Subduction Zone Science


Tsunamis are giant waves generated when the seafloor experiences rapid vertical displacements, by shallow faults that slip during large earthquakes or shifting of large masses in submarine landslides. The waves grow as they traverse shallower waters near coastlines.

Filter Total Items: 23
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: 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: November 26, 2019
Status: Active

Tsunami Field Studies

Our tsunami scientists work on international teams to study the aftermath of tsunamis around the world, to gain a better understanding the impact of potential tsunamis on coastal communities of the United States. Their work helps inform local, state, and federal coastal planning, protection, and resiliency.

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: 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.