Mission Areas

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.

Read Our Science Strategy
Filter Total Items: 145
Date published: April 13, 2016

Understanding Coastal Change

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.

Date published: April 13, 2016

Geologic Hazards and Catastrophic Events

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.

Date published: April 13, 2016

Ocean Resources for America's Needs

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.

Date published: April 13, 2016

Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Science

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.

Date published: April 12, 2016

Hurricane Sandy Spatial Data Mapping Application

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.

Date published: March 17, 2016

Volcano Hazards Assessments Help Mitigate Disasters

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.

Date published: March 14, 2016
Status: Completed

Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) Support

An existing technological capability (not yet implemented in CA) for providing a few seconds of advance notification before arrival of earthquake-generated seismic waves causing ground shaking, with current efforts underway to move forward with providing users with the means to utilize the system for warning and preparedness action plans.

Date published: March 7, 2016

Earthquakes Hazards

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

Date published: March 7, 2016

Landslides Information

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

Date published: March 7, 2016

U.S. Volcano Information

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.

Date published: March 7, 2016

Flood Information

The USGS provides practical, unbiased information about the Nation's rivers and streams that is crucial in mitigating hazards associated with floods. This site provides information about the USGS activities, data, and services provided during regional high-flow events, such as hurricanes or multi-state flooding events.

Date published: March 2, 2016

Mission Support

Our scientists work with NASA and other space agencies to lead investigations, select rover landing sites, create geologic maps and cartographic products for numerous spacecraft missions throughout our solar system. Our Astrogeology Science Center continues to provide support for numerous past, present and future space missions.

Filter Total Items: 97
Date published: March 4, 2016

Volcano Notification Service (VNS)

The Volcano Notification Service (VNS) is a free service that sends you notification emails about volcanic activity happening at U.S. monitored volcanoes. You can customize the VNS to deliver notifications for certain volcanoes or a range of volcanoes, and you can also choose the notification types you want to receive.

Filter Total Items: 260
Year Published: 2007

The question of recharge to the deep thermal reservoir underlying the geysers and hot springs of Yellowstone National Park: Chapter H in Integrated geoscience studies in Integrated geoscience studies in the Greater Yellowstone Area—Volcanic, tectonic, and hydrothermal processes in the Yellowstone geoecosystem

The extraordinary number, size, and unspoiled beauty of the geysers and hot springs of Yellowstone National Park (the Park) make them a national treasure. The hydrology of these special features and their relation to cold waters of the Yellowstone area are poorly known. In the absence of deep drill holes, such information is available only...

Morgan, Lisa A.; Rye, Robert O.; Truesdell, Alfred Hemingway

Year Published: 2007

Borehole observations of continuous strain and fluid pressure: Chapter 9

Strain is expansion, contraction, or distortion of the volcanic edifice and surrounding crust. As a result of magma movement, volcanoes may undergo enormous strain prior to and during eruption. Global Positioning System (GPS) observations can in principle be used to determine strain by taking the difference between two nearby observations and...

Roeloffs, Evelyn A.; Linde, A.T.

Year Published: 2007

Crisis GIS--Preparing for and responding to volcanic eruptions in the United States

Ramsey, D.W.; Robinson, J.E.; Schilling, S. P.; Schaefer, J.R.; Trusdell, Frank A.

Year Published: 2007

A user-friendly one-dimensional model for wet volcanic plumes

This paper presents a user-friendly graphically based numerical model of one-dimensional steady state homogeneous volcanic plumes that calculates and plots profiles of upward velocity, plume density, radius, temperature, and other parameters as a function of height. The model considers effects of water condensation and ice formation on plume...

Mastin, Larry G.

Year Published: 2007

Explosive eruptive record in the Katmai region, Alaska Peninsula: an overview

At least 15 explosive eruptions from the Katmai cluster of volcanoes and another nine from other volcanoes on the Alaska Peninsula are preserved as tephra layers in syn- and post-glacial (Last Glacial Maximum) loess and soil sections in Katmai National Park, AK. About 400 tephra samples from 150 measured sections have been collected between...

Fierstein, Judy

Year Published: 2007

Magmatic gas efflux at the Ukinrek Maars, Alaska

Bullen, T.D.; Wang, Y.; Bergfeld, Deborah; Evans, W. C.; Hunt, A.G.; McGimsey, R.G.

Year Published: 2007

Late pleistocene and holocene caldera-forming eruptions of Okmok Caldera, Aleutian Islands, Alaska

Eichelberger, J.; Gordeev, Evgenii I.; Izbekov, P.; Kasahara, Minoru; Lees, Jonathan; Larsen, Jessica; Neal, C.; Schaefer, Janet; Beget, J.; Nye, C.

Year Published: 2007

Volcano-electromagnetic effects

Volcano-electromagnetic effects—electromagnetic (EM) signals generated by volcanic activity—derive from a variety of physical processes. These include piezomagnetic effects, electrokinetic effects, fluid vaporization, thermal demagnetization/remagnetization, resistivity changes, thermochemical effects, magnetohydrodynamic effects, and...

Johnston, Malcolm J. S.

Year Published: 2007

Ground-coupled acoustic airwaves from Mount St. Helens provide constraints on the May 18, 1980 eruption

The May 18, 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption perturbed the atmosphere and generated atmosphere-to-ground coupled airwaves, which were recorded on at least 35 seismometers operated by the Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network (PNSN). From 102 distinct travel time picks we identify coherent airwaves crossing Washington State primarily to the north and...

Johnson, J.B.; Malone, S.D.

Year Published: 2007

National volcanic ash operations plan for aviation

The National Aviation Weather Program Strategic Plan (1997) and the National Aviation Weather Initiatives (1999) both identified volcanic ash as a high-priority informational need to aviation services. The risk to aviation from airborne volcanic ash is known and includes degraded engine performance (including flameout), loss of visibility, failure...

Year Published: 2007

Lava effusion rate definition and measurement: a review

Measurement of effusion rate is a primary objective for studies that model lava flow and magma system dynamics, as well as for monitoring efforts during on-going eruptions. However, its exact definition remains a source of confusion, and problems occur when comparing volume flux values that are averaged over different time periods or spatial...

Calvari, Sonia; Dehn, Jonathan; Harris, A.

Year Published: 2007

The health hazards of volcanic ash--A guide for the public

This document has been prepared by the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network (IVHHN), Cities and Volcanoes Commission, GNS Science and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to promote the safety of those who experience volcanic ashfall. This guide explains the potential health effects of volcanic ash and gives details on how to protect...

Horwell, C.; Baxter, P.

Filter Total Items: 2,098
Lava fountaining at night time
June 8, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Lava Fountaining (Fissure 8)

Around 3:00 a.m. HST today (June 8), lava fountains erupting from ...

Aerial of ocean entry plume
June 7, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Ocean Entry Near Vacationland

Lava entering the ocean in the vicinity of Kapoho Bay is forming a lava delta, as seen from the air during this morning's overflight at about 7:00 a.m. HST.

lava fountain with lava flow
June 7, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Lava Fountain and Flow (Fissure 8)

View of the fissure 8 lava fountain and lava channel that travels to the ocean, a distance of about 12.5 km (7.8 mi). Photo taken during this morning's overflight at about 6:30 a.m. HST...

Crack in the ground
June 7, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Large Crack in Parking Lot

An even larger crack, shown here, arcs across the parking lot and bounds one of the large blocks mentioned above.

June 7, 2018

Beach Haven, NJ Flyover!

USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center personnel aboard Stockton University's R/V Petrel under survey offshore of Beach Haven, NJ in June 2018. The USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program is working to characterize the sea floor and shallow substrate in nearshore waters, using high-resolution geophysical techniques, sediment sampling, and sea-floor photography and videography. The...

Crack in the road
June 7, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Crack on Crater Rim Drive

Crack on Crater Rim Drive just east of the parking lot, with the National Park sign indicating "Halema‘uma‘u" at right. This crack shows 42 cm (16.5 in) of right lateral offset—as measured by fitting the center stripe on the road back together)—and was about 25 cm (10 in) wide.

Ocean entry plume
June 7, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Laze Plume

Lava enters the ocean in the vicinity of Vacationland at 7 a.m. HST. The ocean entry produces a white plume called "laze,"...

Large rocks on the roadway
June 7, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Ballistic Blocks

With careful consideration and planning to avoid ongoing volcanic hazards as much as possible, an HVO scientist who has been studying the behavior of Kīlauea's summit for decades, briefly visited the parking area for the former Halema‘uma‘u overlook (closed since 2008) on June 5 to make direct observations of and gather data from the effects of recent explosions within Halema‘uma‘u. Through...

June 7, 2018

USGS Status Update of Kīlauea Volcano - June 7, 2018

USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Status of Kīlauea Volcano, June 7, 2018. Jessica Ball, USGS Volcanologist.

crack in parking lot
June 7, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Crack in Parking Lot

The median between two areas of the parking lot has been warped and broken by cracks. Ash accumulation in the parking area was generally not more than 4 cm (1.5 in) thick.

Crack in road
June 7, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Halema`uma`u Parking Lot

The Halema‘uma‘u parking lot is sliced into blocks by cracks. These cracks, first noted in a very early stage on May 13, now are the dominant features of the parking lot. The cracks, which are circumferential to Halema‘uma‘u, warp and offset the pavement and curbing, as seen here. The crack responsible for warping this curbstone is visible on both sides of it.

Filter Total Items: 338
Date published: September 22, 2017

USGS Continues Response to Four Hurricanes

As thousands of people remain displaced by or are recovering from one of the four hurricanes that have affected the United States the past month, the U.S. Geological Survey is in the field providing science that will help with recovery from these historic hurricanes and with preparing for the next storm.

Date published: September 22, 2017

USGS Tidal Network Monitoring Elevated Water Levels Off Hampton Roads

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Jose, visit the USGS Hurricane Jose page at https://www.usgs.gov/jose.

Date published: September 19, 2017

Magnitude 7.1 Earthquake in Mexico

The USGS has up-to-date details on the September 19, 2017 event.

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Date published: September 19, 2017

More than a dozen USGS Storm-Tide Sensors Deployed for Hurricane Jose

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Jose, visit the USGS Hurricane Jose page at https://www.usgs.gov/jose.

Date published: September 19, 2017

Florida Streamgages Measure Record Peaks Following Hurricane Irma

Editor’s note: this news release will be updated online with more information on the streamgage records being set in Florida as it becomes available

Date published: September 18, 2017

USGS field crews in Puerto Rico are preparing for Hurricane Maria

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Maria, visit the USGS Hurricane Maria page at https://www.usgs.gov/maria.

Date published: September 18, 2017

USGS Teams Up with Jackson Hole Mountain Resort to Research Teton Fault

Just after Labor Day, U.S. Geological Survey field crews began digging a trench within the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort ski area, on the lower reaches of Buffalo Bowl. 



Date published: September 15, 2017

Landsat Images Before and After Harvey Illustrate Flooding in Texas

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Harvey, visit the USGS Hurricane Harvey page at https://www.usgs.gov/harvey.

Date published: September 13, 2017

USGS Measures the Impacts of Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma’s heavy rains and storm surge caused severe flooding in parts of the Southeast.

Date published: September 13, 2017

Throughout Hurricane Season, USGS Science is There Before, During, and After the Storm

When a major storm is on the horizon, the USGS uses its water monitoring, coastal change, mapping, and modeling expertise to help prepare for, respond to, and recover from hurricanes and tropical storms.

Date published: September 8, 2017

River Levels Set Records in Texas: USGS Continues to Monitor Rivers in the State Due to Flooding

Editor’s note: this news release will be updated online with more information on the streamgage records being set in Texas as it becomes available.

Rivers and streams reached record levels as a result of Hurricane Harvey’s rainfall, with about 40 U.S. Geological Survey streamgages measuring record peaks.

Date published: September 8, 2017

USGS Efforts Continue After Harvey

As Harvey’s record breaking rainfall and catastrophic flood waters recede in Texas and western Louisiana, U.S. Geological Survey teams are collecting high water marks, monitoring water levels and coastal change, retrieving storm tide sensors and collecting samples for water quality analysis.