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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
Marine geohazards are sudden and extreme events beneath the ocean that threaten coastal populations. Such underwater hazards include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and tsunamis.
Devastating earthquakes in Japan (2011) and Chile (2010) that spawned pan-oceanic tsunamis sent a sobering reminder that U.S. coastlines are also vulnerable to natural disasters that originate in...
The primary objective of this project is to increase our understanding of the physical processes that cause coastal change, and ultimately improve our capability to predict the processes and their impacts. This will be approached by using geophysical surveys, oceanographic studies, and predictive models to investigate the interactions of shoreline, nearshore, and offshore sediment transport...
Landslide hazard and risk assessments help people understand the dangers from landslides to their towns and cities, homes, facilities, and businesses. Landslide hazard assessments are estimates of the probability that landslides will affect a particular area or location, typically within a given timeframe.
Although they are relatively uncommon, large catastrophic landslides move rapidly destroying everything in their paths. Such landslides are difficult to predict as shown by the following examples.
The most frequent and widespread damaging landslides in the U.S. are induced (started) by prolonged or heavy rainfall. The majority of rainfall-induced landslides are shallow (less than a few meters deep), small, and move rapidly. Many rainfall-induced landslides transform into debris flows (fast-moving slurries of water, soil, and rock) as they travel down steep slopes, especially those...
New instruments installed to measure Arctic coastal erosion; community outreach event held
Many volcanoes in the U.S. are monitored by arrays of several instruments that detect subtle movements within the earth and changes in gas and water chemistry. The Volcano Hazards Program streams this data to its Volcano Observatories and makes it available on volcano-specific websites.
Site provides access to Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP) data via Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards services; serving data to GeoMapApp and Virtual Ocean 2-D and 3-D earth browsing tools, for data integration, visualization and analysis; and metadata catalogs for data discovery.
High-resolution geophysical data collected along the Delmarva Peninsula in 2015, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity 2015-001-FA
The Delmarva Peninsula is a 220-kilometer-long headland, spit, and barrier island complex that was significantly affected by Hurricane Sandy in the fall of 2012. The U.S. Geological Survey conducted cruises during the summers of 2014 and 2015 to map the inner continental shelf of the Delmarva Peninsula using geophysical and sampling techniques to define the geologic framework
GIS data files for map areas offshore of California are listed with a brief description, a small image, and links to the metadata files and the downloadable data files.
ISIS has many standard image processing operations such as contrast stretch, image algebra, filters, and statistical analysis. Isis operates on both classical two-dimensional images as well as three-dimensional cubes collected from imaging spectrometers. It also has unique capabilities for processing data from NASA spacecraft missions.
PILOT is a web based search tool for the Unified Planetary Coordinate (UPC) database of the Planetary Data System. PILOT features SPICE-corrected image locations and searching capabilities using a navigable map, user selectable image constraints, and facilitates bulk downloads and/or image processing using POW.
Astro Web Maps – Our Web Mapping Services (WMS) and Web Feature Services (WFS) are based on Open Geospatial Consortium standards and allow capable mapping clients to view full-resolution planetary mosaicked Basemaps. Services are available for community use and are critical for our Planetary Nomenclature, Planetary Geologic Mapping and PILOT sites
Allows existing map-projected (derived) image products to be re-projected, stretched, clipped, and converted into a variety of useful formats. Version 2 allows us to quickly add new mosaics and potentially many other derived science products for conversion and download.
GDAL is a translator library for raster geospatial data formats that is released under an X/MIT style Open Source license by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation. As a library, it presents a single abstract data model for all supported formats. It also comes with a variety of useful commandline utilities for data translation and processing.
Rayleigh and S wave tomography constraints on subduction termination and lithospheric foundering in central California
The crust and upper mantle structure of central California have been modified by subduction termination, growth of the San Andreas plate boundary fault system, and small-scale upper mantle convection since the early Miocene. Here we investigate the contributions of these processes to the creation of the Isabella Anomaly, which is a high seismic...Jiang, Chengxin; Schmandt, Brandon; Hansen, Steven M.; Dougherty, Sara L.; Clayton, Robert W.; Farrell, Jamie; Lin, Fan-Chi
Temporal stress changes caused by earthquakes: A review
Earthquakes can change the stress field in the Earth’s lithosphere as they relieve and redistribute stress. Earthquake-induced stress changes have been observed as temporal rotations of the principal stress axes following major earthquakes in a variety of tectonic settings. The stress changes due to the 2011 Mw9.0 Tohoku-Oki, Japan, earthquake...Hardebeck, Jeanne L.; Okada, Tomomi
Testing for the ‘predictability’ of dynamically triggered earthquakes in Geysers Geothermal Field
The Geysers geothermal field is well known for being susceptible to dynamic triggering of earthquakes by large distant earthquakes, owing to the introduction of fluids for energy production. Yet, it is unknown if dynamic triggering of earthquakes is ‘predictable’ or whether dynamic triggering could lead to a potential hazard for energy production...Aiken, Chastity; Meng, Xiaofeng; Hardebeck, Jeanne L.
Clayey landslide initiation and acceleration strongly modulated by soil swelling
Largely unknown mechanisms restrain motion of clay-rich, slow-moving landslides that are widespread worldwide and rarely accelerate catastrophically. We studied a clayey, slow-moving landslide typical of thousands in northern California, USA, to decipher hydrologic-mechanical interactions that modulate landslide dynamics. Similar to some other...Schulz, William; Smith, Joel B.; Wang, Gonghui; Jiang, Yao; Roering, Joshua J.
Variability in soil-water retention properties and implications for physics-based simulation of landslide early warning criteria
Rainfall-induced shallow landsliding is a persistent hazard to human life and property. Despite the observed connection between infiltration through the unsaturated zone and shallow landslide initiation, there is considerable uncertainty in how estimates of unsaturated soil-water retention properties affect slope stability assessment. This source...Thomas, Matthew A.; Mirus, Benjamin B.; Collins, Brian D.; Lu, Ning; Godt, Jonathan W.
Combining InSAR and GPS to determine transient movement and thickness of a seasonally active low-gradient translational landslide
The combined application of continuous Global Positioning System data (high temporal resolution) with spaceborne interferometric synthetic aperture radar data (high spatial resolution) can reveal much more about the complexity of large landslide movement than is possible with geodetic measurements tied to only a few specific measurement sites....Hu, Xie; Lu, Zhong; Pierson, Thomas C.; Kramer, Rebecca; George, David L.
Stress rotation across the Cascadia megathrust requires a weak subduction plate boundary at seismogenic depths
The Mendocino Triple Junction region is the most seismically active part of the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The northward moving Pacific plate collides with the subducting Gorda plate causing intense internal deformation within it. Here we show that the stress field rotates rapidly with depth across the thrust interface from a strike-slip regime...Li, Duo; McGuire, Jeffrey J.; Liu, Yajing; Hardebeck, Jeanne L.
Exposed subsurface ice sheets in the Martian mid-latitudes
Thick deposits cover broad regions of the Martian mid-latitudes with a smooth mantle; erosion in these regions creates scarps that expose the internal structure of the mantle.We investigated eight of these locations and found that they expose deposits of water ice that can be >100 meters thick, extending downward from depths as shallow as 1 to...Dundas, Colin M.; Bramson, Ali M; Ojha, Lujendra; Wray, James J.; Mellon, Michael T.; Byrne, Shane; McEwen, Alfred S.; Putzig, N. E.; Viola, Donna; Sutton, Sarah; Clark, E.; Holt, J.W.
Poroelastic stress changes associated with primary oil production in the Los Angeles Basin, California
While recent investigations of induced earthquakes have focused on earthquakes associated with wastewater injection and unconventional recovery methods, the potential for earthquakes to be induced by primary production has long been recognized. We use boundary element methods to quantify the predicted geometry and amplitude of stress and strain...Hough, Susan E.; Bilham, Roger
Image simulation and assessment of the colour and spatial capabilities of the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) on the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter
This study aims to assess the spatial and visible/near-infrared (VNIR) colour/spectral capabilities of the 4-band Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) aboard the ExoMars 2016 Trace Grace Orbiter (TGO). The instrument response functions for the CaSSIS imager was used to resample spectral libraries, modelled spectra and to construct...Tornabene, Livio L.; Seelos, Frank P.; Pommerol, Antoine; Thomas, Nicolas; Caudill, Christy M.; Becerra, Patricio; Bridges, John C.; Byrne, Shane; Cardinale, Marco; Chojnacki, Matthew; Conway, Susan J.; Cremonese, Gabriele; Dundas, Colin M.; El-Maarry, M. R.; Fernando, Jennifer; Hansen, Candice J.; Hansen, Kayle; Harrison, Tanya N.; Henson, Rachel; Marinangeli, Lucia; McEwen, Alfred S.; Pajola, Maurizio; Sutton, Sarah S.; Wray, James J.
Irregular focal mechanisms observed at Salton Sea Geothermal Field: Possible influences of anthropogenic stress perturbations
At the Salton Sea Geothermal Field (SSGF), strain accumulation is released through seismic slip and aseismic deformation. Earthquake activity at the SSGF often occurs in swarm-like clusters, some with clear migration patterns. We have identified an earthquake sequence composed entirely of focal mechanisms representing an ambiguous style of...Schoenball, Martin; Crandall-Bear, Aren; Barbour, Andrew J.; Schoenball, Martin
Morphological indicators of a mascon beneath Ceres' largest crater, Kerwan
Gravity data of Ceres returned by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Dawn spacecraft is consistent with a lower density crust of variable thickness overlying a higher density mantle. Crustal thickness variations can affect the long‐term, postimpact modification of impact craters on Ceres. Here we show that the unusual morphology...Bland, Michael T.; Ermakov, Anton; Raymond, Carol A.; Williams, David A.; Bowling, Tim J.; Preusker, F.; Park, Ryan S.; Marchi, Simone; Castillo-Rogez, Julie C.; Fu, R.R.; Russell, Christopher T.
The WorldView-3 satellite acquired this view of Kīlauea's summit on July 3. Despite a few clouds, the area of heaviest fractures in the caldera is clear. Views into the expanding Halema‘uma‘u crater reveal a pit floored by rubble. HVO, on the northwest caldera rim, is labeled.
USGS scientist Cordell Johnson points to the Raspberry Shake, a sensitive instrument used to detect ground shaking. Johnson mounted the Raspberry Shake to an aluminum pole which he will then drive into the ground to bury the instrument beneath the tundra. This process will help isolate it from the wind.
This device, called a Raspberry Shake, is a sensitive instrument used to detect ground shaking. It is being carefully buried in this shallow hole in the tundra, to isolate it from wind.
Near the Kapoho Crater, in the area called Four Corners, the lava channel makes a 90-degree bend. After lava exits the bend, it makes a short drop to form a lavafall. A side channel makes a short surface diversion before rejoining the existing channel.
Aerial view of the lava channel and active margins between Kapoho Crater (upper right) and the coast (lower left). The northern margin of the flow field is advancing at several points in the area of Kapoho Ag and Beach Lots (vegetated areas in center of image). Image courtesy of Hawaii County Fire Department.
Early in his college career, U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Rufus Catchings became drawn to the mysteries that lie beneath the earth’s surface — and was determined to understand them.
The USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center hosted two back-to-back subduction-zone workshops in Santa Cruz, California, from February 5–8, 2018.
False-alarm tsunami alerts across the U.S. East Coast, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean prompt calls to USGS
USGS research geologist Curt Storlazzi led a workshop on “Understanding Flooding on Reef-lined Island Coastlines” (UFORIC) in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, from 5–7 February.
Imagine dragging your outstretched fingers through wet beach sand, leaving long grooves behind. Scientists recently discovered enormous grooves buried under the seafloor near Costa Rica. The detailed three-dimensional data they used to uncover these corrugations can help them better understand large subduction zone earthquakes and related tsunamis worldwide.
The USGS Gas Hydrates Project has published two new Fact Sheets. One describes the goals and scope of the Project and the other describes "Gas Hydrates in Nature," including where they form, how they are studied, and why researchers focus on gas hydrates for energy resource and environmental studies.
USGS 360-degree videos of king tides show how rising seas will transform California beaches in the future
Acting deputy director of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center Nadine Golden attended a workshop on restoring a sand-mining operation on California’s Monterey Bay.
One week ago, on January 23rd at 12:31 a.m. local time, Alaskans were rocked by a magnitude 7.9 earthquake, with an epicenter in the Gulf of Alaska, about 350 miles southwest of Anchorage, and about 175 miles southeast of Kodiak Island.
On January 17, 4th and 5th graders from De Laveaga Elementary School visited the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California.