Mission Areas

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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Tsunami Scenario
September 4, 2013

The SAFRR Tsunami Scenario is a hypothetical but plausible tsunami created by a magnitude 9.1 earthquake offshore of the Alaskan peninsula. The scenario report was released September 2013 and provides an analysis of the potential impacts along the California coast, intended for those who need to make mitigation, preparedness, and outreach decisions before and after tsunami impacts.

Filter Total Items: 58
Year Published: 1989

IRIS/USGS Plans for Upgrading the Global Seismograph Network

PREFACE This report has been prepared to provide information to organizations that may be asked to participate in a program to upgrade the global seismographic network. In most cases, the organizations that will be offered new instrumentation by the U.S. Geological Survey currently operate stations in the World-Wide Standardized Seismograph...

Peterson, Jon; Hutt, Charles R.
IRIS/USGS Plans for Upgrading the Global Seismograph Network; 1989; OFR; 89-471; Peterson, Jon; Hutt, Charles R.

Year Published: 1985

Description and Preliminary Testing of the CDSN Seismic Sensor Systems

INTRODUCTION The China Digital Seismograph Network (CDSN) is being designed and installed to provide the People's Republic of China with the facilities needed to create a national digital database for earthquake research. The CDSN, which is being developed jointly by the PRC State Seismological Bureau and the U.S. Geological Survey,...

Peterson, Jon; Tilgner, Edwin E.
Description and Preliminary Testing of the CDSN Seismic Sensor Systems; 1985; OFR; 85-288; Peterson, Jon; Tilgner, Edwin E.

Year Published: 1983

A New Event Detector Designed for the Seismic Research Observatories

A new short-period event detector has been implemented on the Seismic Research Observatories. For each signal detected, a printed output gives estimates of the time of onset of the signal, direction of the first break, quality of onset, period and maximum amplitude of the signal, and an estimate of the variability of the background noise. On the...

Murdock, James N.; Hutt, Charles R.
A New Event Detector Designed for the Seismic Research Observatories; 1983; OFR; 83-785; Murdock, James N.; Hutt, Charles R.

Year Published: 1982

A Note on Transients in the SRO and ASRO Long-Period Data

Data users have occasionally observed pulse-like transients in the long-period waveforms recorded at the Seismic Research Observatories (SRO) and at the Modified High-Gain Long-Period (ASRO) stations. In a recent paper, Dziewonski et al (1981) reported transients associated with earthquake signals record at some SRO stations, and the authors...

Peterson, Jon
A Note on Transients in the SRO and ASRO Long-Period Data; 1982; OFR; 82-702; Peterson, Jon

Year Published: 1982

Design Concepts for a Global Telemetered Seismograph Network

INTRODUCTION This study represents a first step in developing an integrated, real-tlme global seismic data acquisition system -- a Global Telemetered Seismograph Network (GTSN). The principal objective of the GTSN will be to acquire reliable, high-quality, real-time seismic data for rapid location and analysis of seismic events. A...

Peterson, Jon; Orsini, Nicholas A.
Design Concepts for a Global Telemetered Seismograph Network; 1982; OFR; 82-703; Peterson, Jon; Orsini, Nicholas A.

Year Published: 1982

Preliminary Study of Methods for Upgrading USGS Antarctic Seismological Capability

Purpose The purpose of this study is to evaluate potential methods for obtaining higher quality seismic data from Antarctica. Currently, USGS-sponsored WWSSN stations are located at Scott Base, Sanae Base, and at South Pole Station. Scott and Sanae Stations are located near the coast; data obtained from coastal installations are normally...

Holcomb, L. Gary
Preliminary Study of Methods for Upgrading USGS Antarctic Seismological Capability; 1982; OFR; 82-292; Holcomb, L. Gary

Year Published: 1982

Test and Calibration of the Digital World-Wide Standardized Seismograph

BACKGROUND During the past decade there has been steady progress in the modernization of the global seismograph network operated by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The World-Wide Standardized Seismograph Network (WWSSN) has been augmented by new stations with advanced instrumentation, including the Seismic Research Observatories (SRO) and...

Peterson, Jon; Hutt, Charles R.
Test and Calibration of the Digital World-Wide Standardized Seismograph; 1982; OFR; 82-1087; Peterson, Jon; Hutt, Charles R.

Year Published: 1981

Preliminary Design Study for a National Digital Seismograph Network

Introduction Recently, the National Research Council published a report by the Panel on National, Regional, and Local Seismograph Networks of the Committee on Seismology in which the principal recommendation was for the establishment of a national digital seismograph network (NDSN). The Panel Report (Bolt, 1980) addresses both the need and the...

Peterson, Jon; Hutt, Charles R.
Preliminary Design Study for a National Digital Seismograph Network; 1981; OFR; 81-1046; Peterson, Jon; Hutt, Charles R.

Year Published: 1980

Preliminary Observations of Noise Spectra at the SRO and ASRO Stations

Introduction The seismic noise spectra presented in this report were derived from SRO and ASRO station data for the purpose of evaluating the performance of the seismic instruments. They are also useful for constructing a spectral estimate of earth noise at a quiet site based on noise samples obtained from a network of globally distributed...

Peterson, Jon
Preliminary Observations of Noise Spectra at the SRO and ASRO Stations; 1980; OFR; 80-992; Peterson, Jon

Year Published: 1980

Test and Calibration of the Seismic Research Observatory

Introduction The Seismic Research Observatory (SRO) network is generating an important new data base for seismological research. The SRO systems have extended both the range and resolution of seismic measurements beyond the limits of conventional seismographs and the data are recorded in digital format making it convenient to automate...

Peterson, Jon; Hutt, Charles R.; Holcomb, L. Gary
Test and Calibration of the Seismic Research Observatory; 1980; OFR; 80-187; Peterson, Jon; Hutt, Charles R.; Holcomb, L. Gary

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Girls points to a location on a map laying on the ground.
2016 (approx.)
GeoGirls learn about how the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens impacted the ecology of the area.
2016 (approx.)
This video will provide a brief history and purpose for one of the oldest streamgages in Indiana. The gage is at the Wabash River at Lafayette, Indiana. The site number is 03335500. This video was produced at the request of the West Lafayette Parks Department where this historic gage is located. A QR code is displayed on an interpretive plaque next to the gage which is located in a high profile...
Three girls sit on rocks and look at a computer screen.
2016 (approx.)
Geogirls use computers in the field to track locations and annotate field photos.
Group of students and scientists stand in semi circle with mountain in the background.
2016 (approx.)
GeoGirls hike onto the Pumice Plain to learn more about Mount St. Helens’ historical eruptions.
Large waves crashing on rocks at beach.
2016 (approx.)
Large storm waves crashing on the rocks near Santa Cruz, California
The Chimney Tops 2 fire in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
2016 (approx.)
The fire that became known as Chimney Tops 2 started near a Great Smoky Mountains National Park landmark known as The Chimneys on or about Nov. 23, 2016.
Smoky Mountain fires on the night of Nov. 28, 2016
November 28, 2016
In an extreme drought and amid high winds, many fires burned together in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the town of Gatlinburg and nearby communities to form the deadly fire that became known as Chimney Tops 2. This photo was taken on the night of Nov. 28, 2016, as the fire was spreading rapidly.
Technicians install a rapid deployment gage on a bridge base.
2016 (approx.)
USGS hydrologic technician Jym Chapman (above) installs a rapid deployment gauge to measure water-surface elevation and other data in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, prior to Hurricane Matthew’s approach in October 2016. Hydrologist Tim Pojunas (below) measures an elevation reference point used to calibrate the newly installed RDG. The data collected by RDGs are transmitted in real time by...
man standing in room full of equipment, working on box on central work table
October 27, 2016
At the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory Electronics Lab, technicians build, test, and prepare scientific instruments to be deployed for monitoring volcanoes worldwide.
storage room with rows of steel boxes and cases filling heavy metal shelves
October 27, 2016
The Volcano Distater Assistance Program (VDAP) maintains an equipment cache located at the USGSS Cascades Volcano Observatory. The volcano monitoring equipment can be rapidly deployed worldwide when needed.
October 27, 2016
Rock falls in California’s Sierra Nevada - Pursuing explanations for exfoliation and seemingly spontaneous fracture of rock
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Giant Sunspot Erupts on October 24, 2014
May 1, 2017

While major geomagnetic storms are rare, with only a few recorded per century, there is significant potential for large-scale impacts when they do occur. Extreme space weather can be viewed as hazards for the economy and national security.

A gas plume arising from Augustine Volcano during it's eruptive phase 2005-06.
April 28, 2017

Which U.S. State or territory has more large earthquakes than the rest of the United States combined?

BART
April 6, 2017

Although no one can reliably predict earthquakes, today’s technology is advanced enough to rapidly detect seismic waves as an earthquake begins, calculate the maximum expected shaking, and send alerts to surrounding areas before damage can occur. This technology is known as “earthquake early warning” (EEW).

Earthquake Early Warning: Vital for City Transit
April 6, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey along with university, state and private-sector partners will highlight the rollout of Version 1.2 of the USGS ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system on April 10, 2017.

house perched at the top of cliff edge above beach.
March 27, 2017

Using a newly-developed computer model called “CoSMoS-COAST” (Coastal Storm Modeling System – Coastal One-line Assimilated Simulation Tool) scientists predict that with limited human intervention, 31 to 67 percent of Southern California beaches may become completely eroded (up to existing coastal infrastructure or sea-cliffs) by the year 2100 under scenarios of sea-level rise of one to two meters.

USGS logo
March 20, 2017

Seal Beach, Calif.— A new collaborative study shows evidence of prior abrupt sinking of the wetlands near Seal Beach, caused by ancient earthquakes that shook the area at least three times in the past 2,000 years, according to researchers.

person standing next to large boulder
March 20, 2017

Geologists have discovered evidence that unusual seas detached living corals from a Caribbean reef and scattered them far inland, as boulders, during the last centuries before Columbus arrived. The new findings will reinforce precautions against coastal hazards, Caribbean tsunami specialists said.

bue and white street sign, circle with wave -shaped drawing indicating a tsunami evacuation route
March 20, 2017

Hours before Japan was struck by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and the ensuing catastrophic tsunami, John Schelling spoke at a public meeting in the coastal community of Oceans Shores, Washington, about preparing for tsunami hazards. The few dozen people attending the meeting went home that evening and watched in horror as the events in Japan unfolded.

Annotated aerial photo of crescent shaped island surrounded by open ocean.
March 3, 2017

Bogoslof volcano, located in the Aleutian Islands about 98 km (61 mi) northwest of Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, is in an active eruption sequence that began in mid-December 2016 and continues today.

Image Placeholder
March 2, 2017

Pasadena, Calif. – A new U.S. Geological Survey study offers a view into the past behavior of large earthquakes along the southern San Andreas Fault. 

 

Large waves crashing on rocks at beach.
February 22, 2017

Atmospheric rivers are a global weather phenomenon that can bring large amounts of rain or snow to the U.S. West Coast each year. These rivers of wet air form over the Pacific Ocean near Hawaiʻi and pick up large amounts of moisture from the tropics and on their way to the West Coast. This moisture is carried in narrow bands across the Pacific Ocean to California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada.