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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: 229
Date published: June 4, 2018
Status: Active

Coastal Landscape- Structured Decision Making

An effort to better understand the effects that sea-level rise (SLR) is likely to have on the coastal zone has brought together a network of Department of Interior collaborators and academic partners through the DOI North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative  (NALCC) and ...

Date published: June 4, 2018
Status: Active

Coastal Landscape Response to Sea-Level Rise Assessment for the Northeastern United States

As part of the USGS Sea-Level Rise Hazards and Decision-Support project, this assessment seeks to predict the response to sea-level rise across the coastal landscape under a range of future scenarios by evaluating the likelihood of inundation as well as dynamic coastal change. The research is being conducted in conjunction with resource managers and decision makers from federal and state...

Contacts: Erika Lentz, Ph.D., Nathaniel Plant, Radley M. Horton
Date published: June 4, 2018
Status: Active

Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS)

The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) makes detailed predictions of storm-induced coastal flooding, erosion, and cliff failures over large geographic scales. CoSMoS was developed for hindcast studies, operational applications and future climate scenarios to provide emergency responders and coastal planners with critical storm-hazards information that can be used to increase public safety...

Date published: May 30, 2018
Status: Active

Real-Time Monitoring for Potential Landslides

The history of real-time monitoring for potential landslides from water and debris flows. Monitoring hillslopes with the goal of eventually establishing an early warning system for debris flows.

Date published: May 30, 2018
Status: Active

Monitoring Stations

Click on the map to view monitoring site locations. Click on the marker for a link to each site.

Date published: May 11, 2018
Status: Active

Coral Reef Project

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: May 1, 2018
Status: Active

Marine Geomorphology, Evolution, and Habitats

Seafloor resource managers and modelers need seafloor maps that can be combined in GIS, modeling, and statistical analysis environments and related successfully to biologic and oceanographic data. The Marine Geomorphology, Evolution, and Habitats Project encompasses mapping activities and the development of new mapping systems and methodologies. The emphasis is on the role of geologic...

Contacts: Guy Cochrane
Date published: April 30, 2018
Status: Active

Mapping Florida's Coastal Waters

The FCMaP approach divides Florida into 6 regions that are geologically and physiographically distinct in terms of coastal characteristic.

Date published: April 23, 2018
Status: Active

Aerial Imaging and Mapping

The Aerial Imaging and Mapping group (AIM), at the U.S. Geological Survey Woods (USGS) Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center provides UAS services to scientists to advance the science mission of the Coastal and Marine Geology Program. Scientists at the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center have been using UASs to acquire imagery of coastal and wetland environments, which is then used...

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.

Filter Total Items: 4,147
Year Published: 2017

P- and S-wave velocity models incorporating the Cascadia subduction zone for 3D earthquake ground motion simulations—Update for Open-File Report 2007–1348

In support of earthquake hazards studies and ground motion simulations in the Pacific Northwest, threedimensional (3D) P- and S-wave velocity (VP and VS , respectively) models incorporating the Cascadia subduction zone were previously developed for the region encompassed from about 40.2°N. to 50°N. latitude, and from about 122°W. to 129°W....

Stephenson, William J.; Reitman, Nadine G.; Angster, Stephen J.
Stephenson, W.J., Reitman, N.G., and Angster, S.J., 2017, P- and S-wave velocity models incorporating the Cascadia subduction zone for 3D earthquake ground motion simulations, version 1.6—Update for Open-File Report 2007–1348: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017–1152, 17 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171152. [Supersedes USGS Open-File Report 2007–1348.]

Year Published: 2017

U.S. Geological Survey National Strong-Motion Project strategic plan, 2017–22

The mission of the National Strong-Motion Project is to provide measurements of how the ground and built environment behave during earthquake shaking to the earthquake engineering community, the scientific community, emergency managers, public agencies, industry, media, and other users for the following purposes: Improving engineering evaluations...

Aagaard, Brad T.; Celebi, Mehmet; Gee, Lind; Graves, Robert; Jaiswal, Kishor; Kalkan, Erol; Knudsen, Keith L.; Luco, Nicolas; Smith, James; Steidl, Jamison; Stephens, Christopher D.
Aagaard, Brad, Celebi, Mehmet, Gee, Lind, Graves, Robert, Jaiswal, Kishor, Kalkan, Erol, Knudsen, Keith, Luco, Nico, Smith, James, Steidl, Jamison, and Stephens, Christopher, 2017, U.S. Geological Survey National Strong-Motion Project strategic plan, 2017–22: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017–1156, 14 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171156.

Year Published: 2017

Aftershocks, earthquake effects, and the location of the large 14 December 1872 earthquake near Entiat, central Washington

Reported aftershock durations, earthquake effects, and other observations from the large 14 December 1872 earthquake in central Washington are consistent with an epicenter near Entiat, Washington. Aftershocks were reported for more than 3 months only near Entiat. Modal intensity data described in this article are consistent with an Entiat area...

Brocher, Thomas M.; Hopper, Margaret G.; Algermissen, S.T. Ted; Perkins, David M.; Brockman, Stanley R.; Arnold, Edouard P.
Brocher, T. M., M. G. Hopper, S. T. Algermissen, D. M. Perkins, S. R. Brockman, and E. P. Arnold (2018). Aftershocks, earthquake effects, and location of the large 14 December 1872 earthquake near Entiat, central Washington, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., v. 108, no. 1, p. 66-83, 2018, doi: 10.1785/0120170224.

Year Published: 2017

A prototype operational earthquake loss model for California based on UCERF3-ETAS – A first look at valuation

We present a prototype operational loss model based on UCERF3-ETAS, which is the third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast with an Epidemic Type Aftershock Sequence (ETAS) component. As such, UCERF3-ETAS represents the first earthquake forecast to relax fault segmentation assumptions and to include multi-fault ruptures, elastic-rebound...

Field, Edward; Porter, Keith; Milner, Kevn
Field, E. H., K. Porter, and K. Milner (2017). A Prototype Operational Earthquake Loss Model for California Based on UCERF3-ETAS – A First Look at Valuation, Earthquake Spectra, Volume 33, No. 4, pages 1–21, DOI: 10.1193/011817EQS017M

Year Published: 2017

Analysis of the variability in ground-motion synthesis and inversion

In almost all past inversions of large-earthquake ground motions for rupture behavior, the goal of the inversion is to find the “best fitting” rupture model that predicts ground motions which optimize some function of the difference between predicted and observed ground motions. This type of inversion was pioneered in the linear-inverse sense by...

Spudich, Paul A.; Cirella, Antonella; Scognamiglio, Laura; Tinti, Elisa
Spudich, P., Cirella, A., Scognamiglio, L., and Tinti, E., 2017, Analysis of the variability in ground-motion synthesis and inversion: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017–1151, 39 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171151.

Year Published: 2017

Considerations in comparing the U.S. Geological Survey one‐year induced‐seismicity hazard models with “Did You Feel It?” and instrumental data

The recent steep increase in seismicity rates in Oklahoma, southern Kansas, and other parts of the central United States led the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to develop, for the first time, a probabilistic seismic hazard forecast for one year (2016) that incorporates induced seismicity. In this study, we explore a process to ground‐truth the...

White, Isabel; Liu, Taojun; Luco, Nicolas; Liel, Abbie
White IJO, Liu T, Luco N, & Liel AB (2017), "Considerations in Comparing the U.S. Geological Survey One-Year Induced-Seismicity Hazard Models with "Did You Feel It?" and Instrumental Data," Seismological Research Letters, Vol. 89(1), pp. 127-137.

Year Published: 2017

Evidence for the interior evolution of Ceres from geologic analysis of fractures

Ceres is the largest asteroid belt object, and the Dawn spacecraft observed Ceres since 2015. Dawn observed two morphologically distinct linear features on Ceres's surface: secondary crater chains and pit chains. Pit chains provide unique insights into Ceres's interior evolution. We interpret pit chains called the Samhain Catenae as the surface...

Scully, Jennifer E. C.; Buczkowski, Debra; Schmedemann, Nico; Raymond, Carol A.; Castillo-Rogez, Julie C.; Scott King; Bland, Michael T.; Ermakov, Anton; O'Brien, D.P.; Marchi, S.; Longobardo, A.; Russell, C.T.; Fu, R.R.; Neveu, M.
Scully, J. E. C., Buczkowski, D. L., Schmedemann, N., Raymond, C. A., Castillo-Rogez, J. C., King, S. D., … Neveu, M. (2017). Evidence for the interior evolution of Ceres from geologic analysis of fractures. Geophysical Research Letters, 44, 9564–9572. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017GL075086

Year Published: 2017

Basalt–trachybasalt samples in Gale Crater, Mars

The ChemCam instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, Curiosity, observed numerous igneous float rocks and conglomerate clasts, reported previously. A new statistical analysis of single‐laser‐shot spectra of igneous targets observed by ChemCam shows a strong peak at ~55 wt% SiO2 and 6 wt% total alkalis, with a minor...

Edwards, Peter H.; Bridges, John C.; Wiens, Roger C.; Anderson, Ryan B.; Dyar, M. Darby; Fisk, Martin; Thompson, Lucy; Gasda, Patrick J.; Filiberto, Justin; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Blaney, Diana L.; Hutchinson, Ian

Year Published: 2017

Preface: The lunar reconnaissance orbiter

When the call for papers for a special issue of Icarus devoted to analysis of data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission was announced in March 2015 we envisioned a single issue with only a possibility of a second. We certainly were gratified by the response from within and outside the LRO instrument teams such that we were compelled to...

Keller, John W; Gaddis, Lisa R.; Petro, Noah E.; Aharonson, Oded
Keller, John W., Gaddis, L., Petro, N., and Aharonson, O., 2017, Preface--The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter: Icarus, v. 298, 1 p., https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2017.09.001.

Year Published: 2017

A wideband magnetoresistive sensor for monitoring dynamic fault slip in laboratory fault friction experiments

A non-contact, wideband method of sensing dynamic fault slip in laboratory geophysical experiments employs an inexpensive magnetoresistive sensor, a small neodymium rare earth magnet, and user built application-specific wideband signal conditioning. The magnetoresistive sensor generates a voltage proportional to the changing angles of magnetic...

Kilgore, Brian D.
Kilgore BD. A Wideband Magnetoresistive Sensor for Monitoring Dynamic Fault Slip in Laboratory Fault Friction Experiments. Sensors. 2017; 17(12):2790.

Year Published: 2017

CO2 cycle

This chapter discusses the use of models, observations, and laboratory experiments to understand the cycling of CO2 between the atmosphere and seasonal Martian polar caps. This cycle is primarily controlled by the polar heat budget, and thus the emphasis here is on its components, including solar and infrared radiation, the effect of clouds (water...

Titus, Timothy N.; Byrne, Shane; Colaprete, Anthony; Forget, Francois; Michaels, Timothy I.; Prettyman, Thomas H.

Year Published: 2017

Community tools for cartographic and photogrammetric processing of Mars Express HRSC images

The High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on the Mars Express orbiter (Neukum et al. 2004) is a multi-line pushbroom scanner that can obtain stereo and color coverage of targets in a single overpass, with pixel scales as small as 10 m at periapsis. Since commencing operations in 2004 it has imaged ~ 77 % of Mars at 20 m/pixel or better. The...

Wu, B.; Di, K.; Oberst, J.; Karachevtseva, I.; Kirk, Randolph L.; Howington-Kraus, Elpitha; Edmundson, Kenneth L.; Redding, Bonnie L.; Galuszka, Donna M.; Hare, Trent M.; Gwinner, K.
Kirk, R.L., Howington-Kraus, E., Edmundson, K., Redding, B., Galuszka, D., Hare, T., and Gwinner, K.: Community tools for cartographic and photogrammetric processing of Mars express HiRISE images, International Archives of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, v. XLII-3/W1, p. 69-76, https://doi.org/10.5194/isprs-archives-XLII-3-W1-69-2017, 2017.

Filter Total Items: 2,370
Night view of fissure 8
June 28, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 Night View

Night view of the lava channel toward fissure 8 under a nearly full moon. This image was taken from an observation point near the right-hand bend in the channel

Ocean entry
June 28, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Ocean Entry

View of the ocean entry (lower left) from this morning's overflight. Lava was entering the ocean across a broad area primarily on the north part of the lava delta. Upslope along the northern margin of the flow field, lava is still oozing from several points in the area of Kapoho Beach Lots. Fissure 8 

Lava flowing into residential area
June 28, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fresh Lava at Kapoho Beach Lots

Near the coast, the northern margin of the lava flow field is still oozing fresh lava at several points in the area of Kapoho Beach Lots. Smoke marks locations where lava is burning vegetation.

Aerial view looking down on a lava flow overflow from a channel
June 27, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Channel Overflow

A small overflow from the lava channel (left side of image) captured by an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). Small overflows on both sides of the channel occurred shortly after midnight in the uppermost part of channel. None of these overflows extended past the existing flow field.

View of fissure 8 with overflows
June 27, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Overflows

Overflows from the perched lava channel are seen as incandescent (glowing) fingers moving down the sides of the channel (left side of photo). Fissure 8 

lava plumes from ocean entries
June 27, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Kapoho Coastline Ocean Entries

Lava continues to enter the sea along the southern Kapoho coastline. Lava enters the ocean primarily through an open channel, but also along a 1-km (0.6 mi) wide area. Also visible in the image (center right) is an area at the northern margin of the flow field that is oozing fresh lava at several points in the area of Kapoho Beach Lots.

Lava channel
June 26, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Lava Channel Branches Off

Southward facing view of the point at which the fissure 8 lava channel bifurcates.

Lava entering the ocean causing laze plumes
June 26, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Laze Plumes

Lava from fissure 8 is entering the sea this morning on the southern portion of the flow front primarily through the open channel, but also along this 1 km (0.6 mi) wide area with multiple laze plumes from smaller oozing lobes.

Lava entering the ocean
June 26, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Ocean Entry

North facing view of the 1 km (0.6 mi) long ocean entry with multiple lobes of lava flowing into the sea.

Comparison of two photos
June 26, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano —

Comparison of photographs taken on June 13 and 26 from near Keanakāko'i Crater overlook in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park shows a subsidence scarp that formed as the Kīlauea Crater floor subsided. Scientists estimate the dramatic dropping of the crater floor in this area occurred sometime between June 23 and 26. The view is to the west. Halema‘uma‘u crater is in upper

Filter Total Items: 367
Date published: November 29, 2017

USGS geologist chairs discussion of issues facing Department of Defense installations in the Pacific and Arctic

At the request of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP), USGS geologist Curt Storlazzi chaired a session at a conference on issues affecting DoD installations.

Date published: November 28, 2017

Updated assessment of erosion rates on Alaska’s Arctic coast

The USGS updated its shoreline-change rates for Alaska’s north coast between the U.S.-Canadian Border and Icy Cape as part of the National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards.

Date published: November 28, 2017

Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula Reveals a Cryptic Methane-Fueled Ecosystem in Flooded Caves

In the underground rivers and flooded caves of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, where Mayan lore described a fantastical underworld, scientists have found a cryptic world in its own right.

Date published: November 27, 2017

Polluted groundwater threatens coral reefs

Coral reefs already stressed by ocean acidification are particularly vulnerable to polluted groundwater, according to a recent study by USGS geologist Nancy Prouty and colleagues.

Date published: November 15, 2017

LA Times story about Big Sur landslide features quotes, imagery from USGS

USGS geologists Jon Warrick (Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center) and Kevin Schmidt (Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center) are quoted in a November 9 Los Angeles Times story titled “Highway 1 was buried under a massive landslide. Months later, engineers battle Mother Nature to fix it...

Date published: November 12, 2017

Magnitude 7.3 Earthquake Iran/Iraq Border

The USGS has up-to-date details on the November 12, 2017 event.

Date published: November 8, 2017

Eyes on the Coast—Video Cameras Help Forecast Coastal Change

Coastal communities count on beaches for recreation and for protection from large waves, but beaches are vulnerable to threats such as erosion by storms and flooding. Whether beaches grow, shrink, or even disappear depends in part on what happens just offshore. How do features like shifting sandbars affect waves, currents, and the movement of sand from the beach to offshore and back?

Date published: November 6, 2017

Video shot from drones yields details about changing landslide on California’s Big Sur coast

On October 12, USGS drones collected video footage of the Mud Creek landslide, which buried California State Highway 1 under a third-of-a-mile-wide mass of rock and dirt on May 20.

Date published: October 25, 2017

Biologist starting over after Hurricane Irma damages home, office, research site

Coral reef expert Caroline Rogers was the only USGS employee in the Virgin Islands when the Category 5 storm hit.

Date published: October 20, 2017

Exploring Gas Hydrates as a Future Energy Source

In the past decade, the development of the Barnett, Eagle Ford, Marcellus, and other shales has dominated the national consciousness regarding natural gas. But in Alaska, another form of natural gas has been the focus of research for decades—methane hydrate.

Date published: October 19, 2017

U.S. and Canadian Scientists Explore Major Undersea Earthquake Fault

An international team of scientists just finished probing the depths of the Pacific Ocean offshore of Alaska and British Columbia, to better understand the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather Fault. During the past century, the 700-mile-long fault has generated at least half a dozen major earthquakes, and future shocks threaten coastal communities in both the United States and Canada.