Mission Areas

Natural Hazards

Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

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
Filter Total Items: 71
Tsunami Messaging Image
Date Published: September 2, 2016

SAFRR brings together tsunami and communication experts to discuss potential changes to safety messages, based on improved scientific understanding of Hawaii's tsunami hazard.

Tsunami Awareness Image
Date Published: September 1, 2016

Students at Art Center College of Design learned about tsunamis from SAFRR partners in natural science, social science, and emergency management, then designed a fun, engaging, multi-faceted awareness campaign.

homes damaged by hurricane Sandy on Fire Island, New York
Date Published: April 13, 2016

Scientists perform a range of studies that document, assess, and model coastal change, risk, and vulnerability. Studies include historical shoreline change, the geologic structure and history of coastal regions, sediment supply and transport, sea-level rise, and how extreme storm events affect rates and impacts of coastal change.

Devastation of the coastal city of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Date Published: April 13, 2016

We study the distribution and hazard potential of coastal and submarine events such as earthquakes and submarine landslides and associated tsunami potential, hurricane induced coastal inundation, extreme storms, sea-level rise and oil and gas spills. We also model development to help evaluate and forecast coastal hazard probability and occurrence.

Methane hydrate
Date Published: April 13, 2016

Our scientists conduct research studies focused on geologic mapping, sampling and understanding of mineral and energy resources and studies of the geologic setting and processes to inform renewable energy development offshore.

crustose coralline algae
Date Published: April 13, 2016

We bring together multidisciplinary expertise focused on developing tools and models to improve understanding of how healthy ecosystems function as well as how they respond to environmental changes and human impacts including ecosystem restoration. Research studies address coral reef, coastal wetland, benthic habitat and groundwater resources.

Satellite image of Hurricane Sandy
Date Published: April 12, 2016

USGS scientists at the Wetland and Aquatic Research Center and other offices received funding for studies related to habitat change, storm surge and ecological modeling, migratory bird impacts, and other topics of interest. The Hurricane Sandy Spatial Data Mapping Application showcases the data and analytical products resulting from these studies.

Mount Rainier seen from Puyallup, Washington
Date Published: March 17, 2016

The Volcano Hazards Program develops long-range volcano hazards assessments. These includes a summary of the specific hazards, their impact areas, and a map showing ground-hazard zones. The assessments are also critical for planning long-term land-use and effective emergency-response measures, especially when a volcano begins to show signs of unrest.

HayWired Scenario ShakeMap
Date Published: March 15, 2016

The HayWired project is an earthquake scenario currently underway to model and study impacts on the San Francisco Bay area from a Mw 7.05 earthquake on the Hayward fault.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 7, 2016

View recent events or search for past earthquakes. Optimized for mobile and desktop.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 7, 2016

View current advisories, events, and what is going on in the news.

Redoubt Volcano viewed from the northwest following the April 4, 2009 eruption (Event 19). Steam rises from the summit crater, p
Date Published: March 7, 2016

There are 169 potentially active volcanoes in the U.S., and the USGS Volcano Hazards Program provides warnings of unrest and eruption for these volcanoes. We offer volcano monitoring data, provide maps and geologic information, conduct research how volcanoes work, and engage with community education and outreach.

Filter Total Items: 59
Illustration of bathymetry hillshade offshore of Oregon shows the contours of the seafloor in shades of gray.
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.

Mpa shows areas along the California coast where coastal storm modeling system implementations are completed
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.

Hurricane Sandy Data Viewer - Olga
February 23, 2017

Data Viewer—Post-Hurricane Sandy Lidar Elevations and Features

This viewer provides visualization for and accessibility to USGS lidar data obtained following Hurricane Sandy (October 2012). Access and download data and publications that include the source lidar data and the coastal dune and shoreline data needed to examine coastal change and erosion hazards.

USGS science for a changing world logo
April 27, 2016

Download Real-Time Data

Download real-time and definitive data and indices from USGS geomagnetic observatories.

Screenshot of Real-Time Geomagnetism Plots
April 27, 2016

Real-Time Display of Geomagnetism Plots

Real-time HEZF data from USGS geomagnetic observatories with satellite data used to fill gaps.

Screenshot of  Real-Time Dst Display website
April 27, 2016

Real-Time Disturbance Storm Time (Dst) Display

Real-time Dst data from USGS observatories as well as other world partners.

Fish on seafloor, Offshore Northern California
April 18, 2016

Coastal and Marine Geology Video and Photography Portal

This portal contains U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) video and photography of the seafloor off of coastal California and Massachusetts, and aerial imagery of the coastline along segments of the Gulf of Mexico and mid-Atlantic coasts. These data were collected as part of several USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program Seafloor Mapping projects and Hurricane and Extreme Storm research.

Satellite image of Hurricane Sandy
April 12, 2016

Hurricane Sandy Spatial Data Map

The Hurricane Sandy Spatial Data Mapping Application showcases data and analytical products from Aerial reconnaissance imagery; Environmental Contaminants; and Reproductive success of piper plovers.

Tephra and gas eruption from Mount St. Helens crater with dome
March 17, 2016

Volcano Monitoring Data

Many volcanoes in the U.S. are monitored by arrays of several instruments that detect subtle movements within the earth and changes in gas and water chemistry. The Volcano Hazards Program streams this data to its Volcano Observatories and makes it available on volcano-specific websites.

Lidar data of the Gulf Islands, Florida
March 17, 2016

Coastal and Marine Geoscience Data System

Site provides access to Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP) data via Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards services; serving data to GeoMapApp and Virtual Ocean 2-D and 3-D earth browsing tools, for data integration, visualization and analysis; and metadata catalogs for data discovery.

Colored, shaded multibeam data, offshore of Monterey, CA.
March 15, 2016

California State Waters Map Series GIS Data and Metadata

GIS data files for map areas offshore of California are listed with a brief description, a small image, and links to the metadata files and the downloadable data files.

Filter Total Items: 59
Year Published: 2014

Using science to strengthen our Nation's resilience to tomorrow's challenges: understanding and preparing for coastal impacts

Hurricane Sandy caused unprecedented damage across some of the most densely populated coastal areas of the northeastern United States. The costly, landscape-altering destruction left in the wake of this storm is a stark reminder of our Nation’s need to become more resilient as we inevitably face future coastal hazards. As our Nation recovers from...

Simmons, Dale L.; Andersen, Matthew E.; Dean, Teresa A.; Focazio, Michael J.; Fulton, John W.; Haines, John W.; Mason, Jr., Robert R.; Tihansky, Ann B.; Young, John A.
Attribution: Natural Hazards
Using science to strengthen our Nation's resilience to tomorrow's challenges: understanding and preparing for coastal impacts; 2014; FS; 2014-3062; Simmons, Dale L.; Andersen, Matthew E.; Dean, Teresa A.; Focazio, Michael J.; Fulton, John W.; Haines, John W.; Mason, Robert R., Jr.; Tihansky, Ann B.; Young, John A.

Year Published: 2014

Modification of the Quaternary stratigraphic framework of the inner-continental shelf by Holocene marine transgression: An example offshore of Fire Island, New York

The inner-continental shelf off Fire Island, New York was mapped in 2011 using interferometric sonar and high-resolution chirp seismic-reflection systems. The area mapped is approximately 50 km long by 8 km wide, extending from Moriches Inlet to Fire Island Inlet in water depths ranging from 8 to 32 m. The morphology of this inner-...

Schwab, William C.; Baldwin, Wayne E.; Denny, Jane F.; Hapke, Cheryl J.; Gayes, Paul T.; List, Jeffrey; Warner, John C.
William C. Schwab, Wayne E. Baldwin, Jane F. Denny, Cheryl J. Hapke, Paul T. Gayes, Jeffrey H. List, John C. Warner, Modification of the Quaternary stratigraphic framework of the inner-continental shelf by Holocene marine transgression: An example offshore of Fire Island, New York, Marine Geology, Volume 355, 1 September 2014, Pages 346-360, ISSN 0025-3227, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2014.06.011.

Year Published: 2014

ShakeAlert—An earthquake early warning system for the United States west coast

Earthquake early warning systems use earthquake science and the technology of monitoring systems to alert devices and people when shaking waves generated by an earthquake are expected to arrive at their location. The seconds to minutes of advance warning can allow people and systems to take actions to protect life and property from destructive...

Burkett, Erin R.; Given, Douglas D.; Jones, Lucile M.
Burkett, E.R., Given, D.G., and Jones, L.M., 2014, ShakeAlert—An earthquake early warning system for the United States West Coast (ver. 1.2, February 2017): U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2014–3083, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20143083.

Year Published: 2013

Hurricane Sandy science plan: coastal topographic and bathymetric data to support hurricane impact assessment and response

Hurricane Sandy devastated some of the most heavily populated eastern coastal areas of the Nation. With a storm surge peaking at more than 19 feet, the powerful landscape-altering destruction of Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of why the Nation must become more resilient to coastal hazards. In response to this natural disaster, the U.S....

Stronko, Jakob M.
Hurricane Sandy science plan: coastal topographic and bathymetric data to support hurricane impact assessment and response; 2013; FS; 2013-3099; Stronko, Jakob M.

Year Published: 2013

Hurricane Sandy science plan: impacts of environmental quality and persisting contaminant exposure

Hurricane Sandy devastated some of the most heavily populated eastern coastal areas of the Nation. With a storm surge peaking at more than 19 feet, the powerful landscape-altering destruction of Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of why the Nation must become more resilient to coastal hazards. In response to this natural disaster, the U.S....

Caskie, Sarah A.
Hurricane Sandy science plan: impacts of environmental quality and persisting contaminant exposure; 2013; FS; 2013-3091; Caskie, Sarah A.

Year Published: 2013

Hurricane Sandy science plan: impacts to coastal ecosystems, habitats, and fish and wildlife

Hurricane Sandy devastated some of the most heavily populated eastern coastal areas of the Nation. With a storm surge peaking at more than 19 feet, the powerful landscape-altering destruction of Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of why the Nation must become more resilient to coastal hazards. In response to this natural disaster, the U.S....

Campbell, Warren H.
Hurricane Sandy science plan: impacts to coastal ecosystems, habitats, and fish and wildlife; 2013; FS; 2013-3096; Campbell, Warren H.

Year Published: 2013

Hurricane Sandy science plan: coastal impact assessments

Hurricane Sandy devastated some of the most heavily populated eastern coastal areas of the Nation. With a storm surge peaking at more than 19 feet, the powerful landscape-altering destruction of Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of why the Nation must become more resilient to coastal hazards. In response to this natural disaster, the U.S....

Stronko, Jakob M.
Hurricane Sandy science plan: coastal impact assessments; 2013; FS; 2013-3090; Stronko, Jakob M.

Year Published: 2013

Hurricane Sandy science plan: impacts of storm surge, including disturbed estuarine and bay hydrology

Hurricane Sandy devastated some of the most heavily populated eastern coastal areas of the Nation. With a storm surge peaking at more than 19 feet, the powerful landscape-altering destruction of Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of why the Nation must become more resilient to coastal hazards. In response to this natural disaster, the U.S....

Caskie, Sarah A.
Hurricane Sandy science plan: impacts of storm surge, including disturbed estuarine and bay hydrology; 2013; FS; 2013-3092; Caskie, Sarah A.

Year Published: 2013

Hurricane Sandy science plan: New York

Hurricane Sandy is a stark reminder of why the Nation must become more resilient to coastal hazards. More than one-half of the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of a coast, and this number is increasing. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is one of the largest providers of geologic and hydrologic information in the world. Federal, State, and...

Ransom, Clarice N.
Hurricane Sandy science plan: New York; 2013; FS; 2013-3089; Ransom, Clarice N.

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

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.

Filter Total Items: 1,452
Erika Lentz interview on Trunk River Beach, Falmouth. MA
January 10, 2018
Research geologist, Erika Lentz, interviewed on Trunk River Beach, Falmouth, MA, by WBZ meterologist, Danielle Niles, about the future impacts of sea-level rise
January 4, 2018
After a month, the wildfires of Southern California are nearly contained. Landsat 8 imagery shows the dramatic burn scars left behind. At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface. USGS EROS Center ( https://eros.usgs.gov/ )
study site and model for coastal karst subterranean estuary
2017 (approx.)
Cenote Bang, a component of the Ox Bel Ha cave network study site and model for coastal karst subterranean estuary
Video camera atop a hotel in Madeira Beach, Florida.
2017 (approx.)
Video camera atop a hotel in Madeira Beach, Florida.
2017 (approx.)
Seismometers record vibrations from a wide assortment of ground motion events. Each event type has a distinctive ground-motion signal with unique frequency and amplitude—its own seismic signature. Seismologists are trained to identify the source of seismic events seen on a webicorder based on its ‘seismic signature’. Although most ground vibrations have a frequency too low for human hearing, we...
Detailed subsection of an icy scarp on Mars
2017 (approx.)
For the first time, high-resolution images show the three-dimensional structure of massive ice deposits on Mars. This high-resolution NASA HiRISE image shows a detailed subsection of an icy scarp on Mars in enhanced color.
Lake Powell
2017 (approx.)
The USGS Utah Water Science Center and the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center conducted a collaborative geophysical research effort within Lake Powell, UT-AZ to map the bathymetry of the lake and characterize shallow sediment deposition near the mouths of the San Juan and Colorado Rivers.
Three panels. Left: overhead view of ocean and breakers. Middle and right: Seafloor maps: dark blue deep, light blue shallow.
2017 (approx.)
Estimated and measured ocean depths (bathymetry) from Madeira Beach, Florida. Each panel shows same geographic area. m = meters. Left: Snapshot transformed from original oblique camera view to overhead “map” view. Middle: Bathymetry estimated by applying cBathy algorithm to July 2017 video imagery. Right: Bathymetry measured with sonar in February 2017. Despite being based on data collected 5...
Image of USGS scientist, Neil Ganju, at the Woods Hole Science Stroll outreach event
2017 (approx.)
Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Oceanographer, Neil Ganju, sharing science at the 2017 Woods Hole Science Stroll outreach event
Overview of 4 terrain models
2017 (approx.)
Overview of the 4 Continuous Bathymetry and Elevation Models of the Massachusetts Coastal Zone and Continental Shelf
2017 (approx.)
In March 2008, a new volcanic vent opened within Halema‘uma‘u, a crater at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park on the Island of Hawaiʻi. This new vent is one of two ongoing eruptions on the volcano. The other is on Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone, where vents have been erupting nearly nonstop since 1983. The duration of these simultaneous summit and rift zone eruptions on...
2017 (approx.)
USGS scientists, along with collaborators from the Marine Biological Laboratory, deployed a carbon flux tower on Great Marsh in 2017. Great Marsh is a 3800 acre salt marsh complex behind the Sandy Neck barrier beach in Barnstable, Cape Cod. This ecosystem is home to a variety of animals, including deer, fox, owls, and the rare Diamondback terrapin. The carbon flux tower monitors the exchange of...
Filter Total Items: 281
Image: 2014 Landslide in Washington State
November 30, 2017

"Gravity Never Sleeps":  The USGS collaborates with community partners for a series of briefings on Capitol Hill to discuss national landslide hazards.  

Image: Coral reefs, Kwajalein Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands
November 29, 2017

At the request of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP), USGS geologist Curt Storlazzi chaired a session at a conference on issues affecting DoD installations.

Map of Alaska’s north coast showing color-coded rates of shoreline erosion, Inset: Polar bear on Barter Island.
November 28, 2017

The USGS updated its shoreline-change rates for Alaska’s north coast between the U.S.-Canadian Border and Icy Cape as part of the National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards.

Image shows a cave diver in a flooded cave
November 28, 2017

In the underground rivers and flooded caves of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, where Mayan lore described a fantastical underworld, scientists have found a cryptic world in its own right.

CT scans and photographs of coral collected from reef near polluted groundwater seeps. One set shows more erosion than the other
November 27, 2017

Coral reefs already stressed by ocean acidification are particularly vulnerable to polluted groundwater, according to a recent study by USGS geologist Nancy Prouty and colleagues.

Map showing the epicenter of the November 12, 2017 earthquake Iran/Iraq border
November 12, 2017

The USGS has up-to-date details on the November 12, 2017 event.

Distant view of sandy yellow beach stretching from bottom left to upper right of photo.
November 8, 2017

Coastal communities count on beaches for recreation and for protection from large waves, but beaches are vulnerable to threats such as erosion by storms and flooding. Whether beaches grow, shrink, or even disappear depends in part on what happens just offshore. How do features like shifting sandbars affect waves, currents, and the movement of sand from the beach to offshore and back?

USGS: Science for a changing world
November 8, 2017

In the public interest, and in accordance with FAA regulations, the USGS is announcing this low-level airborne project. Your assistance in informing the local communities is appreciated.

3D map of Mud Creek slide derived from video footage collected by drone on October 12, 2017.
November 6, 2017

On October 12, USGS drones collected video footage of the Mud Creek landslide, which buried California State Highway 1 under a third-of-a-mile-wide mass of rock and dirt on May 20.

Hurricane Hole, St. John, US Virgin Islands
October 25, 2017

Coral reef expert Caroline Rogers was the only USGS employee in the Virgin Islands when the Category 5 storm hit.

Drill Rig at the Mt. Elbert Test Site
October 20, 2017

In the past decade, the development of the Barnett, Eagle Ford, Marcellus, and other shales has dominated the national consciousness regarding natural gas. But in Alaska, another form of natural gas has been the focus of research for decades—methane hydrate.