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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
The Central Virginia seismic zone (CVSZ) comprises an area of about 13,000 km2 in the Piedmont of central Virginia; seismicity in this zone is relatively frequent, but generally mild in magnitude. The August 2011 event was the largest earthquake recorded in the CVSZ since the development of modern seismic monitoring, and highlighted how little we actually know about this seismic...
With data provided by magnetic observatories, geophysicists can gain insights into our planet’s interior and nearby space environment without even leaving the ground.
This introduction to geomagnetism is from "Magnetic monitoring of earth and space" (PDF) by Jeffrey Love, published in Physics Today 61, 2, 31...
Understanding the processes that control local sediment fluxes is critical in evaluating regional vulnerability to coastal erosion. This project task involves the analysis of observational data collected as part of the South Carolina Coastal Erosion Study (SCCES), and additional coastal process modeling for the Grand Strand region....
The most prominent morphologic features along the shoreline of the Carolinas are its four capes. From north to south, Cape Hatteras, Cape Lookout, Cape Fear, and Cape Romain segment the coastline into the northern outer banks, Raliegh Bay, Onslo Bay, and Long Bay regions. Continental shelf areas seaward of the capes are characterized by large, highly dynamic shoal complexes, which influence...
Fire Island, a 50-km long barrier-island system between Fire Island Inlet and Moriches Inlet, attracts significant tourism, includes federal, state, and county parks, contains a number of coastal communities, provides storm damage protection to the adjacent heavily populated mainland, and supports a distinct barrier island ecosystem, all of which are affected by coastal change. Mitigating the...
The Geomagnetism Program has operated an observatory at Puerto Rico since 1903. The current observatory site, consisting of 36 acres in the mountains near Cayey, has been in use since 1965.
Prior to the purchase of Alaska by the United States, the Russians operated a meteorological and magnetic observatory at Sitka from 1842 to 1867. The Geomagnetism Program established an observatory at Sitka, near the historic Russian cemetery, in 1901, when the Program was part of the Coast and Geodetic Survey and under the leadership of Drs Louis A. Bauer and John A. Fleming. The present...
Bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Historic Area Remediation Site in 1996, 1998, and 2000
Surveys of the bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Historic Area Remediation Site (HARS), offshore of New York and New Jersey, were carried out in 1996, 1998, and 2000 using a Simrad EM1000 multibeam echosounder mounted on the Canadian Coast Guard ship Frederick G. Creed
Bathymetry, backscatter intensity, and geomorphology of the sea floor of the Hudson Canyon and adjacent slope and rise
The Hudson Canyon begins on the outer continental shelf off the eastern coast of the United States at about 100-meters (m) water depth and extends offshore southeastward across the continental slope and rise. A multibeam survey was carried out in 2002 to map the bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Hudson Canyon and adjacent slope and rise.
Bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Atlantic Beach artificial reef, offshore of New York
The Atlantic Beach artificial reef, located on the sea floor 3 nautical miles south of Atlantic Beach, New York in about 20 meters water depth, was built to create habitat for marine life. The data from this survey are bathymetry, backscatter intensity, and navigation trackline.
Bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Sandy Hook artificial reef, offshore of New Jersey
The Sandy Hook artificial reef, located on the sea floor offshore of Sandy Hook, New Jersey was built to create habitat for marine lie. The collected data from this cruise are bathymetry, backscatter intensity, and navigation trackline.
Sediment Texture and Geomorphology of the Sea Floor from Fenwick Island, Maryland to Fisherman's Island, Virginia
These data are a qualitatively derived interpretive polygon shapefile defining surficial sediment type and distribution, and geomorphology, for nearly 1,400 square kilometers of sea floor on the inner-continental shelf from Fenwick Island, Maryland to Fisherman’s Island, Virginia, USA.
Groundwater data were collected in the spring and fall of 2008 from three sites representing different geological settings and biogeochemical conditions within the surficial glacial aquifer of Long Island, NY.
National Assessment of Shoreline Change: A GIS compilation of Updated Vector Shorelines and Associated Shoreline Change Data for the Southeast Atlantic Coast
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is conducting a national assessment of coastal change hazards. One component of this research effort, the National Assessment of Shoreline Change Project documents changes in shoreline position as a proxy for coastal change.
National Assessment of Shoreline Change: A GIS compilation of Updated Vector Shorelines and Associated Shoreline Change Data for the Gulf of Mexico Coast
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is conducting a national assessment of coastal change hazards. One component of this research effort, the National Assessment of Shoreline Change Project, documents changes in shoreline position as a proxy for coastal change. Shoreline position is an easily understood feature representing the historical location of a beach position through time.
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.
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.
Landslides triggered by the 14 November 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikōura Earthquake, New Zealand
The 14 November 2016 Mw">MwMw 7.8 Kaikōura earthquake generated more than 10,000 landslides over a total area of about 10,000  km2">10,000 km210,000 km2, with the majority concentrated in a smaller area of about 3600  km2">3600 km23600 km2. The largest landslide triggered...Massey, C.; Townsend, D.; Rathje, Ellen M.; Allstadt, Kate E.; Lukovic, B.; Kaneko, Yoshihiro; Bradley, Brendon A.; Wartman, J.; Jibson, Randall W.; Petley, D. N.; Horspool, Nick; Hamling, I.; Carey, J.; Cox, S.; Davidson, John; Dellow, S.; Godt, Jonathan W.; Holden, Christopher; Jones, Katherine D.; Kaiser, Anna E.; Little, M.; Lyndsell, B.; McColl, S.; Morgenstern, R.; Rengers, Francis K.; Rhoades, D.; Rosser, B.; Strong, D.; Singeisen, C.; Villeneuve, M.
Laboratory tests of three Z‐Land Fairfield Nodal 5‐Hz, three‐component sensors
We conduct a number of laboratory tests at the Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory to verify the self‐noise and fidelity in which 3 three‐component Fairfield Nodal Z‐Land, Generation 2, 5‐Hz sensors are able to record seismic signals. In addition to the incoherent self‐noise of the sensors, we estimate the sensitivity of the units in digital...Ringler, Adam; Anthony, Robert E.; Karplus, M.S; Holland, Austin; Wilson, David
DDT and related compounds in pore water of shallow sediments on the Palos Verdes Shelf, California, USA
For nearly two and a half decades following World War II, production wastes from the world's largest manufacturer of technical DDT (1-chloro-4-[2,2,2-trichloro-1-(4-chlorophenyl)ethyl]benzene) were discharged into sewers of Los Angeles County. Following treatment, the wastes were released via a submarine outfall system to nearshore coastal waters...Eganhouse, Robert P.; DiFilippo, Erica L.; Pontolillo, James; Orem, William H.; Hackley, Paul C.; Edwards, Brian
Ensemble smoothed seismicity models for the new Italian Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Map
We develop a long‐term (a few decades or longer) earthquake rate forecast for Italy based on smoothed seismicity for incorporation in the 2017–2018 Italian Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Maps (IPSHM). Because the earthquake rate models from previous IPSHM were computed using source zones that were drawn around seismicity and tectonic provinces, the...Akinci, Aybige; Moschetti, Morgan P.; Taroni, Matteo
Reexamination of the subsurface fault structure in the vicinity of the 1989 moment-magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake, central California, using steep-reflection, earthquake, and magnetic data
We reexamine the geometry of the causative fault structure of the 1989 moment-magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake in central California, using seismic-reflection, earthquake-hypocenter, and magnetic data. Our study is prompted by recent interpretations of a two-part dip of the San Andreas Fault (SAF) accompanied by a flower-like structure in the...Zhang, Edward; Fuis, Gary S.; Catchings, Rufus D.; Scheirer, Daniel S.; Goldman, Mark; Bauer, Klaus
On the feasibility of real-time mapping of the geoelectric field across North America
A review is given of the present feasibility for accurately mapping geoelectric fields across North America in near-realtime by modeling geomagnetic monitoring and magnetotelluric survey data. Should this capability be successfully developed, it could inform utility companies of magnetic-storm interference on electric-power-grid systems. That real...Love, Jeffrey J.; Rigler, E. Joshua; Kelbert, Anna; Finn, Carol A.; Bedrosian, Paul A.; Balch, Christopher C.
Injection-induced moment release can also be aseismic
The cumulative seismic moment is a robust measure of the earthquake response to fluid injection for injection volumes ranging from 3100 to about 12 million m3. Over this range, the moment release is limited to twice the product of the shear modulus and the volume of injected fluid. This relation also applies at the much smaller injection volumes...McGarr, Arthur; Barbour, Andrew J.
The thermophysical properties of the Bagnold Dunes, Mars: Ground truthing orbital data
We compare the thermophysical properties and particle sizes derived from the Mars Science Laboratory rover's Ground Temperature Sensor of the Bagnold dunes, specifically Namib dune, to those derived orbitally from Thermal Emission Imaging System, ultimately linking these measurements to ground truth particle sizes determined from Mars Hand Lens...Edwards, Christopher S.; Piqueux, Sylvain; Hamilton, Victoria E.; Fergason, Robin L.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Vasavada, Ashwin R.; Bennett, Kristen A.; Sacks, Leah; Lewis, Kevin; Smith, Michael D.
The limits of earthquake early warning: Timeliness of ground motion estimates
The basic physics of earthquakes is such that strong ground motion cannot be expected from an earthquake unless the earthquake itself is very close or has grown to be very large. We use simple seismological relationships to calculate the minimum time that must elapse before such ground motion can be expected at a distance from the earthquake,...Minson, Sarah E.; Meier, Men-Andrin; Baltay, Annemarie S.; Hanks, Thomas C.; Cochran, Elizabeth S.
Integrating real-time subsurface hydrologic monitoring with empirical rainfall thresholds to improve landslide early warning
Early warning for rainfall-induced shallow landsliding can help reduce fatalities and economic losses. Although these commonly occurring landslides are typically triggered by subsurface hydrological processes, most early warning criteria rely exclusively on empirical rainfall thresholds and other indirect proxies for subsurface wetness. We explore...Mirus, Benjamin B.; Becker, Rachel E.; Baum, Rex L.; Smith, Joel B.
Application of microtremor horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio (MHVSR) analysis for site characterization: State of the art
Nakamura (Q Rep Railway Tech Res Inst 30:25–33, 1989) popularized the application of the horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio (HVSR) analysis of microtremor (seismic noise or ambient vibration) recordings to estimate the predominant frequency and amplification factor of earthquake shaking. During the following quarter century, popularity in the...Molnar, S.; Cassidy, J. F. ; Castellaro, S.; Cornou, C.; Crow, H.; Hunter, J. A.; Matsushima, S.; Sanchez-Sesma, F. J.; Yong, Alan
Interaction between hydraulic fracture and a preexisting fracture under triaxial stress conditions
Enhanced reservoir connectivity generally requires maximizing the intersection between hydraulic fracture (HF) and preexisting underground natural fractures (NF), while having the hydraulic fracture cross the natural fractures (and not arrest). We have studied the interaction between a hydraulic fracture and a polished saw-cut fault. The...Mighani, Saied; Lockner, David A.; Kilgore, Brian D.; Sheibani, Farrokh; Evans, Brian
USGS Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) pilot, Elizabeth Pendleton, setting a target in Great Marsh, Sandy Neck Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Sandy Brosnahan (left) and Ellizabeth Pendleton (right), Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) pilots flying drones at Sandy Neck Beach, Cape Cod, MA.
Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) pilots Sandy Brosnahan (left) and Elizabeth Pendleton conduct a drone flight from atop a dune at Sandy Neck (Cape Cod).
Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center's Aerial Imaging and Mapping Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) pilots, Emily Sturdivant (left) and Elizabeth Pendleton (right) working the night shift in Hawaii at the Kileaua volcano site.
Woods Hole Costal and Marine Science Center staff offered a presentation and handouts on Natural Hazards and Coastal Hazards in Wetlands and Estuaries Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers (SSEATs)
Woods Hole Costal and Marine Science Center staff offered a presentation and handouts on Natural Hazards and Coastal Hazards in Wetlands and Estuaries at the Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers (SSEATs)
GeoGirls hike the Pumice Plain at Mount St. Helens, on their way to Loowit Falls (pictured in the upper right background). When asked in the post-program survey about what “was the most important thing you learned this week?” GeoGirls responded, “amazing people are all around you -- listen to them, be inspired;” and also, the importance of “friendship & teamwork...
USGS and Washington State Department of Ecology scientists are geared up and ready to start a topographic survey at the mouth of the Elwha River, using handheld computers and backpack-mounted GPS equipment. From left to right are Owen Warrick (USGS Volunteer), Jon Warrick (USGS), Andy Ritchie (USGS), Heather Weiner (WA State Dept. of Ecology), Diana McCandless (WA State...
Time-lapse view of California Highway 1 reconstruction after 2017 landslide
USGS scientists produced an animated GIF in coordination with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) re-opening of State Highway 1 through Big Sur on July 18, 2018. In 2017, the massive Mud Creek landslide buried a quarter-mile of the famous coastal route...
Potential coastal change impacts due to Alberto.
USGS partnership with Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe featured in new fact sheet on Elwha River dam removals
A USGS-led special issue of Marine Geology received a most-cited certificate from the journal in May 2018.
USGS research geologist Sam Johnson of the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (PCMSC) made an invited visit to the Korea Institute of Geology and Mineral Industries (KIGAM) in Daejon, South Korea, on April 24–26.
With ash eruptions occurring from Kilauea’s summit this week, there is a threat of an even larger steam-driven violent explosion. Such an eruption could happen suddenly and send volcanic ash 20,000 feet into the air, threatening communities for miles.
Representatives of the news media are invited to join a telephone briefing for the latest updates on Kīlauea's volcanic activity and its impacts.
On Thursday, April 26, research geologist Curt Storlazzi of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center gave a public lecture on “The Role of U.S. Coral Reefs in Coastal Protection—Rigorously valuing flood reduction benefits to inform coastal zone management decisions.”
A deluge of media coverage followed publication of a USGS-led study showing that sea-level rise and wave-driven flooding could make many low-lying atoll islands uninhabitable by the mid-21st century by contaminating freshwater aquifers and damaging infrastructure. The...
Estuaries and wetlands provide a critical defense against storms and sea-level rise while providing economically valuable services. How well they protect coastal communities and host diverse ecosystems is largely a function of their shape (morphology), which is controlled by factors such as sediment movement and biological feedbacks.
Have you ever wondered what scientists do at a volcano observatory when a volcano is not erupting? There is plenty to accomplish—probably more than you can imagine.
May is Volcano Preparedness Month in Washington, providing residents an opportunity to become more familiar with volcanic risk in their communities and learn about steps they can take to reduce potential impacts.