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.

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Filter Total Items: 206
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
Date published: March 20, 2018
Status: Active

Volcano Notification Service (VNS)

The Volcano Notification Service (VNS) is a free service that sends you notification emails about volcanic activity happening at US monitored volcanoes.

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Filter Total Items: 105
Date published: March 4, 2016

International Charter

It aims at providing a unified system of space data acquisition and delivery to those affected by natural or manmade disasters through Authorized Users. Each member agency has committed resources to support the provisions of the Charter and thus is helping to mitigate the effects of disasters on human life and property.

Date published: March 4, 2016

DOI Emergency Management

DOI has a department-wide policy relating to emergency management that can be referenced in the Department's Manual in Series: 41-EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ‎(Parts 900-910)‎.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Station Information and Operations

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

Date published: March 4, 2016

Seismogram Displays

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

Date published: March 4, 2016

IRIS Data Management Center

Contains archived data from the Global Seismic Network.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Wildfires: GEOMAC

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

Date published: March 4, 2016

LANDFIRE Data Distribution

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

Date published: 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.

Date published: March 4, 2016

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.

Filter Total Items: 3,121
Year Published: 2017

CO2 cycle

This chapter discusses the use of models, observations, and laboratory experiments to understand the cycling of CO2 between the atmosphere and seasonal Martian polar caps. This cycle is primarily controlled by the polar heat budget, and thus the emphasis here is on its components, including solar and infrared radiation, the effect of clouds (water...

Titus, Timothy N.; Byrne, Shane; Colaprete, Anthony; Forget, Francois; Michaels, Timothy I.; Prettyman, Thomas H.

Year Published: 2017

Community tools for cartographic and photogrammetric processing of Mars Express HRSC images

The High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on the Mars Express orbiter (Neukum et al. 2004) is a multi-line pushbroom scanner that can obtain stereo and color coverage of targets in a single overpass, with pixel scales as small as 10 m at periapsis. Since commencing operations in 2004 it has imaged ~ 77 % of Mars at 20 m/pixel or better. The...

Wu, B.; Di, K.; Oberst, J.; Karachevtseva, I.; Kirk, Randolph L.; Howington-Kraus, Elpitha; Edmundson, Kenneth L.; Redding, Bonnie L.; Galuszka, Donna M.; Hare, Trent M.; Gwinner, K.
Kirk, R.L., Howington-Kraus, E., Edmundson, K., Redding, B., Galuszka, D., Hare, T., and Gwinner, K.: Community tools for cartographic and photogrammetric processing of Mars express HiRISE images, International Archives of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, v. XLII-3/W1, p. 69-76, https://doi.org/10.5194/isprs-archives-XLII-3-W1-69-2017, 2017.

Year Published: 2017

Correcting spacecraft jitter in HiRISE images

Mechanical oscillations or vibrations on spacecraft, also called pointing jitter, cause geometric distortions and/or smear in high resolution digital images acquired from orbit. Geometric distortion is especially a problem with pushbroom type sensors, such as the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) instrument on board the Mars...

Wu, B.; Di, K.; Oberst, J.; Karachevtseva, I.; Sutton, S. S.; Boyd, A.K.; Kirk, Randolph L.; Cook, Debbie; Backer, Jean; Fennema, A.; Heyd, R.; McEwen, A.S.; Mirchandani, S.D.
Sutton, S.S., Boyd, A.K., Kirk, R.L., Cook, D., Backer, J.W., Fennema, A., Heyd, R., McEwen, A.S., and Mirchandani, S.D., 2017, Correcting spacecraft jitter in HiRISE images: International Archives of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, v. XLII-3/W1, p. 141-148, https://doi.org/10.5194/isprs-archives-XLII-3-W1-141-2017.

Year Published: 2017

Earthquake Early Warning ShakeAlert System: Testing and certification platform

Earthquake early warning systems provide warnings to end users of incoming moderate to strong ground shaking from earthquakes. An earthquake early warning system, ShakeAlert, is providing alerts to beta end users in the western United States, specifically California, Oregon, and Washington. An essential aspect of the earthquake early warning...

Cochran, Elizabeth S.; Kohler, Monica D.; Given, Douglas; Guiwits, Stephen; Andrews, Jennifer; Meier, Men-Andrin; Ahmad, Mohammad; Henson, Ivan; Hartog, Renate; Smith, Deborah
Cochran, E. S., Kohler, M. D., Given, D. D., Guiwits, S., Andrews, J., Meier, M.-A., Ahmad, M., Henson, I., Hartog, R., Smith, D. E. (2018). Earthquake Early Warning ShakeAlert System: Testing and Certification Platform, Seismological Research Letters, 89 (1), 108–117, doi: https://doi.org/10.1785/0220170138.

Year Published: 2017

Earthquake early Warning ShakeAlert system: West coast wide production prototype

Earthquake early warning (EEW) is an application of seismological science that can give people, as well as mechanical and electrical systems, up to tens of seconds to take protective actions before peak earthquake shaking arrives at a location. Since 2006, the U.S. Geological Survey has been working in collaboration with several partners to...

Kohler, Monica D.; Cochran, Elizabeth S.; Given, Douglas; Guiwits, Stephen; Neuhauser, Doug; Hensen, Ivan; Hartog, Renate; Bodin, Paul; Kress, Victor; Thompson, Stephen; Felizardo, Claude; Brody, Jeff; Bhadha, Rayo; Schwarz, Stan
Monica D. Kohler, Elizabeth S. Cochran, Doug Given, Steve Guiwits, Doug Neuhauser, Ivan Henson, Renate Hartog, Paul Bodin, Victor Kress, Stephen Thompson, Claude Felizardo, Jeff Brody, Rayo Bhadha, Stan Schwarz; Earthquake Early Warning ShakeAlert System: West Coast Wide Production Prototype. Seismological Research Letters ; 89 (1): 99–107. doi: https://doi.org/10.1785/0220170140

Year Published: 2017

Effects of thermal variability on broadband seismometers: Controlled experiments, observations, and implications

Isolating seismic instruments from temperature fluctuations is routine practice within the seismological community. However, the necessary degree of thermal stability required in broadband installations to avoid generating noise or compromising the fidelity in the seismic records is largely unknown and likely application dependent. To quantify the...

Doody, Claire; Ringler, Adam; Anthony, Robert E.; Wilson, David; Holland, Austin; Hutt, Charles R.; Sandoval, Leo
Doody, C. D., A. T. Ringler, R. E. Anthony, D. C. Wilson, A. A. Holland, C. R. Hutt, and L. D. Sandoval (2017). Effects of thermal variability on broadband seismometers: Controlled experiments, observations, and implications, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 108 (1), 493-502.

Year Published: 2017

Quake warnings, seismic culture

Since 1990, nearly one million people have died from the impacts of earthquakes. Reducing those impacts requires building a local seismic culture in which residents are aware of earthquake risks and value efforts to mitigate harm. Such efforts include earthquake early warning (EEW) systems that provide seconds to minutes notice of pending shaking...

Allen, Richard M.; Cochran, Elizabeth S.; Huggins, Tom; Miles, Scott; Otegui, Diego
Allen, R. M., Cochran, E.S., Huggins, T., Miles, S., and Otegui, D. (2017). Quake warnings, seismic culture, Science, 358(6367), p. 1111, doi: 10.1126/science.aar4640.

Year Published: 2017

Spatial data analytics on heterogeneous multi- and many-core parallel architectures using python

Parallel vector spatial analysis concerns the application of parallel computational methods to facilitate vector-based spatial analysis. The history of parallel computation in spatial analysis is reviewed, and this work is placed into the broader context of high-performance computing (HPC) and parallelization research. The rise of cyber...

Laura, Jason R.; Rey, Sergio J.
Laura, Jason, and Rey, Sergio J., 2016, Spatial Data Analytics on Heterogeneous Multi- and Many-Core Parallel Architectures Using Python, in Shekhar, S., et al., eds.: Encyclopedia of GIS, Springer, 10 p., doi:10.1007/978-3-319-23519-6_1569-1.

Year Published: 2017

Toward a unified near-field intensity map of the 2015 Mw 7.8 Gorkha, Nepal, Earthquake

We develop a unified near-field shaking intensity map for the 25 April 2015 Mw 7.8 Gorkha, Nepal, earthquake by synthesizing intensities derived from macroseismic effects that were determined by independent groups using a variety of approaches. Independent assessments by different groups are generally consistent, with minor differences that...

Adhikari, Sujan Raj; Baysal, Gopi; Dixit, Amod; Martin, Stacey; Landes, Mattieu; Bossu, Remy; Hough, Susan E.
Sujan Raj Adhikari, Gopi Baysal, Amod Dixit, Stacey S. Martin, Mattieu Landes, Remy Bossu, and Susan E. Hough (2017) Toward a Unified Near-Field Intensity Map of the 2015 Mw 7.8 Gorkha, Nepal, Earthquake. Earthquake Spectra: December 2017, Vol. 33, No. S1, pp. S21-S34.

Year Published: 2017

Estimating rupture distances without a rupture

Most ground motion prediction equations (GMPEs) require distances that are defined relative to a rupture model, such as the distance to the surface projection of the rupture (RJB) or the closest distance to the rupture plane (RRUP). There are a number of situations in which GMPEs are used where it is either necessary or advantageous to derive...

Thompson, Eric M.; Worden, Charles
Thompson, E. M., and C. B Worden (2017). Estimating Rupture Distances without a Rupture. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, doi: https://doi.org/10.1785/0120170174

Year Published: 2017

PRISM software—Processing and review interface for strong-motion data

Rapidly available and accurate ground-motion acceleration time series (seismic recordings) and derived data products are essential to quickly providing scientific and engineering analysis and advice after an earthquake. To meet this need, the U.S. Geological Survey National Strong Motion Project has developed a software package called PRISM (...

Jones, Jeanne M.; Kalkan, Erol; Stephens, Christopher D.; Ng, Peter
Jones, J.M., Kalkan, Erol, Stephens, C.D., and Ng, Peter, 2017, PRISM software—Processing and review interface for strong-motion data: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, book 12, chap. A2, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/tm12A2.

Year Published: 2017

Imaging shear strength along subduction faults

Subduction faults accumulate stress during long periods of time and release this stress suddenly, during earthquakes, when it reaches a threshold. This threshold, the shear strength, controls the occurrence and magnitude of earthquakes. We consider a 3-D model to derive an analytical expression for how the shear strength depends on the fault...

Bletery, Quentin; Thomas, Amanda M.; Rempel, Alan W.; Hardebeck, Jeanne L.
Bletery, Q., Thomas, A. M., Rempel, A. W., & Hardebeck, J. L. (2017), Imaging shear strength along subduction faults. Geophysical Research Letters, 44, doi: 10.1002/2017GL075501.

Filter Total Items: 2,293
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 

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

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

Lava channels
June 26, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Braided Lava Channels

Lava within the braided portion of the fissure 8

June 26, 2018

Kīlauea Volcano — Eruption Lava Flow Timelapse

A new video shows a timelapse of the lava flows erupted in Kīlauea's Lower East Rift Zone between May

Filter Total Items: 354
Date published: November 28, 2017

Updated assessment of erosion rates on Alaska’s Arctic coast

The USGS updated its shoreline-change rates for Alaska’s north coast between the U.S.-Canadian Border and Icy Cape as part of the National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards.

Date published: November 28, 2017

Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula Reveals a Cryptic Methane-Fueled Ecosystem in Flooded Caves

In the underground rivers and flooded caves of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, where Mayan lore described a fantastical underworld, scientists have found a cryptic world in its own right.

Date published: November 27, 2017

Polluted groundwater threatens coral reefs

Coral reefs already stressed by ocean acidification are particularly vulnerable to polluted groundwater, according to a recent study by USGS geologist Nancy Prouty and colleagues.

Date published: November 15, 2017

LA Times story about Big Sur landslide features quotes, imagery from USGS

USGS geologists Jon Warrick (Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center) and Kevin Schmidt (Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center) are quoted in a November 9 Los Angeles Times story titled “Highway 1 was buried under a massive landslide. Months later, engineers battle Mother Nature to fix it...

Date published: November 12, 2017

Magnitude 7.3 Earthquake Iran/Iraq Border

The USGS has up-to-date details on the November 12, 2017 event.

Date published: November 8, 2017

Eyes on the Coast—Video Cameras Help Forecast Coastal Change

Coastal communities count on beaches for recreation and for protection from large waves, but beaches are vulnerable to threats such as erosion by storms and flooding. Whether beaches grow, shrink, or even disappear depends in part on what happens just offshore. How do features like shifting sandbars affect waves, currents, and the movement of sand from the beach to offshore and back?

Date published: November 6, 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.

Date published: October 25, 2017

Biologist starting over after Hurricane Irma damages home, office, research site

Coral reef expert Caroline Rogers was the only USGS employee in the Virgin Islands when the Category 5 storm hit.

Date published: October 20, 2017

Exploring Gas Hydrates as a Future Energy Source

In the past decade, the development of the Barnett, Eagle Ford, Marcellus, and other shales has dominated the national consciousness regarding natural gas. But in Alaska, another form of natural gas has been the focus of research for decades—methane hydrate.

Date published: October 19, 2017

U.S. and Canadian Scientists Explore Major Undersea Earthquake Fault

An international team of scientists just finished probing the depths of the Pacific Ocean offshore of Alaska and British Columbia, to better understand the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather Fault. During the past century, the 700-mile-long fault has generated at least half a dozen major earthquakes, and future shocks threaten coastal communities in both the United States and Canada.

Date published: October 18, 2017

Are You Ready to ShakeOut on October 19?

Do you know what to do the moment the ground starts shaking? Drop, Cover, and Hold On!