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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
Hurricane Joaquin coastal change forecast and pre- and post-storm photos documenting coastal change.
Breakdown of gas hydrates due to short- or long-term climate change may release methane to the ocean-atmosphere system. Methane that reaches the atmosphere can in turn exacerbate climate warming. Studies of methane hydrate dynamics and methane release on the continental shelf and upper slope in the US Arctic and Atlantic margin are tracking these processes.
Natural gas production from methane hydrates may someday prove viable. The USGS Gas Hydrate Project takes part in US and international programs to investigate the potential of deepwater marine and permafrost gas hydrates as an energy resource. Long-term production tests are the next step in this research.
What is Gas Hydrate?
Gas hydrate is an ice-like crystalline form of water and low molecular weight gas (e.g., methane, ethane, carbon dioxide). On Earth, gas hydrates occur naturally in some marine sediments and within and beneath permafrost. Gas hydrates have also been inferred on other planets or their moons.
At the molecular level, gas hydrate...
Scientists evaluated and improved the accuracy of pre-landfall forecasts of storm-induced coastal erosion hazards for Northeast beaches using data from post-Sandy lidar sruveys, beach morphology, and storm hydrodamics.
This project integrated a wetland assessment with existing coastal-change hazard assessments for the adjacent dunes and beaches of Assateague Island, Maryland, to create a more comprehensive coastal vulnerability assessment.
We use remote-sensing technologies—such as aerial photography, satellite imagery, and lidar (laser-based surveying)—to measure coastal change along U.S. shorelines.
Topographic, imagery, and raw data associated with unmanned aerial systems (UAS) flights over Black Beach, Falmouth, Massachusetts on 18 March 2016
The U.S. Geological Survey worked in collaboration with members of the Marine Biological Laboratory and Woods Hole Analytics at Black Beach, in Falmouth, Massachusetts to explore scientific research demands on UAS technology for topographic and habitat mapping applications.
Data and calculations to support the study of the sea-air flux of methane and carbon dioxide on the West Spitsbergen margin in June 2014
This dataset collected on the West Spitsbergen margin during U.S. Geological Survey Coastal and Marine Geology Program Field Activity 2014-013-FA, which was carried out in conjunction with the University of Tromso and the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel on the R/V Helmer Hanssen.
Water column physical and chemical properties of Cenote Bang, a component of the Ox Bel Ha cave network within the subterranean estuary coastal aquifer of the Yucatan Peninsula, from December 2013 to January 2016
This dataset, collected during four field events during U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Coastal and Marine Geology Program Field Activities 2015-013-FA and 2016-003-FA in conjunction with Texas A&M University reports geochemical properties of the water column from Cenote Bang, a component of the Ox Bel Ha cave network that is located 5 km inland from the coast.
Percentage of sandy beaches very likely (probability > 0.9) to experience erosion associated with collision, overwash, and inundation during class 1-3 nor’easter impact.
Percentage of sandy beaches very likely (probability > 0.9) to experience erosion associated with collision, overwash, and inundation during category 1-5 hurricane landfall.
Multichannel sparker seismic-reflection data of field activity 2016-656-FA; between Icy Point and Dixon Entrance, Gulf of Alaska from 2016-08-07 to 2016-08-26
This data release contains high-resolution multichannel seismic (MCS) reflection data collected in August of 2016 along the southeast Alaska continental margin. Structure perpendicular MCS profiles were collected along the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault. The data were collected aboard the R/V Norseman using a Delta sparker sound source and recorded on a 64-channel digital streamer...
Shoreline change rates in salt marsh units in Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey
This dataset displays shoreline change rates at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (EBFNWR), which spans over Great Bay, Little Egg Harbor, and Barnegat Bay in New Jersey, USA
Sea floor sediment samples, seabed imagery, and CTD data collected in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, MA in 2015, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity 2015-062-FA
This field activity is part of the effort to map geologic substrates of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary region off Boston, Massachusetts. The overall goal is to develop high-resolution (1:25,000) interpretive maps, based on multibeam sonar data and seabed sampling, showing surficial geology and seabed sediment dynamics.
Integrated terrain models covering 16,357 square kilometers of the Massachusetts coastal zone and offshore waters were built to provide a continuous elevation and bathymetry terrain model for ocean planning purposes. A Triangulated Irregular Network was created from public-domain bathymetric and LiDAR data using the ArcGIS terrain-model framework and then interpolated into a 32-bit GeoTiff....
Aerial imagery and photogrammetric products from unmanned aerial systems (UAS) flights over the Lake Ontario shoreline at Braddock Bay, New York, July 10 to 11, 2017
Low-altitude (80-100 meters above ground level) digital images were obtained from a camera mounted on a 3DR Solo quadcopter, a small unmanned aerial system (UAS), in three locations along the Lake Ontario shoreline in New York during July 2017. These data were collected to document and monitor effects of high lake levels, including shoreline erosion, inundation, and property damage.
Total water level (TWL) at the shoreline is the combination of tides, surge, and wave runup. A forecast of TWL is an estimate of the elevation where the ocean will meet the coast and can provide guidance on potential coastal erosion and flooding hazards.
Obique photos offer a unique perspective of the coast. Features such as beach erosion or accretion, dune erosion and overwash can all be clearly characterized in this imagery. It also documents coastal infrastructure, as well as the damage that infrastructure may incur as the result of an impacting hurricane.
Modification of the Quaternary stratigraphic framework of the inner-continental shelf by Holocene marine transgression: An example offshore of Fire Island, New York
The inner-continental shelf off Fire Island, New York was mapped in 2011 using interferometric sonar and high-resolution chirp seismic-reflection systems. The area mapped is approximately 50 km long by 8 km wide, extending from Moriches Inlet to Fire Island Inlet in water depths ranging from 8 to 32 m. The morphology of this inner-...Schwab, William C.; Baldwin, Wayne E.; Denny, Jane F.; Hapke, Cheryl J.; Gayes, Paul T.; List, Jeffrey; Warner, John C.
ShakeAlert—An earthquake early warning system for the United States west coast
Earthquake early warning systems use earthquake science and the technology of monitoring systems to alert devices and people when shaking waves generated by an earthquake are expected to arrive at their location. The seconds to minutes of advance warning can allow people and systems to take actions to protect life and property from destructive...Burkett, Erin R.; Given, Douglas D.; Jones, Lucile M.
Sulfur isotope fractionation between fluid and andesitic melt: An experimental study
Glasses produced from decompression experiments conducted by Fiege et al. (2014a) were used to investigate the fractionation of sulfur isotopes between fluid and andesitic melt upon magma degassing. Starting materials were synthetic glasses with a composition close to a Krakatau dacitic andesite. The glasses contained 4.55–7.95 wt% H2O, ∼140...Fiege, Adrian; Holtz, François; Shimizu, Nobumichi; Mandeville, Charles W.; Behrens, Harald; Knipping, Jaayke L.
Shaking up volcanoes
Most volcanic eruptions that occur shortly after a large distant earthquake do so by random chance. A few compelling cases for earthquake-triggered eruptions exist, particularly within 200 km of the earthquake, but this phenomenon is rare in part because volcanoes must be poised to erupt in order to be triggered by an earthquake (1). Large...Prejean, Stephanie G.; Haney, Matthew M.
Electron microprobe analyses of glasses from Kīlauea tephra units, Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaii
This report presents approximately 2,100 glass analyses from three tephra units of Kīlauea Volcano: the Keanakākoʻi Tephra, the Kulanaokuaiki Tephra, and the Pāhala Ash. It also includes some new analyses obtained as part of a re-evaluation of the MgO contents of glasses in two of the three original datasets; this re-evaluation was conducted to...Helz, Rosalind L.; Clague, David A.; Mastin, Larry G.; Rose, Timothy R.
Compaction and gas loss in welded pyroclastic deposits as revealed by porosity, permeability, and electrical conductivity measurements of the Shevlin Park Tuff
Pyroclastic flows produced by large volcanic eruptions commonly densify after emplacement. Processes of gas escape, compaction, and welding in pyroclastic-flow deposits are controlled by the physical and thermal properties of constituent material. Through measurements of matrix porosity, permeability, and electrical conductivity, we provide a...Wright, Heather M.; Cashman, Katharine V.
Hurricane Sandy science plan: coastal topographic and bathymetric data to support hurricane impact assessment and response
Hurricane Sandy devastated some of the most heavily populated eastern coastal areas of the Nation. With a storm surge peaking at more than 19 feet, the powerful landscape-altering destruction of Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of why the Nation must become more resilient to coastal hazards. In response to this natural disaster, the U.S....Stronko, Jakob M.
Hurricane Sandy science plan: impacts of environmental quality and persisting contaminant exposure
Hurricane Sandy devastated some of the most heavily populated eastern coastal areas of the Nation. With a storm surge peaking at more than 19 feet, the powerful landscape-altering destruction of Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of why the Nation must become more resilient to coastal hazards. In response to this natural disaster, the U.S....Caskie, Sarah A.
Hurricane Sandy science plan: impacts to coastal ecosystems, habitats, and fish and wildlife
Hurricane Sandy devastated some of the most heavily populated eastern coastal areas of the Nation. With a storm surge peaking at more than 19 feet, the powerful landscape-altering destruction of Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of why the Nation must become more resilient to coastal hazards. In response to this natural disaster, the U.S....Campbell, Warren H.
Hurricane Sandy science plan: coastal impact assessments
Hurricane Sandy science plan: impacts of storm surge, including disturbed estuarine and bay hydrology
Hurricane Sandy science plan: New York
Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of why the Nation must become more resilient to coastal hazards. More than one-half of the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of a coast, and this number is increasing. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is one of the largest providers of geologic and hydrologic information in the world. Federal, State, and...Ransom, Clarice N.
The south side of the ocean entry was most active today, with many small streams of lava and corresponding steam plumes spread along a fairly broad section of the southern part of the delta. USGS image taken June 12, 2018, around 6:13 AM.
Fissure 8 (fountain visible in distance) feeds lava into an active braided channel that flows about 8 miles (north, then east) to the ocean entry in Kapoho Bay. USGS image taken June 12, 2018, around 6:50 a.m. HST.
USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Status of Kīlauea Volcano, June 11, 2018, Jessica Ball, USGS Volcanologist
The interaction of molten lava flowing into cool seawater causes pulsating "littoral explosions" that throw spatter (fragments of molten lava) and pieces of solidified glassy lava (black sand, Pele's hair, limu o Pele) high into the air. In this aerial view of the Kapoho ocean entry, these dark-colored lava particles are blasted skyward through billowing white clouds of seawater steam (laze)....
This 'warped-curb' crack, the largest in the parking area for the former Halema‘uma‘u overlook (closed since 2008), is one of many that have sliced the parking area into slices. Ballistics (blocks of solid rock) strewn across the area are visible in the foreground. Loose, dislodged blocks along this crack...
A closer aerial view of the lava delta forming at the Kapoho Bay ocean entry, where fissure 8 lava continued enter the ocean as of this morning. Laze (lava haze), an acidic white plume laced with tiny particles of volcanic glass, is produced by the ocean entry and creates an ongoing hazard that should be avoided.
Overflows of the upper fissure 8 lava channel this morning sent small flows of lava down the levee walls. These overflows did not extend far from the channel, so they posed no immediate threat to nearby areas. Channel overflows, like the ones shown here, add layers of lava to the channel levees, increasing their height and thickness.
A photogrammetry survey of Kīlauea's summit by the U.S. Department of Interior Unmanned Aircraft Systems' (UAS) Kīlauea response team show the topography of Halema‘uma‘u as of June 8. Cracks through the former overlook parking lot (bottom of image) wrap around the east margin of Halema‘uma‘u; the once-popular overlook viewing area (closed since 2008 due to volcanic hazards associated with the...
Studying the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault
Measurements of the three-dimensional structure of the earth, as opposed to the one-dimensional models typically used, can help scientists more accurately determine which areas of the United States are most vulnerable to blackouts during hazardous geomagnetic storms.
The Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (PCMSC) in Santa Cruz, California, recently welcomed Andrew Pomeroy, a Fulbright scholar from Australia who will spend approximately 6 months here conducting research on sediment movement in coral reef systems.
After lying hidden in sediments for thousands of years, delicate frozen gas structures are in the spotlight for both scientific research and the national interest. These structures, known as gas hydrate, are being investigated by scientists the world over for their possible contributions to the global energy mix, as well as their potential interaction with the environment.
For several years, KIGAM, the Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources, has hosted an international program for geoscience resources (IS-Geo). The IS-Geo program draws together federal and private-sector professionals from the international community to discuss a range of specific geoscience and mineral topics.
Newspaper story on earthquake hazards in Santa Rosa, California, features information from USGS scientists
USGS scientists Janet Watt and Suzanne Hecker provided information to the article’s author.
Living and working on the Pacific islands hosting a key missile tracking site soon could be almost impossible due to the impacts of climate change.
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.