Collaborative Science

These USGS Programs perform subduction zone research.

map of Pacific Ocean showing subduction zone areas in red

The Pacific Ocean basin and surrounding “Ring of Fire” subduction zones, where the tectonic plates collide, creating volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and mountainous landslide-prone terrain. Subduction zones are shown by high densities of earthquakes and volcanoes. Subduction zones within the United States and its territories are shaded red. Other types of plate boundaries are shown with thin red lines. Colors reflect topography and bathymetry; darker blues and purple offshore are deeper water, while brown and orange are mountain ranges. Map simplified from Simkin and others (2006). (Public domain.)

Coastal and Marine Hazards and Resources

Coastal and Marine Hazards and Resources Program scientists and staff study subduction zone coastal, ocean, and lacustrine processes from shorelines and estuaries to the continental shelf and deep sea.

Earthquake Hazards

The Earthquake Hazards Program monitors and reports on earthquakes, assesses earthquake impacts and hazards, and conducts targeted research on the causes and effects of the many types of subduction zone earthquakes.

Global Seismographic Network

The Global Seismographic Network (GSN) is a permanent monitoring network of state-of-the-art seismological and geophysical sensors that provides key data about subduction zone earthquakes worldwide.

Landslide Hazards

The National Landslide Hazards Program improves our understanding of the causes of ground failure (landslides, liquefaction, sediment flows) to reduce losses and inform mitigation strategies.

Volcano Hazards

The USGS Volcano Hazards Program seeks to enhance public safety and minimize social and economic disruption from volcanic unrest and eruption from the 169 potentially active volcanoes in the U.S., by delivering effective forecasts, warnings, and information about volcano hazards based on scientific understanding of volcanic processes. (See Alaska Volcano Observatory, California Volcano Observatory, Cascades Volcano Observatory)

Emergency Management

USGS's emergency management activities provide executive direction, oversight, and support to USGS managers in responding to major subduction zone hazard events, among others. We also provide support to certain National Response Framework emergency support functions.

DOI Strategic Sciences Group

The Department of the Interior (DOI) Strategic Sciences Group (SSG) was created to meet the immediate need for strategic scientific information and expertise during environmental crises, including those that may result from major subduction zone events. Through the development and application of science-based scenarios, the SSG can assist strategic response, recovery, and restoration of DOI resources.

two people looking at computer monitors

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Washinton deploy instruments in Lake Washington and Puget Sound, near Seattle, Washington, as part of an experiment to characterize the Seattle Fault and the potential for submarine landslides. (Credit: Scott Bennett, USGS. Public domain.)

Reducing Risk

USGS provides a diverse set of expertise, data, and resources to reduce risk from multiple hazards.

3D Elevation Program

3DEP is to complete acquisition of nationwide lidar by 2023 to provide the first-ever national baseline of consistent high-resolution topographic elevation data.

National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program

The National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program supports the production of geologic maps in the United States and three-dimensional framework models that help to assess and mitigate natural hazards.

National Geospatial Program

National Geospatial Program provides National digital geospatial data representing the topography, natural landscape, and manmade environment to advance science, enlighten citizens, and enable decision making.