Subduction Zone Science

Cascadia

The Cascadia subduction zone extends from northern California to southern British Columbia, from well offshore to eastern Washington and Oregon. It contains many features of a textbook subduction zone, with the exception of having extraordinarily low earthquake rates.  Seven of its volcanoes have erupted since the start of the 18th century.

Filter Total Items: 18
Date published: July 7, 2021
Status: Active

Dynamic coastlines along the western U.S.

The west coast of the United States is extremely complex and changeable because of tectonic activity, mountain building, and land subsidence. These active environments pose a major challenge for accurately assessing climate change impacts, since models were historically developed for more passive sandy coasts.

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: March 9, 2021
Status: Active

Cascadia Subduction Zone Marine Geohazards

Societal Issue: Uncertainty related to rupture extent, slip distribution, and recurrence of past subduction megathrust earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest (northern CA, OR, WA, and southern BC) leads to ambiguity in earthquake and tsunami hazard assessments and hinders our ability to prepare for future events.

Date published: October 15, 2020
Status: Active

USGS-developed lahar detection systems provide warning of lahars

USGS scientists developed an inexpensive, durable, portable, and easily installed system to detect and continuously monitor the arrival and passage of debris flows and floods in river valleys draining active volcanoes.

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

18-2. Earthquake ground motions and seismic hazard in the Pacific Northwest

This Research Opportunity will be filled depending on the availability of funds. All application materials must be submitted through USAJobs by 11:59 pm, US Eastern Standard Time, on the closing date.

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 19, 2019
Status: Active

Seeking the Seeps

From June 12 to July 3, 2019, the USGS sailed onboard Schmidt Ocean Institute’s R/V Falkor with several other partners, seeking methane seeps along the seafloor of several underwater canyons off the coast of Oregon and Washington. On this cruise, USGS scientists will seek to understand how much methane is coming out of these seeps, how it travels through the water column, and its...

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: September 28, 2018
Status: Active

Local Tsunamis in the Pacific Northwest

In the past century, several damaging tsunamis have struck the Pacific Northwest coast (Northern California, Oregon, and Washington). All of these tsunamis were distant tsunamis generated from earthquakes located far across the Pacific basin and are distinguished from tsunamis generated by earthquakes near the coast—termed local tsunamis.

Contacts: Eric Geist