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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: 206
Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Active

Scientific Background (Fires prior to 2016)

The scientific background information for fires prior to 2016 for Emergency Assessment of Post-Fire Debris-Flow Hazards.

Go back to Scientific Background.

Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Completed

Geologic Mapping Offshore of Rhode Island

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is mapping sea-floor geology and sedimentary environments offshore of Rhode Island. This site provides links to bathymetric, sidescan-sonar, sediment, photographic, seismic-reflection, and interpretive datasets, all presented in Geographic Information System (GIS) formats and...

Date published: June 23, 2018
Status: Active

Preliminary Locations of Landslide Impacts from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico

Disclaimer

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely science to assess ongoing hazards. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages...

Date published: June 23, 2018
Status: Active

Early Warning System

Once the smoke clears from a wildfire, the danger is not over!! Other hazards, such as flash floods and debris flows, now become the focus. Areas recently burned by wildfires are particularly susceptible to flash floods and debris flows during rainstorms.

Date published: June 23, 2018
Status: Active

Emergency Assessment of Post-Fire Debris-Flow Hazards

Estimates of the probability and volume of debris flows that may be produced by a storm in a recently burned area, using a model with characteristics related to basin shape, burn severity, soil properties, and rainfall.

Wildfire can significantly alter the hydrologic response of a watershed to the extent that even modest rainstorms can produce dangerous flash floods and debris flows....

Date published: June 22, 2018
Status: Active

Seattle, WA Landslide Information

More Information on Seattle's Project Impact.

Date published: June 19, 2018
Status: Active

USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Samples Repository-Collections Management

Our Mission Statement

The mission of the Samples Repository (Buczkowski, 2018) is to

1. serve as the USGS repository for geological, biological, and geochemical samples collected through field research sponsored by the WHCMSC,

2. provide long-term storage of these samples collected by WHCMSC scientists and affiliated researchers under controlled conditions to ensure...

Date published: June 19, 2018
Status: Active

USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Samples Repository- Facilities

The USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center's Samples Repository is co-located on the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's Quissett Campus at 384 Woods Hole Road in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

The K.O. Emery Geotechnical Wing serves as the primary storage location for all geological, biological, and geochemical samples collected through USGS research, or in the permanent...

Date published: June 18, 2018
Status: Active

USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Samples Repository

Since 2002, the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center’s Samples Repository (WHCMSC) has been supporting research by providing secure storage for geological, biological, and geochemical samples; maintaining organization and an active inventory of these sample collections; as well as by providing access to these collections for study and reuse.

Over the years, local storage...

Date published: June 18, 2018
Status: Active

Significant Landslides in the United States

Significant Landslide Events 1906-1999

Please Note: Additional landslides may be added as they occur and are evaluated over time.

Date published: June 8, 2018
Status: Active

Seattle Area, Washington

Contacts: Rex Baum, The National Weather Service and the City of Seattle, Washington
Date published: June 8, 2018
Status: Active

Portland, Oregon

Recent Conditions

Instrument installation at this site took place during the summer and fall of 2006. These instruments are used to monitor and detect changes in local conditions, including

Contacts: Jonathan Godt, Rex Baum, Portland State University, The Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries
Filter Total Items: 105
Date published: January 19, 2018

Total Water Level and Coastal Change Forecast Viewer

Total water level (TWL) at the shoreline is the combination of tides, surge, and wave runup. A forecast of TWL is an estimate of the elevation where the ocean will meet the coast and can provide guidance on potential coastal erosion and flooding hazards.

Date published: January 19, 2018

Oblique Aerial Photography Viewer

Obique photos offer a unique perspective of the coast. Features such as beach erosion or accretion, dune erosion and overwash can all be clearly characterized in this imagery. It also documents coastal infrastructure, as well as the damage that infrastructure may incur as the result of an impacting hurricane. 

Date published: December 29, 2017

Multibeam and multichannel sparker seismic-reflection data between Cross Sound and Dixon Entrance, offshore southeastern Alaska, collected from 2016-05-17 to 2016-06-12 during field activity 2016-625-FA

Multibeam bathymetry and multichannel sparker seismic relfection data collected along the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather Fault between Icy Point and Dixon Entrance, offshore southeastern Alaska from 2016-05-17 to 2016-06-12.

Date published: December 8, 2017

iCoast

Help scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey annotate aerial photographs with keyword tags to identify changes to the coast after extreme storms.

Date published: October 19, 2017

Multichannel minisparker and chirp seismic-reflection data of field activity 2015-651-FA; Chatham Strait and Cross Sound, southeastern Alaska from 2015-08-03 to 2015-08-21

High-resolution multichannel minisparker and chirp seismic-reflection data were collected in August of 2015 to explore marine geologic hazards of inland waterways of southeastern Alaska. Sub-bottom profiles were acquired in the inland waters between Glacier Bay and Juneau, including Cross Sound and Chatham Strait.

Date published: September 20, 2017

Hurricane Jose 2017 Event Support Map

Track hurricane data and USGS resources.

Date published: September 19, 2017

Interpretive data release for Oregon Outer Continental Shelf Seafloor Mapping: Selected Lease Blocks Relevant to Renewable Energy

This data release includes the results of analysis of video data conducted by Oregon State University and the geo-habitat interpretation of multibeam echo sounder (MBES) data conducted by the USGS.

Date published: September 18, 2017

Hurricane Maria 2017 Event Support Map

Track hurricane data and USGS resources.

Date published: September 18, 2017

National Assessment of Shoreline Change: A GIS compilation of updated vector shorelines and associated shoreline change data for the north coast of Alaska, U.S. Canadian border to Icy Cape

This data release is an update to the original North Coast of Alaska data and includes revised rate-of-change calculations based on two additional shoreline positions data and improved rate metrics. 

Date published: September 6, 2017

Hurricane Harvey 2017 Event Support Map

Track hurricane data and USGS resources.

Date published: August 24, 2017

Coastal Change Hazards Portal

Interactive access to coastal change science and data for our Nation’s coasts. Information and products are organized within three coastal change hazard themes: 1) extreme storms, 2) shoreline change, and 3) sea-level rise. Each data item represents an individual research product, with some items grouped together as aggregates to show the breadth of the topic and make it easy to explore.

Date published: July 25, 2017

Data Release for USGS Field Activity 2014-607-FA--Oregon OCS Seafloor Mapping: Selected Lease Blocks Relevant to Renewable Energy

Data collected during 12-hour day operations in 2014, out of Charleston Harbor near Coos Bay, Oregon. The cruise plan consisted of 23 days on site split between sonar mapping and video ground truth surveying.

Filter Total Items: 3,121
Year Published: 2018

Planetary dune workshop expands to include subaqueous processes

Dune-like structures appear in the depths of Earth’s oceans, across its landscapes, and in the extremities of the solar system beyond. Dunes rise up under the thick dense atmosphere of Venus, and they have been found under the almost unimaginably ephemeral atmosphere of a comet.

Titus, Timothy N.; Bryant, Gerald; Rubin, David M.
Titus, T., D. M. Rubin, and G. Bryant (2018), Planetary dune workshop expands to include subaqueous processes, Eos, 99, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018EO092783. Published on 15 February 2018.

Year Published: 2018

Seismic hazard, risk, and design for South America

We calculate seismic hazard, risk, and design criteria across South America using the latest data, models, and methods to support public officials, scientists, and engineers in earthquake risk mitigation efforts. Updated continental scale seismic hazard models are based on a new seismicity catalog, seismicity rate models, evaluation of earthquake...

Petersen, Mark D.; Harmsen, Stephen; Jaiswal, Kishor; Rukstales, Kenneth S.; Luco, Nicolas; Haller, Kathleen; Mueller, Charles; Shumway, Allison
Mark D. Petersen, Stephen C. Harmsen, Kishor S. Jaiswal, Kenneth S. Rukstales, Nicolas Luco, Kathleen M. Haller, Charles S. Mueller, Allison M. Shumway; Seismic Hazard, Risk, and Design for South America. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America; 108 (2): 781–800. doi: https://doi.org/10.1785/0120170002.

Year Published: 2018

Variabilities in probabilistic seismic hazard maps for natural and induced seismicity in the central and eastern United States

Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA) characterizes ground-motion hazard from earthquakes. Typically, the time horizon of a PSHA forecast is long, but in response to induced seismicity related to hydrocarbon development, the USGS developed one-year PSHA models. In this paper, we present a display of the variability in USGS hazard curves due...

Mousavi, S. Mostafa; Beroza, Gregory C.; Hoover, Susan M.
Mousavi, S.M., G.C. Beroza, and S.M. Hoover (2018). Variabilities in probabilistic seismic hazard maps for natural and induced seismicity in the central and eastern United States. The Leading Edge, 37(2), 141a1-141a9.

Year Published: 2018

Earthquake potential in California-Nevada implied by correlation of strain rate and seismicity

Rock mechanics studies and dynamic earthquake simulations show that patterns of seismicity evolve with time through (1) accumulation phase, (2) localization phase, and (3) rupture phase. We observe a similar pattern of changes in seismicity during the past century across California and Nevada. To quantify these changes, we correlate GPS strain...

Zeng, Yuehua; Petersen, Mark D.; Shen, Zheng-Kang
Zeng, Y., Petersen, M. D., & Shen, Z.-K.(2018). Earthquake potential in California-Nevada implied by correlation of strain rate and seismicity. Geophysical Research Letters, 45. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017GL075967

Year Published: 2018

Chirp subbottom profile data collected in 2015 from the northern Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana

As part of the Barrier Island Evolution Research project, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center conducted a nearshore geophysical survey around the northern Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana, in September 2015. The objective of the project is to improve the understanding of barrier island...

Forde, Arnell S.; DeWitt, Nancy T.; Fredericks, Jake J.; Miselis, Jennifer L.
Forde, A.S., DeWitt, N.T., Fredericks, J.J., and Miselis, J.L., 2018, Chirp subbottom profile data collected in 2015 from the northern Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1077, https://doi.org/10.3133/ds1077.

Year Published: 2018

Quaternary sediment thickness and bedrock topography of the glaciated United States east of the Rocky Mountains

Beginning roughly 2.6 million years ago, global climate entered a cooling phase known as the Pleistocene Epoch. As snow in northern latitudes compacted into ice several kilometers thick, it flowed as glaciers southward across the North American continent. These glaciers extended across the northern United States, dramatically altering the...

Soller, David R.; Garrity, Christopher P.
Soller, D.R., and Garrity, C.P., 2018, Quaternary sediment thickness and bedrock topography of the glaciated United States east of the Rocky Mountains: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3392, 2 sheets, scale 1:5,000,000. https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3392.

Year Published: 2018

Geoelectric hazard maps for the Mid-Atlantic United States: 100 year extreme values and the 1989 magnetic storm

Maps of extreme value geoelectric field amplitude are constructed for the Mid‐Atlantic United States, a region with high population density and critically important power grid infrastructure. Geoelectric field time series for the years 1983–2014 are estimated by convolving Earth surface impedances obtained from 61 magnetotelluric survey sites...

Love, Jeffrey J.; Lucas, Greg M.; Kelbert, Anna; Bedrosian, Paul A.
Love, J. J., Lucas, G. M., Kelbert, A. & Bedrosian, P. A., 2018. Geoelectric hazard maps for the Mid-Atlantic United States: 100 year extreme values and the 1989 magnetic storm, Geophys. Res. Lett., 45(1), 5-15, doi:10.1002/2017GL076042.

Year Published: 2018

Revised recommended methods for analyzing crater size-frequency distributions

Impact crater populations crucially help us to understand solar system dynamics, planetary surface histories, and surface modification processes. A single previous effort to standardize how crater data are displayed in graphs, tables, and archives, was in a 1978 NASA report by the Crater Analysis Techniques Working Group, published in 1979 in...

Robbins, Stuart J.; Riggs, Jamie D.; Weaver, Brian P.; Bierhaus, Edward B.; Chapman, Clark R.; Kirchoff, Michelle R.; Singer, Kelsi N.; Gaddis, Lisa
Robbins, S.J., J.D. Riggs, B.P. Weaver, E.B. Bierhaus, C.R. Chapman, M.R. Kirchoff, K.N. Singer and L.R. Gaddis, 2018, Revised Recommended Methods for Analyzing Crater Size-Frequency Distributions, Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 53, Nr 4, 891-931.

Year Published: 2018

Extreme-event geoelectric hazard maps: Chapter 9

Maps of geoelectric amplitude covering about half the continental United States are presented that will be exceeded, on average, once per century in response to an extreme-intensity geomagnetic disturbance. These maps are constructed using an empirical parameterization of induction: convolving latitude-dependent statistical maps of extreme-value...

Love, Jeffrey J.; Bedrosian, Paul A.

Year Published: 2018

Detecting geothermal anomalies and evaluating LST geothermal component by combining thermal remote sensing time series and land surface model data

This paper explores for the first time the possibilities to use two land surface temperature (LST) time series of different origins (geostationary Meteosat Second Generation satellite data and Noah land surface modelling, LSM), to detect geothermal anomalies and extract the geothermal component of LST, the LSTgt. We hypothesize that in geothermal...

Romaguera, Mireia; Vaughan, R. Greg; Ettema, J.; Izquierdo-Verdiguier, E.; Hecker, C. A.; van der Meer, F.D.

Year Published: 2018

The electric storm of November 1882

In November 1882, an intense magnetic storm related to a large sunspot group caused widespread interference to telegraph and telephone systems and provided spectacular and unusual auroral displays. The (ring current) storm time disturbance index for this storm reached maximum −Dst ≈ 386 nT, comparable to Halloween storm of 29–31...

Love, Jeffrey J.
Love, J. J. (2018). The electric storm of November 1882. Space Weather, 16, 37–46. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017SW001795.

Year Published: 2018

The size, distribution, and mobility of landslides caused by the 2015 Mw7.8 Gorkha earthquake, Nepal

Coseismic landslides pose immediate and prolonged hazards to mountainous communities, and provide a rare opportunity to study the effect of large earthquakes on erosion and sediment budgets. By mapping landslides using high-resolution satellite imagery, we find that the 25 April 2015 Mw7.8 Gorkha earthquake and aftershock sequence produced at...

Roback, Kevin; Clark, Marin K.; West, A. Joshua; Zekkos, Dimitrios; Li, Gen; Gallen, Sean F.; Chamlagain, Deepak; Godt, Jonathan W.
Attribution: Natural Hazards
Roback, K., Clark, M. K., West, A. J., Zekkos, D., Li, G., Gallen, S. F., Chamlagain, D., and Godt, J. W., 2018, The size, distribution, and mobility of landslides caused by the 2015 Mw7.8 Gorkha earthquake, Nepal: Geomorphology, v. 301, p. 121-138.

Filter Total Items: 2,293
View of a crater with clouds in the background
July 4, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Sunrise at Haleam`uma`u Crater

Sunrise view of Halema‘uma‘u crater as seen from the USGS observation point from Volcano House in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

View of a crater
July 3, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Sunrise at Halema`uma`u Crater

Inward slumping of Halema‘uma‘u continues in response to ongoing subsidence at Kīlauea Volcano's summit. This image, taken from a temporary observation post located at Volcano House, shows steep walls on the western side of the crater and sloping piles of rubble from rockfall events.

Lava flowing out of a fissure at night
July 3, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 Flow at Night

During the overnight hours, the UAS (Unoccupied Aircraft Systems) team flew sections of the lower East Rift Zone, monitoring fissure 8 activity and reports of small overflows from the lava channel. This view of fissure 8 and the upper lava channel shows roiling 

...
Lava flowing from an active fissure
July 3, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Fissure 8 Lava Flow

Fissure 8 and the upper lava channel, viewed from the early morning helicopter overflight of the lower East Rift Zone. Recent heavy rains have soaked into the still-warm tephra and the moisture rises as steam (right side of lava channel).

Geologist making observations of an active fissure
July 3, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Geologist Making Observations of Fissure 8

Fisheye lens photograph of a USGS geologist making observations of the 

...
Lava flowing
July 3, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Evolution of a Blocked Channel (Part 2)

Evolution of a blocked channel, image 2: While observing this area of the fissure 8 lava channel near Kapoho cone during the morning overflight, geologists witnesed an "apartment-building-sized" blockage within the channel give way and be pushed down stream by the pressurized lava behind. The dark portion within the red channel is the freed blockage. Lavacontinues to

...
A blocked lava channel
July 3, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Evolution of a Blocked Channel (Part 1)

Evolution of a blocked channel, photo 1. A blockage of rafted material within the lava channel causes lava to flow over its banks near the Kapoho cone. In this section of the lava channel a cold lava flow from the 1960 eruption forms a barrier on the north side, which initially directed the channel to the southeast. A constriction in the channel formed at the bend where

...
View of eroding coastal bluffs, mostly mud capped with a permafrost layer with tundra on top.
July 3, 2018

Actively eroding coastal permafrost bluff on Barter Island

Photograph of the actively eroding coastal permafrost bluff on Barter Island, located on the northern coast of Alaska.

Aerial shot showing lava flowing into residential area
July 2, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Lava at Kapoho Beach Lots

At the coast, the northern margin of the flow field is still oozing pasty lava at several points in the area of Kapoho Beach Lots.

Close up of a lava overflow
July 2, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Overfows

Close up image of overflows from the fissure 8 lava channel. Photograph taken during the morning overflight.

Drone shot looking at brightly colored red and orange lava flows
July 2, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Drone Over Lava Channel

USGS Mavic Pro drone image of the fissure 8 lava channel looking toward the vent. Overflows can be seen as incandescent spots beyond the channel margins. Drone flights and resultant imagery help scientists

...
Aerial view of an ocean entry with laze plumes
July 2, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Ocean Entry

The ocean entry being fed by a crusted over channel has fewer tiny ooze-out channels than yesterday spilling into the water. One larger ooze-out channel making dominant entry plume at the northern end of the broad ocean entry.

Filter Total Items: 354
Date published: February 20, 2018

Pacific Missile Tracking Site Could Be Unusable in 20 Years Due to Climate Change

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.

Date published: February 19, 2018

USGS fields tsunami questions after earthquake off Kodiak, Alaska

USGS geophysicist Eric Geist fielded questions about tsunamis after a magnitude 7.9 earthquake off southern Alaska prompted a tsunami watch for the U.S. west coast.

Date published: February 16, 2018

One of the first Black USGS geophysicists, pioneers subsurface research

Early in his college career, U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Rufus Catchings became drawn to the mysteries that lie beneath the earth’s surface — and was determined to understand them. 

Date published: February 16, 2018

Workshops on subduction-zone science to reduce risk for communities

The USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center hosted two back-to-back subduction-zone workshops in Santa Cruz, California, from February 5–8, 2018.

Date published: February 15, 2018

False-alarm tsunami alerts across the U.S. East Coast, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean prompt calls to USGS

On February 6, USGS research geophysicist Eric Geist spoke to reporters Rachel Becker of The Verge and Grace Toohey of The Advocate about tsunami hazards on Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico shores.

Date published: February 14, 2018

USGS research featured on the cover of Eos

USGS research on a big earthquake fault off Alaska and Canada is featured on the cover of Eos, a journal of Earth and space science news published by the American Geophysical Union.

Date published: February 13, 2018

International workshop on “Understanding Flooding on Reef-lined Island Coastlines”

USGS research geologist Curt Storlazzi led a workshop on “Understanding Flooding on Reef-lined Island Coastlines” (UFORIC) in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, from 5–7 February. 

Date published: February 12, 2018

Giant grooves discovered on an earthquake fault offshore Costa Rica

Imagine dragging your outstretched fingers through wet beach sand, leaving long grooves behind. Scientists recently discovered enormous grooves buried under the seafloor near Costa Rica. The detailed three-dimensional data they used to uncover these corrugations can help them better understand large subduction zone earthquakes and related tsunamis worldwide.

Date published: February 9, 2018

USGS Gas Hydrates Project Releases New Fact Sheets!

The USGS Gas Hydrates Project has published two new Fact Sheets. One describes the goals and scope of the Project and the other describes "Gas Hydrates in Nature," including where they form, how they are studied, and why researchers focus on gas hydrates for energy resource and environmental studies. 

Date published: February 7, 2018

USGS 360-degree videos of king tides show how rising seas will transform California beaches in the future

USGS oceanographer Juliette Finzi Hart shot 360-degree videos of king tides—the highest high tides of the year—throughout the Los Angeles region in 2016 and 2017.

Date published: February 5, 2018

USGS participates in workshop on restoring Monterey Bay sand-mining site

Acting deputy director of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center Nadine Golden attended a workshop on restoring a sand-mining operation on California’s Monterey Bay.

Date published: January 30, 2018

January 23, 2018 M7.9 Gulf of Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami

One week ago, on January 23rd at 12:31 a.m. local time, Alaskans were rocked by a magnitude 7.9 earthquake, with an epicenter in the Gulf of Alaska, about 350 miles southwest of Anchorage, and about 175 miles southeast of Kodiak Island.