Subduction Zone Science

U.S. Pacific Territories

The three permanently inhabited U.S. Pacific territories are the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa.  Lying along the western side of the Pacific Ring of Fire, they are vulnerable to the effects of earthquakes, tsunamis and both island and underwater volcanism.

Filter Total Items: 10
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: 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
Date published: December 1, 2009
Status: Completed

USGS Scientists in Samoa and American Samoa Studying Impacts of Tsunami in 2009

On September 29, 2009, an M 8.1 earthquake in the Samoa Islands region of the South Pacific Ocean caused a tsunami that resulted in 100's of lost lives. A rapid-response team of USGS scientists traveled to the Samoa Islands in October-November 2009 to collect time-sensitive data that would have been quickly...

Contacts: Bruce Jaffe
Date published: December 1, 2009
Status: Completed

Preliminary Analysis of the 2009 Samoa Tsunami

September 29, 2009 Samoa Tsunami, Southwest Pacific Ocean

The tsunami that was triggered by a magnitude 8.1 earthquake on September 29, 2009, caused significant damage and loss of life on Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga. In the hopes that disasters such as this can be minimized in the future, we attempt to understand the mechanism and impact of this tsunami. The information presented...

Contacts: Eric Geist