Early Earthquake Warning! Safety Potentials and Limits
Possible alert times that earthquake early warning systems can provide people at different levels of ground motion from light to very strong shaking.Read Story
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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
Essential habitat for wild salmon and other wildlife borders river deltas and estuaries in the Pacific Northwest. These estuaries also support industry, agriculture, and a large human population that’s expected to double by the year 2060, but each could suffer from more severe river floods, higher sea level, and storm surges caused by climate change.
Scientists evaluated and improved the accuracy of pre-landfall forecasts of storm-induced coastal erosion hazards for Northeast beaches using data from post-Sandy lidar sruveys, beach morphology, and storm hydrodamics.
This project integrated a wetland assessment with existing coastal-change hazard assessments for the adjacent dunes and beaches of Assateague Island, Maryland, to create a more comprehensive coastal vulnerability assessment.
We use remote-sensing technologies—such as aerial photography, satellite imagery, and lidar (laser-based surveying)—to measure coastal change along U.S. shorelines.
The west coast of the United States is extremely complex and changeable because of tectonic activity, mountain building, and land subsidence. These active environments pose a major challenge for accurately assessing climate change impacts, since models were historically developed for more passive sandy coasts.
Sea level is rising faster than projected in the western Pacific, so understanding how wave-driven coastal flooding will affect inhabited, low-lying islands—most notably, the familiar ring-shaped atolls—as well as the low-elevation areas of high islands in the Pacific Ocean, is critical for decision-makers in protecting infrastructure or relocating resources and people.
Above, photograph of Pingok Island, Alaska, reveals physical features of a changing Arctic: collapsing bluffs, salt-killed tundra (lighter brown near the bluff edge), and drained thermokarst lakes (rust-colored depressions). Photo courtesy of Bruce Richmond and Ann Gibbs, USGS, taken August 9, 2006
The Arctic region is warming faster than anywhere else in the...
The impacts of climate change and sea-level rise around the Pacific and Arctic Oceans can vary tremendously. Thus far the vast majority of national and international impact assessments and models of coastal climate change have focused on low-relief coastlines that are not near seismically active zones. Furthermore, the degree to which extreme waves and wind will add further stress to coastal...
Tidal wetlands are an important geomorphic and ecological feature of the coastal zone. Our projects deal with the physical forcings that affect wetland stability over event-to-annual timescales, including wave attack, sediment supply, and sea-level rise.
Extreme tides and coastal storms transfer high water levels to estuaries through natural and managed entrances. The size of the transfer depends on the duration of the event and the geomorphology of the estuary. We use observational data and modeling scenarios to understand and spatially map this transfer at our study sites.
This dataset displays the spatial variation mean tidal range (i.e. Mean Range of Tides, MN) in the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, which spans over Great Bay, Little Egg Harbor, and Barnegat Bay in New Jersey, USA. MN was based on the calculated difference in height between mean high water (MHW) and mean low water (MLW) using the VDatum (v3.5) software (...
Exposure potential of salt marsh units in Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge to environmental health stressors
This dataset displays the exposure potential to environmental health stressors in the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (EBFNWR), which spans over Great Bay, Little Egg Harbor, and Barnegat Bay in New Jersey, USA. Exposure potential is calculated with the Sediment-bound Contaminant Resiliency and Response (SCoRR) ranking system (Reilly and others, 2015)
Water quality in the Barnegat Bay estuary along the New Jersey coast is the focus of a multidisciplinary research project begun in 2011 by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. A continuous elevation surface (terrain model) integrating all available elevation data in the area was produced for water circulation modeling...
Point cloud from low-altitude aerial imagery from unmanned aerial system (UAS) flights over Coast Guard Beach, Nauset Spit, Nauset Inlet, and Nauset Marsh, Cape Cod National Seashore, Eastham, Massachusetts on 1 March 2016 (LAZ file)
This point cloud was derived from low-altitude aerial images collected from an unmanned aerial system (UAS) flown in the Cape Cod National Seashore on 1 March, 2016. The objective of the project was to evaluate the quality and cost of mapping from UAS images. The point cloud contains 434,096,824 unclassifed and unedited geolocated points.
Atlantic coast piping plover (Charadrius melodus) nest sites are typically found on low-lying beach and dune systems, which respond rapidly to coastal processes like sediment overwash, inlet formation, and island migration that are sensitive to climate-related changes in storminess and the rate of sea-level rise. Data were obtained to understand piping plover habitat distribution.
Conceptual salt marsh units for wetland synthesis: Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey
Recent research shows that sediment budgets of microtidal marsh complexes on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States consistently scale with areal unvegetated/vegetated marsh ratio (UVVR) despite differences in sea-level rise, tidal range, elevation, vegetation, and stressors. This highlights UVVR as a broadly applicable indicator of microtidal marsh stability.
As part of this data synthesis effort, hydrodynamic and sediment transport modeling of Barnegat Bay Little Egg Harbor (BBLEH) has been used to create the following wetland data layers in Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (EBFNWR), New Jersey: 1) Hydrodynamic residence time , 2) salinity change and 3) salinity exposure change in wetlands, and 4) sediment supply to wetlands
The purpose of the multibeam echosounder surveys was to map the bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the valley, providing a framework for geologic, oceanographic, and geochemical studies. The data from the three surveys are combined to produce grids of bathymetry and backscatter intensity at 12-m resolution that cover the entire valley and the head of the Hudson Canyon...
High-resolution geophysical data collected along the Mississippi River Delta front offshore of southeastern Louisiana, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity 2017-003-FA
High resolution bathymetric, sea-floor backscatter, and seismic-reflection data were collected offshore of southeastern Louisiana aboard the research vessel Point Sur on May 19-26, 2017, in an effort to characterize mudflow hazards on the Mississippi River Delta front. The primary objective of this cruise was to assess the suitability of sea-floor mapping and shallow subsurface imaging tools...
Data compilation of soil respiration, moisture, and temperature measurements from global warming experiments from 1994-2014
This dataset is the largest global dataset to date of soil respiration, moisture, and temperature measurements, totaling >3800 observations representing 27 temperature manipulation studies, spanning nine biomes and nearly two decades of warming experiments. Data for this study were obtained from a combination of unpublished data and published literature values.
This data release contains the compilation of multiple elevation products into a continuous digital elevation model at a resolution of 3-arcseconds (approximately 90 meters) from the terrestrial landscape to the seafloor for the contiguous U.S. and portions of Mexico and Canada, focused on the coastal interface.
This map and the original delineate areas where large numbers of landslides have occurred and areas which are susceptible to landsliding in the conterminous United States.
The purpose of the Inventory Project is to provide a framework and tools for displaying and analyzing landslide inventory data collected in a spatially aware digital format from individual states.
The Planetary Geologic Mapping Program serves the international science community through the production of high-quality and refereed geologic maps of planetary bodies. This program is in coordination between NASA science programs and the USGS Astrogeology Science Center.
Barrier island breach evolution: Alongshore transport and bay-ocean pressure gradient interactions
Physical processes controlling repeated openings and closures of a barrier island breach between a bay and the open ocean are studied using aerial photographs and atmospheric and hydrodynamic observations. The breach site is located on Pea Island along the Outer Banks, separating Pamlico Sound from the Atlantic Ocean. Wind direction was a major...Safak, Ilgar; Warner, John C.; List, Jeffrey
Biogeomorphic classification and images of shorebird nesting sites on the U.S. Atlantic coast
Atlantic coast piping plover (Charadrius melodus) nest sites are typically found on low-lying beach and dune systems, which respond rapidly to coastal processes like sediment overwash, inlet formation, and island migration that are sensitive to climate-related changes in storminess and the rate of sea-level rise. Data were obtained to understand...Sturdivant, Emily; Thieler, E. Robert; Zeigler, Sara; Winslow, Luke; Hines, Megan K.; Read, Jordan S.; Walker, Jordan I.
High-resolution geophysical data collected along the Delmarva Peninsula, 2014, USGS Field Activity 2014-002-FA
The Delmarva Peninsula is a 220-kilometer-long headland, spit, and barrier island complex that was significantly affected by Hurricane Sandy. A U.S. Geological Survey cruise was conducted in the summer of 2014 to map the inner continental shelf of the Delmarva Peninsula using geophysical and sampling techniques to define the geologic framework...Pendleton, Elizabeth; Ackerman, Seth D.; Baldwin, Wayne E.; Danforth, William W.; Foster, David S.; Thieler, E. Robert; Brothers, Laura L.
Oceanographic and water-quality measurements collected south of Martha’s Vineyard, MA, 2014–2015
This web page provides access to oceanographic and water-quality observations made at seven sites near the Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Observatory (MVCO) as part of National Science Foundation “Bottom Stress and the Generation of Vertical Vorticity Over the Inner Shelf” project. The objective was to measure bottom stress at several locations with...Montgomery, Ellyn T.; Sherwood, Christopher R.; Martini, Marinna A.; Trowbridge, Jannelle; Scully, M.; Brosnahan, Sandra M.
Low-altitude aerial imagery and related field observations associated with unmanned aerial systems (UAS) flights over Coast Guard Beach, Nauset Spit, Nauset Inlet, and Nauset Marsh, Cape Cod National Seashore, Eastham, Massachusetts on 1 March 2016
Low-altitude (approximately 120 meters above ground level) digital images were obtained from cameras mounted in a fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flown from the lawn adjacent to the Coast Guard Beach parking lot on 1 March, 2016. The UAV was a Skywalker X8 operated by Raptor Maps, Inc., contractors to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)....Sherwood, Christopher R.
Geomorphological control on variably saturated hillslope hydrology and slope instability
In steep topography, the processes governing variably saturated subsurface hydrologic response and the interparticle stresses leading to shallow landslide initiation are physically linked. However, these processes are usually analyzed separately. Here, we take a combined approach, simultaneously analyzing the influence of topography on both...Giuseppe, Formetta; Simoni, Silvia; Godt, Jonathan W.; Lu, Ning; Rigon, Riccardo
Coastal bathymetry data collected in June 2014 from Fire Island, New York—The wilderness breach and shoreface
Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center in St. Petersburg, Florida, collected bathymetric data along the upper shoreface and within the wilderness breach at Fire Island, New York, in June 2014. The U.S. Geological Survey is involved in a post-Hurricane Sandy effort to map and monitor the...Nelson, Timothy R.; Miselis, Jennifer L.; Hapke, Cheryl J.; Wilson, Kathleen E.; Henderson, Rachel E.; Brenner, Owen T.; Reynolds, Billy J.; Hansen, Mark E.
Get your science used—Six guidelines to improve your products
Introduction Natural scientists, like many other experts, face challenges when communicating to people outside their fields of expertise. This is especially true when they try to communicate to those whose background, knowledge, and experience are far distant from that field of expertise. At a recent workshop, experts in risk communication offered...Perry, Suzanne C.; Blanpied, Michael L.; Burkett, Erin R.; Campbell, Nnenia M.; Carlson, Anders; Cox, Dale A.; Driedger, Carolyn L.; Eisenman, David P.; Fox-Glassman, Katherine T.; Hoffman, Sherry; Hoffman, Susanna M.; Jaiswal, Kishor S.; Jones, Lucile M.; Luco, Nicolas; Marx, Sabine M.; McGowan, Sean M.; Mileti, Dennis S.; Moschetti, Morgan P.; Ozman, David; Pastor, Elizabeth; Petersen, Mark D.; Porter, Keith A.; Ramsey, David W.; Ritchie, Liesel A.; Fitzpatrick, Jessica K.; Rukstales, Kenneth S.; Sellnow, Timothy L.; Vaughon, Wendy L.; Wald, David J.; Wald, Lisa A.; Wein, Anne; Zarcadoolas, Christina
Estimating time-dependent connectivity in marine systems
Hydrodynamic connectivity describes the sources and destinations of water parcels within a domain over a given time. When combined with biological models, it can be a powerful concept to explain the patterns of constituent dispersal within marine ecosystems. However, providing connectivity metrics for a given domain is a three-dimensional problem...Defne, Zafer; Ganju, Neil K.; Aretxabaleta, Alfredo
Kelp, cobbles, and currents: Biologic reduction of coarse grain entrainment stress
Models quantifying the onset of sediment motion do not typically account for the effect of biotic processes because they are difficult to isolate and quantify in relation to physical processes. Here we investigate an example of the interaction of kelp (Order Laminariales) and coarse sediment transport in the coastal zone, where it is possible to...Masteller, Claire C; Finnegan, Noah J; Warrick, Jonathan; Miller, Ian M.
Rapid water quality change in the Elwha River estuary complex during dam removal
Dam removal in the United States is increasing as a result of structural concerns, sedimentation of reservoirs, and declining riverine ecosystem conditions. The removal of the 32 m Elwha and 64 m Glines Canyon dams from the Elwha River in Washington, U.S.A., was the largest dam removal project in North American history. During the 3 yr of dam...Foley, Melissa M.; Duda, Jeffrey J.; Beirne, Matthew M.; Paradis, Rebecca; Ritchie, Andrew; Warrick, Jonathan A.
High-rate injection is associated with the increase in U.S. mid-continent seismicity
An unprecedented increase in earthquakes in the U.S. mid-continent began in 2009. Many of these earthquakes have been documented as induced by wastewater injection. We examine the relationship between wastewater injection and U.S. mid-continent seismicity using a newly assembled injection well database for the central and eastern United States. We...Weingarten, Matthew; Ge, Shemin; Godt, Jonathan W.; Bekins, Barbara A.; Rubinstein, Justin L.
USGS–Hawaiian Volcano Observatory research geologist Matt Patrick talks about the lava lake in the Halema‘uma‘u Crater at the Kīlauea Volcano (Hawaii). Dr. Patrick describes the eruption that created the lava lake and points out features of the lake including moving crustal plates, gas bursts, spatter and collapse scars on the crater rim. Dr. Patrick also discusses hazards near the lake, such...
Brett Tipple (University of California, Santa Cruz) collects a sample of charcoal and soil adjacent to a gully forming on a hillslope above Sonoma Creek, which was burned by the Nuns wildfire in October 2017.
John Pohlman (USGS), David Brankovits (USGS/WHOI) and Jake Emmert (MG) deploy acoustic devices in open water sinkhole (or cenote) prior to a 6-month long installation in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico cave
International participants from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Hawaii, Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Israel, and the U.S. attended a workshop on “Understanding Flooding on Reef-lined Island Coastlines”, February 5-7, 2018.
Tim Collett, USGS research geologist, presenting at the Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources' (KIGAM) international program for geoscience resources.
USGS scientists, Bill Waite, Tim Collett, and Seth Haines in front of a archway in Daejeon, South Korea
Core storage facility at the the Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources in Daejeon, South Korea
Tim Collett, research geologist in gas hydrates, is chief for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Energy Resources Program gas hydrate research efforts offering a presentation on unconventional oil and gas resources at KIGAM, the Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources in Daejeon, South Korea
Seth Haines, USGS research geophysicist, on a Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources laboratory tour, which included stops at their gas hydrate and sediment pressure chamber - it's a whopping 320 gallons, dwarfing even Seth, a 6-footer. The chamber is the silvery ring and the black cylinder beneath it. It's so big and heavy that it gets wheeled out of that cold room on a set...
Location 6: The beach near Mayport illustrates the processes of overwash and dune erosion due to Hurricane Irma. Lower elevation dunes, roads, and walkways overwashed due to high surge and waves while the higher elevation dunes show scarping indicative of dune erosion. Predicted probabilities of dune erosion and overwash were 97% and 57% for this location. The predicted...
Location 7: Elevated water levels during Hurricane Irma overtopped the dunes in this section of Huguenot Park, transporting sand landward over the vegetation and into the lagoon. The predicted probability of overwash for this location was only 41%.
USGS and NASA held a joint workshop titled “From Cells to Satellites: Methane Biogeochemistry at Multiple Scales” on March 16 at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.
USGS scientists lead investigation of tropical subterranean estuaries in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico!
USGS scientists lead investigation of tropical subterranean estuaries in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico!
New seismic hazard and risk assessments can help at-risk communities prepare for future earthquake disasters
Studying the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault
Measurements of the three-dimensional structure of the earth, as opposed to the one-dimensional models typically used, can help scientists more accurately determine which areas of the United States are most vulnerable to blackouts during hazardous geomagnetic storms.
The Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (PCMSC) in Santa Cruz, California, recently welcomed Andrew Pomeroy, a Fulbright scholar from Australia who will spend approximately 6 months here conducting research on sediment movement in coral reef systems.
After lying hidden in sediments for thousands of years, delicate frozen gas structures are in the spotlight for both scientific research and the national interest. These structures, known as gas hydrate, are being investigated by scientists the world over for their possible contributions to the global energy mix, as well as their potential interaction with the environment.
For several years, KIGAM, the Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources, has hosted an international program for geoscience resources (IS-Geo). The IS-Geo program draws together federal and private-sector professionals from the international community to discuss a range of specific geoscience and mineral topics.
Newspaper story on earthquake hazards in Santa Rosa, California, features information from USGS scientists
USGS scientists Janet Watt and Suzanne Hecker provided information to the article’s author.
Living and working on the Pacific islands hosting a key missile tracking site soon could be almost impossible due to the impacts of climate change.