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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: 205
Date published: January 23, 2018
Status: Completed

ARkStorm Scenario

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.

Date published: January 23, 2018
Status: Completed

Partnership with YVO

Worked with USGS Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO) and outside academic partners to plan and stage a workshop bringing together volcano researchers, emergency managers, and social scientists to raise awareness about hazardous volcanoes in the southwest.

Date published: January 23, 2018
Status: Completed

Partnership with CalVO and Cal EMA

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...

Date published: January 19, 2018
Status: Active

Storm-Induced Coastal Processes

Process studies examine the physical processes at work prior to, during, and following coastal storm events. Understanding the processes involved in coastal landform evolution will improve the accuracy of the assessments of storm-induced coastal change hazards. Research is part of the ...

Date published: January 19, 2018
Status: Completed

Partnership for Community Disaster Resilience

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.

Date published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

National Assessment of Storm-Induced Coastal Change Hazards

The overall objective is to improve real-time and scenario-based predictions of coastal change to support management of coastal infrastructure, resources, and safety. Research is part of the  National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards project.

Date published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

National Assessment of Coastal Vulnerability to Sea Level Rise

This research seeks to objectively determine the relative risks due to future sea-level rise for the U.S. Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico coasts. Research is part of National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards project. 

Date published: January 18, 2018
Status: Completed

Debris Flow and Wildfire Evacuation Messaging

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.

Date published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

Long-Term Coastal Change

Goals of this project include developing and improving coastal-change assessments and supporting long-term planning and decision making to ensure sustainable coastal economies, infrastructure, and ecosystems. Research is part of the National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards...

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.

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...

Filter Total Items: 3,117
Year Published: 2017

Seismic response of soft deposits due to landslide: The Mission Peak, California, landslide

The seismic response of active and intermittently active landslides is an important issue to resolve to determine if such landslides present an elevated hazard in future earthquakes. To study the response of landslide deposits, seismographs were placed on the Mission Peak landslide in the eastern San Francisco Bay region for a period of one year....

Hartzell, Stephen; Leeds, Alena L.; Jibson, Randall W.
Stephen Hartzell, Alena L. Leeds, Randall W. Jibson; Seismic Response of Soft Deposits due to Landslide: The Mission Peak, California, Landslide. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America ; 107 (5): 2008–2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.1785/0120170033

Year Published: 2017

Detection and characterization of pulses in broadband seismometers

Pulsing - caused either by mechanical or electrical glitches, or by microtilt local to a seismometer - can significantly compromise the long‐period noise performance of broadband seismometers. High‐fidelity long‐period recordings are needed for accurate calculation of quantities such as moment tensors, fault‐slip models, and normal‐mode...

Wilson, David; Ringler, Adam; Hutt, Charles R.
Wilson, D. C., A. T. Ringler, C. R. Hutt (2017). Detection and characterization of pulses in broadband seismometers, Bull. Seis. Soc. Amer., 107, 4, doi:10.1785/0120170089.

Year Published: 2017

2017 Valparaíso earthquake sequence and the megathrust patchwork of central Chile

In April 2017, a sequence of earthquakes offshore Valparaíso, Chile, raised concerns of a potential megathrust earthquake in the near future. The largest event in the 2017 sequence was a M6.9 on 24 April, seemingly colocated with the last great-sized earthquake in the region—a M8.0 in March 1985. The history of large earthquakes in this...

Nealy, Jennifer; Herman, Matthew W.; Moore, Ginevra; Hayes, Gavin; Benz, Harley M.; Bergman, Eric A.; Barrientos, Sergio E
Nealy, J. L., Herman, M. W., Moore, G. L., Hayes, G. P., Benz, H. M., Bergman, E. A., & Barrientos, S. E. (2017). 2017 Valparaíso earthquake sequence and the megathrust patchwork of central Chile. Geophysical Research Letters.

Year Published: 2017

3-D simulations of M9 earthquakes on the Cascadia Megathrust: Key parameters and uncertainty

Geologic and historical records indicate that the Cascadia subduction zone is capable of generating large, megathrust earthquakes up to magnitude 9. The last great Cascadia earthquake occurred in 1700, and thus there is no direct measure on the intensity of ground shaking or specific rupture parameters from seismic recordings. We use 3-D numerical...

Wirth, Erin; Frankel, Arthur; Vidale, John; Marafi, Nasser A.; Stephenson, William J.
Wirth E, Frankel A, Vidale J, Stephenson W, Marafi N. 3-D simulations of M9 earthquakes on the Cascadia megathrust: key parameters and uncertainty. Proceedings of the 11th National Conference in Earthquake Engineering, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, Los Angeles, CA. 2018.

Year Published: 2017

A fault‐based model for crustal deformation in the western United States based on a combined inversion of GPS and geologic inputs

We develop a crustal deformation model to determine fault‐slip rates for the western United States (WUS) using the Zeng and Shen (2014) method that is based on a combined inversion of Global Positioning System (GPS) velocities and geological slip‐rate constraints. The model consists of six blocks with boundaries aligned along major...

Zeng, Yuehua; Shen, Zheng-Kang
Zeng, Y., and Shen, Z.-K., 2017, A Fault-Based Model for Crustal Deformation in the Western United States Based on a Combined Inversion of GPS and Geologic Inputs, Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am., doi: 10.1785/0120150362.

Year Published: 2017

Evaluating a kinematic method for generating broadband ground motions for great subduction zone earthquakes: Application to the 2003 Mw 8.3 Tokachi‐Oki earthquake

We compare broadband synthetic seismograms with recordings of the 2003 Mw">MwMw 8.3 Tokachi‐Oki earthquake to evaluate a compound rupture model, in which slip on the fault consists of multiple high‐stress‐drop asperities superimposed on a background slip distribution with longer rise times. Low‐frequency synthetics (<1&#...

Wirth, Erin A.; Frankel, Arthur; Vidale, John E.
Wirth, E.A., Frankel, A.D., and Vidale, J.E., 2017, Evaluating a kinematic method for generating broadband ground motions for great subduction zone earthquakes – application to the 2003 MW8.3 Tokachi-Oki Earthquake: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 107, pp. 1737-1753

Year Published: 2017

Evaluating spatial and temporal relationships between an earthquake cluster near Entiat, central Washington, and the large December 1872 Entiat earthquake

We investigate spatial and temporal relations between an ongoing and prolific seismicity cluster in central Washington, near Entiat, and the 14 December 1872 Entiat earthquake, the largest historic crustal earthquake in Washington. A fault scarp produced by the 1872 earthquake lies within the Entiat cluster; the locations and areas of both the...

Brocher, Thomas M.; Blakely, Richard J.; Sherrod, Brian
Brocher, T.M., R. J. Blakely, and B. L. Sherrod, 2017, Evaluating spatial and temporal relations between an earthquake cluster near Entiat, central Washington, and the large December 1872 Entiat earthquake, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 107 (5), 2380-2393, doi: 10.1785/0120170113.

Year Published: 2017

Forecasting the (un)productivity of the 2014 M 6.0 South Napa aftershock sequence

The 24 August 2014 Mw 6.0 South Napa mainshock produced fewer aftershocks than expected for a California earthquake of its magnitude. In the first 4.5 days, only 59 M≥1.8 aftershocks occurred, the largest of which was an M 3.9 that happened a little over two days after the mainshock. We investigate the aftershock...

Llenos, Andrea L.; Michael, Andrew J.
Llenos, A. L., and A. J. Michael (2017), Forecasting the (un)productivity of the 2014 M 6.0 South Napa aftershock sequence, Seismol. Res. Lett., doi: 10.1785/0220170050.

Year Published: 2017

Martian cave air-movement via Helmholtz resonance

Infrasonic resonance has previously been measured in terrestrial caves by other researchers, where Helmholtz resonance has been suggested as the plausible mechanism resulting in periodic wind reversals within cave entrances. We extend this reasoning to possible Martian caves, where we examine the characteristics of four atypical pit craters (APCs...

Williams, Kaj; Titus, Timothy N.; Okubo, Chris; Cushing, Glen
Williams, Kaj E.; Timothy N. Titus; Chris H. Okubo; and Glen E. Cushing. 2017. Martian cave air-movement via Helmholtz resonance. International Journal of Speleology, 46: 439-444.

Year Published: 2017

Performance of Irikura recipe rupture model generator in earthquake ground motion simulations with Graves and Pitarka hybrid approach

We analyzed the performance of the Irikura and Miyake (Pure and Applied Geophysics 168(2011):85–104, 2011) (IM2011) asperity-based kinematic rupture model generator, as implemented in the hybrid broadband ground motion simulation methodology of Graves and Pitarka (Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 100(5A):2095–2123, 2010), for...

Pitarka, Arben; Graves, Robert; Irikura, Kojiro; Miyake, Hiroe; Rodgers, Arthur
Pitarka, A., Graves, R., Irikura, K. et al. Pure Appl. Geophys. (2017). doi:10.1007/s00024-017-1504-3

Year Published: 2017

Presentation and analysis of a worldwide database of earthquake-induced landslide inventories

Earthquake-induced landslide (EQIL) inventories are essential tools to extend our knowledge of the relationship between earthquakes and the landslides they can trigger. Regrettably, such inventories are difficult to generate and therefore scarce, and the available ones differ in terms of their quality and level of completeness. Moreover, access to...

Tanyas, Hakan; van Westen, Cees J.; Allstadt, Kate E.; Nowicki Jessee, M. Anna; Gorum, Tolga; Jibson, Randall W.; Godt, Jonathan W.; Sato, Hiroshi P.; Schmitt, Robert G.; Marc, Odin; Hovius, Niels
Tanyaş H. et al (2017). Presentation and Analysis of a Worldwide Database of Earthquake-Induced Landslide Inventories. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 122. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JF004236

Year Published: 2017

The interior structure of Ceres as revealed by surface topography

Ceres, the largest body in the asteroid belt (940 km diameter), provides a unique opportunity to study the interior structure of a volatile-rich dwarf planet. Variations in a planetary body's subsurface rheology and density affect the rate of topographic relaxation. Preferential attenuation of long wavelength topography (≥150 km) on Ceres suggests...

Fu, Roger R.; Ermakov, Anton; Marchi, Simone; Castillo-Rogez, Julie C.; Raymond, Carol A.; Hager, Bradford; Zuber, Maria; King, Scott D.; Bland, Michael T.; De Sanctis, Maria Cristina; Preusker, Frank; Park, Ryan S.; Russell, Christopher T.

Filter Total Items: 2,293
Laze plume from ocean entry
June 20, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Multiple Laze Plumes

Small streams of lava enter the ocean across a broad area, shown by the multiple white steam and laze plumes. Lava has added about 380 acres of new land into the sea.

Looking down at the crater where the parking lot used to be.
June 20, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Halema`uma`u Parking Lot Gone

View of the southern edge of the growing Halema‘uma‘u crater (middle right) during yesterday's helicopter-assisted work at Kīlauea's summit. The once-popular parking lot (closed since 2008) that provided access to Halema‘uma‘u is no longer—the parking lot fell into the crater this past week as more and more of the Kīlauea Crater floor slides into Halema‘uma‘u. The Crater

...
A geologist points a thermal camera at a fissure to take a temperature reading
June 20, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Temperature Readings

HVO geologist measures 260 degrees C (500 degrees F) along ground cracks near fissure 10 in Leilani Estates. Geologists routinely make temperature measurements to track changes throughout the fissure complex in the lower East Rift Zone.

Aerial view of lava channels
June 20, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Lava Channel from Fissure 8

Lava from fissure 8 travels about 13 km (8 mi) to the ocean in an open channel. Lava remains incandescent (glowing orange) throughout its journey. The ocean entry is at upper right.

Close up view of pāhoehoe
June 20, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Sluggish Pāhoehoe

Sluggish pāhoehoe briefly spills over a section the levee along the well-established lava channel. Such overflows generally travel short distances measured in

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GPS monitoring station on the caldera floor
June 20, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — GPS Station

A temporary GPS station (with radio telemetry for continuous measurement) was installed this week on the Kīlauea caldera floor to track the ongoing

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Fissure 8 and lava channel from above
June 20, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 Aerial

Fissure 8 lava fountains reached as high as about 50 m (164 ft) during the past day. The fountain height varies, often sending a shower of 

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View of the lava channel
June 19, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 Lava Flow

The northern channel margin of the fissure 8 lava flow. Small hill in the distance is the site of our PGcam. Overflows from the channel can be seen producing shiny black to silver 

...
Aerial view of lava channel coming from a lava fountain
June 19, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 Lava Channel

Fissure 8 cone, lava fountain, and channelized lava flow on the morning overflight - June 19 at about 6:10am HST. The lava channel is very full with many small overflows visible on the channel margins. Overflows are sluggish and move slowly downslope as they build up the levees.

June 19, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Morning Overflight (June 19, 2018)

Geology field crews on the ground near the Kīlauea's 

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Filter Total Items: 354
Date published: August 29, 2017

USGS Crews Measure Record Flooding in South-Central Texas

Reporters: Do you want to interview USGS scientists as they measure flooding? Please contact Jennifer LaVista or Lynne Fahlquist. 

U.S. Geological Survey field crews are measuring record flooding in parts of south-central Texas following intense rainfall from Tropical Storm Harvey.

Date published: August 25, 2017

USGS Prepares for Hurricane Harvey

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

Date published: August 25, 2017

Many Texas Beaches Likely to Erode, Be Overwashed, or Inundated by Hurricane Harvey

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

UPDATE: This story has been revised to reflect new NOAA-National Hurricane Center storm surge projections which were released August 25 at 7 a.m.

Date published: August 24, 2017

Many Texas Beaches Likely to Erode, Be Overwashed, or Inundated by Hurricane Harvey

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

UPDATE: This story has been revised to reflect new NOAA-National Hurricane Center storm surge projections which were released August 25 at 7 a.m.

Date published: August 24, 2017

USGS Installs Storm-tide Sensors along Texas Coast prior to Harvey’s Arrival

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

Storm-tide sensors are being installed at key locations along the Texas Gulf Coast by the U.S. Geological Survey in advance of Hurricane Harvey.

Date published: August 14, 2017

USGS Awards $4.9 Million to Advance the ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System on West Coast

The U.S. Geological Survey awarded approximately $4.9 million this week to six universities and a university-governed non-profit, to support transitioning the west coast “ShakeAlert” earthquake early warning system into a production system.

Date published: August 11, 2017

MEDIA ADVISORY: Upcoming Low-Level Flights in Oklahoma to Image Unmapped Faults and Underground Geology

Editor:  In the public interest and in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations, the USGS is announcing this low-level airborne project.  Your assistance in informing the local communities is appreciated.

Date published: August 8, 2017

International Volcano Science Meeting in Portland

Join volcano scientists from around the world during scientific meeting and associated public event in Portland.

Date published: August 8, 2017

MEDIA ADVISORY: Media Webinar – Gathering and Sharing Information about Recent Earthquakes

After the next significant earthquake, many sources will be disseminating information from a variety of accounts, tools and services.

Date published: August 7, 2017

Hazard a Guess? The riskiest science quiz you will ever take!

True or False:  Lightning that takes place during a volcanic eruption is the same as lightning that occurs during a thunderstorm?

Date published: July 31, 2017

Harvesting Earthquake Fault Slip f­rom Laser Images of Napa's Vineyards

A new U.S. Geological Survey-led study suggests that earthquake-related deformation just below the Earth's surface can be quite different from how it is expressed at the surface.