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: 206
Date published: July 17, 2018
Status: Active

Declination of the Earth 1590-1990

Models created of the declination of the Earth through time.

Date published: July 17, 2018
Status: Active

Operations

Learn more about the USGS Geomagnetism operations.

Date published: July 16, 2018
Status: Active

Landslide Preparedness

Landslide and debris flow warning signs, what to do before, during, and after. 

Date published: July 16, 2018
Status: Active

Flood Hazards

Information about active and recent events tracked by the USGS National Floods Specialist.

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Date published: July 14, 2018
Status: Active

Landslides 101

What is a landslide? Where do landslides occur? Why study landslides?

Date published: July 12, 2018
Status: Active

U.S. West Coast and Alaska Marine Geohazards

Marine geohazards are sudden and extreme events beneath the ocean that threaten coastal populations. Such underwater hazards include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and tsunamis.

Devastating earthquakes in Japan (2011) and Chile (2010) that spawned pan-oceanic tsunamis sent a sobering reminder that U.S. coastlines are also vulnerable to natural disasters that originate in...

Date published: July 10, 2018
Status: Active

Landslides Glossary

Definitions of landslide science terms.

Date published: July 8, 2018
Status: Active

Fact Sheets

Date published: July 6, 2018
Status: Active

Videos

Educational videos about the science of landslides and debris flows.

Date published: July 5, 2018
Status: Active

Coastal Change Processes

The primary objective of this project is to increase our understanding of the physical processes that cause coastal change, and ultimately improve our capability to predict the processes and their impacts. This will be approached by using geophysical surveys, oceanographic studies, and predictive models to investigate the interactions of shoreline, nearshore, and offshore sediment transport...

Date published: July 4, 2018
Status: Active

State Geologists & Geological Surveys

Geological Surveys, city and county governments, and professional consultants may have specific landslide information for your area.

Filter Total Items: 105
Date published: March 26, 2018

Bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Hudson Shelf Valley

 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...

Date published: March 26, 2018

Monitoring Mount St. Helens

Monitoring of earthquake and volcanic acitivity at Mount St. Helens.

Date published: March 20, 2018

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...

Date published: February 20, 2018

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.

Date published: February 20, 2018

Continuous and optimized 3-arcsecond elevation model for United States east and west coasts

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.

Date published: February 20, 2018

Bathymetry and Backscatter Intensity of the Sea Floor South of Long Island, New York

Surveys of the bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor south of Long Island, New York, were carried out in November 1998 using a Simrad EM1000 multibeam echosounder mounted on the Canadian Coast Guard ship Frederick G. Creed. 

The area was mapped by the U.S. Geological Survey with support from the Canadian Hydrographic Service and the University of New Brunswick.

Date published: February 20, 2018

Bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Historic Area Remediation Site in 1996, 1998, and 2000

Surveys of the bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Historic Area Remediation Site (HARS), offshore of New York and New Jersey, were carried out in 1996, 1998, and 2000 using a Simrad EM1000 multibeam echosounder mounted on the Canadian Coast Guard ship Frederick G. Creed

Date published: February 20, 2018

Bathymetry, backscatter intensity, and geomorphology of the sea floor of the Hudson Canyon and adjacent slope and rise

The Hudson Canyon begins on the outer continental shelf off the eastern coast of the United States at about 100-meters (m) water depth and extends offshore southeastward across the continental slope and rise. A multibeam survey was carried out in 2002 to map the bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Hudson Canyon and adjacent slope and rise.

Date published: February 20, 2018

Bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Atlantic Beach artificial reef, offshore of New York

The Atlantic Beach artificial reef, located on the sea floor 3 nautical miles south of Atlantic Beach, New York in about 20 meters water depth, was built to create habitat for marine life.  The data from this survey are bathymetry, backscatter intensity, and navigation trackline.

Date published: February 20, 2018

Bathymetry and backscatter intensity of the sea floor of the Sandy Hook artificial reef, offshore of New Jersey

The Sandy Hook artificial reef, located on the sea floor offshore of Sandy Hook, New Jersey was built to create habitat for marine lie. The collected data from this cruise are bathymetry, backscatter intensity, and navigation trackline. 

Date published: February 20, 2018

Sediment Texture and Geomorphology of the Sea Floor from Fenwick Island, Maryland to Fisherman's Island, Virginia

These data are a qualitatively derived interpretive polygon shapefile defining surficial sediment type and distribution, and geomorphology, for nearly 1,400 square kilometers of sea floor on the inner-continental shelf from Fenwick Island, Maryland to Fisherman’s Island, Virginia, USA.

Date published: February 15, 2018

Coastal Groundwater Chemical Data from the North and South Shores of Long Island, New York

Groundwater data were collected in the spring and fall of 2008 from three sites representing different geological settings and biogeochemical conditions within the surficial glacial aquifer of Long Island, NY. 

Filter Total Items: 3,121
Year Published: 2018

Relaxed impact craters on Ganymede: Regional variation and high heat flows

Viscously relaxed craters provide a window into the thermal history of Ganymede, a satellite with copious geologic signs of past high heat flows. Here we present measurements of relaxed craters in four regions for which suitable imaging exists: near Anshar Sulcus, Tiamat Sulcus, northern Marius Regio, and Ganymede's south pole. We describe a...

Singer, Kelsi N.; Bland, Michael T.; Schenk, Paul M.; McKinnon, William B.
Sing, K. N., Bland, M. T., Schenk, P. M., McKinnon, W. B., 2018. Relaxed impact craters on Ganymede: Regional variation and high heat flows. Icarus 306, 214-224.

Year Published: 2018

2018 one‐year seismic hazard forecast for the central and eastern United States from induced and natural earthquakes

This article describes the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 2018 one‐year probabilistic seismic hazard forecast for the central and eastern United States from induced and natural earthquakes. For consistency, the updated 2018 forecast is developed using the same probabilistic seismicity‐based methodology as applied in the two previous forecasts....

Petersen, Mark D.; Mueller, Charles; Moschetti, Morgan P.; Hoover, Susan M.; Rukstales, Kenneth S.; McNamara, Daniel E.; Williams, Robert A.; Shumway, Allison; Powers, Peter; Earle, Paul; Llenos, Andrea L.; Michael, Andrew J.; Rubinstein, Justin L.; Norbeck, Jack; Cochran, Elizabeth S.
Mark D. Petersen, Charles S. Mueller, Morgan P. Moschetti, Susan M. Hoover, Kenneth S. Rukstales, Daniel E. McNamara, Robert A. Williams, Allison M. Shumway, Peter M. Powers, Paul S. Earle, Andrea L. Llenos, Andrew J. Michael, Justin L. Rubinstein, Jack H. Norbeck, Elizabeth S. Cochran; 2018 One‐Year Seismic Hazard Forecast for the Central and Eastern United States from Induced and Natural Earthquakes. Seismological Research Letters ; 89 (3): 1049–1061. doi: https://doi.org/10.1785/0220180005

Year Published: 2018

Improving near‐real‐time coseismic landslide models: Lessons learned from the 2016 Kaikōura, New Zealand, earthquake

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is developing near‐real‐time global earthquake‐triggered‐landslide products to augment the USGS Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response (PAGER) system. The 14 November 2016 Mw">MwMw 7.8 Kaikōura, New Zealand, earthquake provided a test case for evaluating the performance and near‐real‐...

Allstadt, Kate E.; Jibson, Randall W.; Thompson, Eric M.; Massey, Chris; Wald, David J.; Godt, Jonathan W.; Rengers, Francis K.
Allstadt, K.E., Jibson, R.W., Thompson, E.M., Massey, C.I., Wald, D.J., Godt, J.W., Rengers, F.K., 2018, Improving Near‐Real‐Time Coseismic Landslide Models: Lessons Learned from the 2016 Kaikōura, New Zealand, Earthquake, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (2018) 108 (3B): 1649-1664.

Year Published: 2018

Overview of the geologic effects of the November 14, 2016, Mw 7.8 Kaikoura, New Zealand, earthquake

The November 14, 2016, Kaikoura, New Zealand, earthquake (moment magnitude [Mw] 7.8) triggered more than 10,000 landslides over an area of about 12,000 square kilometers in the northeastern part of the South Island of New Zealand. In collaboration with GNS Science (the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Science Limited), we conducted ground and...

Jibson, Randall W.; Allstadt, Kate E.; Rengers, Francis K.; Godt, Jonathan W.
Jibson, R.W., Allstadt, K.E., Rengers, F.K., and Godt, J.W., 2018, Overview of the geologic effects of the November 14, 2016, Mw 7.8 Kaikoura, New Zealand, earthquake: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5146, 39 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175146.

Year Published: 2018

Application of microtremor horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio (MHVSR) analysis for site characterization: State of the art

Nakamura (Q Rep Railway Tech Res Inst 30:25–33, 1989) popularized the application of the horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio (HVSR) analysis of microtremor (seismic noise or ambient vibration) recordings to estimate the predominant frequency and amplification factor of earthquake shaking. During the following quarter century, popularity in the...

Molnar, S.; Cassidy, J. F. ; Castellaro, S.; Cornou, C.; Crow, H.; Hunter, J. A.; Matsushima, S.; Sánchez-Sesma, F. J.; Yong, Alan K.
Molnar, S., F. Cassidy, J., Castellaro, S., Cornou, C., Crow, H., Hunter, J., Matsushima, S., J. Sánchez-Sesma, F, and Yong, A., 2018, Application of Microtremor Horizontal-to-Vertical Spectral Ratio (MHVSR) Analysis for Site Characterization; State of the Art: Surveys in Geophysics, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10712-018-9464-4.

Year Published: 2018

Geologic map of the Nepenthes Planum Region, Mars

This map product contains a map sheet at 1:1,506,000 scale that shows the geology of the Nepenthes Planum region of Mars, which is located between the cratered highlands that dominate the southern hemisphere and the less-cratered sedimentary plains that dominate the northern hemisphere.  The map region contains cone- and mound-shaped...

Skinner, James A.; Tanaka, Kenneth L.
Skinner, J.A., Jr., and Tanaka, K.L., 2018, Geologic map of the Nepenthes Planum Region, Mars: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3389, pamphlet 11 p., scale 1:1,506,000, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3389.

Year Published: 2018

Geoelectric hazard assessment: the differences of geoelectric responses during magnetic storms within common physiographic zones

Geomagnetic field data obtained through the INTERMAGNET program are convolved with with magnetotelluric surface impedance from four EarthScope USArray sites to estimate the geoelectric variations throughout the duration of a magnetic storm. A duration of time from June 22, 2016, to June 25, 2016, is considered which encompasses a...

Cuttler, Stephen W.; Love, Jeffrey J.; Swidinsky, Andrei
Cuttler, S. W., Love, J. J. & Swidinsky, A., 2018. Geoelectric hazard assessment: the differences of geoelectric responses during magnetic storms within common physiographic zones, Earth Planets Space, 70, 35, doi:10.1186/s40623-018-0807-7.

Year Published: 2018

Integrate urban‐scale seismic hazard analyses with the U.S. National Seismic Hazard Model

For more than 20 yrs, damage patterns and instrumental recordings have highlighted the influence of the local 3D geologic structure on earthquake ground motions (e.g., M">M 6.7 Northridge, California, Gao et al., 1996; M">M 6.9 Kobe, Japan, Kawase, 1996; M">M 6.8 Nisqually, Washington, Frankel...

Moschetti, Morgan P.; Luco, Nicolas; Frankel, Arthur; Petersen, Mark D.; Aagaard, Brad T.; Baltay, Annemarie S.; Blanpied, Michael; Boyd, Oliver; Briggs, Richard; Gold, Ryan D.; Graves, Robert; Hartzell, Stephen; Rezaeian, Sanaz; Stephenson, William J.; Wald, David J.; Williams, Robert A.; Withers, Kyle

Year Published: 2018

THRESH—Software for tracking rainfall thresholds for landslide and debris-flow occurrence, user manual

Precipitation thresholds are used in many areas to provide early warning of precipitation-induced landslides and debris flows, and the software distribution THRESH is designed for automated tracking of precipitation, including precipitation forecasts, relative to thresholds for landslide occurrence. This software is also useful for analyzing...

Baum, Rex L.; Fischer, Sarah J.; Vigil, Jacob C.
Baum, R.L., Fischer, S.J., and Vigil, J.C., 2018, THRESH—Software for tracking rainfall thresholds for landslide and debris-flow occurrence, user manual: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, book 14, chap. A2, 33 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/tm14A2.

Year Published: 2018

Spatial and spectral interpolation of ground-motion intensity measure observations

Following a significant earthquake, ground‐motion observations are available for a limited set of locations and intensity measures (IMs). Typically, however, it is desirable to know the ground motions for additional IMs and at locations where observations are unavailable. Various interpolation methods are available, but because IMs or their...

Worden, Charles; Thompson, Eric M.; Baker, Jack W.; Bradley, Brendon A.; Luco, Nicolas; Wald, David J.
C. Bruce Worden, Eric M. Thompson, Jack W. Baker, Brendon A. Bradley, Nicolas Luco, David J. Wald; Spatial and Spectral Interpolation of Ground‐Motion Intensity Measure Observations. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America doi: https://doi.org/10.1785/0120170201

Year Published: 2018

The evolution of a colluvial hollow to a fluvial channel with periodic steps following two transformational disturbances: A wildfire and a historic flood

The transition of a colluvial hollow to a fluvial channel with discrete steps was observed after two landscape-scale disturbances. The first disturbance, a high-severity wildfire, changed the catchment hydrology to favor overland flow, which incised a colluvial hollow, creating a channel in the same location. This incised channel became armored...

Rengers, Francis K.; McGuire, Luke; Ebel, Brian A.; Tucker, G. E.

Year Published: 2018

A flatfile of ground motion intensity measurements from induced earthquakes in Oklahoma and Kansas

We have produced a uniformly processed database of orientation-independent (RotD50, RotD100) ground motion intensity measurements containing peak horizontal ground motions (accelerations and velocities) and 5-percent-damped pseudospectral accelerations (0.1–10 s) from more than 3,800 M ≥ 3 earthquakes in Oklahoma and Kansas that occurred...

Rennolet, Steven B.; Moschetti, Morgan P.; Thompson, Eric M.; Yeck, William

Filter Total Items: 2,293
animated GIF showing subsidence at a crater
July 8, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Animated GIF of Crater Subsidence

This animated GIF shows a sequence of radar amplitude images that were acquired by the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana CosmoSkyMed satellite system. The images illustrate changes to the 

...
A man stands smiling on a high coastal bluff near solar panels and a pole supported by guy wires, with a camera mounted on top.
July 8, 2018

Video camera installation, Barter Island

USGS oceanographer Shawn Harrison poses in front of the USGS video camera installation atop the coastal bluff of Barter Island in northern Alaska.

Fissure eruption
July 7, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8

View of Fissure 8 and channel during the morning overflight on July 7.

July 7, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Timelapse Changes at Caldera (6/13 - 7/7)

This series of images from June 13 through July 7, 2018, show dramatic down-dropping of part of Kīlauea Volcano's summit caldera floor. For weeks,

...
Camera looking over a summit
July 7, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — SO2 Camera

For several years, a special ultraviolet camera has been located near Keanakākoʻi Crater at Kīlauea's summit. The camera was capable of detecting SO2 gas coming from Halema‘uma‘u crater. This morning, the camera was removed because there is very little SO2 to measure these days at the summit. In addition, cracking near Keanakākoʻi Crater was making access difficult.

...
Men and women sitting in a room with tables and chairs listening to a woman talk, she's pointing at a screen on the wall.
July 7, 2018

USGS hosts community outreach event on Barter Island

USGS oceanographer Li Erikson speaks at a community outreach event on Barter Island, Alaska, to present results from earlier USGS studies and to discuss ongoing USGS research.

Lava entering the ocean
July 6, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Kapoho Bay

Ocean entry in Kapoho as viewed from morning helicopter overflight.

Satellite image over crater
July 6, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Satellite View of Kīlauea Summit

The WorldView-3 satellite acquired this view of Kīlauea's summit on July 3. Despite a few clouds, the area of heaviest fractures in the caldera is clear. Views into the expanding Halema‘uma‘u crater reveal a pit floored by rubble. HVO, on the northwest caldera rim, is labeled.

A small instrument with a USGS logo sticker with wires coming out of it is in a hole in the ground.
July 5, 2018

Sensitive instrument used to detect ground shaking

This device, called a Raspberry Shake, is a sensitive instrument used to detect ground shaking. It is being carefully buried in this shallow hole in the tundra, to isolate it from wind.

Dust rising from inside a crater after a rock collapse
July 5, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Dust from Summit Explosion

Rocks generate brown dust as they tumble down the western caldera wall during the collapse explosion event on July 5, 2018.

Dust rising from a crater after a rock collapse
July 5, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Collapse and Dust Rising at Halema`uma`u Crater

At 1:20 PM HST on July 5, a collapse explosion event occurred at Kīlauea's summit. The energy released by the event was equivalent to a M5.2 earthquake. The shaking

...
Filter Total Items: 354
Date published: April 25, 2018

Saltwater contamination of freshwater resources could make many atoll islands uninhabitable in decades

Sea-level rise and wave-driven flooding could introduce saltwater so frequently into atoll islands’ freshwater resources that many will be uninhabitable by the mid-21st century, according to a new study published in ...

Date published: April 24, 2018

East vs West Coast Earthquakes

Why was an earthquake in Virginia felt at more than twice the distance than a similar-sized earthquake in California? The answer is one that many people may not realize. Earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains can cause noticeable ground shaking at much farther distances than comparably-sized earthquakes in the West.

Date published: April 18, 2018

USGS Rolls Out Groundbreaking Earthquake Study: The HayWired Earthquake Scenario

USGS collaborates with key academic, state, local, and industry partners to provide a new look at what could happen during a major earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Date published: April 16, 2018

USGS 2017 Excellence in Leadership Award honors scientists who assess coastal flooding threats

Research geologist Patrick Barnard and research oceanographer Li Erikson have been recognized for leading efforts to better assess coastal vulnerability to flooding.

Date published: April 13, 2018

Documentary about sea-level rise threatening the Republic of the Marshall Islands features USGS findings

USGS research in the Republic of the Marshall Islands forms part of the scientific foundation of an interactive documentary released April 6 by PBS Frontline.

Date published: April 12, 2018

USGS beach and nearshore surveys in the media

USGS oceanographer Dan Hoover explained how USGS coastal surveys are conducted and why they are important in a radio interview with NPR affiliate KCLU. KCLU was one of several outlets that reported on ...

Date published: April 4, 2018

USGS Seeks Earthquake Hazards Research Proposals

Applications due May 22, 2018

Date published: March 29, 2018

International Mapping Standards Updated for Planets throughout Solar System

Clarifying Latitude and Longitude for Planets besides Earth

Date published: March 28, 2018

Tracking the movement of sediment and contaminants from northern California wildfire areas to San Francisco Bay

USGS research geologist Renee Takesue of the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center collected 20 sediment samples from Sonoma Creek and Napa River north of San Francisco Bay on March 17.

Date published: March 27, 2018

Earthquake Early Warning! New Study Examines Safety Potentials and Limits

In a newly published study, U.S. Geological Survey scientists and their partners calculate possible alert times that earthquake early warning systems can provide people at different levels of ground motion from light to very strong shaking.

Date published: March 26, 2018

Mapping Beach Changes After Devastating Montecito Debris Flows

MEDIA ADVISORY

During the week of March 26, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey will begin four days of mapping selected beaches and the adjacent seafloor in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Results will be compared to surveys from last fall to highlight changes due to winter waves, and to sediment inputs from area streams. 

Date published: March 23, 2018

Collecting clues to the geologic history and mineral resources of the Rio Grande Rise, southwest Atlantic Ocean

USGS scientists James Hein and Kira Mizell participated in a University of São Paulo research cruise to the western Rio Grande Rise, an underwater plateau in international waters of the Atlantic Ocean off Brazil.