Subduction Zone Science


The squeezing together of converging plates creates steep mountain chains, that often leads to high rainfall rates on their seaward side, creating ripe conditions for landslides onshore and offshore.

Filter Total Items: 9
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 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: 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: 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: 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...