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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: 230
Date published: January 23, 2018
Status: Completed

Living With Wildfires

Students at Art Center College of Design prototyped wildfire awareness campaigns after SAFRR exposed them to wildfire research and safety issues.

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.

Contacts: Kara Doran
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.

Filter Total Items: 4,147
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.

Year Published: 2017

Wastewater disposal and the earthquake sequences during 2016 near Fairview, Pawnee, and Cushing, Oklahoma

Each of the three earthquake sequences in Oklahoma in 2016—Fairview, Pawnee, and Cushing—appears to have been induced by high-volume wastewater disposal within 10 km. The Fairview M5.1 main shock was part of a 2 year sequence of more than 150 events of M3, or greater; the main shock accounted for about half of the total moment...

McGarr, Arthur F.; Barbour, Andrew
A. McGarr and Andrew J. Barbour Wastewater Disposal and the Earthquake Sequences During 2016 Near Fairview, Pawnee, and Cushing, Oklahoma GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS Volume 44, Issue 18, 28 September 2017, Pages: 9330–9336

Year Published: 2017

Refining fault slip rates using multiple displaced terrace risers—An example from the Honey Lake fault, NE California, USA

Faulted terrace risers are semi-planar features commonly used to constrain Quaternary slip rates along strike-slip faults. These landforms are difficult to date directly and therefore their ages are commonly bracketed by age estimates of the adjacent upper and lower terrace surfaces. However, substantial differences in the ages of the upper and...

Gold, Ryan D.; Briggs, Richard; Crone, Anthony J.; Duross, Christopher
Gold, R.D., Briggs, R.W., Crone, A.J., DuRoss, C.B., 2017. Refining fault slip rates using multiple displaced terrace risers—An example from the Honey Lake fault, NE California, USA. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 477, 134-146.

Filter Total Items: 2,371
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

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

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 

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 

Lava fountaining at night time.
June 18, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano —

Fissure 8 lava fountains obscured by a longer exposure photograph taken early morning on June 18. The incandescent spots along a horizontal line mark the edge of the 

View of a crater with many cracks from slumping
June 18, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Halema‘uma‘u Crater (June 18, 2018)

Halema‘uma‘u viewed toward the west during the June 18 helicopter overflight. HVO and Jaggar Museum can barely be seen on the caldera rim in the upper right of the photograph.

Animated GIF showing lava flowing out of a fissure
June 18, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Lava Flow (GIF)

An animated GIF showing lava bubbling out of fissure 8 at Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaii. Clip is taken from the full b-roll video listed as the source.

June 18, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Halema`uma`u Crater (with HVO)

During the helicopter overflight on June 18, crews captured this image of the growing Halema‘uma‘u crater viewed to the southeast. With HVO and Jagger Museum sitting on the caldera rim (right side, middle where the road bends to the left) it is easier to comprehend the scale of

Filter Total Items: 368
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.

Date published: July 27, 2017

Reporters: Join as GeoGirls Dig Geology at Mount St. Helens


Twenty-five middle-school girls from 11 cities in Washington and Oregon are participating in the third annual “GeoGirls” outdoor volcano science program at Mount St. Helens, jointly organized by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Mount St. Helens Institute.

Date published: July 14, 2017

USGS maps underwater part of Big Sur landslide at Mud Creek

Scientists from the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center mapped the offshore extent of the Mud Creek landslide on California’s Big Sur coast on July 11, 2017.

Date published: July 11, 2017

Huge landslide on California’s Big Sur coast continues to change

The Mud Creek landslide on California’s Big Sur coast keeps eroding.

Date published: July 7, 2017

USGS Scientists to Track Effects of Historic Lake Ontario Flooding

Media Alert: Reporters wishing to accompany USGS scientists in the field the week of July 10 should contact Bill Coon, 607-220-6280 or wcoon@usgs.gov by 5 pm EDT Friday, July 7.

Date published: July 6, 2017

Magnitude 5.8 Earthquake in Montana

The USGS has up-to-date details on the July 6, 2017 event.

Date published: July 3, 2017

Guiding Rovers for Safe Mars Exploration

Billions of dollars and a decade worth of research are on the line in the instant that a spacecraft touches down on Mars. When deciding where to land on the planet’s rocky surface, it is essential to analyze potential landing sites and their surface characteristics.

Date published: June 22, 2017

USGS Collaborates with FEMA on National Earthquake Loss Estimate

Earthquakes are estimated to cost the nation $6.1 billion annually in building stock losses according to an updated report published today by FEMA.

Date published: June 21, 2017

USGS publishes a new blueprint that can help make subduction zone areas more resilient

Subduction zone events pose significant threats to lives, property, economic vitality, cultural and natural resources and quality of life. The tremendous magnitudes of these events are unique to subduction zones, and they can have cascading consequences that reverberate around the globe.

Date published: June 19, 2017

Preparing for the Storm: Predicting Where Our Coasts Are at Risk

Living in the Outer Banks means living with the power of the sea. Jutting out from North Carolina’s coast into the Atlantic Ocean, this series of sandy barrier islands is particularly vulnerable to damage from major storms. In April 2016, another nor’easter was set to strike, but this time, Dare County officials were approached by their local weather forecaster with a new kind of prediction.

Date published: June 15, 2017

New Land Created by Slide on Big Sur Coast is Eroding

USGS analysis of air photos collected June 13 shows that new land created by a May 20 landslide on California’s Big Sur coast is eroding. 

Date published: June 9, 2017

The Fire Island Wilderness Breach: Help or Hindrance?

When Hurricane Sandy struck the south shore of Long Island, New York, on October 29, 2012, it caused substantial erosion of the beach and dunes. Storm waves cut through Fire Island National Seashore’s wilderness area, forming a breach. The resulting channel allowed water to flow between the Atlantic Ocean and Great South Bay.