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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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Scientist collects samples from a temporary wooden platform in a New Jersey salt marsh
Date Published: August 19, 2014

The Estuarine Physical Response to Storms Project will assess the estuarine and adjacent wetland  responses of three Atlantic lagoonal estuaries to major storm events such as Hurricane Sandy. The estuarine systems include the Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary, the Chincoteague Bay, and Jamaica Bay, NY. Evaluations of sediment transport, geomorphic change, circulation, wetland stability....

Tsunami Scenario
Date Published: 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.

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Year Published: 1989

A Direct Method for Calculating Instrument Noise Levels in Side-by-Side Seismometer Evaluations

INTRODUCTION The subject of determining the inherent system noise levels present in modem broadband closed loop seismic sensors has been an evolving topic ever since closed loop systems became available. Closed loop systems are unique in that the system noise can not be determined via a blocked mass test as in older conventional open loop...

Holcomb, L. Gary
A Direct Method for Calculating Instrument Noise Levels in Side-by-Side Seismometer Evaluations; 1989; OFR; 89-214; Holcomb, L. Gary

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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Image of USGS Scientific Programmer, Tarandeep Kalra sharing science at the 2017 Woods Hole Science Stroll
August 12, 2017
Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Scientific Programmer, Tarandeep Kalra, talking to children about oceanographic modeling at the 2017 Woods Hole Science Stroll
Image of USGS drone pilot and interested bystanders at the 2017 Woods Hole Science Stroll
August 12, 2017
USGS drone pilot, Emily Sturdivant, wows the crowd at the 2017 Woods Hole Science Stroll
2017 (approx.)
Curt Storlazzi of the USGS explains how the water cycle pulled him into oceanography, and how his personal interests parallel his profession.
July 25, 2017
An Instagram Story posted to the @USGS Instagram account about Matt Patrick, Research Geologist at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO).
Two same-size items: Pack of playing cards (top) and circuit board with fan and electronic components (bottom).
July 18, 2017
The small computer, or “micro-controller,” at the bottom of this photo controls the operation of two video cameras mounted on the 10-story Dream Inn hotel in Santa Cruz, California. The cameras take 10-minute videos of Santa Cruz Main Beach and Cowells Beach every half hour during daylight hours ( view the most recent images ). The micro-controller, mounted near the cameras in a weatherproof box...
July 14, 2017
The USGS and its cooperators have installed debris-flow monitoring equipment in the largest drainage basin at Chalk Cliffs, CO. Data collection at this site supports research on the hydrologic factors that control debris-flow initiation, entrainment, and flow dynamics. This debris flow took place July 19, 2017. The video includes a single view of an instrumented reach of the channel. A larger...
Photograph of California coastal Highway 1 looking north toward Big Sur.
July 12, 2017
Near San Simeon, view looks north up Highway 1 along the California coast toward Big Sur.
Aerial photograph looking from an airplane down on the Big Sur Landslide in California.
July 7, 2017
USGS scientists continue to monitor the slide by collecting imagery every couple of weeks, weather permitting. Pilot Bob Van Wagenen, contracted through the Department of the Interior’s Office of Aviation Services, takes air photos for Jon Warrick’s Big Sur Landslide team, flying out of the Watsonville Municipal Airport in a Cessna 182R. He uses a camera-plus-GPS system designed by USGS ocean...
Image in mostly black and gray tones showing distant view of beach stretching from bottom left to upper right of photo.
June 20, 2017
“Variance” image produced from video shot at Madeira Beach, Florida, on June 20, 2017. The more the light intensity changes at a given spot, or “pixel,” during the video, the brighter the value assigned to that pixel. Motion tends to produce changes in light intensity. Note bright bands parallel to shore where waves were breaking. Researchers are using these and other video images to improve...
Distant view of sandy beach stretching from bottom left to upper right of photo
June 20, 2017
Snapshot, or first frame of from a 17-minute video shot on June 20, 2017, in Madeira Beach, Florida. Researchers at the USGS are using these and other video images to improve understanding and computer modeling of beach processes, especially those that change the coast. See also, a time-averaged image derived from the same video .
Distant view of sandy beach stretching from bottom left to upper right of photo.
June 20, 2017
Time-averaged image, or “timex,” created by averaging the intensity of light recorded at each spot, or “pixel,” during a 17-minute video taken at Madeira Beach, Florida, on June 20, 2017. Blurred white bands show where waves are breaking. Offshore band shows location of a sand bar. Line between wet and dry sand shows the maximum height on the beach reached by the waves (“runup”). Researchers at...
Piles of seaweed fragments on sand beach. Low sand cliff on left with broken walkway. Multistory buildings, clouds in distance.
June 7, 2017
Photograph taken June 7, 2016, one day after Tropical Storm Colin, on Sunset Beach in the town of St. Pete Beach, Florida. Storm waves eroded the beach and dune, producing a cliff-like feature called a beach scarp.
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Satellite image of Hurricane Harvey
August 24, 2017

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Harvey, visit the USGS Hurricane Harvey page.

Storm-tide sensors are being installed at key locations along the Texas Gulf Coast by the U.S. Geological Survey in advance of Hurricane Harvey.

USGS visual identity - green
August 14, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey awarded approximately $4.9 million this week to six universities and a university-governed non-profit, to support transitioning the west coast “ShakeAlert” earthquake early warning system into a production system.

House damage in central Oklahoma from a magnitude 5.6 earthquake in 2011
August 11, 2017

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

snow-capped volcano, Mount Hood on the horizon, with city of Portland, Oregon in foreground
August 8, 2017

Join volcano scientists from around the world during scientific meeting and associated public event in Portland.

Earthquake Catalog Map Results Example
August 8, 2017

After the next significant earthquake, many sources will be disseminating information from a variety of accounts, tools and services.

A gas plume arising from Augustine Volcano during it's eruptive phase 2005-06.
August 7, 2017

True or False:  Lightning that takes place during a volcanic eruption is the same as lightning that occurs during a thunderstorm?

Image: USGS Logo
July 31, 2017

A new U.S. Geological Survey-led study suggests that earthquake-related deformation just below the Earth's surface can be quite different from how it is expressed at the surface.

Girls points to a location on a map laying on the ground.
July 27, 2017

MEDIA ADVISORY

Twenty-five middle-school girls from 11 cities in Washington and Oregon are participating in the third annual “GeoGirls” outdoor volcano science program at Mount St. Helens, jointly organized by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Mount St. Helens Institute.

Photo of the Mud Creed landslide near Big Sur, California
July 14, 2017

Scientists from the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center mapped the offshore extent of the Mud Creek landslide on California’s Big Sur coast on July 11, 2017.

3D flyover view of Mud Creek slide
July 11, 2017

The Mud Creek landslide on California’s Big Sur coast keeps eroding.

USGS: Science for a changing world
July 7, 2017

Media Alert: Reporters wishing to accompany USGS scientists in the field the week of July 10 should contact Bill Coon, 607-220-6280 or wcoon@usgs.gov by 5 pm EDT Friday, July 7.