Subduction Zone Science


The Alaska-Aleutian subduction system is one of the most seismically active globally, producing more >M8 earthquakes over the last century than any other. Many of these earthquakes, as well as  coastal and submarine landslides, create tsunamis.  The region contains over 130 volcanoes and volcanic fields, and contains well over three-quarters of U.S. volcanoes that have erupted in the last two hundred years.

Filter Total Items: 12
Date published: June 30, 2021
Status: Active

U.S. West Coast and Alaska Marine Geohazards

Marine geohazards are sudden and extreme events beneath the ocean that threaten coastal populations. Such underwater hazards include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and tsunamis.

Devastating earthquakes in Japan (2011) and Chile (2010) that spawned pan-oceanic tsunamis sent a sobering reminder that U.S. coastlines are also vulnerable to natural disasters that originate in...

Date published: June 4, 2021
Status: Active

Tsunami Hazards, Modeling, and the Sedimentary Record

Basic research to develop the geologic record of paleotsunamis and improve the ability to interpret that record is needed to mitigate tsunami risk in the U.S.

Date published: April 29, 2021
Status: Active

Probabilistic Forecasting of Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Earthquake Effects in the Coastal Zone

The nation's coastlines are vulnerable to the interrelated hazards posed by earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis. In the marine environment these events often occur in concert, and distant triggers can cause severe local effects, making the issue global in scope. As the population continues to migrate toward the coastlines, the social impacts of these hazards are expected to grow.

Date published: October 5, 2020
Status: Completed

SLAB2 - A Comprehensive Subduction Zone Geometry Model

Data for subduction zone slab geometry.

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Date published: July 15, 2020
Status: Active

Tsunami and Earthquake Research

Here you will find general information on the science behind tsunami generation, computer animations of tsunamis, and summaries of past field studies.

Contacts: Eric Geist
Date published: June 17, 2019
Status: Active

Landslide-Induced Tsunamis of Southern Alaska

Working with partners to study and inform the Nation about geohazard risks

Date published: February 1, 2019
Status: Active

Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami Hazards

Alaska has more large earthquakes than the rest of the United States combined. More than three-quarters of the state’s population live in an area that can experience a magnitude 7 earthquake. Our research provides objective science that helps stakeholders prepare for and mitigate the effects of future earthquakes and tsunamis, which bolsters the economic health and well-being of Alaska and the...

Date published: November 12, 2018
Status: Completed

Collection of 3D Geometries of Global Subduction Zones

Release Date: NOVEMBER 12, 2018

A new picture of the geometry of subducting slabs around the world, the locations of the world’s largest earthquakes.

Date published: May 30, 2018
Status: Active

Monitoring Stations

Click on the map to view monitoring site locations. Click on the marker for a link to each site.

Date published: March 20, 2018
Status: Active


The 2004 Indian Ocean, 2010 Chilean, and 2011 Tohoku disasters have shown how tsunamis are significant threats to coastal communities. To help U.S. coastal communities prepare for future tsunamis, the Hazards Vulnerability Team completed projects related to population exposure and sensitivity, pedestrian evacuation modeling, and vertical-evacuation decision support.

A recent article of...

Date published: March 19, 2018
Status: Active

Hazards Vulnerability Team

Our country faces a wide array of natural hazards that threaten its safety, security, economic well-being, and natural resources. To minimize future losses, communities need a clear understanding of how they are vulnerable to natural hazards and of strategies for increasing their resilience. Vulnerability and resilience are influenced by (1) how communities choose to use hazard-prone land, (2...

Date published: August 25, 2017
Status: Active

Tsunami Source Standardization for Hazards Mitigation in the United States

The goal of this Powell Center Working Group is to produce a collection of vetted and standardized earthquake and landslide tsunami sources that can be used to produce the meaningful hazard assessment products required for effective tsunami hazard mitigation and risk reduction. The need for a set of realistic and consistent tsunami sources was identified as a high priority at a 2016 workshop...

Contacts: Stephanie Ross