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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
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.
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...
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
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 ...
The geologic evolution of Cat Island has been influenced by deltaic, lagoonal/estuarine, tidal, and oceanographic processes, resulting in a complex stratigraphic record.
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 ...
A combination of geophysics, sediment sampling, and chronology techniques are used to characterize the regional geomorphologic response of coastal systems to environmental changes.
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.
SAFRR brings together tsunami and communication experts to discuss potential changes to safety messages, based on improved scientific understanding of Hawaii's tsunami hazard.
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.
It aims at providing a unified system of space data acquisition and delivery to those affected by natural or manmade disasters through Authorized Users. Each member agency has committed resources to support the provisions of the Charter and thus is helping to mitigate the effects of disasters on human life and property.
Map interface to view and download LANDFIRE data sets, receive alerts and notifications.
Volcano-alert notifications are produced by Volcano Observatory scientists based on analysis of data from monitoring networks, direct observations, and satellite sensors. They are issued for both increasing and decreasing volcanic activity and include text about the nature of the unrest or eruption and about potential or current hazards and likely outcomes.
Seismicity and infrasound associated with explosions at Mount St. Helens, 2004-2005: Chapter 6 in A volcano rekindled: the renewed eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006
Six explosions occurred during 2004-5 in association with renewed eruptive activity at Mount St. Helens, Washington. Of four explosions in October 2004, none had precursory seismicity and two had explosion-related seismic tremor that marked the end of the explosion. However, seismicity levels dropped following each of the October explosions,...Sherrod, David R.; Scott, William E.; Stauffer, Peter H.; Moran, Seth C.; McChesney, Patrick J.; Lockhart, Andrew B.
Identification and evolution of the juvenile component in 2004-2005 Mount St. Helens ash: Chapter 29 in A volcano rekindled: the renewed eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006
Petrologic studies of volcanic ash are commonly used to identify juvenile volcanic material and observe changes in the composition and style of volcanic eruptions. During the 2004-5 eruption of Mount St. Helens, recognition of the juvenile component in ash produced by early phreatic explosions was complicated by the presence of a substantial...Sherrod, David R.; Scott, William E.; Stauffer, Peter H.; Rowe, Michael C.; Thornber, Carl R.; Kent, Adam J.R.
Instrumentation in remote and dangerous settings; examples using data from GPS “spider” deployments during the 2004-2005 eruption of Mount St. Helens, Washington: Chapter 16 in A volcano rekindled: the renewed eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006
Self-contained, single-frequency GPS instruments fitted on lightweight stations suitable for helicopter-sling payloads became a critical part of volcano monitoring during the September 2004 unrest and subsequent eruption of Mount St. Helens. Known as “spiders” because of their spindly frames, the stations were slung into the crater 29 times...Sherrod, David R.; Scott, William E.; Stauffer, Peter H.; LaHusen, Richard G.; Swinford, Kelly J.; Logan, Matthew; Lisowski, Michael
Analysis of GPS-measured deformation associated with the 2004-2006 dome-building eruption of Mount St. Helens, Washington: Chapter 15 in A volcano rekindled: the renewed eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006
Detecting far-field deformation at Mount St. Helens since the crater-forming landslide and blast in 1980 has been difficult despite frequent volcanic activity and improved monitoring techniques. Between 1982 and 1991, the systematic extension of line lengths in a regional GPS trilateration network is consistent with recharge of a deep magma...Sherrod, David R.; Scott, William E.; Stauffer, Peter H.; Lisowski, Michael; Dzurisin, Daniel; Denlinger, Roger P.; Iwatsubo, Eugene Y.
The Pleistocene eruptive history of Mount St. Helens, Washington, from 300,000 to 12,800 years before present: Chapter 28 in A volcano rekindled: the renewed eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006
We report the results of recent geologic mapping and radiometric dating that add considerable detail to our understanding of the eruptive history of Mount St. Helens before its latest, or Spirit Lake, stage. New data and reevaluation of earlier work indicate at least two eruptive periods during the earliest, or Ape Canyon, stage, possibly...Sherrod, David R.; Scott, William E.; Stauffer, Peter H.; Clynne, Michael A.; Calvert, Andrew T.; Wolfe, Edward W.; Evarts, Russell C.; Fleck, Robert J.; Lanphere, Marvin A.
Broadband characteristics of earthquakes recorded during a dome-building eruption at Mount St. Helens, Washington, between October 2004 and May 2005: Chapter 5 in A volcano rekindled: the renewed eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006
From October 2004 to May 2005, the Center for Earthquake Research and Information of the University of Memphis operated two to six broadband seismometers within 5 to 20 km of Mount St. Helens to help monitor recent seismic and volcanic activity. Approximately 57,000 earthquakes identified during the 7-month deployment had a normal magnitude...Sherrod, David R.; Scott, William E.; Stauffer, Peter H.; Horton, Stephen P.; Norris, Robert D.; Moran, Seth C.
Emission rates of CO2, SO2, and H2S, scrubbing, and preeruption excess volatiles at Mount St. Helens, 2004-2005: Chapter 26 in A volcano rekindled: the renewed eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006
Airborne surveillance of gas emissions began at Mount St. Helens on September 27, 2004. Reconnaissance measurements--SO2 column abundances and CO2 , SO2 , and H2 S concentrations--showed neither a gas plume downwind of the volcano nor gas sources within the crater. Subsequent measurements taken during the period of unrest before the eruption...Sherrod, David R.; Scott, William E.; Stauffer, Peter H.; Gerlach, Terrence M.; McGee, Kenneth A.; Doukas, Michael P.
Seismicity associated with renewed dome building at Mount St. Helens, 2004-2005: Chapter 2 in A volcano rekindled: the renewed eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006
The reawakening of Mount St. Helens after 17 years and 11 months of slumber was heralded by a swarm of shallow (depth <2 km) volcano-tectonic earthquakes on September 23, 2004. After an initial decline on September 25, seismicity rapidly intensified; by September 29, Md >2 earthquakes were occurring at a rate of ~1 per minute. A gradual...Sherrod, David R.; Scott, William E.; Stauffer, Peter H.; Morgan, Seth C.; Malone, Stephen D.; Qamar, Anthony I.; Thelen, Weston A.; Wright, Amy K.; Caplan-Auerbach, Jacqueline
Overview of the 2004 to 2006, and continuing, eruption of Mount St. Helens, Washington: Chapter 1 in A volcano rekindled: the renewed eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006
Rapid onset of unrest at Mount St. Helens on September 23, 2004, initiated an uninterrupted lava-dome-building eruption that continues to the time of writing this overview (spring 2006) for a volume of papers focused on this eruption. About three weeks of intense seismic unrest and localized surface uplift, punctuated by four brief explosions,...Sherrod, David R.; Scott, William E.; Stauffer, Peter H.; Scott, William E.; Sherrod, David R.; Gardner, Cynthia A.
Radiocarbon Dates from Volcanic Deposits of the Chaos Crags and Cinder Cone Eruptive Sequences and Other Deposits, Lassen Volcanic National Park and Vicinity, California
This contribution reports radiocarbon ages obtained from charcoal, wood and other samples collected between 1979 and 2001 in Lassen Volcanic National Park and vicinity and a few samples from other nearby localities. Most of the samples are from the Chaos Crags and Cinder Cone eruptive sequences. Brief summaries are given of the Chaos Crags and...Clynne, Michael A.; Christiansen, Robert L.; Trimble, Deborah A.; McGeehin, John P.
Electrical activity during the 2006 Mount St. Augustine volcanic eruptions
By using a combination of radio frequency time-of-arrival and interferometer measurements, we observed a sequence of lightning and electrical activity during one of Mount St. Augustine's eruptions. The observations indicate that the electrical activity had two modes or phases. First, there was an explosive phase in which the ejecta from the...Thomas, Ronald J.; Krehbiel, Paul R.; Rison, William; Edens, H. E.; Aulich, G. D.; McNutt, S.R.; Tytgat, Guy; Clark, E.
Volcanic ash plume identification using polarization lidar: Augustine eruption, Alaska
During mid January to early February 2006, a series of explosive eruptions occurred at the Augustine volcanic island off the southern coast of Alaska. By early February a plume of volcanic ash was transported northward into the interior of Alaska. Satellite imagery and Puff volcanic ash transport model predictions confirm that the aerosol plume...Sassen, Kenneth; Zhu, Jiang; Webley, Peter W.; Dean, K.; Cobb, Patrick
USGS-HVO geophysicists installed additional continuous GPS stations around Halema‘uma‘u this morning. These stations will allow scientists to better monitor and measure the ongoing subsidence of Halema‘uma‘u and the adjacent ...
Fissure 8 and lava channel in the lower East Rift Zone of Kīlauea Volcano during this afternoon's overflight, with no apparent slowing in the eruption rate. The lava channel remained incandescent all the way around Kapoho Crater before entering the ocean.
An aerial view of the Kapoho ocean entry, as of 6:30 a.m. HST today, shows the extent of the lava delta, now about 200 acres in size, that has formed over the past six days (lava first entered the ocean on the night of June 3). Across the front of the delta, plumes of laze—created by molten lava interacting with seawater—appeared diminished this morning, but was probably due to a change in...
Cracking and slumping of the Halema‘uma‘u crater walls are clearly evident in this aerial view captured during HVO's overflight of Kīlauea's summit this morning. Steam plumes have been rising from within the crater, as well as from cracks adjacent to the crater.
Another aerial view showing prominent cracking around Halema‘uma‘u from the ongoing subsidence at Kīlauea's summit. The steaming cracks in the background have been observed for several days.
Dramatic changes at Halema‘uma‘u could be seen through gases rising from the crater during HVO's overflight of the summit this morning at 10 a.m. HST. The view here looks to the southwest, with the former overlook parking lot barely visible to the left of the gas plume.
HVO's early morning helicopter overflight of Kīlauea's lower East Rift Zone showed that lava continues to flow into the ocean in the vicinity of Kapoho Bay and Vacationland.
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...
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?
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.
Coral reef expert Caroline Rogers was the only USGS employee in the Virgin Islands when the Category 5 storm hit.
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.
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.
No, this EarthWord isn’t how natural gas quenches its thirst-it just sounds like it...
A study finds that although the “wilderness breach” created by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 has reached a relatively stable size and location, the channel and shoals will keep changing in response to weather. Related research shows the breach isn’t likely to increase storm-tide flooding in Great South Bay.