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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.

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Filter Total Items: 142
Date published: March 19, 2018

Gas Hydrates - Primer

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...

Date published: March 16, 2018
Status: Completed

Hurricane Sandy Response - Storm Impacts and Vulnerability of Coastal Beaches

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. 

Contacts: Hilary Stockdon
Date published: March 16, 2018
Status: Completed

Hurricane Sandy Response - Barrier Island and Estuarine Wetland Physical Change Assessment

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. 

Contacts: Nathaniel Plant
Date published: March 13, 2018
Status: Active

Remote Sensing Coastal Change

We use remote-sensing technologies—such as aerial photography, satellite imagery, and lidar (laser-based surveying)—to measure coastal change along U.S. shorelines.

Date published: March 12, 2018
Status: Active

U.S. Geological Survey Gas Hydrates Project

The USGS Gas Hydrates Project focuses on the study of natural gas hydrates in deepwater marine systems and permafrost areas. The primary goals are:

  • Evaluate methane hydrates as a potential energy source
  • Investigate the interaction between methane hydrate destabilization and climate change at short and long time scales, particularly in the Arctic
  • Study the spatial
  • ...
Date published: March 5, 2018
Status: Active

Estuarine Processes Tidal Wetlands

Tidal wetlands are an important geomorphic and ecological feature of the coastal zone. Our projects deal with the physical forcings that affect wetland stability over event-to-annual timescales, including wave attack, sediment supply, and sea-level rise. 

Date published: March 5, 2018
Status: Active

Estuarine Processes Coastal Hazards

Extreme tides and coastal storms transfer high water levels to estuaries through natural and managed entrances. The size of the transfer depends on the duration of the event and the geomorphology of the estuary. We use observational data and modeling scenarios to understand and spatially map this transfer at our study sites.

Date published: March 5, 2018
Status: Active

Estuarine Processes Geomorphic Change

Changes to the geomorphic structure of estuaries impact hydrodynamics, ecosystem function, and navigation. We are implementing new methods of observing and modeling these changes using innovative field and computational approaches.

Date published: March 1, 2018

Estuarine Processes, Hazards, and Ecosystems

Estuarine processes, hazards, and ecosystems describes several interdisciplinary projects that aim to quantify and understand estuarine processes through observations and numerical modeling. Both the spatial and temporal scales of these mechanisms are important, and therefore require modern instrumentation and state-of-the-art hydrodynamic models. These projects are led from the U.S....

Date published: February 28, 2018
Status: Active

Coral Reef Seafloor Erosion and Coastal Hazards

Synchronized field work focused on geochemistry, geology, and metabolic processes overlaid on a habitat map of an entire reef to produce a synoptic overview of reef processes that contribute to carbonate precipitation and dissolution.

Contacts: Kimberly Yates
Date published: February 22, 2018
Status: Completed

Hawaii Tsunami Messaging

Recent scientific study reveals that certain large earthquakes in the Aleutian Islands can produce much greater tsunami inundation than Hawaii typically experiences. This higher level of tsunami inundation necessitates changes to current tsunami safety instructions - but only for this Aleutian event.

Date published: February 21, 2018
Status: Completed

SAFRR Newsletters

SAFRR Newsletters summarize the recent activities in the project.

Filter Total Items: 96
Date published: December 29, 2017

Multibeam and multichannel sparker seismic-reflection data between Cross Sound and Dixon Entrance, offshore southeastern Alaska, collected from 2016-05-17 to 2016-06-12 during field activity 2016-625-FA

Multibeam bathymetry and multichannel sparker seismic relfection data collected along the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather Fault between Icy Point and Dixon Entrance, offshore southeastern Alaska from 2016-05-17 to 2016-06-12.

Date published: December 8, 2017

iCoast

Help scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey annotate aerial photographs with keyword tags to identify changes to the coast after extreme storms.

Date published: October 19, 2017

Multichannel minisparker and chirp seismic-reflection data of field activity 2015-651-FA; Chatham Strait and Cross Sound, southeastern Alaska from 2015-08-03 to 2015-08-21

High-resolution multichannel minisparker and chirp seismic-reflection data were collected in August of 2015 to explore marine geologic hazards of inland waterways of southeastern Alaska. Sub-bottom profiles were acquired in the inland waters between Glacier Bay and Juneau, including Cross Sound and Chatham Strait.

Date published: October 15, 2017

Magnetic Disturbance Events

View reports on magnetic disturbance events.

Date published: September 20, 2017

Hurricane Jose 2017 Event Support Map

Track hurricane data and USGS resources.

Date published: September 19, 2017

Interpretive data release for Oregon Outer Continental Shelf Seafloor Mapping: Selected Lease Blocks Relevant to Renewable Energy

This data release includes the results of analysis of video data conducted by Oregon State University and the geo-habitat interpretation of multibeam echo sounder (MBES) data conducted by the USGS.

Date published: September 18, 2017

Hurricane Maria 2017 Event Support Map

Track hurricane data and USGS resources.

Date published: September 18, 2017

National Assessment of Shoreline Change: A GIS compilation of updated vector shorelines and associated shoreline change data for the north coast of Alaska, U.S. Canadian border to Icy Cape

This data release is an update to the original North Coast of Alaska data and includes revised rate-of-change calculations based on two additional shoreline positions data and improved rate metrics. 

Date published: September 6, 2017

Hurricane Harvey 2017 Event Support Map

Track hurricane data and USGS resources.

Date published: August 24, 2017

Coastal Change Hazards Portal

Interactive access to coastal change science and data for our Nation’s coasts. Information and products are organized within three coastal change hazard themes: 1) extreme storms, 2) shoreline change, and 3) sea-level rise. Each data item represents an individual research product, with some items grouped together as aggregates to show the breadth of the topic and make it easy to explore.

Date published: July 25, 2017

Data Release for USGS Field Activity 2014-607-FA--Oregon OCS Seafloor Mapping: Selected Lease Blocks Relevant to Renewable Energy

Data collected during 12-hour day operations in 2014, out of Charleston Harbor near Coos Bay, Oregon. The cruise plan consisted of 23 days on site split between sonar mapping and video ground truth surveying.

Date published: June 1, 2017

Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS)

The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) makes detailed predictions (meter-scale) over large geographic scales (100s of kilometers) of storm-induced coastal flooding and erosion for both current and future SLR scenarios, as well as long-term shoreline change and cliff retreat. Several versions of CoSMoS have been implemented for areas of the California coast.

Filter Total Items: 407
Year Published: 2013

Publications of the Volcano Hazards Program 2011

The Volcano Hazards Program of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is part of the Geologic Hazards Assessments subactivity, as funded by Congressional appropriation. Investigations are carried out by the USGS and with cooperators at the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute,...

Nathenson, Manuel
Publications of the Volcano Hazards Program 2011; 2013; OFR; 2013-1164; Nathenson, Manuel

Year Published: 2013

National assessment of hurricane-induced coastal erosion hazards: Southeast Atlantic Coast

Beaches serve as a natural barrier between the ocean and inland communities, ecosystems, and natural resources. However, these dynamic environments move and change in response to winds, waves, and currents. During extreme storms, changes to beaches can be large, and the results are sometimes catastrophic. Lives may be lost, communities destroyed,...

Stockdon, Hilary F.; Doran, Kara S.; Thompson, David M.; Sopkin, Kristin L.; Plant, Nathaniel G.
National assessment of hurricane-induced coastal erosion hazards: Southeast Atlantic Coast; 2013; OFR; 2013-1130; Stockdon, Hilary F.; Doran, Kara J.; Thompson, David M.; Sopkin, Kristin L.; Plant, Nathaniel G.

Year Published: 2013

U.S. Geological Survey natural hazards science strategy: promoting the safety, security, and economic well-being of the Nation

The mission of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in natural hazards is to develop and apply hazard science to help protect the safety, security, and economic well-being of the Nation. The costs and consequences of natural hazards can be enormous, and each year more people and infrastructure are at risk. USGS scientific research—founded on...

Holmes, Robert R.; Jones, Lucile M.; Eidenshink, Jeffery C.; Godt, Jonathan W.; Kirby, Stephen H.; Love, Jeffrey J.; Neal, Christina A.; Plant, Nathaniel G.; Plunkett, Michael L.; Weaver, Craig S.; Wein, Anne; Perry, Suzanne C.
U.S. Geological Survey natural hazards science strategy: promoting the safety, security, and economic well-being of the Nation; 2013; CIR; 1383-F; Holmes, Robert R., Jr.; Jones, Lucile M.; Eidenshink, Jeffery C.; Godt, Jonathan W.; Kirby, Stephen H.; Love, Jeffrey.J.; Neal, Christina A.; Plant, Nathaniel G.; Plunkett, Michael L.; Weaver, Craig S.; Wein, Anne; Perry, Suzanne C.

Year Published: 2013

Operational Group Sandy technical progress report

Hurricane Sandy made US landfall near Atlantic City, NJ on 29 October 2012, causing 72 direct deaths, displacing thousands of individuals from damaged or destroyed dwellings, and leaving over 8.5 million homes without power across the northeast and mid-Atlantic. To coordinate federal rebuilding activities in the affected region, the President...

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Operational Group Sandy technical progress report; 2013; Federal Government Series; Department of the Interior Strategic Science Group

Year Published: 2012

A mantle-driven surge in magma supply to Kīlauea Volcano during 2003--2007

The eruptive activity of a volcano is fundamentally controlled by the rate of magma supply. At Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai‘i, the rate of magma rising from a source within Earth’s mantle, through the Hawaiian hotspot, was thought to have been relatively steady in recent decades. Here we show that the magma supply to Kīlauea at least doubled during 2003...

Poland, Michael P.; Miklius, Asta; Sutton, A. Jeff; Thornber, Carl R.
A mantle-driven surge in magma supply to Kīlauea Volcano during 2003--2007; 2012; Article; Journal; Nature Geoscience; Poland, Michael P.; Miklius, Asta ; Sutton, A. Jeff; Thornber, Carl R.

Year Published: 2012

Relative azimuth inversion by way of damped maximum correlation estimates

Horizontal seismic data are utilized in a large number of Earth studies. Such work depends on the published orientations of the sensitive axes of seismic sensors relative to true North. These orientations can be estimated using a number of different techniques: SensOrLoc (Sensitivity, Orientation and Location), comparison to synthetics (Ekstrom...

Ringler, A.T.; Edwards, J.D.; Hutt, C.R.; Shelly, F.
Relative azimuth inversion by way of damped maximum correlation estimates; 2012; Article; Journal; Computers & Geosciences; Ringler, A.T.; Edwards, J.D.; Hutt, C.R.; Shelly, F.

Year Published: 2011

Publications of the Volcano Hazards Program 2009

The Volcano Hazards Program of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is part of the Geologic Hazards Assessments subactivity as funded by congressional appropriation. Investigations are carried out in the USGS and with cooperators at the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute,...

Nathenson, Manuel
Publications of the Volcano Hazards Program 2009; 2011; OFR; 2011-1047; Nathenson, Manuel

Year Published: 2011

Report on the 2010 Chilean earthquake and tsunami response

In July 2010, in an effort to reduce future catastrophic natural disaster losses for California, the American Red Cross coordinated and sent a delegation of 20 multidisciplinary experts on earthquake response and recovery to Chile. The primary goal was to understand how the Chilean society and relevant organizations responded to the magnitude 8.8...

Report on the 2010 Chilean earthquake and tsunami response; 2011; OFR; 2011-1053; American Red Cross Multi-Disciplinary Team

Year Published: 2011

Geoinformatics in the public service: building a cyberinfrastructure across the geological surveys

Advanced information technology infrastructure is increasingly being employed in the Earth sciences to provide researchers with efficient access to massive central databases and to integrate diversely formatted information from a variety of sources. These geoinformatics initiatives enable manipulation, modeling and visualization of data in a...

Keller, G. Randy; Baru, Chaitanya; Allison, M. Lee; Gundersen, Linda C.; Richard, Stephen M.
Attribution: Natural Hazards

Year Published: 2011

Segregating gas from melt: an experimental study of the Ostwald ripening of vapor bubbles in magmas

Diffusive coarsening (Ostwald ripening) of H2O and H2O-CO2 bubbles in rhyolite and basaltic andesite melts was studied with elevated temperature–pressure experiments to investigate the rates and time spans over which vapor bubbles may enlarge and attain sufficient buoyancy to segregate in magmatic systems. Bubble growth and segregation are also...

Lautze, Nicole C.; Sisson, Thomas W.; Mangan, Margaret T.; Grove, Timothy L.
Segregating gas from melt: an experimental study of the Ostwald ripening of vapor bubbles in magmas; 2011; Article; Journal; Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology; Lautze, Nicole C.; Sisson, Thomas W.; Mangan, Margaret T.; Grove, Timothy L.

Year Published: 2011

Whole-edifice ice volume change A.D. 1970 to 2007/2008 at Mount Rainier, Washington, based on LiDAR surveying

Net changes in thickness and volume of glacial ice and perennial snow at Mount Rainier, Washington State, have been mapped over the entire edifice by differencing between a highresolution LiDAR (light detection and ranging) topographic survey of September-October 2007/2008 and the 10 m lateral resolution U.S. Geological Survey digital elevation...

Sisson, T.W.; Robinson, J.E.; Swinney, D.D.
Whole-edifice ice volume change A.D. 1970 to 2007/2008 at Mount Rainier, Washington, based on LiDAR surveying; 2011; Article; Journal; Geology; Sisson, T. W.; Robinson, J. E.; Swinney, D. D.

Year Published: 2010

Encounters of aircraft with volcanic ash clouds; A compilation of known incidents, 1953-2009

Information about reported encounters of aircraft with volcanic ash clouds from 1953 through 2009 has been compiled to document the nature and scope of risks to aviation from volcanic activity. The information, gleaned from a variety of published and other sources, is presented in database and spreadsheet formats; the compilation will be updated...

Guffanti, Marianne; Casadevall, Thomas J.; Budding, Karin
Encounters of aircraft with volcanic ash clouds; A compilation of known incidents, 1953-2009; 2010; DS; 545; Guffanti, Marianne; Casadevall, Thomas J.; Budding, Karin

Filter Total Items: 2,069
Aerial of Kapoho Bay
June 10, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Lava Delta at Kapoho Bay

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.

Aerial of ocean entry plume
June 10, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Kapoho Bay Ocean Entry Plume

The fissure 8 lava flow reaches the ocean at Kapoho Bay, where a lava delta has formed and continues to grow as lava enters the sea. The largest white laze ...

Aerial of lava overflows
June 10, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Overflows from Fissure 8

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.

Topographic photo of summit
June 10, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Topography of Halema`uma`u

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...

June 10, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Summit Explosion (June 10, 2018)

Another explosion occurred at Halema‘uma‘u at 12:51 a.m. HST today, releasing energy equivalent to a magnitude-5.3 earthquake. Following the explosion, summit activity consisted mostly of...

Aerial of lava flow
June 10, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 from a Distance

Distant view of Kīlauea Volcano's fissure 8 lava channel from HVO's early morning overflight on June 10, looking to the southeast. Bryson's cinder quarry is the brown patch just to the north of the channel.

Aerial of lava channel
June 10, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 Lava Channel

A closer view of the fissure 8 lava channel with the cinderquarry more clearly visible in the foreground (bottom of photo). During this morning's overflight, HVO geologists observed no new breakouts of lava near this quarry.

Aerial view of fissure 8 eruption
June 10, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 Eruption

Fissure 8 continues to erupt vigorously, with ...

Scientist setting up an instrument
June 9, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — GPS Measurements at Summit

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 ...

A lava channel formed from a fissure eruption
June 9, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 Lava Channel

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.

Aerial view of ocean entry
June 9, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Kapoho Ocean Entry

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...

Fissure 8 lava fountain
June 9, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 Lava Fountain

As of 6:30 a.m. HST today, fissure 8 continued to feed a vigorous...

Filter Total Items: 338
Date published: February 15, 2018

False-alarm tsunami alerts across the U.S. East Coast, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean prompt calls to USGS

On February 6, USGS research geophysicist Eric Geist spoke to reporters Rachel Becker of The Verge and Grace Toohey of The Advocate about tsunami hazards on Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico shores.

Date published: February 14, 2018

USGS research featured on the cover of Eos

USGS research on a big earthquake fault off Alaska and Canada is featured on the cover of Eos, a journal of Earth and space science news published by the American Geophysical Union.

Date published: February 13, 2018

International workshop on “Understanding Flooding on Reef-lined Island Coastlines”

USGS research geologist Curt Storlazzi led a workshop on “Understanding Flooding on Reef-lined Island Coastlines” (UFORIC) in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, from 5–7 February. 

Date published: February 12, 2018

Giant grooves discovered on an earthquake fault offshore Costa Rica

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.

Date published: February 9, 2018

USGS Gas Hydrates Project Releases New Fact Sheets!

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. 

Date published: February 7, 2018

USGS 360-degree videos of king tides show how rising seas will transform California beaches in the future

USGS oceanographer Juliette Finzi Hart shot 360-degree videos of king tides—the highest high tides of the year—throughout the Los Angeles region in 2016 and 2017.

Date published: February 5, 2018

USGS participates in workshop on restoring Monterey Bay sand-mining site

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.

Date published: January 30, 2018

January 23, 2018 M7.9 Gulf of Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami

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.

Date published: January 29, 2018

Elementary school students visit USGS office in Santa Cruz

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.

Date published: January 26, 2018

USGS Geologists Join Efforts in Montecito to Assess Debris-Flow Aftermath

Days after fatal debris flows devastated Southern California’s Montecito community,  a team of U.S. Geological Survey geologists joined county, state, and federal partners to survey and  evaluate the aftermath.

 

Date published: January 25, 2018

CMGP Lidar Coordinator participating in National Elevation Assessments and Coordination session at 2018 ASPRS Annual Conference

Xan Fredericks, Lidar Coordinator for the Coastal and Marine Geology Program, will moderate and participate in the National Elevation Assessments and Coordination session at the 2018 American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) Annual Conference.

Date published: January 24, 2018

TV interview with NBC Philadelphia about flooding threats to U.S. East Coast

USGS geologist Patrick Barnard gave a live interview to Philadelphia's NBC10 meteorologist Tammie Souza on January 23 during a national weather conference in Lake Tahoe, California.