Polar bear female and two cubs on the Beaufort Sea, Alaska
Conducting lake surveys on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
Greater White-fronted Goose on the North Slope of Alaska
Regions L2 Landing Page Tabs
The Alaska Region represents a resource-rich, dynamic landscape shaped by volcanoes, earthquakes, major rivers, and glaciers. Here, we conduct research to inform management of Alaska’s extensive natural resources, inform national Arctic energy policy, and provide scientific information to help others understand, respond to, and mitigate impacts from natural hazards.View Centers and Observatories
Several Research areas are listed and their contacts regarding Glacial Aquifer System Groundwater Availability Study are available here.
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The Molecular Ecology Laboratory applies genetic and genomic technologies to address a variety of complex questions and conservation issues facing the management of the Nation's fish and wildlife resources. Together with our partners, we design and implement studies to document genetic diversity and the distribution of genetic variation among individuals, populations, and species. Information...
Scientists perform a range of studies that document, assess, and model coastal change, risk, and vulnerability. Studies include historical shoreline change, the geologic structure and history of coastal regions, sediment supply and transport, sea-level rise, and how extreme storm events affect rates and impacts of coastal change.
We study the distribution and hazard potential of coastal and submarine events such as earthquakes and submarine landslides and associated tsunami potential, hurricane induced coastal inundation, extreme storms, sea-level rise and oil and gas spills. We also model development to help evaluate and forecast coastal hazard probability and occurrence.
Our scientists conduct research studies focused on geologic mapping, sampling and understanding of mineral and energy resources and studies of the geologic setting and processes to inform renewable energy development offshore.
We bring together multidisciplinary expertise focused on developing tools and models to improve understanding of how healthy ecosystems function as well as how they respond to environmental changes and human impacts including ecosystem restoration. Research studies address coral reef, coastal wetland, benthic habitat and groundwater resources.
The Volcano Hazards Program develops long-range volcano hazards assessments. These includes a summary of the specific hazards, their impact areas, and a map showing ground-hazard zones. The assessments are also critical for planning long-term land-use and effective emergency-response measures, especially when a volcano begins to show signs of unrest.
This program responds to volcanic crises worldwide. Upon request of host countries, a team of scientists can rapidly respond to reduce fatalities and economic losses. Our scientists also work with international partners to improve monitoring and understanding of volcanic hazards.
These natural hazards are significant areas of concern as they threaten the lives of people and/or cause economic damage to Alaska villages along rivers and coast. Research activities move forward innovative means to monitor these hazards and conduct research on the underlying physical processes to improve short and long-term hazard assessments.
Scientists are conducting a variety of studies such as modeling Arctic barrier island, lagoon system response to projected warming, characterizing permafrost using remote sensing and ground-based geophysics, estimating rates of ocean acidification of the Arctic, and investigating possible degassing of permafrost associated with methane hydrates.
Knowledge of water availability, discharge patterns, and demand are essential to sustaining human life, ecosystem health, and economic viability. In Alaska, there are issues involving community potable water, salmon productivity, wetland dynamics, marine systems productivity, hazards, and environmental health.
Alaska IfSAR Elevation Data
Radar data is being collected statewide for Alaska under direction of the USGS 3D Elevation Program (3DEP). The new data is vastly improving the accuracy and resolution of elevation data for the state, and is being collected using an airborne Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IfSAR) sensor. USGS and the State of Alaska maintain web-based status maps and download services.
The 3DEP products and services available through The National Map consist of lidar point clouds (LPC), standard digital elevation models (DEMs) at various horizontal resolutions, elevation source and associated datasets, an elevation point query service and bulk point query service. All 3DEP products are available, free of charge and without use restrictions.
Volcano Monitoring Data
Many volcanoes in the U.S. are monitored by arrays of several instruments that detect subtle movements within the earth and changes in gas and water chemistry. The Volcano Hazards Program streams this data to its Volcano Observatories and makes it available on volcano-specific websites.
Alaska Volcano Observatory Satellite Data
This is a new tool for understanding and communicating risks. The activities include the development of risk models and approaches to improve the situational awareness of communities and industries to natural hazards and reduce the uncertainty of those risk assessments.
Alaska Volcano Observatory - Is Ash Falling?
Reports of ash fall are important to us; we use your observations to assess the character and size of an eruption plume. We report these data to the National Weather Service so they can keep their Ashfall Advisories current. Additionally, reports of NO ashfall during an eruption with expected ashfall are also important to us.
Science Data Integration and Delivery
Consistent synthesis, integration, storage, and availability of fundamental data is critical to meeting the needs of USGS Science. We develop databases for hydrography, topography, invasive species, water resources, and many other datasets utilized by resource managers.
Links to publications that contain maps of the sea floor or lake beds and the digital data used to create them.
New US Topo maps for Alaska are being produced statewide, with digital 7.5 minute 1:25,000-scale maps providing a comprehensive update to the 15-minute 1:63,360-scale printed maps produced nearly fifty years ago. You can view a status map showing where the new maps are available, and link to a site to download the maps.
This portal is a “go to” source for maps related to ocean and coastal mapping. Information is organized by geography or region, by theme, and by the year data was published.
Status of natural and human environments: Chapter 3
This report present the results of the 2017 AMAP Assessment of Adaptation Actions for a changing Arctic (AACA): Perspectives form the Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort Region. This is one of three pilot study regions included in the AACA project. AACA is the first AMAP assessment dealing with adaptation actions and how to meet possible Arctic futures in...Thorsteinson, Lyman K.; Outridge, Peter; Klepikov, Alexander; Ananichheva, Maria; Antonov, Evgeny; Bashkirova, Valeria; Chaschin, Valery; Gaden, Ashley; Hughes, Layla; Jia, Gensuo; Kikuchi, Takashi; Kivka, Kirill; Lima, James; Muir, Magdalena; Nikitina, Elena; Poussenkova, Nina; Pozhilova, Natalia; Sergeeva, Valentina; Skean, Vanessa; Somov, Alexey; Stern, Gary; Valeeva, Vilena
Chapter 9: Synthesis
The goal of this report is to examine changes in the current environment and living conditions of the coastal and tundra communities of northwestern Canada, northern Alaska, and the northern Far East of Russia – the Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort (BCB) region – and to understand how people are coping and adapting to these changes. The report seeks to...Hinzman, Larry D.; Outridge, Peter; Gamble, James M.; Thorsteinson, Lyman K.; Trainor, Sarah F.; Walsh, John E.; Klepikov, Alexander
Arctic Research Plan: FY2017-2021
The United States is an Arctic nation—Americans depend on the Arctic for biodiversity and climate regulation and for natural resources. America’s Arctic—Alaska—is at the forefront of rapid climate, environmental, and socio-economic changes that are testing the resilience and sustainability of communities and ecosystems. Research to increase...Starkweather, Sandy; Jeffries, Martin O; Stephenson, Simon; Anderson, Rebecca D.; Jones, Benjamin M.; Loehman, Rachel A.; von Biela, Vanessa R.
Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative strategic plan 2015 - 2025
The Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative (NWB LCC) is a voluntary, diverse, self-directed management-science partnership, informing and promoting integrated science, sustainable natural and cultural resource management, and conservation to address impacts of climate change and other stressors within and across ecosystems. The NWB...Markon, Carl; Schroff, Eric
Alaska Arctic marine fish ecology catalog
The marine fishes in waters of the United States north of the Bering Strait have received new and increased scientific attention over the past decade (2005–15) in conjunction with frontier qualities of the region and societal concerns about the effects of Arctic climate change. Commercial fisheries are negligible in the Chukchi and Beaufort...Thorsteinson, Lyman K.; Love, Milton S.
Circumpolar biodiversity monitoring program (CBMP): Coastal expert workshop meeting report
The Coastal Expert Workshop, which took place in Ottawa, Canada from March 1 to 3, 2016, initiated the development of the Arctic Coastal Biodiversity Monitoring Plan (Coastal Plan). Meeting participants, including northern residents, representatives from industry, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), academia, and government regulators and...Anderson, Rebecca D.; McLennan, Donald; Thomson, Laura; Wegeberg, Susse; Pettersvik Arvnes, Maria; Sergienko, Liudmila; Behe, Carolina; Moss-Davies, Pitseolak; Fritz, Stacey; Christensen, Thomas K.; Price, Courtney
Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Programme coastal biodiversity monitoring background paper
In 2014, the United States (U.S.) and Canada agreed to act as co-lead countries for the initial development of the Coastal Expert Monitoring Group (CEMG) as part of the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP, www. cbmp.is) under the Arctic Council’s Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF, www.caff.is) working group. The CAFF...McLennan, Donald; Anderson, Rebecca D.; Wegeberg, S.; Pettersvik Arvnes, Maria; Sergienko, Liudmila; Behe, Carolina; Moss-Davies, Pitseolak; Fritz, S.; Markon, Carl J.; Christensen, T.; Barry, T.; Price, C.
Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Programme: Coastal Expert Workshop meeting summary
The Coastal Expert Workshop brought together a diverse group of coastal experts with the common goal of developing a biodiversity monitoring program for coastal ecosystems across the circumpolar Arctic. Meeting participants, including northern residents, industry and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) representatives, scientists, and government...Thomson, L.; McLennan, Donald; Anderson, Rebecca D.; Wegeberg, S.; Pettersvik Arvnes, Maria; Sergienko, Liudmila; Behe, Carolina; Moss-Davies, Pitseolak; Fritz, S.; Christensen, T.; Price, C.
USGS Arctic Science Strategy
The United States is one of eight Arctic nations responsible for the stewardship of a polar region undergoing dramatic environmental, social, and economic changes. Although warming and cooling cycles have occurred over millennia in the Arctic region, the current warming trend is unlike anything recorded previously and is affecting the region...Shasby, Mark; Smith, Durelle
USGS US topo maps for Alaska
In July 2013, the USGS National Geospatial Program began producing new topographic maps for Alaska, providing a new map series for the state known as US Topo. Prior to the start of US Topo map production in Alaska, the most detailed statewide USGS topographic maps were 15-minute 1:63,360-scale maps, with their original production often dating back...Anderson, Becci; Fuller, Tracy
Key Messages Arctic summer sea ice is receding faster than previously projected and is expected to virtually disappear before mid-century. This is altering marine ecosystems and leading to greater ship access, offshore development opportunity, and increased community vulnerability to coastal erosion. Most glaciers in Alaska and British Columbia...Melillo, J.M.; Richmond, Terese; Yohe, G.W.; Chapin, F. Stuart; Trainor, Sarah F.; Cochran, Patricia; Huntington, Henry; Markon, Carl J.; McCammon, Molly; McGuire, A. David; Serreze, Mark
Predicting the effects of climate change on ecosystems and wildlife habitat in northwest Alaska: results from the WildCast project
We used a modeling framework and a recent ecological land classification and land cover map to predict how ecosystems and wildlife habitat in northwest Alaska might change in response to increasing temperature. Our results suggest modest increases in forest and tall shrub ecotypes in Northwest Alaska by the end of this century thereby...DeGange, Anthony R.; Marcot, Bruce G.; Lawler, James; Jorgenson, Torre; Winfree, Robert
In March 2008, a new volcanic vent opened within Halema‘uma‘u, a crater at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park on the Island of Hawaiʻi. This new vent is one of two ongoing eruptions on the volcano. The other is on Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone, where vents have been erupting nearly nonstop since 1983. The duration of these simultaneous summit and...
Seismometers record vibrations from a wide assortment of ground motion events. Each event type has a distinctive ground-motion signal with unique frequency and amplitude—its own seismic signature. Seismologists are trained to identify the source of seismic events seen on a webicorder based on its ‘seismic signature’. Although most ground vibrations have a frequency too low...
The Landsat archive, the world's longest continuously acquired collection of space-based, moderate-resolution land remote sensing data, has now surpassed 7 million scenes since Landsat 1 first began collecting data in July 1972. This Landsat 8 image acquired on June 27, 2017, represents one of those millions of scenes...
Brown Bears, Sea Otters, and Seals, Oh My!
Unexpected interactions on the Katmai Coast
by Grant Hilderbrand, Chief of the Marine Ecosystems Office, USGS Alaska Science Center
- Highlights of ongoing research on brown bears on the coast of the Katmai National Park
- Observations from video collars deployed on brown bears
February 19 Bogoslof eruption plume as seen from Unalaska Island, 53 miles ESE of Bogoslof volcano. Photo taken from helicopter during fieldwork by AVO geologists at 5:22PM, approximately 14 minutes after the start of the eruption.
Scintillometer and torrs of the Melozitna granite in the Ruby batholith. This granite contains abundant monazite and high levels of thorium and rare earth elements. This area is part of the Bureau of Land Management's Central Yukon Planning Area, which USGS did a mineral assessment of in 2015.
Analysis of shoreline changes at Bogoslof volcano due to eruptive activity between January 11 and 24, 2017. The base image is a Worldview-2 satellite image collected on January 24, 2017. The approximate location of the shoreline on January 11, 2017 is shown by the dashed orange line.
Annotated photograph of Bogoslof Island showing the cumulative effects of 2016-17 eruptive activity. A layer of fine muddy appearing ash drapes most of the landscape and covers pre-existing vegetation. The dashed line indicates the area excavated by explosive eruptive activity so far. A prominent zone of upwelling is probably the surface expression of a shallow submarine...
Epidote is a silicate mineral used mostly as a semiprecious gemstone.
Sample provided by Carlin Green, USGS. Sample originated from Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, and is 6.0cm in size.
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.
USGS scientist James “Barry” Grand, Ph.D., has been named a 2016 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Champion (Region 7) for his exemplary long-term research on two formerly threatened species, the spectacled eider and Alaska-breeding Steller’s eiders.
The USGS continues to collect high resolution elevation data, contributing to greatly improved Alaska map data
A new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Wyoming found that increased westward ice drift in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas requires polar bears to expend more energy walking eastward on a faster moving “treadmill” of sea ice.
Thanks to a quarter-century of research and monitoring, scientists now know how different wildlife species were injured by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and how long it took for populations to recover.
Ducks in North America can be carriers of avian influenza viruses similar to those found in a 2016 outbreak in Indiana that led to the losses of hundreds of thousands of chickens and turkeys, according to a recent study.
Which U.S. State or territory has more large earthquakes than the rest of the United States combined?
While freshwater ecosystems cover only a small amount of the land surface in Alaska, they transport and emit a significant amount of carbon, according to new U.S. Geological Survey research. An invited feature article for Ecological Applications provides the first-ever major aquatic carbon flux assessment for the entire state. Carbon flux refers to the rate of carbon transfer between pools.
Look, in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s...underground mineral research?
Managing 72 million acres of Federal lands in Alaska is not easy, especially when the land’s many uses need to be balanced. There are several competing interests, including the development of mineral resources that are critical to the American economy.
Wild ducks and shorebirds do not appear to carry Newcastle disease viruses that sicken or kill poultry, according to a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Alaska has considerable potential for undiscovered mineral resources, including critical minerals.