Regions

Alaska Region

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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.

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USGS Arctic Science Strategy

USGS Arctic Science Strategy

The rapid changes encountered in the Arctic region from climate change require reliable scientific research and up-to-date information to inform resource policy and decisions.

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USGS Alaska Science Portal

USGS Alaska Science Portal

The portal is a searchable, web map-based tool to facilitate public and partner access to information on over 200 subjects under USGS study in the Nation’s largest State. The Alaska Science Portal can be found here http://alaska.usgs.gov/portal/

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Digital Geologic Map of Alaska

Digital Geologic Map of Alaska

A new digital geologic map of Alaska provides land users, managers and scientists geologic information for the evaluation of land use in relation to resource extraction, conservation, natural hazards and recreation.

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News

Repeat oblique photographs of Gulkana glaciers in Alaska.
September 28, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the longest continuous glacier research efforts in North America.

Scientists Andrew Ramey, Bjorn Olsen, and Jonas Bonnedahl (L to R) setting a trap for gulls at the Soldotna landfill in 2016.
September 26, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Some gulls in southcentral Alaska are carriers of antibiotic resistant strains of E. coli, according to a new study co-authored by the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Image: Alaskan Glacier
November 10, 2016

Several Research areas are listed and their contacts regarding Glacial Aquifer System Groundwater Availability Study are available here.

 

<- Back to main Glacial Aquifer System Groundwater...

Alaska Mapping Executive Committee Logo
April 19, 2016

The Alaska Mapping Executive Committee (AMEC) meets regularly to coordinate on critical Alaska topographic mapping activities. Executives from 15 Federal agencies and the State of Alaska are combining efforts to acquire new digital elevation, hydrography, transportation, shoreline and geopositional data for Alaska, and create a new digital topographic map series for the State.

Alaska Fairbanks US Topo Map Sample
April 18, 2016

The Alaska Mapping Initiative is a U.S. Geological Survey effort to generate new topographic maps of Alaska. The USGS is coordinating with the State of Alaska and multiple Federal agencies to acquire updated digital map layers such as elevation, surface water, roads, and boundaries, and to create a modern series of digital maps for Alaska using these updated layers.

homes damaged by hurricane Sandy on Fire Island, New York
April 13, 2016

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.

Devastation of the coastal city of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
April 13, 2016

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.

Methane hydrate
April 13, 2016

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.

crustose coralline algae
April 13, 2016

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.

Mount Rainier seen from Puyallup, Washington
March 17, 2016

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.

A gas plume arising from Augustine Volcano during it's eruptive phase 2005-06.
March 10, 2016

The Alaska region oversees five volcano observatories located across the Western U.S. Each has a unique role to help emergency responders and the public prepare and respond to volcanic hazards such as ash, lava, and lahars.

Attribution: Alaska
Ash is resuspended from Redoubt Volcano eruption
March 10, 2016

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.

Attribution: Alaska
Scour under a bridge on the Kenai Peninsula
March 10, 2016

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.

Allen Bondurant measuring the depth to permafrost along a thermokarst lake shore.
March 10, 2016

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.

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Alaska IfSAR Elevation Image
April 22, 2016

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.

Digital Elevation Model in the Atchafalaya Basin, LA
April 19, 2016

Elevation Data

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.

Tephra and gas eruption from Mount St. Helens crater with dome
March 17, 2016

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.

Satellite image of eruption cloud from Pavlof Volcano in November 2014
March 10, 2016

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.

Attribution: Alaska
Ash fall accumulation from Redoubt Volcano in Nikiski after March 28, 2009 eruption plume
March 10, 2016

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.

Gaging station on the Tanana River at Nenana, Alaska
March 10, 2016

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.

Attribution: AlaskaSoutheast
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Digital Elevation Model in the Atchafalaya Basin, LA
April 19, 2016

The 3DEP products and services available through The National Map consist of 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.

Alaska Topographic Map Contours on Glacier
March 10, 2016

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.

Map shows color-coded seafloor character offshore of Monterey, California
March 7, 2016

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.

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Going coastal: Shared evolutionary history between coastal British Columbia and Southeast Alaska wolves (canis lupus)
January 1, 2011

Going coastal: Shared evolutionary history between coastal British Columbia and Southeast Alaska wolves (canis lupus)

Weckworth, B.V.; Dawson, N.G.; Talbot, S.L.; Flamme, M.J.; Cook, J.A.
Going coastal: Shared evolutionary history between coastal British Columbia and Southeast Alaska wolves (canis lupus); 2011; Article; Journal; PLoS ONE; Weckworth, B. V.; Dawson, N. G.; Talbot, S. L.; Flamme, M. J.; Cook, J. A.
Status and distribution of the Kittlitz's murrelet Brachyramphus brevirostris in Kenai Fjords, Alaska
January 1, 2011

Status and distribution of the Kittlitz's murrelet Brachyramphus brevirostris in Kenai Fjords, Alaska

Arimitsu, M.; Piatt, J.F.; Romano, Marc D.; van Pelt, Thomas I.
Status and distribution of the Kittlitz's murrelet Brachyramphus brevirostris in Kenai Fjords, Alaska; 2011; Article; Journal; Marine Ornithology; Arimitsu, M.; Piatt, J. F.; Romano, M. D.; van, Pelt, T. I.
USGS US topo maps for Alaska
May 1, 2014

USGS US topo maps for Alaska

Anderson, Becci; Fuller, Tracy
Attribution: Alaska
USGS US topo maps for Alaska; 2014; Article; Journal; The Alaska Miner; Anderson, Becci; Fuller, Tracy
Alaska
May 1, 2014

Alaska

Chapin, F. Stuart; Trainor, Sarah F.; Cochran, Patricia; Huntington, Henry; Markon, Carl J.; McCammon, Molly; McGuire, A. David; Serreze, Mark
Attribution: Alaska
Chapin, F. S., III, S. F. Trainor, P. Cochran, H. Huntington, C. Markon, M. McCammon, A. D. McGuire, and M. Serreze, 2014: Ch. 22: Alaska. Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment, J. M. Melillo, Terese (T.C.) Richmond, and G. W. Yohe, Eds., U.S. Global Change Research Program, 514-536. doi:10.7930/J00Z7150.
Predicting the effects of climate change on ecosystems and wildlife habitat in northwest Alaska: results from the WildCast project
April 15, 2014

Predicting the effects of climate change on ecosystems and wildlife habitat in northwest Alaska: results from the WildCast project

DeGange, Anthony R.; Marcot, Bruce G.; Lawler, James; Jorgenson, Torre; Winfree, Robert
Attribution: Alaska
Predicting the effects of climate change on ecosystems and wildlife habitat in northwest Alaska: results from the WildCast project; 2014; Article; Journal; Alaska Park Science; DeGange, Anthony R.; Marcot, Bruce G.; Lawler, James; Jorgenson, Torre; Winfree, Robert
USGS Arctic science strategy
July 17, 2015

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
Attribution: Alaska
Shasby, Mark, and Smith, Durelle, 2015, USGS Arctic science strategy, 2015–2020: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2015-3049, 2 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20153049.
Alaska Arctic marine fish ecology catalog
August 10, 2016

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 Seas,...

Attribution: Alaska
Thorsteinson, L.K., and Love, M.S., eds., 2016, Alaska Arctic marine fish ecology catalog: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5038 (OCS Study, BOEM 2016-048), 768 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20165038.
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Alaska Interior mountain range shot with snow capped mountains.
2016 (approx.)
Alaska Interior mountain range shot with snow capped mountains.
Tufted Puffin, the species most affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, AK
November 23, 2016
Tufted Puffin, the species most affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, AK. Near Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska
Horned Puffin, one of the species affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, AK
August 26, 2016
Horned Puffin, one of the species affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, AK. Near Chisik Island in Lower Cook Inlet, Alaska
August 7, 2016
Twenty middle-school girls from Washington and Oregon participated in the 2016 “GeoGirls” outdoor volcano science program at Mount St. Helens, jointly organized by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Mount St. Helens Institute. The GeoGirls spent five days conducting hands-on research and interacting with scientists, educators, and older students, learning about volcanoes, natural hazards, and...
Horned Puffin, one of the species affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, AK
July 14, 2016
Horned Puffin, one of the species affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, AK. Near Chisik Island in Lower Cook Inlet, Alaska
Scientists Andrew Ramey, Bjorn Olsen, and Jonas Bonnedahl (L to R) setting a trap for gulls at the Soldotna landfill in 2016.
June 2016 (approx.)
Scientists Andrew Ramey, Bjorn Olsen, and Jonas Bonnedahl (L to R) setting a trap for gulls at the Soldotna landfill in June 2016.
Gulls using beach at the mouth of Kenai River during the personal use dipnet fishery for sockeye salmon.
June 2016 (approx.)
Gulls using beach at the mouth of Kenai River during the personal use dipnet fishery for sockeye salmon; photo taken during sampling trip in July 2016.
John Reed (USGS scientist) holding a gull marked with a satellite transmitter at the Soldotna landfill in June 2016
June 2016 (approx.)
John Reed (USGS scientist) holding a gull marked with a satellite transmitter at the Soldotna landfill in June 2016.
Fairweather Fault
June 5, 2016
USGS research geologist Kate Scharer with her finger on the Fairweather Fault in southeast Alaska. The magnitude 7.8 Lituya Bay earthquake caused shaking that toppled trees along the fault, which left a break in the forest shown here.
South Crillon Glacier
June 5, 2016
Periodic calving of ice from the snout of South Crillon Glacier.
Alaska field team
June 5, 2016
The field team included USGS geologists Rob Witter, Adrian Bender, Chris DuRoss, Peter Haeussler, Richard Lease and Kate Scharer
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Repeat oblique photographs of Gulkana glaciers in Alaska.
September 28, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the longest continuous glacier research efforts in North America.

Scientists Andrew Ramey, Bjorn Olsen, and Jonas Bonnedahl (L to R) setting a trap for gulls at the Soldotna landfill in 2016.
September 26, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Some gulls in southcentral Alaska are carriers of antibiotic resistant strains of E. coli, according to a new study co-authored by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Ariel photo of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
September 20, 2016

New research from the U.S. Geological Survey and partners illustrates how climate change is perceived among different generations of indigenous residents in subarctic Alaska. While all subjects agreed climate change is occurring, the older participants observed more overall changes than the younger demographic.

Glacier National Park
September 7, 2016

A team of USGS scientists spent 10 days in the wilderness, exploring one of the fastest-moving faults in America

Arctic Cod
August 8, 2016

Information relating to fish biology, locations and effects of climate change will help guide future research and management decisions

Attribution: EcosystemsAlaska
Female scientist and young girls looking at scientific equipment
August 4, 2016

MEDIA ADVISORY

Twenty middle-school girls from Washington and Oregon are participating in the second annual “GeoGirls” outdoor volcano science program at Mount St. Helens, jointly organized by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Mount St. Helens Institute.

vertical columns of volcanic rock at Devils Postpile National Monument
July 13, 2016

A new geologic map of the Long Valley Caldera, Mammoth Mountain, and the Middle Fork canyon of the San Joaquin River including Devils Postpile National Monument, recounts the geologic and volcanic history of the area east of the Sierra Nevada in far greater detail than any previously published report.

USGS logo
July 7, 2016

Alaska is a major producer of base and precious metals and has a high potential for additional undiscovered mineral resources. However, discovery is hindered by Alaska’s vast size, remoteness and rugged terrain. New methods are needed to overcome these obstacles in order to evaluate Alaska’s geology and mineral resource potential.

Female and her cub-of-the-year
June 29, 2016

“The scenarios predicted by our models are encouraging in that there are clear actions that humans can take to improve the chances that healthy polar bear populations persist in the future.” - Todd Atwood, USGS