Mission Areas

Natural Hazards

Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

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: 50
USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

Post-fire landslides are particularly hazardous because they can occur with little warning, can exert great force on objects in their paths, can strip vegetation, block drainage ways, damage structures, and endanger human life. Our focus is to develop tools and methods for the prediction of post-wildfire landslide activity and hazard delineation.

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

What persuades someone to heed a debris flow or wildfire evacuation warning? SAFRR partners in emergency management are especially interested in the results of this study, now underway with Columbia's Center for Research on Environmental Decisions.

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

Ecosystems throughout the western U.S. are often dependent on a particular fire regime to reduce hazardous fuels and rejuvenate forests or even guide evolution of plant life and regulate ecological communities. Today fire’s role is more complicated. For example, fire can favor invasive plants and these invaders may, in turn, alter the fire regime.

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

SAFRR is now a partner in the Los Angeles County Community Disaster Resilience project, a 3-year pilot collaboration to promote community resilience in the face of a wide range of public health emergencies.

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

Organisms have different abilities to adapt to disturbances. Some disturbances can be catastrophic to one species and inconsequential to another. Our Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center (FRESC) scientists are studying the effects of disturbances on species, biogeochemistry, water quality, habitat connectivity and landscape patterns.

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

Bringing together seismologists, emergency managers, risk communication researchers, and design professionals to develop a framework for earthquake probability messages for both emergency managers and the general public.

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

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

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

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.

Filter Total Items: 40
USGS science for a changing world logo
March 7, 2016

GDAL – The Geospatial Data Abstraction Library

GDAL is a translator library for raster geospatial data formats that is released under an X/MIT style Open Source license by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation. As a library, it presents a single abstract data model for all supported formats. It also comes with a variety of useful commandline utilities for data translation and processing.

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 4, 2016

Technology and Tools

Links to a variety of Coastal and Marine Geology mapping technologies, data modeling and visualization tools.

Latest Earthquakes Interface
March 4, 2016

Latest Earthquakes Map and List

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

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

Research Data and Products

USGS earthquake data including real-time and historic earthquake catalogs, GIS data, hazards, and more.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

Software for Landslide Assessments and Modeling

USGS software for landslide assessments and modeling that include SLAMMER, TRIGRS, PTCOUNT and more.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

Hazards Tools

A quick-reference selection of Natural Hazards resources, including links available through the USGS and products or publications

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

International Charter

It aims at providing a unified system of space data acquisition and delivery to those affected by natural or manmade disasters through Authorized Users. Each member agency has committed resources to support the provisions of the Charter and thus is helping to mitigate the effects of disasters on human life and property.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

DOI Emergency Management

DOI has a department-wide policy relating to emergency management that can be referenced in the Department's Manual in Series: 41-EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ‎(Parts 900-910)‎.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

Station Information and Operations

Zoom in on an area to view all seismic network operation stations on the interactive map.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

Seismogram Displays

This interactive map displays seismographic activity. Click on a red seismogram icon or select a region from list list.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

IRIS Data Management Center

Contains archived data from the Global Seismic Network.

Filter Total Items: 59
Year Published: 2014

Using science to strengthen our Nation's resilience to tomorrow's challenges: understanding and preparing for coastal impacts

Hurricane Sandy caused unprecedented damage across some of the most densely populated coastal areas of the northeastern United States. The costly, landscape-altering destruction left in the wake of this storm is a stark reminder of our Nation’s need to become more resilient as we inevitably face future coastal hazards. As our Nation recovers from...

Simmons, Dale L.; Andersen, Matthew E.; Dean, Teresa A.; Focazio, Michael J.; Fulton, John W.; Haines, John W.; Mason, Jr., Robert R.; Tihansky, Ann B.; Young, John A.
Attribution: Natural Hazards
Using science to strengthen our Nation's resilience to tomorrow's challenges: understanding and preparing for coastal impacts; 2014; FS; 2014-3062; Simmons, Dale L.; Andersen, Matthew E.; Dean, Teresa A.; Focazio, Michael J.; Fulton, John W.; Haines, John W.; Mason, Robert R., Jr.; Tihansky, Ann B.; Young, John A.

Year Published: 2014

Modification of the Quaternary stratigraphic framework of the inner-continental shelf by Holocene marine transgression: An example offshore of Fire Island, New York

The inner-continental shelf off Fire Island, New York was mapped in 2011 using interferometric sonar and high-resolution chirp seismic-reflection systems. The area mapped is approximately 50 km long by 8 km wide, extending from Moriches Inlet to Fire Island Inlet in water depths ranging from 8 to 32 m. The morphology of this inner-...

Schwab, William C.; Baldwin, Wayne E.; Denny, Jane F.; Hapke, Cheryl J.; Gayes, Paul T.; List, Jeffrey; Warner, John C.
William C. Schwab, Wayne E. Baldwin, Jane F. Denny, Cheryl J. Hapke, Paul T. Gayes, Jeffrey H. List, John C. Warner, Modification of the Quaternary stratigraphic framework of the inner-continental shelf by Holocene marine transgression: An example offshore of Fire Island, New York, Marine Geology, Volume 355, 1 September 2014, Pages 346-360, ISSN 0025-3227, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2014.06.011.

Year Published: 2014

ShakeAlert—An earthquake early warning system for the United States west coast

Earthquake early warning systems use earthquake science and the technology of monitoring systems to alert devices and people when shaking waves generated by an earthquake are expected to arrive at their location. The seconds to minutes of advance warning can allow people and systems to take actions to protect life and property from destructive...

Burkett, Erin R.; Given, Douglas D.; Jones, Lucile M.
Burkett, E.R., Given, D.G., and Jones, L.M., 2014, ShakeAlert—An earthquake early warning system for the United States West Coast (ver. 1.2, February 2017): U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2014–3083, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20143083.

Year Published: 2013

Hurricane Sandy science plan: coastal topographic and bathymetric data to support hurricane impact assessment and response

Hurricane Sandy devastated some of the most heavily populated eastern coastal areas of the Nation. With a storm surge peaking at more than 19 feet, the powerful landscape-altering destruction of Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of why the Nation must become more resilient to coastal hazards. In response to this natural disaster, the U.S....

Stronko, Jakob M.
Attribution: Natural Hazards
Hurricane Sandy science plan: coastal topographic and bathymetric data to support hurricane impact assessment and response; 2013; FS; 2013-3099; Stronko, Jakob M.

Year Published: 2013

Hurricane Sandy science plan: impacts of environmental quality and persisting contaminant exposure

Hurricane Sandy devastated some of the most heavily populated eastern coastal areas of the Nation. With a storm surge peaking at more than 19 feet, the powerful landscape-altering destruction of Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of why the Nation must become more resilient to coastal hazards. In response to this natural disaster, the U.S....

Caskie, Sarah A.
Attribution: Natural Hazards
Hurricane Sandy science plan: impacts of environmental quality and persisting contaminant exposure; 2013; FS; 2013-3091; Caskie, Sarah A.

Year Published: 2013

Hurricane Sandy science plan: impacts to coastal ecosystems, habitats, and fish and wildlife

Hurricane Sandy devastated some of the most heavily populated eastern coastal areas of the Nation. With a storm surge peaking at more than 19 feet, the powerful landscape-altering destruction of Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of why the Nation must become more resilient to coastal hazards. In response to this natural disaster, the U.S....

Campbell, Warren H.
Attribution: Natural Hazards
Hurricane Sandy science plan: impacts to coastal ecosystems, habitats, and fish and wildlife; 2013; FS; 2013-3096; Campbell, Warren H.

Year Published: 2013

Hurricane Sandy science plan: coastal impact assessments

Hurricane Sandy devastated some of the most heavily populated eastern coastal areas of the Nation. With a storm surge peaking at more than 19 feet, the powerful landscape-altering destruction of Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of why the Nation must become more resilient to coastal hazards. In response to this natural disaster, the U.S....

Stronko, Jakob M.
Attribution: Natural Hazards
Hurricane Sandy science plan: coastal impact assessments; 2013; FS; 2013-3090; Stronko, Jakob M.

Year Published: 2013

Hurricane Sandy science plan: impacts of storm surge, including disturbed estuarine and bay hydrology

Hurricane Sandy devastated some of the most heavily populated eastern coastal areas of the Nation. With a storm surge peaking at more than 19 feet, the powerful landscape-altering destruction of Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of why the Nation must become more resilient to coastal hazards. In response to this natural disaster, the U.S....

Caskie, Sarah A.
Attribution: Natural Hazards
Hurricane Sandy science plan: impacts of storm surge, including disturbed estuarine and bay hydrology; 2013; FS; 2013-3092; Caskie, Sarah A.

Year Published: 2013

Hurricane Sandy science plan: New York

Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of why the Nation must become more resilient to coastal hazards. More than one-half of the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of a coast, and this number is increasing. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is one of the largest providers of geologic and hydrologic information in the world. Federal, State, and...

Ransom, Clarice N.
Attribution: Natural Hazards
Hurricane Sandy science plan: New York; 2013; FS; 2013-3089; Ransom, Clarice N.

Year Published: 2013

U.S. Geological Survey natural hazards science strategy: promoting the safety, security, and economic well-being of the Nation

The mission of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in natural hazards is to develop and apply hazard science to help protect the safety, security, and economic well-being of the Nation. The costs and consequences of natural hazards can be enormous, and each year more people and infrastructure are at risk. USGS scientific research—founded on...

Holmes, Robert R.; Jones, Lucile M.; Eidenshink, Jeffery C.; Godt, Jonathan W.; Kirby, Stephen H.; Love, Jeffrey J.; Neal, Christina A.; Plant, Nathaniel G.; Plunkett, Michael L.; Weaver, Craig S.; Wein, Anne; Perry, Suzanne C.
U.S. Geological Survey natural hazards science strategy: promoting the safety, security, and economic well-being of the Nation; 2013; CIR; 1383-F; Holmes, Robert R., Jr.; Jones, Lucile M.; Eidenshink, Jeffery C.; Godt, Jonathan W.; Kirby, Stephen H.; Love, Jeffrey.J.; Neal, Christina A.; Plant, Nathaniel G.; Plunkett, Michael L.; Weaver, Craig S.; Wein, Anne; Perry, Suzanne C.

Year Published: 2013

Operational Group Sandy technical progress report

Hurricane Sandy made US landfall near Atlantic City, NJ on 29 October 2012, causing 72 direct deaths, displacing thousands of individuals from damaged or destroyed dwellings, and leaving over 8.5 million homes without power across the northeast and mid-Atlantic. To coordinate federal rebuilding activities in the affected region, the President...

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Operational Group Sandy technical progress report; 2013; Federal Government Series; Department of the Interior Strategic Science Group

Year Published: 2012

Relative azimuth inversion by way of damped maximum correlation estimates

Horizontal seismic data are utilized in a large number of Earth studies. Such work depends on the published orientations of the sensitive axes of seismic sensors relative to true North. These orientations can be estimated using a number of different techniques: SensOrLoc (Sensitivity, Orientation and Location), comparison to synthetics (Ekstrom...

Ringler, A.T.; Edwards, J.D.; Hutt, C.R.; Shelly, F.
Relative azimuth inversion by way of damped maximum correlation estimates; 2012; Article; Journal; Computers & Geosciences; Ringler, A.T.; Edwards, J.D.; Hutt, C.R.; Shelly, F.

Filter Total Items: 1,282
3 men leaning over big yellow metal grab bucket on the deck of a ship. Dark sediment is visible inside bucket
September 28, 2017
USGS research geophysicist Danny Brothers (right) and colleagues examine the surface of a sediment grab sample just pulled onto the deck of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship John P. Tully . The sample was collected from the top of a mud volcano north of the border between southeast Alaska and British Columbia. Expedition scientists are investigating the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault to better...
boom & pulley w/ long slender equipment hanging over side of ship w/ 3 people in hard hats & life preservers standing at rail
September 20, 2017
Scientists prepare to lower a piston corer off Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, to sample seafloor sediment near the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault. Expedition scientists are studying layers of sediment in the cores they collected to identify and determine ages of past earthquakes along the fault. This information will help them assess future threats to coastal communities in the U.S. and Canada.
Two women stand at plywood table on which rest three long plastic tubes full of dark seafloor sediment.
September 17, 2017
Mary McGann (left, USGS) and Rachel Lauer (University of Calgary) sample pore fluids from sediment cores collected aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship John P. Tully along the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault offshore of southeast Alaska. Expedition scientists will use their findings to better understand the history of the fault and the hazards it poses to coastal communities in the U.S. and...
September 15, 2017
Hurricane Irma's full force hit the small island of Barbuda, damaging estimated 95% of structures. 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/ )
 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%.
Filter Total Items: 263
A USGS hydrologic technician installs a Rapid-Deployment Gauge on a bridge in Norfolk, Virginia.
September 22, 2017

As thousands of people remain displaced by or are recovering from one of the four hurricanes that have affected the United States the past month, the U.S. Geological Survey is in the field providing science that will help with recovery from these historic hurricanes and with preparing for the next storm.

A USGS hydrologic technician installs a Rapid-Deployment Gauge on a bridge in Norfolk, Virginia.
September 22, 2017

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

Screenshot Magnitude 7.1 Earthquake in Mexico
September 19, 2017

The USGS has up-to-date details on the September 19, 2017 event.

A USGS specialist installs a storm-tide sensor in Massachusetts before Hurricane Jose's arrival.
September 19, 2017

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

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.