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: 56
California Volcano Observatory emblem
Date Published: March 2, 2016

CalVO operates real-time volcano monitoring networks, disseminates forecasts and notifications of significant activity, assesses volcano hazards, researches volcano processes, and works with communities to prepare for volcanic eruptions in California and Nevada. The Observatory is located at USGS offices in Menlo Park, California.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

Our Program researches activities to make accurate landslide hazard maps and forecasts of landslide occurrences.

Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier, northern aerial view
Date Published: March 2, 2016

The CVO staff conduct research on many aspects of active volcanism, respond to dangerous volcanic activity in many parts of the world, and maintain a close watch over volcanoes in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The USGS established CVO in Vancouver, Washington, after the May 18, 1980, eruption of Mount St. Helens.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

Landslide sites and data for learning more about the physical processes that trigger landslides or control their movement.

Scientist shields face while scooping lava with a hammer for chemical analysis
Date Published: March 2, 2016

HVO operates monitoring networks, assesses hazards, and issues notifications of volcanic activity and earthquakes in the State of Hawai‘i. HVO scientists conduct fundamental research on volcanic processes and work to educate the communities at risk. HVO is located in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park on the Island of Hawaii.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

Tsunami awareness public service announcements come from collaboration among the USGS SAFRR team, outside partners, and Pasadena's Art Center College of Design.

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.

Filter Total Items: 59
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

Filter Total Items: 1,336
USGS scientists Lisa Ashmore and Lee Bodkin collect water-quality samples on Lake Houston in response to Harvey.
August 31, 2017
USGS scientists Lisa Ashmore and Lee Bodkin collect water-quality samples on Lake Houston in response to the high flow conditions that resulted from Harvey.
August 31, 2017
Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 25th. Over the next few days, record rain totals had devastated the area. 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/ )
Aerial image of Woods Hole, MA
August 12, 2017
Aeiral image of Woods Hole, MA taken during the 2017 Woods Hole Science Stroll. The green USGS tent generated a lot of interest and participation from Science Stroll attendees
Image of USGS scientist, Meagan Gonneea, at the Woods Hole Science Stroll outreach event
August 12, 2017
USGS Research Scientist, Meagan Gonneea, talking about the differences between coastal salt marshes and invasive phragmites at the 2017 Woods Hole Science Stroll outreach event
Image of a done landing on a target at the 2017 Woods Hole Science Stroll
August 12, 2017
Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center drone pilot, Emily Sturdivant, lands a drone on target at the 2017 Woods Hole Science Stroll
Image of a family taking a selfie with the SEABoss at the 2017 Woods Hole Science Stroll
August 12, 2017
SEABoss Selfies were a big hit at the 2017 Woods Hole Science Stroll.
Image of Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Science Stroll participants
August 12, 2017
Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Science Stroll participants; Dann Blackwood, Andrea Toran, Emily Sturdivant, Ellyn Montgomery, Sara Zeigler, Neil Ganju, Seth Ackerman, Laura Brothers, Meagan Gonneea
Image of children surrounding USGS drone pilot, Emily Sturdivant, at the Woods Hole Science Stroll
August 12, 2017
Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center drone pilot, Emily Sturdivant, provides a demonstration of drone capabilities at the 2017 Woods Hole Science Stroll
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).
Filter Total Items: 271
Sensor deployment
September 6, 2017

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

Natural Hazard image WGSC
September 6, 2017

With hurricanes in the east and wildfires in the west, natural hazards have the potential to impact a majority of Americans every year. USGS science provides part of the foundation for emergency preparedness whenever and wherever disaster strikes.

Storm-tide sensor installed to a concrete post in Puerto Rico prio to Hurricane Irma.
September 5, 2017

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

A USGS crew measures flood waters off a bridge.
August 30, 2017

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

A USGS crew prepares to measure Hurricane Harvey floodwaters off of a bridge.
August 29, 2017

Reporters: Do you want to interview USGS scientists as they measure flooding? Please contact Jennifer LaVista or Lynne Fahlquist. 

U.S. Geological Survey field crews are measuring record flooding in parts of south-central Texas following intense rainfall from Tropical Storm Harvey.

Satellite captured image of the rapidly intensifying storm, Harvey
August 25, 2017

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

This is a screenshot of the USGS Coastal Change Hazards Portal, which shows current coastal impact projections for Hurricane Har
August 25, 2017

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

UPDATE: This story has been revised to reflect new NOAA-National Hurricane Center storm surge projections which were released August 25 at 7 a.m.

This is a screenshot of the USGS Coastal Change Hazards Portal, which shows current coastal impact projections for Hurricane Har
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.

UPDATE: This story has been revised to reflect new NOAA-National Hurricane Center storm surge projections which were released August 25 at 7 a.m.

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.