Mission Areas

Natural Hazards

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Pre- and post-Harvey photos for Mustang Island, Texas
September 5, 2017
Location 1. Elevated water levels during Hurricane Harvey reached the base but did not overtop the ~5m high dunes in Mustang Island, Texas, leading to dune erosion. The predicted probability of dune erosion for this section of coast was 99%.
Pre- and post-Harvey photos for Sargent, Texas
September 5, 2017
Location 4. Sand dunes along this stretch of coast in Sargent, Texas, were overwashed by large waves during the storm. Sand from the beach and dunes is covering the roadway behind the dunes and which may be impassable. The predicted probability of overwash in this area was 94%.
Pre- and post-Harvey photos for San Jose Island, Texas
September 5, 2017
Location 2. Multiple breaches were cut through the south end of San Jose Island, Texas, just north of Aransas Pass. The predicted probability of inundation was low, only 21%, however the probability of overwash was 87%. When water levels are elevated through several tidal cycles, as was likely the case during Hurricane Harvey, the dunes can continue to erode through time and may even erode...
Preparing to measure Irma's storm surge in Puerto Rico
September 4, 2017
Along the northeast coast of Puerto Rico, USGS hydrologic technician Francisco Almanzar surveys reference elevation points to ensure the accuracy of water level data. Almanzar and other USGS employees installed nine storm surge sensors along the coast on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4, 2017 as Hurricane Irma approached.
2017 (approx.)
SEABed Observation and Sampling System (SeaBOSS) operations were conducted near Stellwagen Bank offshore of Massachusetts in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary aboard the sanctuary's research vessel, the R/V Auk.
USGS scientist Lisa Ashmore services a water-quality monitor on Lake Houston. These instruments stayed afloat throughout Harvey.
August 31, 2017
USGS scientist Lisa Ashmore services a water-quality monitor on Lake Houston. These instruments stayed afloat and collected data throughout Harvey.
USGS scientists Lisa Ashmore and Lee Bodkin collect water-quality samples on Lake Houston in response to Harvey.
August 31, 2017
USGS scientists Lisa Ashmore and Lee Bodkin collect water-quality samples on Lake Houston in response to the high flow conditions that resulted from Harvey.
August 31, 2017
Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 25th. Over the next few days, record rain totals had devastated the area. At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface. USGS EROS Center ( https://eros.usgs.gov/ )
Image of a family taking a selfie with the SEABoss at the 2017 Woods Hole Science Stroll
August 12, 2017
SEABoss Selfies were a big hit at the 2017 Woods Hole Science Stroll.
Image of Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Science Stroll participants
August 12, 2017
Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Science Stroll participants; Dann Blackwood, Andrea Toran, Emily Sturdivant, Ellyn Montgomery, Sara Zeigler, Neil Ganju, Seth Ackerman, Laura Brothers, Meagan Gonneea
Image of children surrounding USGS drone pilot, Emily Sturdivant, at the Woods Hole Science Stroll
August 12, 2017
Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center drone pilot, Emily Sturdivant, provides a demonstration of drone capabilities at the 2017 Woods Hole Science Stroll
Image of USGS Scientific Programmer, Tarandeep Kalra sharing science at the 2017 Woods Hole Science Stroll
August 12, 2017
Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center Scientific Programmer, Tarandeep Kalra, talking to children about oceanographic modeling at the 2017 Woods Hole Science Stroll
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Side-by-side comparison of the northwest wall of Kīlauea Caldera on a clear day (left) and a day with thick vog (right).
May 18, 2017

Just like smog and fog, this EarthWord is not what you want to see while driving...

Image shows billowing clouds of steam and smoke emanating from the ground
May 17, 2017

This EarthWord is straight up steampunk...

Image shows damage from a lahar, including a submerged bridge
May 16, 2017

Which sounds more dangerous, lava or mud? The answer may surprise you...

USGS map displaying potential to experience damage from a natural or human-induced earthquake in 2017
May 15, 2017

It’s not just something you run into on a golf course-it’s this week’s EarthWord!

2014 South Napa Earthquake in California
May 15, 2017

Early on the morning of August 24, 2014, Loren Turner was awoken by clattering window blinds, a moving bed, and the sound of water splashing out of his backyard pool. He experienced what is now named the “South Napa Earthquake.” 

Three-dimensional view of the west Ceti Mensa area looking toward the southeast.
May 12, 2017

A new set of high-resolution geologic maps reveal complex geologic processes that suggest a dynamic, wet environment once existed on early Mars, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Measuring Streamflow
May 11, 2017

Gary Moore spent the last three days of 2015 stacking hefty bags of sand in front of a fellow church member’s brick home. With only 1,000 feet between the house and the swelling Mississippi and Meramec Rivers, Moore and other volunteers worked quickly, in frigid temperatures, to assemble a 10-foot high, 1,000-foot-long sandbag wall to ward off floodwaters.

Image: Old Faithful Erupting
May 10, 2017

Despite two centuries of scientific study, basic questions persist about geysers—why do they exist? What determines their behavior?

Image shows a research vessel with snow-covered mountains in the background
May 8, 2017

U.S., Norwegian, and German scientists report back on the surprising results of an Arctic Ocean research expedition. 

Large snow-covered, cone shaped mountain in background, looming over urban area in foreground
May 1, 2017

May is Volcano Preparedness Month in Washington, providing residents an opportunity to become more familiar with volcano hazards in their communities and learn about steps they can take to reduce potential impacts.

Giant Sunspot Erupts on October 24, 2014
May 1, 2017

While major geomagnetic storms are rare, with only a few recorded per century, there is significant potential for large-scale impacts when they do occur. Extreme space weather can be viewed as hazards for the economy and national security.

A gas plume arising from Augustine Volcano during it's eruptive phase 2005-06.
April 28, 2017

Which U.S. State or territory has more large earthquakes than the rest of the United States combined?