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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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Crisis GIS--Preparing for and responding to volcanic eruptions in the United StatesRamsey, D.W.; Robinson, J.E.; Schilling, S. P.; Schaefer, J.R.; Trusdell, Frank A.
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.
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
Late pleistocene and holocene caldera-forming eruptions of Okmok Caldera, Aleutian Islands, AlaskaEichelberger, J.; Gordeev, Evgenii I.; Izbekov, P.; Kasahara, Minoru; Lees, Jonathan; Larsen, Jessica; Neal, C.; Schaefer, Janet; Beget, J.; Nye, C.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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 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.
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...
USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Status of Kīlauea Volcano, June 7, 2018. Jessica Ball, USGS Volcanologist.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.