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
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USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

Explore critical pre- and post-disaster images and datasets online for immediate viewing and downloading. These images are used in disaster preparations, rescue and relief operations, damage assessments, and reconstruction efforts. We supply satellite and aerial images for analysis of disaster areas before, during, and after a disaster.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

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

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

The IGEMS provides the public with both an overview and more specific information on current natural hazard events. The Department of the Interior’s Office of Emergency Management provides it as an internet-accessible service.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

The USGS Geomagnetism Program currently operates 14 magnetic observatories. Magnetometer data are collected at these facilities, and the data are then transmitted to Program headquarters in Golden, Colorado.

Alaska Volcano Observatory logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

The AVO is a partnership among the USGS, the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys. To mitigate volcanic hazards, AVO monitors and studies Alaska's hazardous volcanoes to forecast and record eruptive activity. AVO also monitors volcanic activity in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

Our Program researches activities to make accurate landslide hazard maps and forecasts of landslide occurrences.

California Volcano Observatory emblem
Date Published: March 2, 2016

CalVO operates real-time volcano monitoring networks, disseminates forecasts and notifications of significant activity, assesses volcano hazards, researches volcano processes, and works with communities to prepare for volcanic eruptions in California and Nevada. The Observatory is located at USGS offices in Menlo Park, California.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

Landslide sites and data for learning more about the physical processes that trigger landslides or control their movement.

Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier, northern aerial view
Date Published: March 2, 2016

The CVO staff conduct research on many aspects of active volcanism, respond to dangerous volcanic activity in many parts of the world, and maintain a close watch over volcanoes in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The USGS established CVO in Vancouver, Washington, after the May 18, 1980, eruption of Mount St. Helens.

USGS science for a changing world logo
Date Published: March 2, 2016

Tsunami awareness public service announcements come from collaboration among the USGS SAFRR team, outside partners, and Pasadena's Art Center College of Design.

Scientist shields face while scooping lava with a hammer for chemical analysis
Date Published: March 2, 2016

HVO operates monitoring networks, assesses hazards, and issues notifications of volcanic activity and earthquakes in the State of Hawai‘i. HVO scientists conduct fundamental research on volcanic processes and work to educate the communities at risk. HVO is located in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park on the Island of Hawaii.

Scientist collects samples from a temporary wooden platform in a New Jersey salt marsh
Date Published: August 19, 2014

The Estuarine Physical Response to Storms Project will assess the estuarine and adjacent wetland  responses of three Atlantic lagoonal estuaries to major storm events such as Hurricane Sandy. The estuarine systems include the Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary, the Chincoteague Bay, and Jamaica Bay, NY. Evaluations of sediment transport, geomorphic change, circulation, wetland stability....

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USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

Station Information and Operations

Zoom in on an area to view all seismic network operation stations on the interactive map.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

Seismogram Displays

This interactive map displays seismographic activity. Click on a red seismogram icon or select a region from list list.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

IRIS Data Management Center

Contains archived data from the Global Seismic Network.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

Wildfires: GEOMAC

Maps of current fire locations and perimeters in the conterminous 48 States and Alaska.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 4, 2016

Landfire Data Distribution

Map interface to view and download landfire data sets, receive alerts and notifications.

Ash-rich plume rises out of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, Kilauea Volcano Hawaiʻi
March 4, 2016

Current Alerts for U.S. Volcanoes

Volcano-alert notifications are produced by Volcano Observatory scientists based on analysis of data from monitoring networks, direct observations, and satellite sensors. They are issued for both increasing and decreasing volcanic activity and include text about the nature of the unrest or eruption and about potential or current hazards and likely outcomes.

March 4, 2016

/data-tools/volcano-notification-service-vns" target="">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.

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USGS personnel adjusting SeaBOSS equipment
2017 (approx.)
USGS personnel adjust equipment on the SeaBOSS on the fantail of the R/V Connecticut on Long Island Sound
This HiRISE image cutout shows Recurring Slope Lineae in Tivat crater on Mars in enhanced color.
2017 (approx.)
This HiRISE image cutout shows Recurring Slope Lineae in Tivat crater on Mars in enhanced color. The narrow, dark flows descend downhill (towards the upper left). Analysis shows that the flows all end at approximately the same slope, which is similar to the angle of repose for sand. Dark features previously proposed as evidence for significant liquid water flowing on Mars have now been identified...
Long Island Sound Survey team
2017 (approx.)
Long Island Sound Survey mapping team. This project is a collaboration of several agencies and institutions including Univ of Connecticut, Univ of New Haven, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, NOAA, LDEO, USGS
Photograph of a flooded road in Olympic National Park, Washington, showing a person walking in the shallow water.
November 24, 2017
Flooding on a road in Olympic National Park, Washington, on November 24, 2017.
A series of images from various sources of shaded-relief topography show the progression of the Mud Creek landslide area.
November 6, 2017
A series of images from various sources of shaded-relief topography show the progression of the Mud Creek landslide area, from 2010 through October 12, 2017. Sources: lidar data from 2010 lidar data from 2016 structure-from-motion (SfM), March 8, 2017 SfM, May 19, 2017 SfM, May 27, 2017 SfM, May 31, 2017 SfM, June 13, 2017 SfM, June 26, 2017 SfM, October 12, 2017
October 20, 2017
An introduction to GIS data using ArcMap 10.1 and higher; intended for planetary geologic mappers.
3D map of Mud Creek slide derived from video footage collected by drone on October 12, 2017.
October 12, 2017
Video shot from drones yields details about changing landslide on California’s Big Sur coast On October 12, USGS drones collected video footage of the Mud Creek landslide, which buried California State Highway 1 under a third-of-a-mile-wide mass of rock and dirt on May 20. USGS scientists have been monitoring the slide by transforming photos shot from an airplane into 3D maps. They applied the...
low-elevation east end of Horn Island
October 10, 2017
The low-elevation east end of Horn Island was inundated by waves and storm surge during Hurricane Nate. The predicted probability of inundation for this location was 98%.
spit on the far western end of west Dauphin Island was breached during Hurricane Nate
October 10, 2017
The low elevation spit on the far western end of west Dauphin Island was breached during Hurricane Nate. The predicted probability of inundation was 54%, likely due to the inclusion of the higher elevation dunes to the east of the spit in the 1-km alongshore prediction area.
surge and waves from Hurricane Nate overtopped and cut through the line of dunes
October 10, 2017
The low-elevation west end of Dauphin Island is especially vulnerable to storms and has been impacted by multiple storm events over the last decade. Storm surge and waves from Hurricane Nate overtopped and cut through the line of dunes in front of the road, depositing sand across the road in overwash fans. The predicted probability of overwash in this location was 95%.
Low elevation dunes on East Ship Island
October 10, 2017
Low elevation dunes on East Ship Island were inundated by waves and surge from Hurricane Nate. Sand was transported across the entire island, covering vegetation and filling in ponds. The predicted probability of inundation in this location was 98%.
Elevated water levels during Hurricane Nate overtopped the low dunes on Petit Bois Island
October 10, 2017
Elevated water levels during Hurricane Nate overtopped the low dunes on Petit Bois Island. The predicted probability of overwash for this location was 99%.
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Flooding on Atlantic Avenue in Garden City, SC
September 13, 2017

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.

USGS scientist David Rodriguez records high water marks from storm surge following Harvey near Corpus Christi, Texas. 
September 8, 2017

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.

Satellite captured image of the rapidly intensifying storm, Harvey
September 8, 2017

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.

Coastal erosion
September 8, 2017

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Irma, visit the USGS Hurricane Irma page.

Map showing epicenter of 2017-09-08 earthquake offshore Mexico
September 8, 2017

A magnitude 8.1earthquake struck offshore Chiapas, Mexico on September 7, 2017 at 11:49 local time (September 8 at 04:49UTC).

 

USGS scientists installs storm-tide sensor in preparation for Hurricane Harvey
September 7, 2017

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Irma, visit the USGS Hurricane Irma page.

Preparing to measure Irma's storm surge in Puerto Rico
September 6, 2017

 To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Irma, visit the USGS Hurricane Irma page.

Sensor deployment
September 6, 2017

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Irma, visit the USGS Hurricane Irma page.

Natural Hazard image WGSC
September 6, 2017

With hurricanes in the east and wildfires in the west, natural hazards have the potential to impact a majority of Americans every year. USGS science provides part of the foundation for emergency preparedness whenever and wherever disaster strikes.

Storm-tide sensor installed to a concrete post in Puerto Rico prio to Hurricane Irma.
September 5, 2017

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Irma, visit the USGS Hurricane Irma page.

A USGS crew measures flood waters off a bridge.
August 30, 2017

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Harvey, visit the USGS Hurricane Harvey page.

A USGS crew prepares to measure Hurricane Harvey floodwaters off of a bridge.
August 29, 2017

Reporters: Do you want to interview USGS scientists as they measure flooding? Please contact Jennifer LaVista or Lynne Fahlquist. 

U.S. Geological Survey field crews are measuring record flooding in parts of south-central Texas following intense rainfall from Tropical Storm Harvey.