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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.

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Filter Total Items: 181
Date published: April 10, 2018
Status: Active

What to Expect in a Big Urban Earthquake

When a big earthquake hits a populated area, expect these effects.

Date published: April 10, 2018
Status: Active

The HayWired Scenario: An Urban Earthquake in a Connected World

An interactive, graphics-rich summary of the hazards in the HayWired Scenario.

Date published: April 9, 2018
Status: Active

Global Ocean Mineral Resources

Addressing issues concerning mineral resources that occur within the Exclusive Economic Zone of Pacific coastal States, Pacific islands of U.S. affiliation, and areas beyond national jurisdictions.

Date published: April 5, 2018

Kilauea Advisory Messages Usability Study

Improving Advisories for volcanic activity.

Date published: March 30, 2018
Status: Completed

Tropical Storm Colin - Forecast of Coastal Change

Forecast of coastal change for Tropical Storm Colin.

Date published: March 30, 2018
Status: Active

The Florida Coastal Mapping Program

The Florida Coastal Mapping Program (FCMaP) is an initiative between Federal and Florida State agencies and institutions to coordinate and facilitate the collection and accessibility of Florida coastal seafloor data in order to fill priority areas and gaps.

Contacts: Cheryl Hapke, Ph.D., Philip Kramer, Ph.D.
Date published: March 29, 2018
Status: Active

Coastal Climate Impacts

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...

Date published: March 28, 2018
Status: Completed

Hurricane Joaquin - Forecast and Documentation of Coastal Change

Hurricane Joaquin coastal change forecast and pre- and post-storm photos documenting coastal change.

Date published: March 22, 2018

Gas Hydrates-Climate-Hydrate Interactions

Breakdown of gas hydrates due to short- or long-term climate change may release methane to the ocean-atmosphere system. Methane that reaches the atmosphere can in turn exacerbate climate warming. Studies of methane hydrate dynamics and methane release on the continental shelf and upper slope in the US Arctic and Atlantic margin are tracking these processes.

Date published: March 22, 2018
Status: Active

Gas Hydrates-Energy

Natural gas production from methane hydrates may someday prove viable. The USGS Gas Hydrate Project takes part in US and international programs to investigate the potential of deepwater marine and permafrost gas hydrates as an energy resource. Long-term production tests are the next step in this research.

Date published: March 20, 2018
Status: Active

Geomagnetism Research

Research projects within the USGS Geomagnetism Program are targeted for societal relevance, especially for space-weather hazard science.

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Date published: March 20, 2018
Status: Active

Volcano Hazards Preparedness Resources

Be ready for the next volcanic event.

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Filter Total Items: 99
Date published: March 17, 2016

Volcano Monitoring Data

Many volcanoes in the U.S. are monitored by arrays of several instruments that detect subtle movements within the earth and changes in gas and water chemistry. The Volcano Hazards Program streams this data to its Volcano Observatories and makes it available on volcano-specific websites.

Date published: March 17, 2016

Coastal and Marine Geoscience Data System

Site provides access to Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP) data via Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards services; serving data to GeoMapApp and Virtual Ocean 2-D and 3-D earth browsing tools, for data integration, visualization and analysis; and metadata catalogs for data discovery.

Date published: March 15, 2016

High-resolution geophysical data collected along the Delmarva Peninsula in 2015, U.S. Geological Survey Field Activity 2015-001-FA

The Delmarva Peninsula is a 220-kilometer-long headland, spit, and barrier island complex that was significantly affected by Hurricane Sandy in the fall of 2012. The U.S. Geological Survey conducted cruises during the summers of 2014 and 2015 to map the inner continental shelf of the Delmarva Peninsula using geophysical and sampling techniques to define the geologic framework

Date published: March 15, 2016

California State Waters Map Series GIS Data and Metadata

GIS data files for map areas offshore of California are listed with a brief description, a small image, and links to the metadata files and the downloadable data files.

Date published: March 7, 2016

Drought Watch

Where in the Nation are droughts or very low flows occurring now? How can I see these sites on a map and get to the data?

Date published: March 7, 2016

Real-time Streamflow

Map and data of real-time streamflow compared to historical streamflow for the day of the year in the U.S.

Date published: March 7, 2016

ISIS – The Integrated System for Imagers and Spectrometers

ISIS has many standard image processing operations such as contrast stretch, image algebra, filters, and statistical analysis. Isis operates on both classical two-dimensional images as well as three-dimensional cubes collected from imaging spectrometers. It also has unique capabilities for processing data from NASA spacecraft missions.

Date published: March 7, 2016

PILOT – The Planetary Image LOcator Tool

PILOT is a web based search tool for the Unified Planetary Coordinate (UPC) database of the Planetary Data System. PILOT features SPICE-corrected image locations and searching capabilities using a navigable map, user selectable image constraints, and facilitates bulk downloads and/or image processing using POW.

Date published: March 7, 2016

POW – The Map Projection on the Web

The Map Projection on the Web service was created to help researchers convert raw Planetary Data System images to a science-ready map projected images. The system integrates the Planetary Image LOcator Tool (PILOT) and the Unified Planetary Coordinate (UPC), ISIS3, GDAL, and the Astrogeology processing cluster for its’ processing needs.

Date published: March 7, 2016

Astro Web Maps – Our Web Mapping Services (WMS) and Web Feature Services (WFS)

Astro Web Maps – Our Web Mapping Services (WMS) and Web Feature Services (WFS) are based on Open Geospatial Consortium standards and allow capable mapping clients to view full-resolution planetary mosaicked Basemaps. Services are available for community use and are critical for our Planetary Nomenclature, Planetary Geologic Mapping and PILOT sites

Date published: March 7, 2016

Map-a-Planet 2

Allows existing map-projected (derived) image products to be re-projected, stretched, clipped, and converted into a variety of useful formats. Version 2 allows us to quickly add new mosaics and potentially many other derived science products for conversion and download.

Date published: March 7, 2016

GDAL – The Geospatial Data Abstraction Library

GDAL is a translator library for raster geospatial data formats that is released under an X/MIT style Open Source license by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation. As a library, it presents a single abstract data model for all supported formats. It also comes with a variety of useful commandline utilities for data translation and processing.

Filter Total Items: 1,774
Year Published: 2016

Orbital monitoring of martian surface changes

A history of martian surface changes is documented by a sequence of global mosaics made up of Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera daily color images from 1999 to 2006, together with a single mosaic from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mars Color Imager in 2009. These observations show that changes in the global albedo patterns of Mars take...

Geissler, Paul E.; Fenton, L.K.; Enga, M.; Mukherjee, P.
Geissler, P.E., Fenton, L.K., Enga, M., and Mukherjee, P., 2016, Orbital monitoring of martian surface changes: Icarus, v. 278,p. 279-300, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2016.05.023.

Year Published: 2016

Comparing orbiter and rover image-based mapping of an ancient sedimentary environment, Aeolis Palus, Gale crater, Mars

This study provides the first systematic comparison of orbital facies maps with detailed ground-based geology observations from the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover to examine the validity of geologic interpretations derived from orbital image data. Orbital facies maps were constructed for the Darwin, Cooperstown, and Kimberley...

Stack, Kathryn M.; Edwards, Christopher; Grotzinger, J. P.; Gupta, S.; Sumner, D.; Edgar, Lauren; Fraeman, A.; Jacob, S.; LeDeit, L.; Lewis, K.W.; Rice, M.S.; Rubin, D.; Calef, F.; Edgett, K.; Williams, R.M.E.; Williford, K.H.
K.M. Stack et al., Comparing orbiter and rover image-based mapping of an ancient sedimentary environment, Aeolis Palus, Gale crater, Mars, Icarus (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2016.02.024

Year Published: 2016

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
Safak, I., J. C. Warner, and J. H. List (2016), Barrier island breach evolution: Alongshore transport and bay-ocean pressure gradient interactions, J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 121, doi:10.1002/2016JC012029.

Year Published: 2016

Cratering on Ceres: Implications for its crust and evolution

Thermochemical models have predicted that Ceres, is to some extent, differentiated and should have an icy crust with few or no impact craters. We present observations by the Dawn spacecraft that reveal a heavily cratered surface, a heterogeneous crater distribution, and an apparent absence of large craters. The morphology of some impact craters is...

Hiesinger, H.; Marchi, S.; Schmedemann, N.; Schenk, P.; Pasckert, J. H.; Neesemann, A.; O'Brien, D. P.; Kneissl, T.; Ermakov, A.; Fu, R.R.; Bland, M. T.; Nathues, A.; Platz, T.; Williams, D.A.; Jaumann, R.; Castillo-Rogez, J. C.; Ruesch, O.; Schmidt, B.; Park, R.S.; Preusker, F.; Buczkowski, D.L.; Russell, C.T.; Raymond, C.A.

Year Published: 2016

Response comment: Carbon sequestration on Mars

Martian atmospheric pressure has important implications for the past and present habitability of the planet, including the timing and causes of environmental change. The ancient Martian surface is strewn with evidence for early water bound in minerals (e.g., Ehlmann and Edwards, 2014) and recorded in surface features such as large catastrophically...

Edwards, Christopher; Ehlmann, Bethany L.

Year Published: 2016

Transformations to granular zircon revealed: Twinning, reidite, and ZrO2 in shocked zircon from Meteor Crater (Arizona, USA)

Granular zircon in impact environments has long been recognized but remains poorly understood due to lack of experimental data to identify mechanisms involved in its genesis. Meteor Crater in Arizona (United States) contains abundant evidence of shock metamorphism, including shocked quartz, the high pressure polymorphs coesite and stishovite,...

Cavosie, Aaron; Timms, Nicholas E.; Erickson, Timmons M.; Hagerty, Justin J.; Hörz, Friedrich
Cavosie, A.J., Timms, N.E., Erickson, T.M., Hagerty, J.J., and Horz, F. (2016) Transformations to granular zircon revealed: Twinning, reidite, and ZrO2 in shocked zircon from Meteor Crater (Arizona, USA), Geology, 44, 703-706, doi:10.1130/G38043.1

Year Published: 2016

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.
Sturdivant, E.J., Thieler, E.R., Zeigler, S.L., Winslow, L.A., Hines, M.K., Read, J.S., Walker, J.I., 2016, Biogeomorphic classification and images of shorebird nesting sites on the U.S. Atlantic coast: U.S. Geological Survey data release, http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F70V89X3.

Year Published: 2016

Cryovolcanism on Ceres

Volcanic edifices are abundant on rocky bodies of the inner solar system. In the cold outer solar system, volcanism can occur on solid bodies with a water-ice shell, but derived cryovolcanic constructs have proved elusive. We report the discovery using Dawn Framing Camera images of a landform on dwarf planet Ceres, which we argue represents a...

Ruesch, O.; Platz, T.; Schenk, P.; McFadden, L.A.; Castillo-Rogez, J. C.; Quick, L. C.; Byrne, S.; Preusker, F.; O'Brien, D. P.; Schmedemann, N.; Williams, D.A.; Li, Jian-Yang; Bland, M. T.; Hiesinger, H.; Kneissl, T.; Neesemann, A.; Schaefer, M.; Pasckert, J. H.; Schmidt, B.E.; Buczkowski, D.L.; Sykes, M. V.; Nathues, A.; Roatsch, T.; Hoffman, M.; Raymond, C.A.; Russell, C.T.
Ruesch, Ottaviano, Platz, Thomas, Schenk, P., McFadden, Lucy, Castillo-Rogez, Julie C, Byrne, S, Preusker, Frank, O'Brien, D., Scmedemann, Nico, Williams, Dave, A, Li, J.-Y., Bland, M.T., Heisinger, H, Hiesinger, H., Kneissl, T., Neesemann, A., Schaefer, M., Pasckert, J.H., Schmidt, B.E., Buczkowski, D.L., Sykes, M.V., Nathues, A., Roatsch, T., Hoffmann, M., Raymond, C.A., and Russell, C.T., 2016, Cryovolcanism on Ceres:

Year Published: 2016

Detection of water and/or hydroxyl on asteroid (16) Psyche

In order to search for evidence of hydration on M-type asteroid (16) Psyche, we observed this object in the 3 μm spectral region using the long-wavelength cross-dispersed (LXD: 1.9–4.2 μm) mode of the SpeX spectrograph/imager at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility. Our observations show that Psyche exhibits a 3 μm absorption...

Takir, Driss; Reddy, Vishnu; Sanchez, Juan A.; Shepard, Michael K.; Emery, Joshua P.
Takir D, Reddy V, Sanchez JA, Shepard MK, Emery JP (2017) Detection of water and/or hydroxyl on asteroid (16) Psyche. Astron J 153:31.

Year Published: 2016

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.
Pendleton, E.A., Ackerman, S.D., Baldwin, W.E., Danforth, W.W., Foster, D.S., Thieler, E.R., and Brothers, L.L. 2015, High-resolution geophysical data collected along the Delmarva Peninsula, 2014, USGS Field Activity 2014-002-FA (ver. 2.0, March 2015): U.S. Geological Survey data release. http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F7MW2F60

Year Published: 2016

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.
Montgomery, E.T., Sherwood, C.R., Martini, M.A., Trowbridge, J., Scully, M, and Brosnahan, S.M., 2016, Oceanographic and water-quality measurements collected south of Martha’s Vineyard, MA, 2014–2015: U.S. Geological Survey data release, http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F7542KQR.

Year Published: 2016

Origins of a national seismic system in the United States

This historical review traces the origins of the current national seismic system in the United States, a cooperative effort that unifies national, regional, and local‐scale seismic monitoring within the structure of the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS). The review covers (1) the history and technological evolution of U.S. seismic...

Filson, John R.; Arabasz, Walter J.
Origins of a National Seismic System in the United States John R. Filson, Walter J. Arabasz Seismological Research Letters Nov 2016,

Filter Total Items: 2,254
Ocean entry
June 28, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Ocean Entry

View of the ocean entry (lower left) from this morning's overflight. Lava was entering the ocean across a broad area primarily on the north part of the lava delta. Upslope along the northern margin of the flow field, lava is still oozing from several points in the area of Kapoho Beach Lots. Fissure 8 

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Lava flowing into residential area
June 28, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fresh Lava at Kapoho Beach Lots

Near the coast, the northern margin of the lava flow field is still oozing fresh lava at several points in the area of Kapoho Beach Lots. Smoke marks locations where lava is burning vegetation.

Aerial view looking down on a lava flow overflow from a channel
June 27, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Channel Overflow

A small overflow from the lava channel (left side of image) captured by an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). Small overflows on both sides of the channel occurred shortly after midnight in the uppermost part of channel. None of these overflows extended past the existing flow field.

View of fissure 8 with overflows
June 27, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Overflows

Overflows from the perched lava channel are seen as incandescent (glowing) fingers moving down the sides of the channel (left side of photo). Fissure 8 

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lava plumes from ocean entries
June 27, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Kapoho Coastline Ocean Entries

Lava continues to enter the sea along the southern Kapoho coastline. Lava enters the ocean primarily through an open channel, but also along a 1-km (0.6 mi) wide area. Also visible in the image (center right) is an area at the northern margin of the flow field that is oozing fresh lava at several points in the area of Kapoho Beach Lots.

Lava channel
June 26, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Lava Channel Branches Off

Southward facing view of the point at which the fissure 8 lava channel bifurcates.

Lava entering the ocean causing laze plumes
June 26, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Laze Plumes

Lava from fissure 8 is entering the sea this morning on the southern portion of the flow front primarily through the open channel, but also along this 1 km (0.6 mi) wide area with multiple laze plumes from smaller oozing lobes.

Lava entering the ocean
June 26, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Ocean Entry

North facing view of the 1 km (0.6 mi) long ocean entry with multiple lobes of lava flowing into the sea.

June 26, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Remobilized Ash Plume

Recent explosive events haven't produced significant ash plumes from the summit, but downwind communities may still experience ashfall when previously erupted ash is remobilized. On authorized permission from Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, our Unmanned Aircraft Systems crew is conducting gas measurements at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. They snapped this photograph from Chain of Craters

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Comparison of two photos
June 26, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano —

Comparison of photographs taken on June 13 and 26 from near Keanakāko'i Crater overlook in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park shows a subsidence scarp that formed as the Kīlauea Crater floor subsided. Scientists estimate the dramatic dropping of the crater floor in this area occurred sometime between June 23 and 26. The view is to the west. Halema‘uma‘u crater is in upper

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Lava channels
June 26, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Braided Lava Channels

Lava within the braided portion of the fissure 8

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Filter Total Items: 343
Date published: January 12, 2018

3-D Structure of Buried Ice Sheets on Mars Revealed by High-Resolution Images

For the first time, high-resolution images show the three-dimensional structure of massive ice deposits on Mars. According to an in-depth analysis led by the USGS, the images reveal never-before-observed details about the ice sheets, including that some begin just a few feet below the Martian surface and extend to depths greater than 300 feet.  

Date published: January 11, 2018

Future impacts of sea-level rise on Cape Cod with Erika Lentz and WBZ Meteorologist, Danielle Niles

Interview on future impacts of sea-level rise on Cape Cod with meteorologist Danielle Niles on Trunk River Beach, Falmouth, MA

Date published: December 13, 2017

Eyes on the Coast—Video Cameras Help Forecast Coastal Change

USGS scientists have installed video cameras pointed at beaches on the coasts of western Florida and central California. They’re analyzing the videos to measure features of the beach and ocean so they can improve coastal-change forecasts.

Date published: December 12, 2017

USGS Research Geologist Publishes New AGU Article Forecasting Barrier Island Response to Sea-Level Rise

A new article combines geomorphological and pre- and post-Hurricane Sandy observations from coastal New Jersey with a morphodynamic model to forecast the response of barrier islands to various rates of sea-level rise and explores the impact of human alterations on forecasted behavior.

Date published: December 12, 2017

SEABOSS Survey in Long Island Sound

Geological Sampling (videos, photos and sediment samples) in Long Island Sound on the newly stretched R/V Connecticut with scientist from USGS, UConn and Univ of New Haven

Date published: December 12, 2017

Geophyiscal survey of Lake Powell, UT-AZ

Develop a new bathymetry map of Lake Powell, UT-AZ, and characterize shallow sediment deposition near the mouths of the San Juan and Colorado Rivers. Bathymetric data, acoustic backscatter imagery, and limited CHIRP sub-bottom data were collected by the USGS Utah Water Science Center (UTWSC) and Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center (WHCMSC) within Lake Powell, October - November, 2017...

Date published: December 11, 2017

USGS provides information about Alaska coastal change to Scientific American

USGS scientists at the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center spoke by phone with Scientific American writer Andrea Thompson on November 15.

Date published: December 11, 2017

First observation of gold particles in hot hydrothermal fluids

For the first time, scientists have found gold particles in boiling fluids from a hydrothermal vent.

Date published: December 9, 2017

Open House at the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 9, USGS scientists treated visitors to displays about their research at the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California.

Date published: December 8, 2017

Physical processes dominate channel evolution in Olympic National Park rivers—A reply

A team of federal scientists addressed comments from researchers who disagree with their conclusions that river channel evolution is driven primarily by physical factors rather than an overabundance of elk after wolf eradication.

Date published: November 30, 2017

Magnitude 4.1 Earthquake near Dover, Delaware

The USGS has up-to-date details on the November 30, 2017 event.

Date published: November 30, 2017

Revisiting the Oso Landslide

"Gravity Never Sleeps":  The USGS collaborates with community partners for a series of briefings on Capitol Hill to discuss national landslide hazards.