Science for a Changing World

Economic Development

USGS research supports an economically prosperous America. Research includes assessing the Nation’s energy and mineral resources, identifying communities at risk from natural hazards, investigating water and food availability and quality, and evaluating the health of economically valuable landscapes.

Filter Total Items: 29
Date published: January 5, 2017

Predicting Postfire Debris Flows Saves Lives

When wildfires spread and scorch the earth, people like Penny Luehring have to act fast. Secondary impacts such as debris flows can be devastating to nearby communities.

Date published: January 4, 2017

Protecting the Sagebrush Landscape of the Quintessential West

The sagebrush landscape has long been valued by humans; first by the Native Americans, who lived off the resources in this vast landscape, then the European colonizers, who established large-scale livestock operations. Local economies throughout the West are supported by the many unique aspects of the sagebrush landscape.

Date published: January 4, 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: December 15, 2016

The Challenge of Tracking Nutrient Pollution 2,300 Miles

Nitrogen and phosphorus are essential nutrients—yet too much of a good thing is not always a good thing. Scientists are investigating nutrient pollution down the Mississippi River.

Date published: December 14, 2016

Cutting-Edge Tools to Explore Alaska’s Mineral Potential

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.

Date published: December 13, 2016

Saving Salamanders: Vital to Ecosystem Health

Amphibians—the big-eyed, swimming-crawling-jumping-climbing group of water and land animals that includes frogs, toads, salamanders and worm-like caecilians—are the world’s most endangered vertebrates. 

Date published: December 12, 2016

Turning the Tide on the Chesapeake Bay

Richard Batiuk got to know the Chesapeake Bay in the early 1970s. During visits with his friends and family, they would swim and boat, and fish would practically jump aboard. He was young but knew he wanted to live and work on the bay.

Date published: December 10, 2016

Preparing the Nation for Intense Space Weather

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.

Date published: December 9, 2016

Revolutionizing Volcano Monitoring in Indonesia

In early September of 2010, a pattern of increased earthquake activity occurred at the Mount Merapi volcano in Indonesia. A few days later, an avalanche was observed south of the mountain, and white plumes were seen rising above the crater. A lava dome detected in March began to increase rapidly.

Date published: December 5, 2016

Guiding Rovers for Safe Mars Exploration

Billions of dollars and a decade worth of research are on the line in the instant that a spacecraft touches down on Mars. When deciding where to land on the planet’s rocky surface, it is essential to analyze potential landing sites and their surface characteristics.

Date published: November 20, 2016

Mapping Mineral Potential for Zambia’s Economic Growth

The loud hum of machinery pulses in the background as a massive truck carries away tons of rock, stirring up clouds of dust in its wake. Engineers in hard hats and coveralls walk purposefully amid the controlled chaos. This area is the heart of the copper mining industry in Zambia, a land-locked country in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Date published: November 17, 2016
Status: Active

Water is Life for the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community

For the Swinomish people of northwestern Washington, water is life. But this symbiotic relationship between man and nature has been disrupted, and increasingly threatened, by sea-level rise and changes in Northwestern storm and rainfall patterns.