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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.

Read Our Science Strategy
Filter Total Items: 257
Date published: June 30, 2018
Status: Archived

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do you have a question? The answer is probably right here! Go to the FAQ tab.

Date published: June 28, 2018
Status: Active

Preliminary Analysis of Satellite Imagery and Seismic Observations of the Nuugaatsiaq Landslide and Tsunami, Greenland

Disclaimer

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely science to assess ongoing hazards. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages...

Date published: June 27, 2018
Status: Active

Model Updates

Updates to the models for post-fire debris-flows.

Date published: June 27, 2018
Status: Active

Scientific Background

The scientific background information for Emergency Assessment of Post-Fire Debris-Flow Hazards.

Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Active

Sea-Level Rise Hazards and Decision Support- Coastal Wetlands

Coastal wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world. These wetlands at the land-ocean margin provide many direct benefits to humans, including habitat for commercially important fisheries and wildlife; storm protection; improved water quality through sediment, nutrient, and pollution removal; recreation; and aesthetic values. These valuable ecosystems will be highly...

Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Active

Catastrophic Landslides of the 20th Century - Worldwide

Table of the Catastrophic Landslides including year, country, triggering process, the volume of material, impact, and comments. 

Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Active

Sea Level Rise Hazards and Decision Support

The Sea Level Rise Hazards and Decision Support project assesses the potential impacts of sea level rise and provides tools for coastal management decision making.   Historical and recent observations of coastal change are combined with model simulations of coastal environments such as barrier islands, wetlands, and coastal aquifers. A variety of methods including Bayesian...

Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Active

Scientific Background (Fires prior to 2016)

The scientific background information for fires prior to 2016 for Emergency Assessment of Post-Fire Debris-Flow Hazards.

Go back to Scientific Background.

Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Completed

Geologic Mapping Offshore of Rhode Island

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is mapping sea-floor geology and sedimentary environments offshore of Rhode Island. This site provides links to bathymetric, sidescan-sonar, sediment, photographic, seismic-reflection, and interpretive datasets, all presented in Geographic Information System (GIS) formats and...

Date published: June 23, 2018
Status: Active

Preliminary Locations of Landslide Impacts from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico

Disclaimer

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely science to assess ongoing hazards. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages...

Date published: June 23, 2018
Status: Active

Early Warning System

Once the smoke clears from a wildfire, the danger is not over!! Other hazards, such as flash floods and debris flows, now become the focus. Areas recently burned by wildfires are particularly susceptible to flash floods and debris flows during rainstorms.

Date published: June 23, 2018
Status: Active

Emergency Assessment of Post-Fire Debris-Flow Hazards

Estimates of the probability and volume of debris flows that may be produced by a storm in a recently burned area, using a model with characteristics related to basin shape, burn severity, soil properties, and rainfall.

Wildfire can significantly alter the hydrologic response of a watershed to the extent that even modest rainstorms can produce dangerous flash floods and debris flows....

Filter Total Items: 110
Date published: March 7, 2016

Flood Watch

Maps of flood and high flow conditions within the U.S.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Technology and Tools

Links to a variety of Coastal and Marine Geology mapping technologies, data modeling and visualization tools.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Latest Earthquakes Map and List

View recent events or search for past earthquakes. Optimized for mobile and desktop.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Research Data and Products

USGS earthquake data including real-time and historic earthquake catalogs, GIS data, hazards, and more.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Software for Landslide Assessments and Modeling

USGS software for landslide assessments and modeling that include SLAMMER, TRIGRS, PTCOUNT and more.

Date published: March 4, 2016

International Charter

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.

Date published: March 4, 2016

DOI Emergency Management

DOI has a department-wide policy relating to emergency management that can be referenced in the Department's Manual in Series: 41-EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ‎(Parts 900-910)‎.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Station Information and Operations

Zoom in on an area to view all seismic network operation stations on the interactive map.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Seismogram Displays

This interactive map displays seismographic activity. Click on a red seismogram icon or select a region from list list.

Date published: March 4, 2016

IRIS Data Management Center

Contains archived data from the Global Seismic Network.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Wildfires: GEOMAC

Maps of current fire locations and perimeters in the conterminous 48 States and Alaska.

Date published: March 4, 2016

LANDFIRE Data Distribution

Map interface to view and download LANDFIRE data sets, receive alerts and notifications.

Filter Total Items: 4,163
Year Published: 2018

Variabilities in probabilistic seismic hazard maps for natural and induced seismicity in the central and eastern United States

Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA) characterizes ground-motion hazard from earthquakes. Typically, the time horizon of a PSHA forecast is long, but in response to induced seismicity related to hydrocarbon development, the USGS developed one-year PSHA models. In this paper, we present a display of the variability in USGS hazard curves due...

Mousavi, S. Mostafa; Beroza, Gregory C.; Hoover, Susan M.
Mousavi, S.M., G.C. Beroza, and S.M. Hoover (2018). Variabilities in probabilistic seismic hazard maps for natural and induced seismicity in the central and eastern United States. The Leading Edge, 37(2), 141a1-141a9.

Year Published: 2018

Earthquake potential in California-Nevada implied by correlation of strain rate and seismicity

Rock mechanics studies and dynamic earthquake simulations show that patterns of seismicity evolve with time through (1) accumulation phase, (2) localization phase, and (3) rupture phase. We observe a similar pattern of changes in seismicity during the past century across California and Nevada. To quantify these changes, we correlate GPS strain...

Zeng, Yuehua; Petersen, Mark D.; Shen, Zheng-Kang
Zeng, Y., Petersen, M. D., & Shen, Z.-K.(2018). Earthquake potential in California-Nevada implied by correlation of strain rate and seismicity. Geophysical Research Letters, 45. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017GL075967

Year Published: 2018

Chirp subbottom profile data collected in 2015 from the northern Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana

As part of the Barrier Island Evolution Research project, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center conducted a nearshore geophysical survey around the northern Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana, in September 2015. The objective of the project is to improve the understanding of barrier island...

Forde, Arnell S.; DeWitt, Nancy T.; Fredericks, Jake J.; Miselis, Jennifer L.
Forde, A.S., DeWitt, N.T., Fredericks, J.J., and Miselis, J.L., 2018, Chirp subbottom profile data collected in 2015 from the northern Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1077, https://doi.org/10.3133/ds1077.

Year Published: 2018

Quaternary sediment thickness and bedrock topography of the glaciated United States east of the Rocky Mountains

Beginning roughly 2.6 million years ago, global climate entered a cooling phase known as the Pleistocene Epoch. As snow in northern latitudes compacted into ice several kilometers thick, it flowed as glaciers southward across the North American continent. These glaciers extended across the northern United States, dramatically altering the...

Soller, David R.; Garrity, Christopher P.
Soller, D.R., and Garrity, C.P., 2018, Quaternary sediment thickness and bedrock topography of the glaciated United States east of the Rocky Mountains: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3392, 2 sheets, scale 1:5,000,000. https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3392.

Year Published: 2018

Do large (magnitude ≥8 ) global earthquakes occur on preferred days of the calendar year or lunar cycle?

No.

Hough, Susan E.
Hough, S. E. (2018). Do Large (Magnitude≥ 8) Global Earthquakes Occur on Preferred Days of the Calendar Year or Lunar Cycle?. Seismological Research Letters, 89:2A, 577-581.

Year Published: 2018

Geoelectric hazard maps for the Mid-Atlantic United States: 100 year extreme values and the 1989 magnetic storm

Maps of extreme value geoelectric field amplitude are constructed for the Mid‐Atlantic United States, a region with high population density and critically important power grid infrastructure. Geoelectric field time series for the years 1983–2014 are estimated by convolving Earth surface impedances obtained from 61 magnetotelluric survey sites...

Love, Jeffrey J.; Lucas, Greg M.; Kelbert, Anna; Bedrosian, Paul A.
Love, J. J., Lucas, G. M., Kelbert, A. & Bedrosian, P. A., 2018. Geoelectric hazard maps for the Mid-Atlantic United States: 100 year extreme values and the 1989 magnetic storm, Geophys. Res. Lett., 45(1), 5-15, doi:10.1002/2017GL076042.

Year Published: 2018

Revised recommended methods for analyzing crater size-frequency distributions

Impact crater populations crucially help us to understand solar system dynamics, planetary surface histories, and surface modification processes. A single previous effort to standardize how crater data are displayed in graphs, tables, and archives, was in a 1978 NASA report by the Crater Analysis Techniques Working Group, published in 1979 in...

Robbins, Stuart J.; Riggs, Jamie D.; Weaver, Brian P.; Bierhaus, Edward B.; Chapman, Clark R.; Kirchoff, Michelle R.; Singer, Kelsi N.; Gaddis, Lisa
Robbins, S.J., J.D. Riggs, B.P. Weaver, E.B. Bierhaus, C.R. Chapman, M.R. Kirchoff, K.N. Singer and L.R. Gaddis, 2018, Revised Recommended Methods for Analyzing Crater Size-Frequency Distributions, Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 53, Nr 4, 891-931.

Year Published: 2018

Extreme-event geoelectric hazard maps: Chapter 9

Maps of geoelectric amplitude covering about half the continental United States are presented that will be exceeded, on average, once per century in response to an extreme-intensity geomagnetic disturbance. These maps are constructed using an empirical parameterization of induction: convolving latitude-dependent statistical maps of extreme-value...

Love, Jeffrey J.; Bedrosian, Paul A.

Year Published: 2018

Detecting geothermal anomalies and evaluating LST geothermal component by combining thermal remote sensing time series and land surface model data

This paper explores for the first time the possibilities to use two land surface temperature (LST) time series of different origins (geostationary Meteosat Second Generation satellite data and Noah land surface modelling, LSM), to detect geothermal anomalies and extract the geothermal component of LST, the LSTgt. We hypothesize that in geothermal...

Romaguera, Mireia; Vaughan, R. Greg; Ettema, J.; Izquierdo-Verdiguier, E.; Hecker, C. A.; van der Meer, F.D.

Year Published: 2018

The electric storm of November 1882

In November 1882, an intense magnetic storm related to a large sunspot group caused widespread interference to telegraph and telephone systems and provided spectacular and unusual auroral displays. The (ring current) storm time disturbance index for this storm reached maximum −Dst ≈ 386 nT, comparable to Halloween storm of 29–31...

Love, Jeffrey J.
Love, J. J. (2018). The electric storm of November 1882. Space Weather, 16, 37–46. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017SW001795.

Year Published: 2018

The size, distribution, and mobility of landslides caused by the 2015 Mw7.8 Gorkha earthquake, Nepal

Coseismic landslides pose immediate and prolonged hazards to mountainous communities, and provide a rare opportunity to study the effect of large earthquakes on erosion and sediment budgets. By mapping landslides using high-resolution satellite imagery, we find that the 25 April 2015 Mw7.8 Gorkha earthquake and aftershock sequence produced at...

Roback, Kevin; Clark, Marin K.; West, A. Joshua; Zekkos, Dimitrios; Li, Gen; Gallen, Sean F.; Chamlagain, Deepak; Godt, Jonathan W.
Roback, K., Clark, M. K., West, A. J., Zekkos, D., Li, G., Gallen, S. F., Chamlagain, D., and Godt, J. W., 2018, The size, distribution, and mobility of landslides caused by the 2015 Mw7.8 Gorkha earthquake, Nepal: Geomorphology, v. 301, p. 121-138.

Year Published: 2018

Viscous relaxation as a prerequisite for tectonic resurfacing on Ganymede: Insights from numerical models of lithospheric extension

Ganymede’s bright terrain formed during a near-global resurfacing event (or events) that produced both heavily tectonized and relatively smooth terrains. The mechanism(s) by which resurfacing occurred on Ganymede (e.g., cryovolcanic or tectonic), and the relationship between the older, dark and the younger, bright terrain are fundamental to...

Bland, Michael T.; McKinnon, William B.

Filter Total Items: 2,449
Animated GIF showing changes in size of the crater over a two month period
July 4, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Animation of Summit Subsidence

This animated GIF shows a sequence of radar amplitude images that were acquired by the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana CosmoSkyMed satellite system. The images illustrate changes to the 

...
View of muddy, eroding coastal bluffs with a visible permafrost layer and tumbling tundra on top.
July 3, 2018

Actively eroding coastal permafrost bluff on Barter Island

Photograph of the actively eroding coastal permafrost bluff on Barter Island, located on the northern coast of Alaska.

View of a crater
July 3, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Sunrise at Halema`uma`u Crater

Inward slumping of Halema‘uma‘u continues in response to ongoing subsidence at Kīlauea Volcano's summit. This image, taken from a temporary observation post located at Volcano House, shows steep walls on the western side of the crater and sloping piles of rubble from rockfall events.

Lava flowing out of a fissure at night
July 3, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 Flow at Night

During the overnight hours, the UAS (Unoccupied Aircraft Systems) team flew sections of the lower East Rift Zone, monitoring fissure 8 activity and reports of small overflows from the lava channel. This view of fissure 8 and the upper lava channel shows roiling 

...
Lava flowing from an active fissure
July 3, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 Lava Flow

Fissure 8 and the upper lava channel, viewed from the early morning helicopter overflight of the lower East Rift Zone. Recent heavy rains have soaked into the still-warm tephra and the moisture rises as steam (right side of lava channel).

View of muddy, eroding coastal bluffs with a visible permafrost layer and a tumbling tundra layer on top.
July 3, 2018

Eroding bluffs in Kaktovik

View looking east of the actively eroding coastal permafrost bluff on Barter Island, which is located on the northern coast of Alaska.

Geologist making observations of an active fissure
July 3, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Geologist Making Observations of Fissure 8

Fisheye lens photograph of a USGS geologist making observations of the 

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Lava flowing
July 3, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Evolution of a Blocked Channel (Part 2)

Evolution of a blocked channel, image 2: While observing this area of the fissure 8 lava channel near Kapoho cone during the morning overflight, geologists witnesed an "apartment-building-sized" blockage within the channel give way and be pushed down stream by the pressurized lava behind. The dark portion within the red channel is the freed blockage. Lavacontinues to

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A blocked lava channel
July 3, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Evolution of a Blocked Channel (Part 1)

Evolution of a blocked channel, photo 1. A blockage of rafted material within the lava channel causes lava to flow over its banks near the Kapoho cone. In this section of the lava channel a cold lava flow from the 1960 eruption forms a barrier on the north side, which initially directed the channel to the southeast. A constriction in the channel formed at the bend where

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Aerial of lava channels
July 2, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Open Lava Channels

Fountains from Fissure 8 spatter cone continue to supply lava to the open channel with intermittent small, short-

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Aerial shot showing lava flowing into residential area
July 2, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Lava at Kapoho Beach Lots

At the coast, the northern margin of the flow field is still oozing pasty lava at several points in the area of Kapoho Beach Lots.

Close up of a lava overflow
July 2, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Overfows

Close up image of overflows from the fissure 8 lava channel. Photograph taken during the morning overflight.

Filter Total Items: 374
Date published: January 24, 2018

Alaska Earthquake Rattles Florida’s Groundwater Plumbing

At 12:32 am Alaska time on January 23, 2018, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake shook Alaska residents out of their beds and set off fears of a tsunami all down the West Coast. Fortunately, the tsunami was only a few inches in height, but within an hour of the earthquake in Alaska, waves of a different sort were hitting far away in Florida. 

Date published: January 23, 2018

ShakeAlert: The Path to West Coast Earthquake Early Warning: How a Few Seconds Can Save Lives and Property — Public Lecture

News reporters are invited to attend an illustrated public lecture to learn how U.S. Geological Survey scientists and partners are developing ShakeAlert. The ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system will begin limited operations this year. Alerts could save lives and properties but several challenges remain. With millions at risk, why isn't full public alerting happening yet?

Date published: January 23, 2018

Magnitude 7.9 Earthquake Gulf of Alaska

The USGS has up-to-date details on the January 23, 2018 event.

Date published: January 18, 2018

USGS Scientist Mobilizes with Recon Team to Learn from Mexico's Earthquake Early Warning System

USGS seismologist Elizabeth Cochran studied the performance of Mexico City’s earthquake early warning system,  during devastating Sept. 19, 2017 event

 

Date published: January 17, 2018

USGS scientist explains how king tides provide a glimpse of future sea levels

USGS geologist Patrick Barnard spoke to the public at a “Coffee and King Tides” gathering held in Half Moon Bay, California, on December 4.

Date published: January 17, 2018

USGS coastal-flooding projections inform national defense authorization act

Results of USGS research investigating sea-level rise impacts to Department of Defense (DoD) facilities in Pacific atolls are included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018.

Date published: January 16, 2018

Enthusiastic response to open house at the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz

USGS scientists at the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California, spoke with an estimated 300 visitors during a December 9 open house.

Date published: January 12, 2018

3-D Structure of Buried Ice Sheets on Mars Revealed by High-Resolution Images

For the first time, high-resolution images show the three-dimensional structure of massive ice deposits on Mars. According to an in-depth analysis led by the USGS, the images reveal never-before-observed details about the ice sheets, including that some begin just a few feet below the Martian surface and extend to depths greater than 300 feet.  

Date published: January 11, 2018

Future impacts of sea-level rise on Cape Cod with Erika Lentz and WBZ Meteorologist, Danielle Niles

Interview on future impacts of sea-level rise on Cape Cod with meteorologist Danielle Niles on Trunk River Beach, Falmouth, MA

Date published: December 13, 2017

Eyes on the Coast—Video Cameras Help Forecast Coastal Change

USGS scientists have installed video cameras pointed at beaches on the coasts of western Florida and central California. They’re analyzing the videos to measure features of the beach and ocean so they can improve coastal-change forecasts.

Date published: December 12, 2017

USGS Research Geologist Publishes New AGU Article Forecasting Barrier Island Response to Sea-Level Rise

A new article combines geomorphological and pre- and post-Hurricane Sandy observations from coastal New Jersey with a morphodynamic model to forecast the response of barrier islands to various rates of sea-level rise and explores the impact of human alterations on forecasted behavior.

Date published: December 12, 2017

SEABOSS Survey in Long Island Sound

Geological Sampling (videos, photos and sediment samples) in Long Island Sound on the newly stretched R/V Connecticut with scientist from USGS, UConn and Univ of New Haven

Filter Total Items: 156