water-quality monitor on Lake Houston. These instruments stayed afloat throughout Harvey.
August 31, 2017
USGS scientist Lisa Ashmore services a water-quality monitor on Lake Houston. These instruments stayed afloat and collected data throughout Harvey.
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Boat thrown onto land from Hurricane Irma's surge at a ramp in St. Augustine, Florida
September 19, 2017

Editor’s note: this news release will be updated online with more information on the streamgage records being set in Florida as it becomes available

Barometric pressure sensor deployment, Puerto Rico
September 18, 2017

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Maria, visit the USGS Hurricane Maria page at https://www.usgs.gov/maria.

USGS
September 18, 2017

Just after Labor Day, U.S. Geological Survey field crews began digging a trench within the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort ski area, on the lower reaches of Buffalo Bowl. 

 

 

A gif of a before and after image slider showing flooding in Texas from Hurricane Harvey.
September 15, 2017

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Harvey, visit the USGS Hurricane Harvey page at https://www.usgs.gov/harvey.

Repairing a streamgage on the Savannah River
September 13, 2017

Hurricane Irma’s heavy rains and storm surge caused severe flooding in parts of the Southeast.

Flooding on Atlantic Avenue in Garden City, SC
September 13, 2017

When a major storm is on the horizon, the USGS uses its water monitoring, coastal change, mapping, and modeling expertise to help prepare for, respond to, and recover from hurricanes and tropical storms.

USGS scientist David Rodriguez records high water marks from storm surge following Harvey near Corpus Christi, Texas. 
September 8, 2017

Editor’s note: this news release will be updated online with more information on the streamgage records being set in Texas as it becomes available.

Rivers and streams reached record levels as a result of Hurricane Harvey’s rainfall, with about 40 U.S. Geological Survey streamgages measuring record peaks.

Satellite captured image of the rapidly intensifying storm, Harvey
September 8, 2017

As Harvey’s record breaking rainfall and catastrophic flood waters recede in Texas and western Louisiana, U.S. Geological Survey teams are collecting high water marks, monitoring water levels and coastal change, retrieving storm tide sensors and collecting samples for water quality analysis.

Coastal erosion
September 8, 2017

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Irma, visit the USGS Hurricane Irma page.

Map showing epicenter of 2017-09-08 earthquake offshore Mexico
September 8, 2017

A magnitude 8.1earthquake struck offshore Chiapas, Mexico on September 7, 2017 at 11:49 local time (September 8 at 04:49UTC).

 

USGS scientists installs storm-tide sensor in preparation for Hurricane Harvey
September 7, 2017

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Irma, visit the USGS Hurricane Irma page.

Preparing to measure Irma's storm surge in Puerto Rico
September 6, 2017

 To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Irma, visit the USGS Hurricane Irma page.