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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.Read Our Science Strategy
Analysis of 94,000 square kilometers of multibeam water column backscatter data collected by the NOAA Okeanos Explorer mostly seaward of the shelf-break on the northern US Atlantic margin reveals more than 570 gas plumes that correspond to seafloor methane seeps. This discovery is documented in an August 2014 ...
The Puerto Rico trench exhibits great water depth, extremely low gravity anomaly, and a tilted carbonate platform between (reconstructed) elevations of +1300 m and -4000 m. we suggest that these features are manifestations of large vertical movements of a segment of the Puerto Rico Trench, its forearc, and the island of Puerto Rico that took place 3.3 m.y. ago over a time period as short as 14...
Newly-acquired multibeam bathymetry of the entire Puerto Rico trench reveals numerous retrograde slope failures at various scales at the edge of the carbonate platform north of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The slumped material comprises carbonate blocks, which are cohesive and the edge of the carbonate platform is steeper than most continental slopes, resulting in a higher potential...
Strike-slip faults in the forearc region of a subduction zone often present significant seismic hazard because of their proximity to population centers. We explore the interaction between thrust events on the subduction interface and strike-slip faults within the forearc region using 3-D models of static Coulomb stress change.
To help understand the origin of the unusual bathymetry, gravity, and vertical tectonics of the plate boundary and to provide constraints for hazard assessment, the morphology of the entire 770-km-long trench from the Dominican Republic in the west to Anguilla in the east was mapped with multibeam echosounder during three cruises in 2002 and 2003. Parts of the Puerto Rico Trench were...
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are located at an active plate boundary between the North American plate and the northeast corner of the Caribbean plate. Plate movements have caused large magnitude earthquakes and devastating tsunamis, but scientists have so far failed to explain the deformation of this complex region in a coherent and predictable picture, and this has hampered their...
The Sediment Transport Instrumentation Facility exists to support ocean, coastal and estuarine research. The staff have a broad set of skills; from instrument design and development to all forms of work at sea to software development and data management. The team has successfully deployed and recovered more than 1000 data collection platforms for research in the last 30 years.
Exposure potential of salt marsh units in Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge to environmental health stressors
This dataset displays the exposure potential to environmental health stressors in the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (EBFNWR), which spans over Great Bay, Little Egg Harbor, and Barnegat Bay in New Jersey, USA. Exposure potential is calculated with the Sediment-bound Contaminant Resiliency and Response (SCoRR) ranking system (Reilly and others, 2015)
Water quality in the Barnegat Bay estuary along the New Jersey coast is the focus of a multidisciplinary research project begun in 2011 by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. A continuous elevation surface (terrain model) integrating all available elevation data in the area was produced for water circulation modeling...
Point cloud from low-altitude aerial imagery from unmanned aerial system (UAS) flights over Coast Guard Beach, Nauset Spit, Nauset Inlet, and Nauset Marsh, Cape Cod National Seashore, Eastham, Massachusetts on 1 March 2016 (LAZ file)
This point cloud was derived from low-altitude aerial images collected from an unmanned aerial system (UAS) flown in the Cape Cod National Seashore on 1 March, 2016. The objective of the project was to evaluate the quality and cost of mapping from UAS images. The point cloud contains 434,096,824 unclassifed and unedited geolocated points.
Atlantic coast piping plover (Charadrius melodus) nest sites are typically found on low-lying beach and dune systems, which respond rapidly to coastal processes like sediment overwash, inlet formation, and island migration that are sensitive to climate-related changes in storminess and the rate of sea-level rise. Data were obtained to understand piping plover habitat distribution.
Conceptual salt marsh units for wetland synthesis: Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey
Recent research shows that sediment budgets of microtidal marsh complexes on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States consistently scale with areal unvegetated/vegetated marsh ratio (UVVR) despite differences in sea-level rise, tidal range, elevation, vegetation, and stressors. This highlights UVVR as a broadly applicable indicator of microtidal marsh stability.
As part of this data synthesis effort, hydrodynamic and sediment transport modeling of Barnegat Bay Little Egg Harbor (BBLEH) has been used to create the following wetland data layers in Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (EBFNWR), New Jersey: 1) Hydrodynamic residence time , 2) salinity change and 3) salinity exposure change in wetlands, and 4) sediment supply to wetlands
The purpose of the multibeam echosounder surveys was to map the bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the valley, providing a framework for geologic, oceanographic, and geochemical studies. The data from the three surveys are combined to produce grids of bathymetry and backscatter intensity at 12-m resolution that cover the entire valley and the head of the Hudson Canyon...
High-resolution geophysical data collected along the Mississippi River Delta front offshore of southeastern Louisiana, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity 2017-003-FA
High resolution bathymetric, sea-floor backscatter, and seismic-reflection data were collected offshore of southeastern Louisiana aboard the research vessel Point Sur on May 19-26, 2017, in an effort to characterize mudflow hazards on the Mississippi River Delta front. The primary objective of this cruise was to assess the suitability of sea-floor mapping and shallow subsurface imaging tools...
Data compilation of soil respiration, moisture, and temperature measurements from global warming experiments from 1994-2014
This dataset is the largest global dataset to date of soil respiration, moisture, and temperature measurements, totaling >3800 observations representing 27 temperature manipulation studies, spanning nine biomes and nearly two decades of warming experiments. Data for this study were obtained from a combination of unpublished data and published literature values.
This data release contains the compilation of multiple elevation products into a continuous digital elevation model at a resolution of 3-arcseconds (approximately 90 meters) from the terrestrial landscape to the seafloor for the contiguous U.S. and portions of Mexico and Canada, focused on the coastal interface.
Surveys of the bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor south of Long Island, New York, were carried out in November 1998 using a Simrad EM1000 multibeam echosounder mounted on the Canadian Coast Guard ship Frederick G. Creed.
The area was mapped by the U.S. Geological Survey with support from the Canadian Hydrographic Service and the University of New Brunswick.
A novel technique for precision geometric correction of jitter distortion for the Europa Imaging System and other rolling shutter cameras
We use simulated images to demonstrate a novel technique for mitigating geometric distortions caused by platform motion (“jitter”) as two-dimensional image sensors are exposed and read out line by line (“rolling shutter”). The results indicate that the Europa Imaging System (EIS) on NASA’s Europa Clipper can likely meet its scientific goals...Kirk, Randolph L.; Shepherd, Makayla; Sides, Stuart
Candidate products for operational earthquake forecasting illustrated using the HayWired planning scenario, including one very quick (and not‐so‐dirty) hazard‐map option
In an effort to help address debates on the usefulness of operational earthquake forecasting (OEF), we illustrate a number of OEF products that could be automatically generated in near‐real time. To exemplify, we use an M">M 7.1 mainshock on the Hayward fault, which is very similar to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) HayWired earthquake...Field, Edward H.; Milner, Kevin R.
An updated method for estimating landslide‐event magnitude
Summary statistics derived from the frequency–area distribution (FAD) of inventories of triggered landslides allows for direct comparison of landslides triggered by one event (e.g. earthquake, rainstorm) with another. Such comparisons are vital to understand links between the landslide‐event and the environmental characteristics of the area...Tanyas, Hakan; Allstadt, Kate E.; van Weston, Cees J.
Frictional properties and 3-D stress analysis of the southern Alpine Fault, New Zealand
New Zealand's Alpine Fault (AF) ruptures quasi-periodically in large-magnitude earthquakes. Paleoseismological evidence suggests that about half of all recognized AF earthquakes terminated at the boundary between the Central and South Westland sections of the fault. There, fault geometry and the polarity of uplift change. The South Westland...Boulton, Carolyn; Barth, Nicolas C.; Moore, Diane E.; Lockner, David A.; Townend, John; Faulkner, Daniel R.
Map of recently active traces of the Rodgers Creek Fault, Sonoma County, California
The accompanying map and digital data identify recently active strands of the Rodgers Creek Fault in Sonoma County, California, interpreted primarily from the geomorphic expression of recent faulting on aerial photography and hillshade imagery derived from airborne lidar data. A recently active fault strand is defined here as having evidence...Hecker, Suzanne; Randolph Loar, Carolyn E.
To catch a quake
A revolution in seismic detection technology is underway, capturing unprecedented observations of earthquakes and their impacts. These sensor innovations provide real-time ground shaking observations that could improve emergency response following damaging earthquakes and may advance our understanding of the physics of earthquake ruptures.Cochran, Elizabeth S.
Using geologic structures to constrain constitutive laws not accessible in the laboratory
In this essay, we explore a central problem of structural geology today, and in the foreseeable future, which is the determination of constitutive laws governing rock deformation to produce geologic structures. Although laboratory experiments provide much needed data and insights about constitutive laws, these experiments cannot cover...Nevitt, Johanna; Warren, Jessica M.; Kumamoto, Kathryn M.; Pollard, David D.
Why aftershock duration matters for probabilistic seismic hazard assessment
Most hazard assessments assume that high background seismicity rates indicate a higher probability of large shocks and, therefore, of strong shaking. However, in slowly deforming regions, such as eastern North America, Australia, and inner Honshu, this assumption breaks down if the seismicity clusters are instead aftershocks of historic and...Shinji Toda; Stein, Ross S.
Using stereo satellite imagery to account for ablation, entrainment, and compaction in volume calculations for rock avalanches on Glaciers: Application to the 2016 Lamplugh Rock Avalanche in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
The use of preevent and postevent digital elevation models (DEMs) to estimate the volume of rock avalanches on glaciers is complicated by ablation of ice before and after the rock avalanche, scour of material during rock avalanche emplacement, and postevent ablation and compaction of the rock avalanche deposit. We present a model to account for...Bessette-Kirton, Erin; Coe, Jeffrey A.; Zhou, Wendy
ShakeMap-based prediction of earthquake-induced mass movements in Switzerland calibrated on historical observations
In Switzerland, nearly all historical Mw ~ 6 earthquakes have induced damaging landslides, rockslides and snow avalanches that, in some cases, also resulted in damage to infrastructure and loss of lives. We describe the customisation to Swiss conditions of a globally calibrated statistical approach originally developed to rapidly assess...Cauzzi, Carlo; Fah, Donat; Wald, David J.; Clinton, John; Losey, Stephane; Wiemer, Stefan
Regional spectral analysis of moderate earthquakes in northeastern North America—Final Report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Project V6240, Task 3
We analyze the Fourier spectra of S+Lg+surface wave groups from the horizontal and vertical components of broadband and accelerogram recordings of 120 small and moderate (2< Mw <6) earthquakes recorded by Canadian and American stations sited on rock at distances from 3 to 600 kilometers. There are seven Mw 4.0–4.5, six Mw 4.5–5.0, and...Boatwright, Jack
Analysis of mean seismic ground motion and its uncertainty based on the UCERF3 geologic slip rate model with uncertainty for California
The Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast v.3 (UCERF3) model (Field et al., 2014) considers epistemic uncertainty in fault‐slip rate via the inclusion of multiple rate models based on geologic and/or geodetic data. However, these slip rates are commonly clustered about their mean value and do not reflect the broader distribution of...Zeng, Yuehua
USGS display table at the 2018 Woods Hole, MA Science Stroll
Sandy Brosnahan, Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, discusses Kilauea Volcano drone footage with Science Stroll participants
Jenny White McKee watches as an expendable sonobuoy leaves the launcher during the 2018 MATRIX cruise on the R/V Hugh R. Sharp. The sonobuoy deploys an antenna used to transmit received seismic signals back to the ship over radio frequencies at distances up to 15 km away.
USGS personnel configuring and deploying the streamer of hydrophone receivers on the R/V Hugh R. Sharp during the MATRIX cruise. In foreground from left to right are Nathan Miller, Wayne Baldwin, and Eric Moore from the USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center.
USGS scientists produced an animated GIF in coordination with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) re-opening of State Highway 1 through Big Sur on July 18, 2018.
Southern California coastal cliffs could retreat 135 feet in 80 years as erosion rates potentially double
USGS scientists combined a series of computer models to forecast cliff erosion along the Southern California coast.
Coastal cliffs from Santa Barbara to San Diego might crumble at more than twice the historical rate by the year 2100 as sea levels rise.
Today's update for June 21st, 2018 will be the last of the daily updates on this USGS feature story. We encourage you to keep checking the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) Kīlauea status website for daily activity updates. You can also visit the USGS Facebook page and the USGS Twitter feed as updates become available. For press inquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Warner, Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, was cited by Robert Hetland, editor of Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans.
The Geological Society of America (GSA) elected USGS research geologist Amy East to be a GSA Fellow, “an honor bestowed on the best of our profession,” at the spring GSA Council meeting.
Magnetic measurements made during low-altitude airplane flights conducted for the U.S. Geological Survey and the Oklahoma Geological Survey reveal possible deep faults that may contribute to increased seismic activity in response to wastewater injection in certain portions of Oklahoma.
On April 28, the San Francisco chapter of Mensa toured the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center with research geologist Curt Storlazzi (also a Mensa member) and acting deputy director Nadine Golden.
No one has a crystal ball to foresee what will happen during the 2018 hurricane season that begins June 1, but NOAA forecasters say there’s a 75 percent chance this hurricane season will be at least as busy as a normal year, or busier.