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.

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Filter Total Items: 170
Date published: March 2, 2016
Status: Active

Geomagnetism Monitoring

The USGS Geomagnetism Program currently operates 14 magnetic observatories. Magnetometer data are collected at these facilities, and the data are then transmitted to Program headquarters in Golden, Colorado.

Date published: March 2, 2016

Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO)

The AVO is a partnership among the USGS, the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys. To mitigate volcanic hazards, AVO monitors and studies Alaska's hazardous volcanoes to forecast and record eruptive activity. AVO also monitors volcanic activity in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Date published: March 2, 2016

Landslides Research

Our Program researches activities to make accurate landslide hazard maps and forecasts of landslide occurrences.

Date published: March 2, 2016

USGS California Volcano Observatory (CalVO)

CalVO operates real-time volcano monitoring networks, disseminates forecasts and notifications of significant activity, assesses volcano hazards, researches volcano processes, and works with communities to prepare for volcanic eruptions in California and Nevada. The Observatory is located at USGS offices in Menlo Park, California.

Date published: March 2, 2016

Landslide Monitoring

Landslide sites and data for learning more about the physical processes that trigger landslides or control their movement.

Date published: March 2, 2016

Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO)

The CVO staff conduct research on many aspects of active volcanism, respond to dangerous volcanic activity in many parts of the world, and maintain a close watch over volcanoes in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The USGS established CVO in Vancouver, Washington, after the May 18, 1980, eruption of Mount St. Helens.

Date published: March 2, 2016

"The First Sue Nami"

Tsunami awareness public service announcements come from collaboration among the USGS SAFRR team, outside partners, and Pasadena's Art Center College of Design.

Date published: March 2, 2016

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)

HVO operates monitoring networks, assesses hazards, and issues notifications of volcanic activity and earthquakes in the State of Hawai‘i. HVO scientists conduct fundamental research on volcanic processes and work to educate the communities at risk. HVO is located in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park on the Island of Hawaii.

Date published: March 1, 2016
Status: Completed

SAFRR CORE

CORE - Cadre of Relevant Experts

Date published: January 1, 2016
Status: Completed

National Seismic Hazard Map Usability Study

How can we better communicate seismic hazards to non-scientists?

Date published: August 19, 2014

Estuarine Physical Response to Storms

The Estuarine Physical Response to Storms Project will assess the estuarine and adjacent wetland  responses of three Atlantic lagoonal estuaries to major storm events such as Hurricane Sandy. The estuarine systems include the Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary, the Chincoteague Bay, and Jamaica Bay, NY. Evaluations of sediment transport, geomorphic change, circulation, wetland stability....

Date published: April 25, 2014
Status: Completed

Tsunami Scenario

A hypothetical but likely tsunami scenario affecting California's coastline, representing studies and models of damage, restoration, and social and economic impacts of a tsunami generated by a magnitude 9.1 megathrust Alaskan earthquake.

Filter Total Items: 1,759
Year Published: 2015

Micrometer-scale U–Pb age domains in eucrite zircons, impact re-setting, and the thermal history of the HED parent body

Meteoritic zircons are rare, but some are documented to occur in asteroidal meteorites, including those of the howardite–eucrite–diogenite (HED) achondrite clan (Rubin, A. [1997]. Meteorit. Planet. Sci. 32, 231–247). The HEDs are widely considered to originate from the Asteroid 4 Vesta. Vesta and the other large main belt...

Hopkins, M.D.; Mojzsis, S.J.; Bottke, W.F.; Abramov, Oleg
Hopkins, M. D., Mojzsis, S. J., Bottke, W. F., & Abramov, O. (2015). Micrometer-scale U–Pb age domains in eucrite zircons, impact re-setting, and the thermal history of the HED parent body. Icarus, 245, 367-378.

Year Published: 2015

Understanding the signature of rock coatings in laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy data

Surface compositional features on rocks such as coatings and weathering rinds provide important information about past aqueous environments and water–rock interactions. The search for these features represents an important aspect of the Curiosity rover mission. With its unique ability to do fine-scale chemical depth profiling, the ChemCam...

Lanza, Nina L.; Ollila, Ann M.; Cousin, Agnes; Wiens, Roger C.; Clegg, Samuel M.; Mangold, Nicolas; Bridges, Nathan; Cooper, Daniel; Schmidt, Mariek E.; Berger, Jeffrey; Arvidson, Raymond E.; Melikechi, Noureddine; Newsom, Horton E.; Tokar, Robert; Hardgrove, Craig; Mezzacappa, Alissa; Jackson, Ryan S.; Clark, Benton C.; Forni, Olivier; Maurice, Sylvestre; Nachon, Marion; Anderson, Ryan B.; Blank, Jennifer; Deans, Matthew; Delapp, Dorothea; Léveillé, Richard; McInroy, Rhonda; Martinez, Ronald; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Pinet, Patrick
Lanza, N.L. et al. (2015), Understanding the signature of rock coatings in laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy data. Icarus, 249, 62-73

Year Published: 2014

The rock abrasion record at Gale Crater: Mars Science Laboratory results from Bradbury Landing to Rocknest

Ventifacts, rocks abraded by wind-borne particles, are found in Gale Crater, Mars. In the eastward drive from “Bradbury Landing” to “Rocknest,” they account for about half of the float and outcrop seen by Curiosity's cameras. Many are faceted and exhibit abrasion textures found at a range of scales, from submillimeter...

Bridges, N.T.; Calef, F.J.; Hallett, B.W.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Lanza, N.L.; Le Mouélic, S.; Newman, C.E.; Blaney, D.L.; de Pablo, M.A.; Kocurek, G.A.; Langevin, Y.; Lewis, K.W.; Mangold, N.; Maurice, S.; Meslin, P.-Y.; Pinet, P.; Renno, N.O.; Rice, CM.S.; Richardson, M.E.; Sautter, V.; Sletten, R.S.; Wiens, R.C.; Yingst, R.A.
Bridges, N. T., et al. (2014), The rock abrasion record at Gale Crater: Mars Science Laboratory results from Bradbury Landing to Rocknest, J. Geophys. Res. Planets, 119, 1374–1389, doi:10.1002/2013JE004579.

Year Published: 2014

The birth and death of transverse aeolian ridges on Mars

Transverse aeolian ridges (TARs) are small bright windblown deposits found throughout the Martian tropics that stand a few meters tall and are spaced a few tens of meters apart. The origin of these features remains mysterious more than 20 years after their discovery on Mars. This paper presents a new hypothesis, that some of the TARs could...

Geissler, Paul E.
Geissler, P. E. (2014), The birth and death of transverse aeolian ridges on Mars, J. Geophys. Res. Planets, 119, 2583–2599

Year Published: 2014

Thermal measurements of dark and bright surface features on Vesta as derived from Dawn/VIR

Remote sensing data acquired during Dawn’s orbital mission at Vesta showed several local concentrations of high-albedo (bright) and low-albedo (dark) material units, in addition to spectrally distinct meteorite impact ejecta. The thermal behavior of such areas seen at local scale (1-10 km) is related to physical properties that can provide...

Tosi, Federico; Capria, Maria Teresa; De Sanctis, M.C.; Combe, J.-Ph.; Zambon, F.; Nathues, A.; Schröder, S.E.; Li, J.-Y.; Palomba, E.; Longobardo, A.; Blewett, D.T.; Denevi, B.W.; Palmer, E.; Capaccioni, F.; Ammannito, E.; Titus, Timothy N.; Mittlefehldt, D.W.; Sunshine, J.M.; Russell, C.T.; Raymond, C.A.; Dawn/VIR Team
Tosi, F., Capria, M.T., De Sanctis, M.C., Combe, J.-Ph., Zambon, F., Nathues, A., Schröder, S.E., Li, J.-Y., Palomba, E., Longobardo, A., Blewett, D.T., Denevi, B.W., Palmer, E., Capaccioni, F., Ammannito, E., Titus, T.M., Mittlefehldt, D.W., Sunshine, J.M., Russell, C.T., Raymond, C.A., and the Dawn/VIR Team, 2014, Thermal measurements of dark and bright surface features on Vesta as derived from Dawn/VIR: Icarus, v, 240, p. 36-57, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2014.03.017

Year Published: 2014

Geologic map of the Agnesi quadrangle (V-45), Venus

The Agnesi quadrangle (V–45), named for centrally located Agnesi crater, encompasses approximately 6,500,000 km2 extending from lat 25° to 50° S. and from long 30° to 60° E. The V–45 quadrangle lies within Venus’ lowland broadly between highlands Ovda Regio to the northeast and Alpha Regio to the west. The...

Hansen, Vicki L.; Tharalson, Erik R.
Hansen, V.L., and Tharalson, E.R., 2014, Geologic map of the Agnesi quadrangle (V-45), Venus: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3250, scale 1:5,000,000, pamphlet 22 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sim3250.

Year Published: 2014

Science during crisis: the application of social science during major environmental crises

Historical and contemporary experience suggests that science plays an increasingly critical role in governmental and institutional responses to major environmental crises. Recent examples include major western wildfires (2009), the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (2010), the Fukushima nuclear accident (2011), and Hurricane Sandy (2012). The...

Manfredo, Michael J.; Vaske, Jerry J.; Rechkemmer, Andreas; Duke, Esther; Machlis, Gary; Ludwig, Kris
Attribution: Natural Hazards
Science during crisis: the application of social science during major environmental crises; 2014; Book chapter; Book; Understanding society and natural resources: forging new strands in integration across the social sciences; Machlis, Gary; Ludwig, Kris

Year Published: 2014

Chemistry and texture of the rocks at Rocknest, Gale Crater: Evidence for sedimentary origin and diagenetic alteration

A suite of eight rocks analyzed by the Curiosity Rover while it was stopped at the Rocknest sand ripple shows the greatest chemical divergence of any potentially sedimentary rocks analyzed in the early part of the mission. Relative to average Martian soil and to the stratigraphically lower units encountered as part of the Yellowknife Bay formation...

Blaney, Diana L.; Wiens, R.C.; Maurice, S.; Clegg, S.M.; Anderson, Ryan; Kah, L.C.; Le Mouélic, S.; Ollila, A.; Bridges, N.; Tokar, R.; Berger, G.; Bridges, J.C.; Cousin, A.; Clark, B.; Dyar, M.D.; King, P.L.; Lanza, N.; Mangold, N.; Meslin, P.-Y.; Newsom, H.; Schroder, S.; Rowland, S.; Johnson, J.; Edgar, L.; Gasnault, O.; Forni, O.; Schmidt, M.; Goetz, W.; Stack, K.; Sumner, D.; Fisk, M.; Madsen, M.B.
Blaney, D. L., et al. (2014), Chemistry and texture of the rocks at Rocknest, Gale Crater: Evidence for sedimentary origin and diagenetic alteration, J. Geophys. Res. Planets, 119, 2109–2131, doi:10.1002/2013JE004590.

Year Published: 2014

Component geochronology in the polyphase ca. 3920 Ma Acasta Gneiss

The oldest compiled U–Pb zircon ages for the Acasta Gneiss Complex in the Northwest Territories of Canada span about 4050–3850 Ma; yet older ca. 4200 Ma xenocrystic U–Pb zircon ages have also been reported for this terrane. The AGC expresses at least 25 km2 of outcrop exposure, but only a small subset of this...

Mojzsis, Stephen J.; Cates, Nicole L.; Caro, Guillaume; Trail, Dustin; Abramov, Oleg; Guitreau, Martin; Blichert-Toft, Janne; Hopkins, Michelle D.; Bleeker, Wouter
Mojzsis, S.J., Cates, N.L., Caro, G., Trail, D., Abramov, O., Guitreau, Blichert-Toft, J., Hopkins, M.D., and Bleeker, W. (2014). Component geochronology in the polyphase ca. 3920 Ma Acasta Gneiss. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 133, 68-96.

Year Published: 2014

The birth and death of transverse aeolian ridges on Mars

Transverse aeolian ridges (TARs) are small bright windblown deposits found throughout the Martian tropics that stand a few meters tall and are spaced a few tens of meters apart. The origin of these features remains mysterious more than 20 years after their discovery on Mars. This paper presents a new hypothesis, that some of the TARs could be...

Geissler, Paul
Geissler, P.E., 2014, The birth and death of transverse aeolian ridges on Mars: J. Geophys. Res. Planets, 119, 2583-2599, https://doi.org/10.1002/2014JE004633.

Year Published: 2014

Bedrock geologic and structural map through the western Candor Colles region of Mars

The Candor Colles are a population of low, conical hills along the southeast flank of Ceti Mensa, in west Candor Chasma, within the Valles Marineris system of Mars (fig. 1). Ceti Mensa and the adjacent Candor Mensa are mounds of layered sedimentary deposits and are the most prominent landforms within west Candor Chasma. Prior to the arrival of the...

Okubo, Chris H.
Okubo, C.H., 2014, Bedrock geologic and structural map through the western Candor Colles region of Mars: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3309, pamphlet 8 p., scale 1:18,000, http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sim3309.

Year Published: 2014

Small crater modification on Meridiani Planum and implications for erosion rates and climate change on Mars

A morphometric and morphologic catalog of ~100 small craters imaged by the Opportunity rover over the 33.5 km traverse between Eagle and Endeavour craters on Meridiani Planum shows craters in six stages of degradation that range from fresh and blocky to eroded and shallow depressions ringed by planed off rim blocks. The age of...

Golombek, M.P.; Warner, N.H.; Ganti, V.; Lamb, M.P.; Parker, T.J.; Fergason, Robin L.; Sullivan, R.
Golombek, M. P., N. H. Warner, V. Ganti, M. P. Lamb, T. J. Parker, R. L. Fergason, and R. Sullivan (2014), Small crater modification on Meridiani Planum and implications for erosion raters and climate change on Mars, J. Geophys. Res., Planets, 119, doi:10.1002/2014JE004658.

Filter Total Items: 2,249
Aerial of lava entering ocean
June 13, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Ocean Entry

View of the ocean entry and the resulting laze plume where 

...
Aerial view of new Kapoho land area
June 13, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Kapoho New Land

Closer view of new land in the Kapoho area. The new coastline, following the ragged lava-ocean interface, is approximately 2.1 km (1.3 mi) in length. The white steam/laze plume marks the location of the most active lava entry site during the morning overflight.

Aerial view of ocean entry
June 13, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Ocean Entry Laze Plume

View of the ocean entry and the resulting laze plume where lava is entering the sea.

Aerial of fissure 8 lava flow
June 13, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8

Fissure 8 lava fountain during this morning's overflight of the lower East Rift Zone. Steam and fume rises from 

...
Fissure 8 from the ground
June 13, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8

Fissure 8 fountains to heights of 130-140 ft. The lava spatter chills and the fragments are building a cone on the downwind side, now nearly as tall as the fountain itself.
 

June 13, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — UAS Survey of Halema‘uma‘u Crater Rim

A UAS mission on June 13, 2018, filmed details of the dramatic changes occurring within Halema‘uma‘u crater at Kīlauea's summit since explosive eruptions of 

...
Crater with small gases rising
June 13, 2018

Halema`uma`u Crater - June 13, 2018

Halema`uma`u Crater - June 13, 2018

June 12, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 Lava Fountain

Fissure 8 fountains reached heights up to 160

...
Aerial of crater cracks
June 12, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Halema`uma`u Crater Cracks

A closer view of the cracks cutting across the parking lot for the former Halema‘uma‘u visitor overlook (closed since 2008, when an active vent opened within the crater). Additional photos—ground views—of the parking lot cracks were posted on June 7 and 11.

June 12, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Kapoho Bay

Aerial views of the ocean entry on Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone on June 12, 2018, around 6:30 a.m. HST, show multiple small 

...
Fissure eruption with houses in the foreground
June 12, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano —

Image taken during the June 12, 2018, morning helicopter overflight of fissure 8 and the lava channel.

Filter Total Items: 343
Date published: May 17, 2017

EarthWord–Phreatic Eruption

This EarthWord is straight up steampunk...

Date published: May 16, 2017

EarthWord–Lahar

Which sounds more dangerous, lava or mud? The answer may surprise you...

Date published: May 15, 2017

EarthWord–Hazard

It’s not just something you run into on a golf course-it’s this week’s EarthWord!

Date published: May 15, 2017

The USGS ShakeCast System

Early on the morning of August 24, 2014, Loren Turner was awoken by clattering window blinds, a moving bed, and the sound of water splashing out of his backyard pool. He experienced what is now named the “South Napa Earthquake.” 

Date published: May 12, 2017

New USGS Maps of Mars Reveal Ancient Oases

A new set of high-resolution geologic maps reveal complex geologic processes that suggest a dynamic, wet environment once existed on early Mars, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: May 11, 2017

The Vital Nature of Streamgaging

Gary Moore spent the last three days of 2015 stacking hefty bags of sand in front of a fellow church member’s brick home. With only 1,000 feet between the house and the swelling Mississippi and Meramec Rivers, Moore and other volunteers worked quickly, in frigid temperatures, to assemble a 10-foot high, 1,000-foot-long sandbag wall to ward off floodwaters.

Date published: May 10, 2017

The Complex Dynamics of Geyser Eruptions

Despite two centuries of scientific study, basic questions persist about geysers—why do they exist? What determines their behavior?

Date published: May 8, 2017

Ocean Absorption of Carbon Dioxide More than Makes Up for Methane Emissions from Seafloor Methane Seeps

U.S., Norwegian, and German scientists report back on the surprising results of an Arctic Ocean research expedition. 

Date published: May 1, 2017

May is Volcano Preparedness Month in Washington State

May is Volcano Preparedness Month in Washington, providing residents an opportunity to become more familiar with volcano hazards in their communities and learn about steps they can take to reduce potential impacts.

Date published: May 1, 2017

Preparing the Nation for Intense Space Weather

While major geomagnetic storms are rare, with only a few recorded per century, there is significant potential for large-scale impacts when they do occur. Extreme space weather can be viewed as hazards for the economy and national security.

Date published: April 28, 2017

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

Which U.S. State or territory has more large earthquakes than the rest of the United States combined?