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.

Read Our Science Strategy
Filter Total Items: 110
Date published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

HayWired Scenario

The HayWired scenario depicts a scientifically realistic earthquake sequence, and its cascading impacts, that all starts with a magnitude 7 earthquake on the Hayward Fault. The scenario emphasizes understanding impacts from modern society's lifeline interdependencies and reliance on the Internet.

Contacts: Kenneth Hudnut
Date published: January 17, 2018
Status: Active

National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards

Research to identify areas that are most vulnerable to coastal change hazards including beach and dune erosion, long-term shoreline change, and sea-level rise.

Date published: January 17, 2018
Status: Completed

ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario

A modeled probable earthquake scenario based on the most comprehensive scientific research analysis done to understand the impacts and implications of a hypothetical but realistic 7.8 earthquake on the San Andreas Fault. Pairing robust science with state-of-the-art modeling and visualization tools makes ShakeOut an accessible and effective message, in scenario form, to enhance community...

Date published: January 16, 2018
Status: Completed

Prototype Tsunami Awareness Campaign

Students at Art Center College of Design learned about tsunamis from SAFRR partners in natural science, social science, and emergency management, then designed a fun, engaging, multi-faceted awareness campaign. Prototype Tsunami Awareness Campaign

Date published: January 10, 2018
Status: Active

Integrating Mapping and Modeling to Support the Restoration of Bird Nesting Habitat at Breton Island National Wildlife Refuge

In response to storms, reduced sediment supply, and sea-level rise, Breton Island is rapidly deteriorating, impacting the available nesting habitat of endangered seabirds. This study provides critical information regarding the physical environment of the island system. Research is part of the ...

Date published: January 10, 2018
Status: Active

Geologic Evolution of Cat Island, Mississippi

The geologic evolution of Cat Island has been influenced by deltaic, lagoonal/estuarine, tidal, and oceanographic processes, resulting in a complex stratigraphic record.

Date published: December 13, 2017
Status: Active

Madeira Beach Video Remote Sensing

Video observations of the coast are used to monitor a range of coastal processes, for example changes in the shoreline position, both seasonally and due to long-term effects such as sea-level rise, and instances of beach and dune erosion during extreme storm events. Research is part of the ...

Date published: December 7, 2017
Status: Active

Geologic and Morphologic Evolution of Coastal Margins

A combination of geophysics, sediment sampling, and chronology techniques are used to characterize the regional geomorphologic response of coastal systems to environmental changes.

Date published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

USGS Flood Inundation Mapper Usability Study

Making user-friendly interfaces.

Date published: December 5, 2016

National Assessment of Storm-Induced Coastal Change Hazards - Hurricane Sandy

As Hurricane Sandy moved northward along the U.S. Atlantic coast in October 2012, USGS scientists worked to determine where and how the storm’s waves and surge might dramatically reshape the beaches and dunes that stand between the storm and coastal developments.

Date published: September 2, 2016

Hawaii Tsunami Messaging

SAFRR brings together tsunami and communication experts to discuss potential changes to safety messages, based on improved scientific understanding of Hawaii's tsunami hazard.

Date published: September 1, 2016

Tsunami Awareness Campaign

Students at Art Center College of Design learned about tsunamis from SAFRR partners in natural science, social science, and emergency management, then designed a fun, engaging, multi-faceted awareness campaign.

Filter Total Items: 94
Date published: October 19, 2017

Multichannel minisparker and chirp seismic-reflection data of field activity 2015-651-FA; Chatham Strait and Cross Sound, southeastern Alaska from 2015-08-03 to 2015-08-21

High-resolution multichannel minisparker and chirp seismic-reflection data were collected in August of 2015 to explore marine geologic hazards of inland waterways of southeastern Alaska. Sub-bottom profiles were acquired in the inland waters between Glacier Bay and Juneau, including Cross Sound and Chatham Strait.

Date published: October 15, 2017

Magnetic Disturbance Events

View reports on magnetic disturbance events.

Date published: September 20, 2017

Hurricane Jose 2017 Event Support Map

Track hurricane data and USGS resources.

Date published: September 19, 2017

Interpretive data release for Oregon Outer Continental Shelf Seafloor Mapping: Selected Lease Blocks Relevant to Renewable Energy

This data release includes the results of analysis of video data conducted by Oregon State University and the geo-habitat interpretation of multibeam echo sounder (MBES) data conducted by the USGS.

Date published: September 18, 2017

Hurricane Maria 2017 Event Support Map

Track hurricane data and USGS resources.

Date published: September 18, 2017

National Assessment of Shoreline Change: A GIS compilation of updated vector shorelines and associated shoreline change data for the north coast of Alaska, U.S. Canadian border to Icy Cape

This data release is an update to the original North Coast of Alaska data and includes revised rate-of-change calculations based on two additional shoreline positions data and improved rate metrics. 

Date published: September 6, 2017

Hurricane Harvey 2017 Event Support Map

Track hurricane data and USGS resources.

Date published: August 24, 2017

Coastal Change Hazards Portal

Interactive access to coastal change science and data for our Nation’s coasts. Information and products are organized within three coastal change hazard themes: 1) extreme storms, 2) shoreline change, and 3) sea-level rise. Each data item represents an individual research product, with some items grouped together as aggregates to show the breadth of the topic and make it easy to explore.

Date published: July 25, 2017

Data Release for USGS Field Activity 2014-607-FA--Oregon OCS Seafloor Mapping: Selected Lease Blocks Relevant to Renewable Energy

Data collected during 12-hour day operations in 2014, out of Charleston Harbor near Coos Bay, Oregon. The cruise plan consisted of 23 days on site split between sonar mapping and video ground truth surveying.

Date published: June 1, 2017

Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS)

The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) makes detailed predictions (meter-scale) over large geographic scales (100s of kilometers) of storm-induced coastal flooding and erosion for both current and future SLR scenarios, as well as long-term shoreline change and cliff retreat. Several versions of CoSMoS have been implemented for areas of the California coast.

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 18, 2017

Liquefaction potential as a result of HayWired earthquake scenario mainshock (April 18, 2018) shaking in Alameda and Santa Clara Counties, San Francisco Bay area, California

These data are a geospatial representation of liquefaction potential for the HayWired earthquake scenario, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake occurring on the Hayward Fault on April 18, 2018, with an epicenter in the city of Oakland, CA. These data are the product of an analysis that created a detailed liquefaction probability map covering the northern Santa Clara County and western Alameda County...

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Filter Total Items: 406
Year Published: 2013

National assessment of hurricane-induced coastal erosion hazards: Southeast Atlantic Coast

Beaches serve as a natural barrier between the ocean and inland communities, ecosystems, and natural resources. However, these dynamic environments move and change in response to winds, waves, and currents. During extreme storms, changes to beaches can be large, and the results are sometimes catastrophic. Lives may be lost, communities destroyed,...

Stockdon, Hilary F.; Doran, Kara S.; Thompson, David M.; Sopkin, Kristin L.; Plant, Nathaniel G.
National assessment of hurricane-induced coastal erosion hazards: Southeast Atlantic Coast; 2013; OFR; 2013-1130; Stockdon, Hilary F.; Doran, Kara J.; Thompson, David M.; Sopkin, Kristin L.; Plant, Nathaniel G.

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

A mantle-driven surge in magma supply to Kīlauea Volcano during 2003--2007

The eruptive activity of a volcano is fundamentally controlled by the rate of magma supply. At Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai‘i, the rate of magma rising from a source within Earth’s mantle, through the Hawaiian hotspot, was thought to have been relatively steady in recent decades. Here we show that the magma supply to Kīlauea at least doubled during 2003...

Poland, Michael P.; Miklius, Asta; Sutton, A. Jeff; Thornber, Carl R.
A mantle-driven surge in magma supply to Kīlauea Volcano during 2003--2007; 2012; Article; Journal; Nature Geoscience; Poland, Michael P.; Miklius, Asta ; Sutton, A. Jeff; Thornber, Carl R.

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.

Year Published: 2011

Publications of the Volcano Hazards Program 2009

The Volcano Hazards Program of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is part of the Geologic Hazards Assessments subactivity as funded by congressional appropriation. Investigations are carried out in the USGS and with cooperators at the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute,...

Nathenson, Manuel
Publications of the Volcano Hazards Program 2009; 2011; OFR; 2011-1047; Nathenson, Manuel

Year Published: 2011

Report on the 2010 Chilean earthquake and tsunami response

In July 2010, in an effort to reduce future catastrophic natural disaster losses for California, the American Red Cross coordinated and sent a delegation of 20 multidisciplinary experts on earthquake response and recovery to Chile. The primary goal was to understand how the Chilean society and relevant organizations responded to the magnitude 8.8...

Report on the 2010 Chilean earthquake and tsunami response; 2011; OFR; 2011-1053; American Red Cross Multi-Disciplinary Team

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: 2011

Segregating gas from melt: an experimental study of the Ostwald ripening of vapor bubbles in magmas

Diffusive coarsening (Ostwald ripening) of H2O and H2O-CO2 bubbles in rhyolite and basaltic andesite melts was studied with elevated temperature–pressure experiments to investigate the rates and time spans over which vapor bubbles may enlarge and attain sufficient buoyancy to segregate in magmatic systems. Bubble growth and segregation are also...

Lautze, Nicole C.; Sisson, Thomas W.; Mangan, Margaret T.; Grove, Timothy L.
Segregating gas from melt: an experimental study of the Ostwald ripening of vapor bubbles in magmas; 2011; Article; Journal; Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology; Lautze, Nicole C.; Sisson, Thomas W.; Mangan, Margaret T.; Grove, Timothy L.

Year Published: 2011

Whole-edifice ice volume change A.D. 1970 to 2007/2008 at Mount Rainier, Washington, based on LiDAR surveying

Net changes in thickness and volume of glacial ice and perennial snow at Mount Rainier, Washington State, have been mapped over the entire edifice by differencing between a highresolution LiDAR (light detection and ranging) topographic survey of September-October 2007/2008 and the 10 m lateral resolution U.S. Geological Survey digital elevation...

Sisson, T.W.; Robinson, J.E.; Swinney, D.D.
Whole-edifice ice volume change A.D. 1970 to 2007/2008 at Mount Rainier, Washington, based on LiDAR surveying; 2011; Article; Journal; Geology; Sisson, T. W.; Robinson, J. E.; Swinney, D. D.

Year Published: 2010

Encounters of aircraft with volcanic ash clouds; A compilation of known incidents, 1953-2009

Information about reported encounters of aircraft with volcanic ash clouds from 1953 through 2009 has been compiled to document the nature and scope of risks to aviation from volcanic activity. The information, gleaned from a variety of published and other sources, is presented in database and spreadsheet formats; the compilation will be updated...

Guffanti, Marianne; Casadevall, Thomas J.; Budding, Karin
Encounters of aircraft with volcanic ash clouds; A compilation of known incidents, 1953-2009; 2010; DS; 545; Guffanti, Marianne; Casadevall, Thomas J.; Budding, Karin

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.

Filter Total Items: 1,844
May 18, 2018

USGS Status Update of Kīlauea Volcano - May 18, 2018

USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory status of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii on May 18, 2018.

May 18, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano - Spattering at Fissure 17

Spattering at Fissure 17 around 12:30 AM HST, on May 18, 2018. The...

May 18, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Spattering at Fissure 17 (telephoto)

Telephoto view of spattering at Fissure 17, in Kīlauea Volcano's lower...

Aerial view of a lava flow
May 18, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 17 and 18

Fissure 18 generated a channelized lava flow that had advanced about 1 km (0.6 mi) along the west side of fissure 17 as of about noon today.

Aerial view of fissures
May 18, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Leilani Estates Fissure System

View of the fissure system in Leilani Estates looking southwest (uprift). Fissure 17 is the ...

Aerial view of lava spattering
May 18, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Aerial of Lava Spatter (Fissure 17)

This morning, the line of fountains on fissure 17 coalesced into a large fountain that was sending lava 50 meters (164 feet) into the air, with small bits of spatter thrown up to 100 meters (328 feet) high. At about 12:00 p.m. HST, HVO geologists flying over the area reported that fissure 17 was going strong

Aerial view of three fissures
May 18, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 17, 18, and 20

Aerial view of the lowermost section of the active fissure system...

Museum sign covered in ash with plume in the background
May 17, 2018

Jaggar Muesum — Ash Covered Sign

At 7:45 a.m. HST, view of Halema‘uma‘u crater from the visitor viewing area in front of the Jaggar Muesum, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. A light coating of ash on the Park's interpretative sign resulted from ash falling to the ground from explosive events of the past day. Note the contrast of the plume rising from the Overlook ...

Person standing next to large cracks in the road
May 17, 2018

Major Cracks from Magma Intrusion — Kīlauea Volcano

HVO geologist next to cracks on Nohea Street in Leilani Estates this morning. These cracks expanded significantly in the past day. Note the vertical offset across the cracks.

Fence with trails of ash showing
May 17, 2018

Fence with Ash Traces

At 7:45 a.m. HST, only traces of ash (dark areas on white rail) remain on this fence in the Volcano Golf and Country Club Subdivsion, located 4 km (2.5 mi) from the Overlook crater in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Aerial view looking at a roadway with major cracks across it.
May 17, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Aerial View of Ground Crack

Aerial view of ground cracks on Pohoiki Road during an overflight of the eruptive ...

Aerial view of a fissure with lava coming out
May 17, 2018

Fissure 17 Aerial View — Kīlauea Volcano

At about 07:00 a.m. HST, Fissure 17 as shown from the air. The HVO field crew reported that the spattering height and intensity at Fissure 17 seemed to have intensified slightly from yesterday, but the length of active spattering in the fissure is shorter. The overall vigor of Fissure 17 appears to have dropped over the past two days, accompanying a stalling of the Fissure 17 flow front.

Filter Total Items: 328
Date published: January 25, 2018

CMGP Lidar Coordinator participating in National Elevation Assessments and Coordination session at 2018 ASPRS Annual Conference

Xan Fredericks, Lidar Coordinator for the Coastal and Marine Geology Program, will moderate and participate in the National Elevation Assessments and Coordination session at the 2018 American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) Annual Conference.

Date published: January 24, 2018

TV interview with NBC Philadelphia about flooding threats to U.S. East Coast

USGS geologist Patrick Barnard gave a live interview to Philadelphia's NBC10 meteorologist Tammie Souza on January 23 during a national weather conference in Lake Tahoe, California.

Date published: January 24, 2018

Alaska Earthquake Rattles Florida’s Groundwater Plumbing

At 12:32 am Alaska time on January 23, 2018, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake shook Alaska residents out of their beds and set off fears of a tsunami all down the West Coast. Fortunately, the tsunami was only a few inches in height, but within an hour of the earthquake in Alaska, waves of a different sort were hitting far away in Florida. 

Date published: January 23, 2018

ShakeAlert: The Path to West Coast Earthquake Early Warning: How a Few Seconds Can Save Lives and Property — Public Lecture

News reporters are invited to attend an illustrated public lecture to learn how U.S. Geological Survey scientists and partners are developing ShakeAlert. The ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system will begin limited operations this year. Alerts could save lives and properties but several challenges remain. With millions at risk, why isn't full public alerting happening yet?

Date published: January 23, 2018

Magnitude 7.9 Earthquake Gulf of Alaska

The USGS has up-to-date details on the January 23, 2018 event.

Date published: January 18, 2018

USGS Scientist Mobilizes with Recon Team to Learn from Mexico's Earthquake Early Warning System

USGS seismologist Elizabeth Cochran studied the performance of Mexico City’s earthquake early warning system,  during devastating Sept. 19, 2017 event

 

Date published: January 17, 2018

USGS scientist explains how king tides provide a glimpse of future sea levels

USGS geologist Patrick Barnard spoke to the public at a “Coffee and King Tides” gathering held in Half Moon Bay, California, on December 4.

Date published: January 17, 2018

USGS coastal-flooding projections inform national defense authorization act

Results of USGS research investigating sea-level rise impacts to Department of Defense (DoD) facilities in Pacific atolls are included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018.

Date published: January 16, 2018

Enthusiastic response to open house at the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz

USGS scientists at the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California, spoke with an estimated 300 visitors during a December 9 open house.

Date published: January 12, 2018

3-D Structure of Buried Ice Sheets on Mars Revealed by High-Resolution Images

For the first time, high-resolution images show the three-dimensional structure of massive ice deposits on Mars. According to an in-depth analysis led by the USGS, the images reveal never-before-observed details about the ice sheets, including that some begin just a few feet below the Martian surface and extend to depths greater than 300 feet.  

Date published: January 11, 2018

Future impacts of sea-level rise on Cape Cod with Erika Lentz and WBZ Meteorologist, Danielle Niles

Interview on future impacts of sea-level rise on Cape Cod with meteorologist Danielle Niles on Trunk River Beach, Falmouth, MA

Date published: December 13, 2017

Eyes on the Coast—Video Cameras Help Forecast Coastal Change

USGS scientists have installed video cameras pointed at beaches on the coasts of western Florida and central California. They’re analyzing the videos to measure features of the beach and ocean so they can improve coastal-change forecasts.