Subduction Zone Science


Giant earthquakes occur on giant "megathrust" faults, which comprise the stuck portions of the interface between two converging tectonic plates. Other more frequent smaller earthquakes also occur elsewhere, within the down-going plate or the crust of the upper plate.

Filter Total Items: 20
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: 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 5, 2020
Status: Completed

SLAB2 - A Comprehensive Subduction Zone Geometry Model

Data for subduction zone slab geometry.

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Date published: July 29, 2020
Status: Active

Landslides Triggered by the 2020 Puerto Rico Earthquake Sequence

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake occurred near Barrio Indios, Guayanilla, Puerto Rico on January 7, 2020. A study of the triggered landslides is ongoing.

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

Caribbean Tsunami and Earthquake Hazards

Four million U.S. citizens live along the coastlines of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, an earthquake- and tsunami-prone active tectonic plate boundary. A tsunami generated at the subduction zone boundary offshore Puerto Rico could also affect the U.S. Atlantic coast.

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.