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Every year in the United States, natural hazards threaten lives and livelihoods and result in billions of dollars in damage. We work with many partners to monitor, assess, and conduct targeted research on a wide range of natural hazards so that policymakers and the public have the understanding they need to enhance preparedness, response, and resilience.
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
Two video cameras atop the Dream Inn hotel in Santa Cruz, California, overlook the coast in northern Monterey Bay. Camera 1 looks eastward over Santa Cruz Main Beach and boardwalk, while Camera 2 looks southward over Cowells Beach. The cameras are part of the Remote Sensing Coastal Change project.
Hurricane Nate coastal change forecast and pre- and post-storm photos documenting coastal change.
Hurricane Harvey coastal change forecast and pre- and post-storm photos documenting coastal change.
Hurricane Irma coastal change forecast and pre- and post-storm photos documenting coastal change.
The Delmarva Peninsula is a 220-kilometer-long headland, spit, and barrier island complex that was significantly affected by Hurricane Sandy. In order to better constrain controls on coastal vulnerability and evolution, the region’s sediment sources, transport pathways and sinks must be identified. This project defines the geologic framework of the Delmarva coastal system through geophysical...
The nation's coastlines are vulnerable to the interrelated hazards posed by earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis.
Policy-makers, individuals from government agencies, and natural resource managers are under increasing pressure to manage changing coastal areas to meet social, economic, and natural resource demands, particularly under a regime of sea-level rise. Scientific knowledge of coastal processes and habitat-use can support decision-makers as they balance these often-conflicting human and ecological...
Hurricane Nate coastal change forecast and pre- and post-storm photos documenting coastal change.
The USGS National Assessment of Storm-Induced Coastal Change Hazards group releases coastal change forecasts and pre- and post-storm photos documenting coastal change for landfalling storms.
The viewer shows predictions of the timing and magnitude of water levels at the shoreline and potential impacts to coastal dunes. Research is part of the National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards project.
The assessment methodology is based on a storm-impact scaling model that uses observations of beach morphology combined with sophisticated hydrodynamic models to predict how the coast will respond to the direct landfall of extreme storms. Research part of the National...
Seafloor resource managers and modelers need seafloor maps that can be combined in GIS, modeling, and statistical analysis environments and related successfully to biologic and oceanographic data. The Marine Geomorphology, Evolution, and Habitats Project encompasses mapping activities and the development of new mapping systems and methodologies. The emphasis is on the role of geologic...
Groundwater data were collected in the spring and fall of 2008 from three sites representing different geological settings and biogeochemical conditions within the surficial glacial aquifer of Long Island, NY.
National Assessment of Shoreline Change: A GIS compilation of Updated Vector Shorelines and Associated Shoreline Change Data for the Southeast Atlantic Coast
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is conducting a national assessment of coastal change hazards. One component of this research effort, the National Assessment of Shoreline Change Project documents changes in shoreline position as a proxy for coastal change.
National Assessment of Shoreline Change: A GIS compilation of Updated Vector Shorelines and Associated Shoreline Change Data for the Gulf of Mexico Coast
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is conducting a national assessment of coastal change hazards. One component of this research effort, the National Assessment of Shoreline Change Project, documents changes in shoreline position as a proxy for coastal change. Shoreline position is an easily understood feature representing the historical location of a beach position through time.
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.
Location of 1D Earth Resistivity Models with respect to Physiographic Regions of the USA
CSMP is a cooperative program to create a comprehensive coastal and marine geologic and habitat base map series for all of California's State waters. Data collected during this project reveal the seafloor offshore of the California coast in unprecedented detail and provide an ecosystem context for the effective management of this precious marine resource.
This portal is a “go to” source for maps related to ocean and coastal mapping. Information is organized by geography or region, by theme, and by the year data was published.
Maps of flood and high flow conditions within the U.S.
Map of USGS Magnetic observatory locations.
We conduct post-fire debris-flow hazard assessments for select fires in the Western U.S. We use geospatial data related to basin morphometry, burn severity, soil properties, and rainfall characteristics to estimate the probability and volume of debris flows that may occur in response to a design storm.
This map and the original delineate areas where large numbers of landslides have occurred and areas which are susceptible to landsliding in the conterminous United States.
The purpose of the Inventory Project is to provide a framework and tools for displaying and analyzing landslide inventory data collected in a spatially aware digital format from individual states.
The Planetary Geologic Mapping Program serves the international science community through the production of high-quality and refereed geologic maps of planetary bodies. This program is in coordination between NASA science programs and the USGS Astrogeology Science Center.
View recent events or search for past earthquakes. Optimized for mobile and desktop.
Designing a solution to enable agency-academic scientific collaboration for disasters
As large-scale environmental disasters become increasingly frequent and more severe globally, people and organizations that prepare for and respond to these crises need efficient and effective ways to integrate sound science into their decision making. Experience has shown that integrating nongovernmental scientific expertise into disaster...Mease, Lindley A.; Gibbs-Plessl, Theodora; Erickson, Ashley; Ludwig, Kristin A.; Reddy, Christopher M.; Lubchenco, Jane
Reducing risk where tectonic plates collide—U.S. Geological Survey subduction zone science plan
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) serves the Nation by providing reliable scientific information and tools to build resilience in communities exposed to subduction zone earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and volcanic eruptions. Improving the application of USGS science to successfully reduce risk from these events relies on whole community efforts...Gomberg, Joan S.; Ludwig, Kristin A.; Bekins, Barbara; Brocher, Thomas M.; Brock, John C.; Brothers, Daniel; Chaytor, Jason D.; Frankel, Arthur; Geist, Eric L.; Haney, Matt; Hickman, Stephen H.; Leith, William S.; Roeloffs, Evelyn A.; Schulz, William H.; Sisson, Thomas W.; Wallace, Kristi; Watt, Janet; Wein, Anne
Reducing risk where tectonic plates collide
Most of the world’s earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and volcanic eruptions are caused by the continuous motions of the many tectonic plates that make up the Earth’s outer shell. The most powerful of these natural hazards occur in subduction zones, where two plates collide and one is thrust beneath another. The U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) “...Gomberg, Joan S.; Ludwig, Kristin A.
Observations and a linear model of water level in an interconnected inlet-bay system
A system of barrier islands and back-barrier bays occurs along southern Long Island, New York, and in many coastal areas worldwide. Characterizing the bay physical response to water level fluctuations is needed to understand flooding during extreme events and evaluate their relation to geomorphological changes. Offshore sea level is one of the...Aretxabaleta, Alfredo; Ganju, Neil K.; Butman, Bradford; Signell, Richard
Inner-shelf ocean dynamics and seafloor morphologic changes during Hurricane Sandy
Hurricane Sandy was one of the most destructive hurricanes in US history, making landfall on the New Jersey coast on Oct 30, 2012. Storm impacts included several barrier island breaches, massive coastal erosion, and flooding. While changes to the subaerial landscape are relatively easily observed, storm-induced changes to the adjacent shoreface...Warner, John C.; Schwab, William C.; List, Jeffrey; Safak, Ilgar; Liste, Maria; Baldwin, Wayne E.
Evidence for coseismic subsidence events in a southern California coastal saltmarsh
Paleoenvironmental records from a southern California coastal saltmarsh reveal evidence for repeated late Holocene coseismic subsidence events. Field analysis of sediment gouge cores established discrete lithostratigraphic units extend across the wetland. Detailed sediment analyses reveal abrupt changes in lithology, percent total organic matter,...Leeper, Robert; Rhodes, Brady P.; Kirby, Matthew E.; Scharer, Katherine M.; Carlin, Joseph A.; Hemphill-Haley, Eileen; Avnaim-Katav, Simona; MacDonald, Glen M.; Starratt, Scott W.; Aranda, Angela
Development of a coupled wave-flow-vegetation interaction model
Emergent and submerged vegetation can significantly affect coastal hydrodynamics. However, most deterministic numerical models do not take into account their influence on currents, waves, and turbulence. In this paper, we describe the implementation of a wave-flow-vegetation module into a Coupled-Ocean-Atmosphere-Wave-Sediment Transport (COAWST)...Beudin, Alexis; Kalra, Tarandeep S.; Ganju, Neil K.; Warner, John C.
Barrier island breach evolution: Alongshore transport and bay-ocean pressure gradient interactions
Physical processes controlling repeated openings and closures of a barrier island breach between a bay and the open ocean are studied using aerial photographs and atmospheric and hydrodynamic observations. The breach site is located on Pea Island along the Outer Banks, separating Pamlico Sound from the Atlantic Ocean. Wind direction was a major...Safak, Ilgar; Warner, John C.; List, Jeffrey
Biogeomorphic classification and images of shorebird nesting sites on the U.S. Atlantic coast
Atlantic coast piping plover (Charadrius melodus) nest sites are typically found on low-lying beach and dune systems, which respond rapidly to coastal processes like sediment overwash, inlet formation, and island migration that are sensitive to climate-related changes in storminess and the rate of sea-level rise. Data were obtained to understand...Sturdivant, Emily; Thieler, E. Robert; Zeigler, Sara; Winslow, Luke; Hines, Megan K.; Read, Jordan S.; Walker, Jordan I.
High-resolution geophysical data collected along the Delmarva Peninsula, 2014, USGS Field Activity 2014-002-FA
The Delmarva Peninsula is a 220-kilometer-long headland, spit, and barrier island complex that was significantly affected by Hurricane Sandy. A U.S. Geological Survey cruise was conducted in the summer of 2014 to map the inner continental shelf of the Delmarva Peninsula using geophysical and sampling techniques to define the geologic framework...Pendleton, Elizabeth; Ackerman, Seth D.; Baldwin, Wayne E.; Danforth, William W.; Foster, David S.; Thieler, E. Robert; Brothers, Laura L.
Oceanographic and water-quality measurements collected south of Martha’s Vineyard, MA, 2014–2015
This web page provides access to oceanographic and water-quality observations made at seven sites near the Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Observatory (MVCO) as part of National Science Foundation “Bottom Stress and the Generation of Vertical Vorticity Over the Inner Shelf” project. The objective was to measure bottom stress at several locations with...Montgomery, Ellyn T.; Sherwood, Christopher R.; Martini, Marinna A.; Trowbridge, Jannelle; Scully, M.; Brosnahan, Sandra M.
Low-altitude aerial imagery and related field observations associated with unmanned aerial systems (UAS) flights over Coast Guard Beach, Nauset Spit, Nauset Inlet, and Nauset Marsh, Cape Cod National Seashore, Eastham, Massachusetts on 1 March 2016
Low-altitude (approximately 120 meters above ground level) digital images were obtained from cameras mounted in a fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flown from the lawn adjacent to the Coast Guard Beach parking lot on 1 March, 2016. The UAV was a Skywalker X8 operated by Raptor Maps, Inc., contractors to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)....Sherwood, Christopher R.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
The USGS has up-to-date details on the January 23, 2018 event.
USGS seismologist Elizabeth Cochran studied the performance of Mexico City’s earthquake early warning system, during devastating Sept. 19, 2017 event
USGS geologist Patrick Barnard spoke to the public at a “Coffee and King Tides” gathering held in Half Moon Bay, California, on December 4.