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: 113
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...

Date published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

HayWired Scenario

The HayWired scenario depicts a scientifically realistic earthquake sequence, and its cascading impacts, that all starts with a magnitude 7 earthquake on the Hayward Fault. The scenario emphasizes understanding impacts from modern society's lifeline interdependencies and reliance on the Internet. 

New HayWired results will be announced on April 18, 2018.

Contacts: Kenneth Hudnut
Date published: January 17, 2018
Status: Active

National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards

Research to identify areas that are most vulnerable to coastal change hazards including beach and dune erosion, long-term shoreline change, and sea-level rise.

Date published: January 17, 2018
Status: Completed

ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario

A modeled probable earthquake scenario based on the most comprehensive scientific research analysis done to understand the impacts and implications of a hypothetical but realistic 7.8 earthquake on the San Andreas Fault. Pairing robust science with state-of-the-art modeling and visualization tools makes ShakeOut an accessible and effective message, in scenario form, to enhance community...

Date published: January 16, 2018
Status: Completed

Prototype Tsunami Awareness Campaign

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. Prototype Tsunami Awareness Campaign

Date published: January 10, 2018
Status: Active

Integrating Mapping and Modeling to Support the Restoration of Bird Nesting Habitat at Breton Island National Wildlife Refuge

In response to storms, reduced sediment supply, and sea-level rise, Breton Island is rapidly deteriorating, impacting the available nesting habitat of endangered seabirds. This study provides critical information regarding the physical environment of the island system. Research is part of the ...

Date published: January 10, 2018
Status: Active

Geologic Evolution of Cat Island, Mississippi

The geologic evolution of Cat Island has been influenced by deltaic, lagoonal/estuarine, tidal, and oceanographic processes, resulting in a complex stratigraphic record.

Date published: December 13, 2017
Status: Active

Madeira Beach Video Remote Sensing

Video observations of the coast are used to monitor a range of coastal processes, for example changes in the shoreline position, both seasonally and due to long-term effects such as sea-level rise, and instances of beach and dune erosion during extreme storm events. Research is part of the ...

Date published: December 7, 2017
Status: Active

Geologic and Morphologic Evolution of Coastal Margins

A combination of geophysics, sediment sampling, and chronology techniques are used to characterize the regional geomorphologic response of coastal systems to environmental changes.

Date published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

Fire Island Coastal Change

Fire Island Coastal Change research is primarily focused on understanding the long- and short-term behavior of the Fire Island barrier island system.

Date published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

USGS Flood Inundation Mapper Usability Study

Making user-friendly interfaces.

Filter Total Items: 93
Date published: October 15, 2017

Magnetic Disturbance Events

View reports on magnetic disturbance events.

Date published: September 20, 2017

Hurricane Jose 2017 Event Support Map

Track hurricane data and USGS resources.

Date published: September 19, 2017

Interpretive data release for Oregon Outer Continental Shelf Seafloor Mapping: Selected Lease Blocks Relevant to Renewable Energy

This data release includes the results of analysis of video data conducted by Oregon State University and the geo-habitat interpretation of multibeam echo sounder (MBES) data conducted by the USGS.

Date published: September 18, 2017

Hurricane Maria 2017 Event Support Map

Track hurricane data and USGS resources.

Date published: September 18, 2017

National Assessment of Shoreline Change: A GIS compilation of updated vector shorelines and associated shoreline change data for the north coast of Alaska, U.S. Canadian border to Icy Cape

This data release is an update to the original North Coast of Alaska data and includes revised rate-of-change calculations based on two additional shoreline positions data and improved rate metrics. 

Date published: September 6, 2017

Hurricane Harvey 2017 Event Support Map

Track hurricane data and USGS resources.

Date published: August 24, 2017

Coastal Change Hazards Portal

Interactive access to coastal change science and data for our Nation’s coasts. Information and products are organized within three coastal change hazard themes: 1) extreme storms, 2) shoreline change, and 3) sea-level rise. Each data item represents an individual research product, with some items grouped together as aggregates to show the breadth of the topic and make it easy to explore.

Date published: 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.

Date published: 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.

Date published: May 26, 2017

Data from Earthquake-Induced Landslide Hazards for a M7.0 Scenario Earthquake on the Hayward Fault

The seismic-landslide probability map covers the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma. The slope failures are triggered by a hypothetical earthquake with a moment magnitude of 7.0 occurring on April 18, 2018, at 4:18 p.m. on the Hayward Fault in the east bay part of California’s San Francisco Bay region.

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Date published: April 18, 2017

Liquefaction potential as a result of HayWired earthquake scenario mainshock (April 18, 2018) shaking in Alameda and Santa Clara Counties, San Francisco Bay area, California

These data are a geospatial representation of liquefaction potential for the HayWired earthquake scenario, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake occurring on the Hayward Fault on April 18, 2018, with an epicenter in the city of Oakland, CA. These data are the product of an analysis that created a detailed liquefaction probability map covering the northern Santa Clara County and western Alameda County...

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Date published: 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.

Filter Total Items: 65
Year Published: 1998

Experimental investigations regarding the use of sand as an inhibitor of air convection in deep seismic boreholes

Tilt has been the nemesis of horizontal long period seismology since its inception. Modern horizontal long period seismometers with their long natural periods are incredibly sensitive to tilt. They can sense tilts smaller than 10-11 radians. To most readers, this is just a very very small number, so we will begin with an example, which should help...

Holcomb, L. Gary; Sandoval, Leo; Hutt, Bob
Experimental Investigations Regarding the Use of Sand as an Inhibitor of Air Convection in Deep Seismic Boreholes; 1998; OFR; 98-362; Holcomb, L. Gary; Sandoval, Leo; Hutt, Bob

Year Published: 1997

Taking the Earth's pulse

During the past 35 years, scientists have developed a vast network of seismometers that record earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and nuclear explosions throughout the world. Seismographic data support disaster response, scientific research, and global security. With this network, the United States maintains world leadership in monitoring the...

Woodward, Robert L.; Benz, Harly M.; Brown, William M.
Taking the Earth's pulse; 1997; FS; 103-97; Woodward, Robert L.; Benz, Harly M.; Brown, William M., III

Year Published: 1993

Observations and modeling of seismic background noise

The preparation of this report had two purposes. One was to present a catalog of seismic background noise spectra obtained from a worldwide network of seismograph stations. The other purpose was to refine and document models of seismic background noise that have been in use for several years. The second objective was, in fact, the principal reason...

Peterson, Jon R.
Observations and Modeling of Seismic Background Noise; 1993; OFR; 93-322; Peterson, Jon R.

Year Published: 1992

An Evaluation of Installation Methods for STS-1 Seismometers

INTRODUCTION This report documents the results of a series of experiments conducted by the authors at the Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory (ASl) during the spring and summer of 1991; the object of these experiments was to obtain and document quantitative performance comparisons of three methods of installing STS-1 seismometers....

Holcomb, L. Gary; Hutt, Charles R.
An Evaluation of Installation Methods for STS-1 Seismometers; 1992; OFR; 92-302; Holcomb, L. Gary; Hutt, Charles R.

Year Published: 1991

A C Language Implementation of the SRO (Murdock) Detector/Analyzer

A signal detector and analyzer algorithm was described by Murdock and Hutt in 1983. The algorithm emulates the performance of a human interpreter of seismograms. It estimates the signal onset, the direction of onset (positive or negative), the quality of these determinations, the period and amplitude of the signal, and the background noise at the...

Murdock, James N.; Halbert, Scott E.
A C Language Implementation of the SRO (Murdock) Detector/Analyzer; 1991; OFR; 87-158; Murdock, James N.; Halbert, Scott E.

Year Published: 1990

A numerical study of some potential sources of error in side-by-side seismometer evaluations

This report presents the results of a series of computer simulations of potential errors in test data, which might be obtained when conducting side-by-side comparisons of seismometers. These results can be used as guides in estimating potential sources and magnitudes of errors one might expect when analyzing real test data. First, the derivation...

Holcomb, L. Gary
A Numerical Study of Some Potential Sources of Error in Side-by-Side Seismometer Evaluations; 1990; OFR; 90-406; Holcomb, L. Gary

Year Published: 1989

A direct method for calculating instrument noise levels in side-by-side seismometer evaluations

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 seismic sensors....

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

This study represents a first step in developing an integrated, real-time 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 secondary, but important,...

Peterson, Jon; Orsini, Nicholas A.
Design Concepts for a Global Telemetered Seismograph Network; 1982; OFR; 82-703; Peterson, Jon; Orsini, Nicholas A.

Filter Total Items: 1,689
Image of Erika Lentz and Danille Niles at Trunk River Beach, Falmouth, MA
January 10, 2018

Erika Lentz is interviewed by WBZ Boston for a sea-level rise segment

Erika Lentz, Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Research Geologist interviewed by WBZ Boston Meterologist, Danielle Niles fora segment on sea-level rise

Erika Lentz interview on Trunk River Beach, Falmouth. MA
January 10, 2018

Erika Lentz interview by WBZ Meteorologist, Danielle Niles

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

Image of the Week - Southern California Wildfires Update

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 (...

December 31, 2017

Kīlauea Summit Eruption | Lava Returns to Halemaʻumaʻu

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...

Predicted probabilities of dune erosion for Hurricane Nate
December 31, 2017

Predicted probabilities of dune erosion from Hurricane Nate

Predicted probabilities of dune erosion (inner strip), overwash (middle strip), and inundation (outer strip) for Hurricane Nate. Pictures are representative of coastal change observed during past storm events. 

Basemap image of the survey locations south of Long Island, NY
December 31, 2017

Basemap image of the survey locations, south of Long Island, NY

Basemap image of the survey locations south of Long Island Sound

Ice-like gas hydrates under capping rock encrusted with mussels on the sea floor
December 31, 2017

Ice-like gas hydrates under capping rock encrusted with mussels

Ice-like gas hydrates under capping rock encrusted with mussels on the sea floor of the northern Gulf of Mexico.

overview image of elevation model
December 31, 2017

Elevation Model

Basemap of the United States with an overview image of elevation models

quadcopter (drone) and camera ready for launch
December 31, 2017

Quadcopter's photos can be used to measure dune erosion

The 3DR Solo with GoPro Hero4 camera and gimbal. Coming to a survey area near you soon. Photo credit: Shawn Harrison, USGS. This photo was taken during USGS unmanned aerial systems (drone) pilot training. Two training sessions were held - one in February-March 2017 in Santa Cruz, California and the second in April 2017 in Gainesville, Florida. This photo originally was...

Lake Powell
December 31, 2017

Lake Powell

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.

Filter Total Items: 317
Date published: December 13, 2017

Eyes on the Coast—Video Cameras Help Forecast Coastal Change

USGS scientists have installed video cameras pointed at beaches on the coasts of western Florida and central California. They’re analyzing the videos to measure features of the beach and ocean so they can improve coastal-change forecasts.

Date published: December 12, 2017

USGS Research Geologist Publishes New AGU Article Forecasting Barrier Island Response to Sea-Level Rise

A new article combines geomorphological and pre- and post-Hurricane Sandy observations from coastal New Jersey with a morphodynamic model to forecast the response of barrier islands to various rates of sea-level rise and explores the impact of human alterations on forecasted behavior.

Date published: December 12, 2017

SEABOSS Survey in Long Island Sound

Geological Sampling (videos, photos and sediment samples) in Long Island Sound on the newly stretched R/V Connecticut with scientist from USGS, UConn and Univ of New Haven

Date published: December 12, 2017

Geophyiscal survey of Lake Powell, UT-AZ

Develop a new bathymetry map of Lake Powell, UT-AZ, and characterize shallow sediment deposition near the mouths of the San Juan and Colorado Rivers. Bathymetric data, acoustic backscatter imagery, and limited CHIRP sub-bottom data were collected by the USGS Utah Water Science Center (UTWSC) and Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center (WHCMSC) within Lake Powell, October - November, 2017...

Date published: December 11, 2017

USGS provides information about Alaska coastal change to Scientific American

USGS scientists at the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center spoke by phone with Scientific American writer Andrea Thompson on November 15.

Date published: December 11, 2017

First observation of gold particles in hot hydrothermal fluids

For the first time, scientists have found gold particles in boiling fluids from a hydrothermal vent.

Date published: December 9, 2017

Open House at the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 9, USGS scientists treated visitors to displays about their research at the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California.

Date published: December 8, 2017

Physical processes dominate channel evolution in Olympic National Park rivers—A reply

A team of federal scientists addressed comments from researchers who disagree with their conclusions that river channel evolution is driven primarily by physical factors rather than an overabundance of elk after wolf eradication.

Date published: November 30, 2017

Magnitude 4.1 Earthquake near Dover, Delaware

The USGS has up-to-date details on the November 30, 2017 event.

Date published: November 30, 2017

Revisiting the Oso Landslide

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

Date published: November 29, 2017

USGS geologist chairs discussion of issues facing Department of Defense installations in the Pacific and Arctic

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.

Date published: November 28, 2017

Updated assessment of erosion rates on Alaska’s Arctic coast

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.