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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
Above, photograph of Pingok Island, Alaska, reveals physical features of a changing Arctic: collapsing bluffs, salt-killed tundra (lighter brown near the bluff edge), and drained thermokarst lakes (rust-colored depressions). Photo courtesy of Bruce Richmond and Ann Gibbs, USGS, taken August 9, 2006
The impacts of climate change and sea-level rise around the Pacific and Arctic Oceans can vary tremendously. Thus far the vast majority of national and international impact assessments and models of coastal climate change have focused on low-relief coastlines that are not near seismically active zones. Furthermore, the degree to which extreme waves and wind will add further stress to coastal...
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.
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.
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.
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....
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.
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.
SAFRR Newsletters summarize the recent activities in the project.
Hurricane Matthew 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.
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.
Key Findings for Scenario-Based Assessment for Nor'easters
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.
Key Findings for Scenario-Based Assessment for Hurricanes
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.
Continuous Bathymetry and Elevation Models of the Massachusetts Coastal Zone and Continental Shelf
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 and Coastal Change Forecast Viewer
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.
Oblique Aerial Photography Viewer
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.
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.
Geomorphological control on variably saturated hillslope hydrology and slope instability
In steep topography, the processes governing variably saturated subsurface hydrologic response and the interparticle stresses leading to shallow landslide initiation are physically linked. However, these processes are usually analyzed separately. Here, we take a combined approach, simultaneously analyzing the influence of topography on both...Giuseppe, Formetta; Simoni, Silvia; Godt, Jonathan W.; Lu, Ning; Rigon, Riccardo
Coastal bathymetry data collected in June 2014 from Fire Island, New York—The wilderness breach and shoreface
Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center in St. Petersburg, Florida, collected bathymetric data along the upper shoreface and within the wilderness breach at Fire Island, New York, in June 2014. The U.S. Geological Survey is involved in a post-Hurricane Sandy effort to map and monitor the...Nelson, Timothy R.; Miselis, Jennifer L.; Hapke, Cheryl J.; Wilson, Kathleen E.; Henderson, Rachel E.; Brenner, Owen T.; Reynolds, Billy J.; Hansen, Mark E.
Get your science used—Six guidelines to improve your products
Introduction Natural scientists, like many other experts, face challenges when communicating to people outside their fields of expertise. This is especially true when they try to communicate to those whose background, knowledge, and experience are far distant from that field of expertise. At a recent workshop, experts in risk communication offered...Perry, Suzanne C.; Blanpied, Michael L.; Burkett, Erin R.; Campbell, Nnenia M.; Carlson, Anders; Cox, Dale A.; Driedger, Carolyn L.; Eisenman, David P.; Fox-Glassman, Katherine T.; Hoffman, Sherry; Hoffman, Susanna M.; Jaiswal, Kishor S.; Jones, Lucile M.; Luco, Nicolas; Marx, Sabine M.; McGowan, Sean M.; Mileti, Dennis S.; Moschetti, Morgan P.; Ozman, David; Pastor, Elizabeth; Petersen, Mark D.; Porter, Keith A.; Ramsey, David W.; Ritchie, Liesel A.; Fitzpatrick, Jessica K.; Rukstales, Kenneth S.; Sellnow, Timothy L.; Vaughon, Wendy L.; Wald, David J.; Wald, Lisa A.; Wein, Anne; Zarcadoolas, Christina
Estimating time-dependent connectivity in marine systems
Hydrodynamic connectivity describes the sources and destinations of water parcels within a domain over a given time. When combined with biological models, it can be a powerful concept to explain the patterns of constituent dispersal within marine ecosystems. However, providing connectivity metrics for a given domain is a three-dimensional problem...Defne, Zafer; Ganju, Neil K.; Aretxabaleta, Alfredo
Kelp, cobbles, and currents: Biologic reduction of coarse grain entrainment stress
Models quantifying the onset of sediment motion do not typically account for the effect of biotic processes because they are difficult to isolate and quantify in relation to physical processes. Here we investigate an example of the interaction of kelp (Order Laminariales) and coarse sediment transport in the coastal zone, where it is possible to...Masteller, Claire C; Finnegan, Noah J; Warrick, Jonathan; Miller, Ian M.
Rapid water quality change in the Elwha River estuary complex during dam removal
Dam removal in the United States is increasing as a result of structural concerns, sedimentation of reservoirs, and declining riverine ecosystem conditions. The removal of the 32 m Elwha and 64 m Glines Canyon dams from the Elwha River in Washington, U.S.A., was the largest dam removal project in North American history. During the 3 yr of dam...Foley, Melissa M.; Duda, Jeffrey J.; Beirne, Matthew M.; Paradis, Rebecca; Ritchie, Andrew; Warrick, Jonathan A.
High-rate injection is associated with the increase in U.S. mid-continent seismicity
An unprecedented increase in earthquakes in the U.S. mid-continent began in 2009. Many of these earthquakes have been documented as induced by wastewater injection. We examine the relationship between wastewater injection and U.S. mid-continent seismicity using a newly assembled injection well database for the central and eastern United States. We...Weingarten, Matthew; Ge, Shemin; Godt, Jonathan W.; Bekins, Barbara A.; Rubinstein, Justin L.
Strategic science: new frameworks to bring scientific expertise to environmental disaster response
Science is critical to society’s ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from environmental crises. Natural and technological disasters such as disease outbreaks, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, oil spills, and tsunamis require coordinated scientiﬁc expertise across a range of disciplines to shape effective policies and protocols....Stoepler, Teresa Michelle; Ludwig, Kristin A.
Resilience by Design: Bringing Science to Policy Makers
No one questions that Los Angeles has an earthquake problem. The “Big Bend” of the San Andreas fault in southern California complicates the plate boundary between the North American and Pacific plates, creating a convergent component to the primarily transform boundary. The Southern California Earthquake Center Community Fault Model...Jones, Lucile M.
Location 5: Waves from Hurricane Irma reached the toe of the dunes in Ponte Vedra, causing the dune face to erode and leaving a steep scarp. The predicted probability of dune erosion for this location was 58%.
Location 6: The beach near Mayport illustrates the processes of overwash and dune erosion due to Hurricane Irma. Lower elevation dunes, roads, and walkways overwashed due to high surge and waves while the higher elevation dunes show scarping indicative of dune erosion. Predicted probabilities of dune erosion and overwash were 97% and 57% for this location. The predicted...
Location 7: Elevated water levels during Hurricane Irma overtopped the dunes in this section of Huguenot Park, transporting sand landward over the vegetation and into the lagoon. The predicted probability of overwash for this location was only 41%.
Location 8: The northern end of Little Talbot Island illustrates the processes of overwash and dune erosion due to Hurricane Irma. The low-lying sand spit near the top of the image overwashed due to high surge and waves while the dunes to the south show scarping indicative of dune erosion. Predicted probabilities of dune erosion and overwash were 98% and 73% for this location.
Title: The USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory - Research, monitoring, and the science of preparing society for low-probability, high-consequence events
- Volcanoes in the Cascade Range erupt twice per century on average, with eruptions often lasting for years.
- Although eruptions are generally not as high-consequence as large earthquakes, they are still high-consequence events ...
The view from one of two video cameras atop the Dream Inn hotel in Santa Cruz, California, that overlook the coast in northern Monterey Bay. This view, from camera 1, looks eastward over Santa Cruz Main Beach and boardwalk.
(Left to right) Danny Brothers (USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center [PCMSC]), Peter Haeussler (USGS Alaska Science Center), Maureen Walton (PCMSC), and Jamie Conrad (PCMSC) select sediment samples from cores collected along the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault. They are working in the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) laboratories in British Columbia.
USGS geophysicist Dr. Rufus Catchings, brings insights to the importance of diversity and perseverance in the earth science field.
USGS geophysicist Eric Geist fielded questions about tsunamis after a magnitude 7.9 earthquake off southern Alaska prompted a tsunami watch for the U.S. west coast.
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.
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.
USGS research geologist Curt Storlazzi led a workshop on “Understanding Flooding on Reef-lined Island Coastlines” (UFORIC) in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, from 5–7 February.
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.