Unified Interior Regions

Alaska

The Alaska Region represents a resource-rich, dynamic landscape shaped by volcanos, earthquakes, major rivers, and glaciers. Here, we conduct research to inform management of Alaska’s extensive natural resources, inform national Arctic energy policy, and provide scientific information to help others understand, respond to, and mitigate impacts from natural hazards.

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Filter Total Items: 216
Date published: August 13, 2018
Status: Active

Changing Arctic Ecosystems

Arctic regions of Alaska are important for cultural and economic sustainability and host a wide variety of wildlife species, many of which are of conservation and management interest to the U.S. Department of the Interior. The USGS and collaborators provide information about Arctic ecosystems that are used by Arctic residents, management agencies, and industry.

Date published: August 10, 2018
Status: Active

Loon Research

Scientists at the USGS Alaska Science Center have conducted research on Alaska’s three loon species since the late 1970s. Loons rely on freshwater lakes for nesting habitat and fish and invertebrates inhabiting lakes and marine ecosystems for food. All three loon species in Alaska occur within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) on Alaska’s northern coast. Research by the USGS is...

Contacts: Brian Uher-Koch
Date published: August 8, 2018
Status: Active

Streambed Scour at Bridges in Alaska

Streambed scour is the leading cause of bridge failure in the United States resulting in over 60 percent of all failures. The Alaska Science Center, in cooperation with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and the Alaska Railroad, is researching streambed scour through scour monitoring, hydraulic modeling, and data collection during high flows.  

Date published: August 3, 2018
Status: Active

Seabirds and Forage Fish Ecology

Alaska's coastal and offshore waters provide foraging habitat for an estimated 100 million birds comprising more than 90 different species; from loons and seaducks that nest inland, to petrels and puffins that breed on islands off shore. All these birds depend on the sea to provide a wide variety of food types— from clams, crabs and urchins nearshore— to krill, forage fish, and squid offshore...

Date published: August 2, 2018
Status: Active

Detecting Long-term Changes in Forage Fish Populations in Prince William Sound, Alaska

Forage fish are small pelagic schooling fish that play a key role in transferring energy between plankton and top marine predators. Many seabirds, marine mammals, and commercial fish species depend on forage fish to grow and survive.

Date published: August 1, 2018
Status: Active

Terrestrial Influence on Glacial-Marine Food Webs

Where glaciers meet the sea in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), they create unique and productive marine habitats. Ringed by the continent’s tallest coastal mountains, 20% of the GOA coastal watershed is covered by glacial ice and the annual freshwater discharge into the GOA from glacial melt is comparable to that of the Mississippi river.

Date published: July 30, 2018
Status: Active

Aleutian Islands Ecosystem Recovery Studies

The Aleutian archipelago is a 2,000 km long chain of volcanically-derived treeless islands stretching from Unimak Island in the east to the Commander Islands in the west.  These volcanic islands support a wide range of species including large numbers of seabirds and marine mammal species, some of which are threatened and endangered, leading to a high level of federal management concern.

Date published: July 20, 2018
Status: Active

USGS Coastal Plain and NPR-A Research Bibliography

Selected Bibliography of USGS Research Conducted in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Coastal Plain (1002 Area) and/or the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska (NPRA)

Compiled as of 12/18/2018

Date published: July 19, 2018
Status: Active

Science Informing the Status and Trends of Migratory Birds

Through the Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) Initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is informing key resource management decisions by better understanding how wildlife populations of special interest to the Department of the Interior (DOI) are responding to rapid physical changes in the Arctic. Below are some examples of how CAE research is...

Date published: July 19, 2018
Status: Active

Science Informing Endangered Species Act Decisions and Recovery Planning

Through the Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) Initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is informing key resource management decisions by better understanding how wildlife populations of special interest to the Department of the Interior (DOI) are responding to rapid physical changes in the Arctic. Below are some examples of how CAE research is...

Date published: July 19, 2018
Status: Active

Science for Oil and Gas Leasing-related Decisions

Through the Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) Initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is informing key resource management decisions by better understanding how wildlife populations of special interest to the Department of the Interior (DOI) are responding to rapid physical changes in the Arctic. Below are some examples of how CAE research is...

Date published: July 10, 2018
Status: Active

Remotely Sensed Discharge

River discharge is an important component of the water cycle, and an accurate accounting of streamflow can be accomplished by monitoring the spatial and temporal variations in river discharge. The U.S. Geological Survey is actively pursuing remote-sensing platforms to compute river discharge using a combination of satellite-, high altitude-, drone-, and fixed-based platforms to directly...

Filter Total Items: 247
Date published: March 26, 2020

Gulf Watch Alaska Nearshore Component: Sea Otter Aerial Survey Data Katmai National Park and Preserve, 2008 - 2018 (ver 2.0, March 2020)

These data are part of the Gulf Watch Alaska (GWA) long term monitoring program, nearshore monitoring component. Specifically, these data describe sea otter (Enhydra lutris) aerial survey observations from the waters around Katmai National Park and Preserve from surveys conducted in 2008, 2012, 2015, and 2018. Sea otters are a keystone predator, well known for structuring the

Date published: March 19, 2020

Argos Satellite Tracking Data for Black Scoters (Melanitta americana) - Raw Data

This metadata document describes the data contained in the "rawData" folder of this data package. This data package contains all data collected by the Argos System from 53 satellite transmitters attached to Black Scoters on their breeding and winter ranges in western Alaska, 2003-2007. Five data files are included in the "rawData" folder of this data package. Two data files (with iden

Date published: March 19, 2020

Argos Satellite Tracking Data for Black Scoters (Melanitta americana) - Processed Data

This metadata document describes the data contained in the "processedData" folder of this data package. This data package contains all data collected by the Argos System from 53 satellite transmitters attached to Black Scoters on their breeding and winter ranges in western Alaska, 2003-2007. The raw data were processed to accomplish two goals: flag implausible location estimates and decod

Date published: March 17, 2020

Argos Satellite Tracking Data for Surf Scoters (Melanitta perspicillata) - Processed Data

This metadata document describes the data contained in the "processedData" folder of this data package. This data package contains all data collected by the Argos System from 25 satellite transmitters attached to Surf Scoters on their winter ranges in southeast Alaska and Baja California, Mexico, 2005-2008. The raw data were processed to accomplish two goals: flag implausible location e

Date published: March 17, 2020

Argos Satellite Tracking Data for Surf Scoters (Melanitta perspicillata) - Raw Data

This metadata document describes the data contained in the "rawData" folder of this data package. This data package contains all data collected by the Argos System from 25 satellite transmitters attached to Surf Scoters on their winter ranges in southeast Alaska and Baja California, Mexico, 2005-2008. Five data files are included in the "rawData" folder of this data package. Two data

Date published: March 11, 2020

USGS Benchmark Glacier Project Comprehensive Data Collection

Mountain glaciers are closely coupled to climate processes, ecosystems, and regional water resources. To enhance physical understanding of these connections, the USGS maintains a collection of glacier mass balance and climate data across the western United States and Alaska. In some cases, records of glacier mass balance extend back to the mid-1940s. These data have been incorporated from

Date published: March 9, 2020

Walrus Haulout Photographs Near Pt. Lay Alaska, September 2014

These data are three sets of aerial photos used to estimate the number of walruses at a haulout near Pt. Lay, Alaska in September 2014. They were collected during photographic aerial surveys of the only major haulout that occurred on the eastern shores of the Chukchi Sea after sea ice receded beyond the continental shelf on 25 and 27 September 2014.

Date published: March 2, 2020

Data and Model-Based Estimates from Black Brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) Fall Age Ratio Surveys at Izembek Lagoon, Alaska

These data are in two tables relating to fall age ratios (number of juvenile birds : total birds aged) of Black brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) staging in Izembek Lagoon, Alaska since 1963. The first file is observation data for the birds’ age classes during surveys, and associated survey characteristics. The second file contains model-based estimates of age ratios by year

Date published: February 24, 2020

Polar Bear Microsatellite Data Southern Beaufort Sea 2010-2013

This data set provides Polar Bear microsatellite genotypes derived from twenty loci (G1A, G10B, G10C, CXX110, G1D, G10H, G10J, G10L, G10M, MSUT2, MU59, G10P, 145P07, CPH9, CXX20, MU50, MU51, G10X, CXX173, G10U). Samples for microsatellite genetic analysis were collected from polar bears from the southern Beaufort Sea during the spring and fall, 2010-201

Date published: February 20, 2020

Argos Satellite Tracking Data for Pacific Loons (Gavia pacifica) - Processed Data

This metadata document describes the data contained in the "processedData" folder of this data package. This data package contains data collected by the Argos System from 12 satellite transmitters attached to Pacific Loons on their breeding range in arctic, 2015-2016. The raw data were processed to accomplish two goals: flag implausible location estimates and decode raw sensor data. Two C

Date published: February 18, 2020

Argos Satellite Tracking Data for Red-throated Loons (Gavia stellata) - Raw Data

This metadata document describes the data contained in the "rawData" folder of this data package. This data package contains all data collected by the Argos System from 92 satellite transmitters attached to Red-throated Loons on their breeding range in coastal areas throughout Alaska, 2000-2010. Five data files are included in the"rawData" folder of this data package. Two data files (

Date published: February 18, 2020

Argos Satellite Tracking Data for Red-throated Loons (Gavia stellata) - Processed Data

This metadata document describes the data contained in the "processedData" folder of this data package. This data package contains all data collected by the Argos System from 92 satellite transmitters attached to Red-throated Loons on their breeding range in coastal areas throughout Alaska, 2000-2010. The raw data were processed to accomplish two goals: flag implausible location estimates

Filter Total Items: 153
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Year Published: 2010

Alaska’s changing fire regime - Implications for the vulnerability of its boreal forests

A synthesis was carried out to examine Alaska’s boreal forest fire regime. During the 2000s, an average of 767 000 ha·year–1 burned, 50% higher than in any previous decade since the 1940s. Over the past 60 years, there was a decrease in the number of lightning-ignited fires, an increase in extreme lightning-ignited fire...

Kasischke, Eric S.; Verbyla, David L.; Rupp, T. Scott; McGuire, A. David; Murphy, Karen A.; Jandt, Randi; Barnes, Jennifer L.; Hoy, E.; Duffy, Paul A.; Calef, Monika; Turetsky, Merritt R.

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Year Published: 2010

Resilience of Alaska’s boreal forest to climatic change

This paper assesses the resilience of Alaska’s boreal forest system to rapid climatic change. Recent warming is associated with reduced growth of dominant tree species, plant disease and insect outbreaks, warming and thawing of permafrost, drying of lakes, increased wildfire extent, increased postfire recruitment of deciduous trees, and...

Chapin, F.S.; McGuire, A. David; Ruess, Roger W.; Hollingsworth, Teresa N.; Mack, M.C.; Johnstone, J.F.; Kasischke, E.S.; Euskirchen, E.S.; Jones, J.B.; Jorgenson, M.T.; Kielland, K.; Kofinas, G.; Turetsky, M.R.; Yarie, J.; Lloyd, A.H.; Taylor, D.L.

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Year Published: 2010

The changing effects of Alaska’s boreal forests on the climate system

In the boreal forests of Alaska, recent changes in climate have influenced the exchange of trace gases, water, and energy between these forests and the atmosphere. These changes in the structure and function of boreal forests can then feed back to impact regional and global climates. In this manuscript, we examine the type and magnitude of the...

Euskirchen, E.S.; McGuire, A. David; Chapin, F.S.; Rupp, T.S.

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Year Published: 2010

Abdominally implanted transmitters with percutaneous antennas affect the dive performance of Common Eiders

Implanted transmitters have become an important tool for studying the ecology of sea ducks, but their effects remain largely undocumented. To address this, we assessed how abdominally implanted transmitters with percutaneous antennas affect the vertical dive speeds, stroke frequencies, bottom time, and dive duration of captive Common Eiders (...

Powell, Abby N.; Latty, Christopher J.; Hollmén, Tuula E.; Petersen, Margaret R.; Andrews, Russel D.

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Year Published: 2010

Logs and Geologic Data from a Paleoseismic Investigation of the Susitna Glacier fault, Central Alaska Range, Alaska

This report contains field and laboratory data from a paleoseismic study of the Susitna Glacier fault, Alaska. The initial M 7.2 subevent of the November 3, 2002, M 7.9 Denali fault earthquake sequence produced a 48-km-long set of complex fault scarps, folds, and aligned landslides on the previously unknown, north-dipping Susitna Glacier thrust...

Personius, Stephen F.; Crone, Anthony J.; Burns, Patricia A.C.; Beget, James E.; Seitz, Gordon G.; Bemis, Sean P.
Logs and Geologic Data from a Paleoseismic Investigation of the Susitna Glacier fault, Central Alaska Range, Alaska; 2010; SIM; 3114; Personius, Stephen F.; Crone, Anthony J.; Burns, Patricia A.; Beget, James E.; Seitz, Gordon G.; Bemis, Sean P.

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Year Published: 2010

Headwater streams and forest management: does ecoregional context influence logging effects on benthic communities?

Effects of forest management on stream communities have been widely documented, but the role that climate plays in the disturbance outcomes is not understood. In order to determine whether the effect of disturbance from forest management on headwater stream communities varies by climate, we evaluated benthic macroinvertebrate communities in 24...

Medhurst, R. Bruce; Wipfli, Mark S.; Binckley, Chris; Polivka, Karl; Hessburg, Paul F.; Salter, R. Brion
Headwater streams and forest management: Does ecoregional context influence logging effects on benthic communities?; 2010; Article; Journal; Hydrobiologia; Medhurst, R. B.; Wipfli, M. S.; Binckley, C.; Polivka, K.; Hessburg, P. F.; Salter, R. B.

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Year Published: 2010

Linking ecosystems, food webs, and fish production: subsidies in salmonid watersheds

Physical characteristics of riverine habitats, such as large wood abundance, pool geometry and abundance, riparian vegetation cover, and surface flow conditions, have traditionally been thought to constrain fish production in these ecosystems. Conversely, the role of food resources (quantity and quality) in controlling fish production has received...

Wipfli, Mark S.; Baxter, Colden V.
Linking ecosystems, food webs, and fish production: Subsidies in salmonid watersheds; 2010; Article; Journal; Fisheries; Wipfli, M. S.; Baxter, C. V.

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Year Published: 2009

Nitrogen attenuation of terrestrial carbon cycle response to global environmental factors

Nitrogen cycle dynamics have the capacity to attenuate the magnitude of global terrestrial carbon sinks and sources driven by CO2 fertilization and changes in climate. In this study, two versions of the terrestrial carbon and nitrogen cycle components of the Integrated Science Assessment Model (ISAM) are used to evaluate how variation in nitrogen...

Jain, A.A.; Yang, Xiaojuan; Kheshgi, H.; McGuire, A. David; Post, W.; Kicklighter, David W.

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Year Published: 2009

Projected changes in atmospheric heating due to changes in fire disturbance and the snow season in the western Arctic, 2003–2100

In high latitudes, changes in climate impact fire regimes and snow cover duration, altering the surface albedo and the heating of the regional atmosphere. In the western Arctic, under four scenarios of future climate change and future fire regimes (2003–2100), we examined changes in surface albedo and the related changes in regional...

Euskirchen, E.S.; McGuire, A. David; Rupp, T.S.; Chapin, F. S.; Walsh, J.E.

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Year Published: 2009

Maps Showing Seismic Landslide Hazards in Anchorage, Alaska

The devastating landslides that accompanied the great 1964 Alaska earthquake showed that seismically triggered landslides are one of the greatest geologic hazards in Anchorage. Maps quantifying seismic landslide hazards are therefore important for planning, zoning, and emergency-response preparation. The accompanying maps portray seismic landslide...

Jibson, Randall W.; Michael, John A.
Maps Showing Seismic Landslide Hazards in Anchorage, Alaska; 2009; SIM; 3077; Jibson, Randall W.; Michael, John A.

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Year Published: 2009

Does winter region affect spring arrival time and body mass of king eiders in northern Alaska?

Events during the non-breeding season may affect the body condition of migratory birds and influence performance during the following breeding season. Migratory birds nesting in the Arctic often rely on endogenous nutrients for reproductive efforts, and are thus potentially subject to such carry-over effects. We tested whether king eider (...

Powell, Abby N.; Oppel, Steffen

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Year Published: 2008

Challenges in making a seismic hazard map for Alaska and the Aleutians

We present a summary of the data and analyses leading to the revision of the time-independent probabilistic seismic hazard maps of Alaska and the Aleutians. These maps represent a revision of existing maps based on newly obtained data, and reflect best current judgments about methodology and approach. They have been prepared following the...

Freymueller, J.T.; Wesson, R.L.; Boyd, O.S.; Mueller, C.S.; Frankel, A.D.
Challenges in making a seismic hazard map for Alaska and the Aleutians; 2008; Article; Journal; Geophysical Monograph Series: Active Tectonics and Seismic Potential of Alaska; Wesson, R. L.; Boyd, O. S.; Mueller, C. S.; Frankel, A. D.

Filter Total Items: 1,203
close up of Pacific walruses resting on the beach, Alaska
September 2, 2019

Pacific walruses resting on beach, Chukchi Sea

Pacific walruses resting on the beach of the eastern shore of the Chukchi Sea (Photo taken during USGS research efforts permitted under US Fish and Wildlife Service Permit No. MA801652-7.)

USGS wildlife biologist, piloting an unmanned aerial system (UAS)
August 30, 2019

USGS wildlife biologist piloting an UAS for use in walrus survey

USGS wildlife biologist, Anthony Fischbach, piloting an unmanned aerial system (UAS) for use in surveying walruses while they rest on shore.  The UAS is flown above 300 feet altitude such that it enables survey data collection with minimal risk to the walruses.  (Photo taken during USGS research efforts permitted under US Fish and Wildlife Service Permit No. MA801652-7.)

Pacific walruses in water jousting with their tusks, Alaska
August 30, 2019

Pacific walruses in water jousting with their tusks, Alaska

Pacific walruses jousting with their tusks on the eastern shore of the Chukchi Sea, Alaska  (Photo taken during USGS research efforts permitted under US Fish and Wildlife Service Permit No. MA801652-7.)

Pacific walruses on beach and in water, Alaska
August 30, 2019

Pacific walruses on beach and in water, Chukchi Sea, Alaska

Pacific walruses resting on the beach of the eastern shore of the Chukchi Sea (Photo taken during USGS research efforts permitted under US Fish and Wildlife Service Permit No. MA801652-7.)

USGS biologist piloting an UAS for Pacific walrus survey, Alaska
August 30, 2019

USGS biologist piloting an UAS for Pacific walrus survey, Alaska

USGS wildlife biologist, Anthony Fischbach, piloting an unmanned aerial system (UAS) for use in surveying walruses while they rest on shore.  The UAS is flown above 300 feet altitude such that it enables survey data collection with minimal risk to the walruses.  (Photo taken during USGS research efforts permitted under US Fish and Wildlife Service Permit No. MA801652-7.)

Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 26, 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses and debris on beach in Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019

A young male Pacific walrus resting along shoreline of the Chukchi Sea
August 21, 2019

Young male Pacific walrus resting on beach, Chukchi Sea, Alaska

A young male Pacific walrus resting on the beach of the eastern shore of the Chukchi Sea (Photo taken during USGS research efforts permitted under US Fish and Wildlife Service Permit No. MA801652-7.)

adult female Pacific walrus resting on the beach, Chukchi Sea, Alaska
August 21, 2019

Adult female Pacific walrus resting on beach, Chukchi Sea, Alaska

An adult female Pacific walrus resting on the beach of the eastern shore of the Chukchi Sea (Photo taken during USGS research efforts permitted under US Fish and Wildlife Service Permit No. MA801652-7.)

Young male Pacific walrus on beach along the Chukchi Sea
August 21, 2019

Young male Pacific walrus on beach of eastern shore of the Chukchi Sea

A young male Pacific walrus moving up the beach of the eastern shore of the Chukchi Sea (Photo taken during USGS research efforts permitted under US Fish and Wildlife Service Permit No. MA801652-7.)

Saffron cod
August 19, 2019

Saffron cod

Scientists anticipate that the fish community in the lagoons near Kaktovik, Alaska, Beaufort Sea, now includes more saffron cod (Eleginus gracilis) and larger saffron cod, like the one pictured here, given that the species has a higher thermal tolerance than many other co-occurring marine fishes.

Two Common Murre chicks on rock ledge at Gull Island, Alaska
August 19, 2019

Two Common Murre chicks

Two Common Murre chicks on rock ledge at Gull Island, Alaska.

August 18, 2019

Time-lapse video of bluff erosion on Barter Island, Alaska

Recorded June 1, 2019 - August 18, 2019: Video shows a series of photos taken every hour during daylight hours in the summer of 2019. The camera looks westward along the coastal bluffs of Barter Island, located on Alaska’s North Slope. A pole on the bluff, visible in the first half of the video, once supported another video camera that was aimed at the

Filter Total Items: 292
Alaska Geologic Map
January 5, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A new digital geologic map of Alaska is being released today providing land users, managers and scientists geologic information for the evaluation of land use in relation to resource extraction, conservation, natural hazards and recreation.

Caribou walking in a line in the winter in Northern Alaska
December 18, 2015

Caribou, North America’s wild reindeer, have lives apart from their famous role on Christmas Eve. Reindeer, of course, is another common name for caribou (Rangifer tarandus) a large, cold-adapted, herding herbivore related to deer, elk and moose.

Current probability of near-surface permafrost in Alaska
November 30, 2015

Using statistically modeled maps drawn from satellite data and other sources, U.S. Geological Survey scientists have projected that the near-surface permafrost that presently underlies 38 percent of boreal and arctic Alaska would be reduced by 16 to 24 percent by the end of the 21st century under widely accepted climate scenarios.

Planned US Topo map production schedule for the next three- year revision cycle
November 19, 2015

With the release of new US Topo maps for Illinois and South Dakota, the USGS has completed the second, three-year cycle of revising and updating electronic US Topo quadrangles. This means that since late 2009, the USGS has published nearly every map in the conterminous U.S., twice.

Thermokarst
November 12, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Large and severe tundra fires cause top down permafrost thaw, playing a major role in altering Arctic landscapes according to a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS science for a changing world logo
October 19, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A new scientific study predicts that some of Alaska’s mammal species will respond to future climate warming by concentrating in northern areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska. If true, for many species, this would be a significant northward shift into tundra habitats where they are currently absent.

Image: Repairing Seismic Stations in Alaska
October 15, 2015

The Alaska Volcano Observatory has recently completed repairs to seismic monitoring equipment on Aniakchak Volcano on the Alaska Peninsula that have restored ground-based monitoring at the volcano.

Image: Blueberry
October 6, 2015

The U.S. Geological Survey today announced the publication of a new study examining how Alaska’s tribal environmental managers and local observer networks view statewide trends in wild berry harvests.

Image: Severe Coastal Erosion During an El Niño Storm
September 21, 2015

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — The projected upsurge of severe El Niño and La Niña events will cause an increase in storm events leading to extreme coastal flooding and erosion in populated regions across the Pacific Ocean, according to a multi-agency study published today in Nature Geoscience.

USGS science for a changing world logo
September 10, 2015

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Some of the inner workings of Earth’s subduction zones and their “megathrust” faults are revealed in a paper published today in the journal “Science.” U.S. Geological Survey scientist Jeanne Hardebeck calculated the frictional strength of subduction zone faults worldwide, and the stresses they are under.

Image: Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, Alaska
September 3, 2015

Two community events about monitoring old volcanic ash resuspended by high winds are scheduled next week in the City of Kodiak and in Larsen Bay, Alaska.