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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: 170
Date published: January 24, 2018

Operational Total Water Level and Coastal Change Forecasts

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.

Contacts: Joseph Long
Date published: January 23, 2018
Status: Active

Scenario-Based Assessments for Coastal Change Hazard Forecasts

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...

Date published: January 23, 2018
Status: Completed

Living With Wildfires

Students at Art Center College of Design prototyped wildfire awareness campaigns after SAFRR exposed them to wildfire research and safety issues.

Date published: January 23, 2018
Status: Completed

ARkStorm Scenario

A modeled scenario of U.S. West Coast winter storm events induced by the formation of Atmospheric Rivers (AR) and capable of causing massive and devastating flooding.

Date published: January 23, 2018
Status: Completed

Partnership with YVO

Worked with USGS Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO) and outside academic partners to plan and stage a workshop bringing together volcano researchers, emergency managers, and social scientists to raise awareness about hazardous volcanoes in the southwest.

Date published: January 23, 2018
Status: Completed

Partnership with CalVO and Cal EMA

Worked with USGS California Volcano Observatory (CalVO) and California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to plan and stage a workshop to raise awareness, increase buy-in, and gather information for a volcano hazards annex to the California's state...

Date published: January 19, 2018
Status: Active

Storm-Induced Coastal Processes

Process studies examine the physical processes at work prior to, during, and following coastal storm events. Understanding the processes involved in coastal landform evolution will improve the accuracy of the assessments of storm-induced coastal change hazards. Research is part of the ...

Date published: January 19, 2018
Status: Completed

Partnership for Community Disaster Resilience

SAFRR is now a partner in the Los Angeles County Community Disaster Resilience project, a 3-year pilot collaboration to promote community resilience in the face of a wide range of public health emergencies.

Date published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

National Assessment of Storm-Induced Coastal Change Hazards

The overall objective is to improve real-time and scenario-based predictions of coastal change to support management of coastal infrastructure, resources, and safety. Research is part of the  National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards project.

Date published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

National Assessment of Coastal Vulnerability to Sea Level Rise

This research seeks to objectively determine the relative risks due to future sea-level rise for the U.S. Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico coasts. Research is part of National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards project. 

Date published: January 18, 2018
Status: Completed

Debris Flow and Wildfire Evacuation Messaging

What persuades someone to heed a debris flow or wildfire evacuation warning? SAFRR partners in emergency management are especially interested in the results of this study, now underway with Columbia's Center for Research on Environmental Decisions.

Date published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

Long-Term Coastal Change

Goals of this project include developing and improving coastal-change assessments and supporting long-term planning and decision making to ensure sustainable coastal economies, infrastructure, and ecosystems. Research is part of the National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards...

Filter Total Items: 99
Date published: March 4, 2016

LANDFIRE Data Distribution

Map interface to view and download LANDFIRE data sets, receive alerts and notifications.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Current Alerts for U.S. Volcanoes

Volcano-alert notifications are produced by Volcano Observatory scientists based on analysis of data from monitoring networks, direct observations, and satellite sensors. They are issued for both increasing and decreasing volcanic activity and include text about the nature of the unrest or eruption and about potential or current hazards and likely outcomes.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Volcano Notification Service (VNS)

The Volcano Notification Service (VNS) is a free service that sends you notification emails about volcanic activity happening at U.S. monitored volcanoes. You can customize the VNS to deliver notifications for certain volcanoes or a range of volcanoes, and you can also choose the notification types you want to receive.

Filter Total Items: 1,759
Year Published: 2016

Geologic context of recurring slope lineae in Melas and Coprates Chasmata, Mars

One of the major Mars discoveries of recent years is the existence of recurring slope lineae (RSL), which suggests that liquid water occurs on or near the surface of Mars today. These dark and narrow features emerge from steep, rocky exposures and incrementally grow, fade, and reform on a seasonal basis and are detected in images from the High...

Chojnacki, Matthew; McEwen, Alfred; Dundas, Colin M.; Ojha, Lujendra; Urso, Anna; Sutton, Sarah
Chojnacki, M., A. McEwen, C. Dundas, L. Ojha, A. Urso, and S. Sutton (2016), Geologic context of recurring slope lineae in Melas and Coprates Chasmata,Mars, J. Geophys. Res. Planets, 121, doi:10.1002/2015JE004991.

Year Published: 2016

Composition and structure of the shallow subsurface of Ceres revealed by crater morphology

Before NASA’s Dawn mission, the dwarf planet Ceres was widely believed to contain a substantial ice-rich layer below its rocky surface. The existence of such a layer has significant implications for Ceres’s formation, evolution, and astrobiological potential. Ceres is warmer than icy worlds in the outer Solar System and, if its shallow...

Bland, Michael T.; Carol A. Raymond; Schenk, Paul M.; Roger R. Fu; Thomas Kneisl; Hendrick Pasckert, Jan; Hiesinger, Harald; Frank Preusker; Ryan S. Park; Simone Marchi; Scott King; Castillo-Rogez, Julie C.; Christopher T. Russell
Bland, M. T. et al. Composition and structure of the shallow subsurface of Ceres revealed by crater morphology. Nat. Geo. 9, 538-542 (2016).

Year Published: 2016

Spectral nature of CO2 adsorption onto meteorites

Previous studies have identified carbon dioxide (CO2) on the surfaces of Jovian and Galilean satellites in regions of non-ice material that are too warm for CO2 ice to exist. CO2 ice would quickly sublimate if not retained by a less-volatile material. To ascertain what non-ice species may be responsible for stabilizing this CO2, we...

Berlanga, Genesis; Hibbitts, Charles A; Takir, Driss; Dyar, Draby M; Elizabeth Sklute

Year Published: 2016

Large wind ripples on Mars: A record of atmospheric evolution

Wind blowing over sand on Earth produces decimeter-wavelength ripples and hundred-meter– to kilometer-wavelength dunes: bedforms of two distinct size modes. Observations from the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveal that Mars hosts a third stable wind-driven bedform, with meter-scale wavelengths...

Lapotre, M G; Ewing, R C; Lamb, M P; Fischer, W W; Grotzinger, J P; Rubin, D M; Lewis, K W; Ballard, M; Day, Mitch D.; Gupta, S.; Banham, S G; Bridges, N T; Des Marais, D J; Fraeman, A A; Grant, J A; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Ming, D W; Mischna, M A; Rice, M S; Sumner, D A; Vasavada, A R; Yingst, R A
Science 01 Jul 2016: Vol. 353, Issue 6294, pp. 55-58 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf3206

Year Published: 2016

Esperance: Multiple episodes of aqueous alteration involving fracture fills and coatings at Matijevic Hill, Mars

In the search for evidence of past aqueous activity by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, fracture-filling veins and rock coatings are prime candidates for exploration. At one location within a segment of remaining rim material surrounding Endeavour Crater, a set of “boxwork” fractures in an outcrop called Esperance are filled by...

Clark, Benton C.; Morris, Richard V.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Farrand, William H.; Gellert, Ralf; Jolliff, Bradley L.; Arvidson, Raymond E.; Squyres, Steven W.; Mittelfehldt, David W.; Ming, Douglas W.; Yen, Albert S.
Clark, B. C. et al. (2016), Am. Mineralogist, in press.

Year Published: 2016

Planetary caves’ role in astronaut bases and the search for life

Planetary caves are practically everywhere. Scientists have identified more than 200 lunar and more than 2000 Martian cave-related features. They’ve also found vents and fissures associated with water ice plumes on Saturnian, Jovian, and Neptunian moons. Recently, primary vents of two possible cryovolcanoes were identified on Pluto.

Wynne, J. Judson; Titus, Timothy N.; Boston, Penelope J.
Wynne, J. J., T. Titus, P. J. Boston (2016), Planetary caves’ role in astronaut bases and the search for life, Eos, 97, doi:10.1029/2016EO047295. Published on 8 March 2016.

Year Published: 2016

High concentrations of manganese and sulfur in deposits on Murray Ridge, Endeavour Crater, Mars

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE images and Opportunity rover observations of the ~22 km wide Noachian age Endeavour Crater on Mars show that the rim and surrounding terrains were densely fractured during the impact crater-forming event. Fractures have also propagated upward into the overlying Burns formation sandstones. Opportunity’s...

Arvidson, Raymond E.; Squyres, Steven W.; Morris, Richard V.; Knoll, Andrew H.; Gellert, Ralf; Clark, Benton C.; Catalano, Jeffrey G.; Jolliff, Bradley L.; McLennan, Scott M.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; VanBommel, Scott; Mittelfehldt, David W.; Grotzinger, John P.; Guinness, Edward A.; Johnson, Jeffrey R.; Bell, James F.; Farrand, William H.; Stein, Nathan; Fox, Valerie K.; Golombek, Matthew P.; Hinkle, Margaret A. G.; Calvin, Wendy M.; de Souza, Paulo A.

Year Published: 2016

The potassic sedimentary rocks in Gale Crater, Mars, as seen by ChemCam Onboard Curiosity

The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity encountered potassium-rich clastic sedimentary rocks at two sites in Gale Crater, the waypoints Cooperstown and Kimberley. These rocks include several distinct meters thick sedimentary outcrops ranging from fine sandstone to conglomerate, interpreted to record an ancient fluvial or fluvio-deltaic...

Le Deit, Laetitia; Mangold, Nicolas; Forni, Olivier; Cousin, Agnes; Lasue, Jeremie; Schröder, Susanne; Wiens, Roger C.; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Fabre, Cecile; Stack, Katherine M.; Anderson, Ryan; Blaney, Diana L.; Clegg, Samuel M.; Dromart, Gilles; Fisk, Martin; Gasnault, Olivier; Grotzinger, John P.; Gupta, Sanjeev; Lanza, Nina; Le Mouélic, Stephane; Maurice, Sylvestre; McLennan, Scott M.; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Nachon, Marion; Newsom, Horton E.; Payre, Valerie; Rapin, William; Rice, Melissa; Sautter, Violaine; Treiman, Allan H.

Year Published: 2016

Fluvial erosion as a mechanism for crater modification on Titan

There are few identifiable impact craters on Titan, especially in the polar regions. One explanation for this observation is that the craters are being destroyed through fluvial processes, such as weathering, mass wasting, fluvial incision and deposition. In this work, we use a landscape evolution model to determine whether or not this is a viable...

Neish, Catherine D.; Molaro, J. L.; Lora, J. M.; Howard, A.D.; Kirk, Randolph L.; Schenk, P.; Bray, V.J.; Lorenz, R.D.

Year Published: 2016

Nature, distribution, and origin of Titan’s Undifferentiated Plains

The Undifferentiated Plains on Titan, first mapped by Lopes et al. (Lopes, R.M.C. et al., 2010. Icarus, 205, 540–588), are vast expanses of terrains that appear radar-dark and fairly uniform in Cassini Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images. As a result, these terrains are often referred to as “blandlands”. While the interpretation of several other...

Lopes, Rosaly; Malaska, M. J.; Solomonidou, A.; Le, Gall A.; Janssen, M.A.; Neish, Catherine D.; Turtle, E.P.; Birch, S. P. D.; Hayes, A.G.; Radebaugh, J.; Coustenis, A.; Schoenfeld, A.; Stiles, B.W.; Kirk, Randolph L.; Mitchell, K.L.; Stofan, E.R.; Lawrence, K. J.

Year Published: 2016

The tectonics of Titan: Global structural mapping from Cassini RADAR

The Cassini RADAR mapper has imaged elevated mountain ridge belts on Titan with a linear-to-arcuate morphology indicative of a tectonic origin. Systematic geomorphologic mapping of the ridges in Synthetic Aperture RADAR (SAR) images reveals that the orientation of ridges is globally E–W and the ridges are more common near the equator than the...

Liu, Zac Yung-Chun; Radebaugh, Jani; Harris, Ron A.; Christiansen, Eric H.; Neish, Catherine D.; Kirk, Randolph L.; Lorenz, Ralph D.

Year Published: 2016

A revised surface age for the North Polar Layered Deposits of Mars

The North Polar Layered Deposits (NPLD) of Mars contain a complex stratigraphy that has been suggested to retain a record of past eccentricity- and obliquity-forced climate changes. The surface accumulation rate in the current climate can be constrained by the crater retention age. We scale NPLD crater diameters to account for icy target strength...

Landis, Margaret E.; Byrne, Shane; Daubar, Ingrid J.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Dundas, Colin M.
Landis, M. E., S. Byrne, I. J. Daubar, K. E. Herkenhoff, and C. M. Dundas (2016), A revised surface age for the North Polar Layered Deposits of Mars, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, doi:10.1002/2016GL068434.

Filter Total Items: 2,249
Lava spattering from a cone
June 24, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Spatter Cone (Fissure 8)

The spatter cone at fissure 8 is now about 55 m (180 ft) tall. 

...
subsidence shown as an animation
June 24, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Animated GIF of Crater Subsidence

This animated GIF shows a timelapse sequence consisting of one image per day between June 13 and 24. The photos were taken from the southern caldera

...
Small plume cloud from a crater
June 24, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Small Halema`uma`u Eruption (June 24, 2018)

On June 24 a small ash-poor steam plume rose above the Halema‘uma‘u crater rim following another collapse explosion event at 4:12 p.m. HST (image taken at 4:27 p.m.).

...
Crater view
June 23, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Halema`uma`u Crater Collapse (June 23, 2018)

On June 23, 2018 at 4:32 p.m. HST after approximately 17 hours of elevated seismicity, a collapse explosion occurred at the summit if Kīlauea. The energy released by the

...
View of Halema`uma`u crater
June 22, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Halema‘uma‘u Crater

Halema'uma'u crater at 8:30 a.m., view is toward the south. Several benches are clearly visible within the crater. The benches are sections of the former crater rim and adjacent Kīlauea 

...
Aerial of lava channel
June 22, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 Lava Channel

Early morning view of the open lava channelbeginning about 5 km (3.1 miles) from Fissure 8. The channel bends 90 degrees to the south (right) on the far side of

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Lava fountaining with lava channel flowing away
June 22, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 Lava Fountain

Lava continues to erupt at a high rate from 

...
June 21, 2018

USGS Status Update of Kīlauea Volcano - June 21, 2018

USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Status of Kīlauea Volcano, 10:00 a.m. HST, June 21, 2018. Liz Westby, USGS Geologist

Aerial of lava channel
June 21, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Wide Lava Channel

At a wide point in the channelized lava flow, a ropy crust has formed over the more fluid 

...
June 21, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Lava Boats in Fissure 8 Channel

Geologists captured this time-lapse video of the perched lava channel issuing from 

...
Filter Total Items: 343
Date published: October 18, 2017

Are You Ready to ShakeOut on October 19?

Do you know what to do the moment the ground starts shaking? Drop, Cover, and Hold On!

Date published: October 18, 2017

EarthWord–Gas Hydrate

No, this EarthWord isn’t how natural gas quenches its thirst-it just sounds like it...

Date published: October 10, 2017

USGS Tracks Evolution of a Fire Island Hurricane-Made Breach

A study finds that although the “wilderness breach” created by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 has reached a relatively stable size and location, the channel and shoals will keep changing in response to weather. Related research shows the breach isn’t likely to increase storm-tide flooding in Great South Bay.

Date published: October 6, 2017

Hurricane Nate Will Affect Most Gulf Beaches, USGS Projects

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 2 pm Saturday, October 7. For the latest graphic showing USGS predictions of the sandy coastal areas likely to be affected by Hurricane Nate, click here.

More information about USGS science in response to Hurricane Nate is at www.usgs.gov/nate

Date published: September 26, 2017

Hurricane Maria expected to alter North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland Beaches

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Maria, visit the USGS Hurricane Maria page at https://www.usgs.gov/maria.

Date published: September 22, 2017

USGS Continues Response to Four Hurricanes

As thousands of people remain displaced by or are recovering from one of the four hurricanes that have affected the United States the past month, the U.S. Geological Survey is in the field providing science that will help with recovery from these historic hurricanes and with preparing for the next storm.

Date published: September 22, 2017

USGS Tidal Network Monitoring Elevated Water Levels Off Hampton Roads

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Jose, visit the USGS Hurricane Jose page at https://www.usgs.gov/jose.

Date published: September 19, 2017

Magnitude 7.1 Earthquake in Mexico

The USGS has up-to-date details on the September 19, 2017 event.

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Date published: September 19, 2017

More than a dozen USGS Storm-Tide Sensors Deployed for Hurricane Jose

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Jose, visit the USGS Hurricane Jose page at https://www.usgs.gov/jose.

Date published: September 19, 2017

Florida Streamgages Measure Record Peaks Following Hurricane Irma

Editor’s note: this news release will be updated online with more information on the streamgage records being set in Florida as it becomes available

Date published: September 18, 2017

USGS field crews in Puerto Rico are preparing for Hurricane Maria

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Maria, visit the USGS Hurricane Maria page at https://www.usgs.gov/maria.

Date published: September 18, 2017

USGS Teams Up with Jackson Hole Mountain Resort to Research Teton Fault

Just after Labor Day, U.S. Geological Survey field crews began digging a trench within the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort ski area, on the lower reaches of Buffalo Bowl.