Unified Interior Regions

California

The Southwest Region includes California, Nevada, and Arizona. The Regional Office, headquartered in Sacramento, provides Center oversight and support, facilitates internal and external collaborations, and works to further USGS strategic science directions.

States L2 Landing Page Tabs

The Southwest Region includes California, Nevada, and Arizona. The Regional Office, headquartered in Sacramento, provides Center oversight and support, facilitates internal and external collaborations, and works to further USGS strategic science directions.

News

Date published: June 4, 2021

Gas sampling at Mount Shasta builds a long-term record of volcanic emissions

One of the three main ways that California Volcano Observatory scientists monitor the state’s threatening volcanoes is by sampling the gases that are released from magma deep below (in addition to monitoring seismicity and deformation).

Date published: May 26, 2021

Media Advisory: Where Earthquakes Hide in the Desert - Live Online Public Lecture

You are invited to a public lecture about recent surface rupturing earthquakes in the western United States.

Date published: May 12, 2021

Christina Neal to Lead USGS Volcano Science Center

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — On May 9, 2021, Christina (Tina) Neal became the new director of the U.S. Geological Survey Volcano Science Center, home of the Alaska, California, Cascades, Hawaiian and Yellowstone volcano observatories.  

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Date published: May 27, 2021
Status: Active

Hazards: EXPRESS

Marine geohazards including earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis lie offshore of densely populated areas of California, Oregon, and Washington. One goal of EXPRESS is to improve assessments of these hazards.

Date published: May 27, 2021
Status: Active

Ecosystems: EXPRESS

The continental shelf and slope offshore California, Oregon, and Washington are home to deep-sea corals, chemosynthetic communities, and other sensitive habitats that could be impacted by the development of energy and mineral resources. The EXPRESS (Expanding Pacific Research and Exploration of Submerged Systems) campaign will map and characterize these special areas to help guide ocean...

Date published: May 27, 2021
Status: Active

Resources: EXPRESS

Along the U.S. west coast, the Pacific Ocean, ocean floor, and winds above contain potentially vast energy and mineral resources. Developing these resources safely and wisely requires detailed information for each area of interest. One goal of EXPRESS is to inform ocean energy and mineral resource decisions.

Date published: May 27, 2021
Status: Active

EXPRESS: Expanding Pacific Research and Exploration of Submerged Systems

EXPRESS is a multi-year, multi-institution cooperative research campaign in deep sea areas of California, Oregon, and Washington, including the continental shelf and slope. EXPRESS data and information are intended to guide wise use of living marine resources and habitats, inform ocean energy and mineral resource decisions, and improve offshore hazard assessments.

Date published: May 26, 2021
Status: Active

California Sand Resource Assessment Project

The USGS is working in partnership with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the State of California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) to evaluate sand and gravel resources in Federal and State waters for potential use in future beach nourishment projects.  Prior to the leasing and development of outer continental shelf (OCS) sand resources for use in beach restoration or coastal...

Contacts: Jonathan Warrick, Mark Leung
Date published: May 25, 2021
Status: Active

Climate impacts on Monterey Bay area beaches

For beach towns around Monterey Bay, preserving the beaches by mitigating coastal erosion is vital. Surveys conducted now and regularly in the future will help scientists understand the short- and long-term impacts of climate change, El Niño years, and sea-level rise on a populated and vulnerable coastline.

Date published: May 25, 2021
Status: Active

Dynamic coastlines along the western U.S.

The west coast of the United States is extremely complex and changeable because of tectonic activity, mountain building, and land subsidence. These active environments pose a major challenge for accurately assessing climate change impacts, since models were historically developed for more passive sandy coasts.

Date published: April 13, 2021
Status: Active

Continuous, Real-Time Water-Quality Monitoring of the Los Angeles River

As part of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership (UWFP) program, this project will bring enhanced water-quality monitoring to a stretch of the Los Angeles River slated for revitalization. The UWFP reconnects urban...

Contacts: Gregory Mendez
Date published: April 2, 2021
Status: Active

Geologic Mapping of the Lower Colorado River System

This is a comprehensive scientific investigation of the geologic history and framework of the lower Colorado River. We are using geologic mapping in combination with stratigraphic, geochronologic, and geophysical studies to develop a holistic understanding of the river’s origin, the structural history of the landscape through which it flows, and the stratigraphic and geomorphic consequences of...

Contacts: Ryan Crow, Ph.D., P. Kyle House, PhD, Tracey Felger, Philip A. Pearthree, James E. Faulds
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: March 5, 2021
Status: Active

Remote Sensing Coastal Change

We use remote-sensing technologies—such as aerial photography, satellite imagery, structure-from-motion (SfM) photogrammetry, and lidar (laser-based surveying)—to measure coastal change along U.S. shorelines.

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Date published: May 26, 2021

Geophysical and core sample data collected offshore Oceanside to San Diego, southern California, during field activity 2018-638-FA from 2018-05-21 to 2018-05-26

USGS collected geophysical and core sample data aboard R/V Bold Horizon in 2018 on cruise 2018-638-FA offshore Oceanside to San Diego, southern California. The data were collected to assess sand and gravel resources in Federal and State waters for potential use in future beach nourishment projects along stretches of the coast where critical erosion hotspots have been identified.

Date published: May 25, 2021

Modeled extreme total water levels along the U.S. west coast

This dataset contains information on the probabilities of storm-induced erosion (collision, inundation and overwash) for each 100-meter (m) section of the United States Pacific coast for return period storm scenarios. The analysis is based on a storm-impact scaling model that uses observations of beach morphology combined with sophisticated hydrodynamic models to predict how the coast will...

Date published: May 18, 2021

Reprocessed multichannel seismic-reflection (MCS) data from USGS field activity T-1-96-SC collected in San Diego Bay, California in 1996

This data release presents reprocessed multichannel seismic-reflection (MCS) data that was originally collected in 1996 in partnership with the California Division of Mines and Geology and Caltrans as part of a seismic hazard assessment of the Coronado Bridge in San Diego Bay, California. The original survey collected 130 km of data with a 14-cubic inch sleeve-gun (airgun) source, a 24-channel...

Date published: April 22, 2021

Airborne thermal infrared imagery and longitudinal stream temperature profiles, Hat Creek, California, August 2018

This dataset includes georeferenced high-resolution, airborne thermal infrared (TIR) imagery, a polyline shapefile of the channel centerline, and a tabular file with longitudinal stream temperature profiles for Hat Creek, a tributary to the Pit River located in northeastern California.

Date published: April 21, 2021

Hydrologic data in Hinkley and Water Valleys, San Bernardino County, California, 2015-2018

Data were collected to help define hydrologic controls on groundwater movement as part of a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study on background concentrations of hexavalent chromium in groundwater aquifers near Hinkley, California. Most data associated with the background study are available through the National Water Information System (NWIS) website, and GeoLog Locator.

Date published: April 20, 2021

Petaluma Model GIS Data

This data release contains 3 land use shapefiles (years 1959, 1979, and 1986) and 1 model grid shapefile for the Petaluma River Watershed in California.

Date published: April 13, 2021

Water Quality Samples for USGS 11092450 LOS ANGELES R A SEPULVEDA DAM CA

Water-quality data collected for various parameters at USGS monitoring site 11092450 (Los Angeles River at Sepulveda Dam).

Date published: April 12, 2021

Basin Characterization Model (BCMv8) monthly recharge and runoff for the Anza-Cahuilla Groundwater Basin, California

This dataset provides monthly and average annual long-term estimates (water years 1981-2010) of gridded recharge and runoff from water years 1896-2018 for the Anza-Cahuilla Groundwater Basin in southern California. Gridded data are available in flat ASCII files (*.asc) in the NAD83 California Teale Albers projection.

Date published: April 6, 2021

Data sets for: Sampling for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) by the Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment Priority Basin Project (GAMA-PBP)

The U.S. Geological Survey Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment-Priority Basin Project (USGS GAMA-PBP) collected samples to be analyzed for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from domestic and public supply wells from May 2019 to September 2020.

Date published: April 5, 2021

Historical groundwater and produced water chemistry data compiled for the San Ardo Oil Field and vicinity, Monterey County, central California

This digital dataset includes 255 samples from 41 groundwater wells and 271 samples of produced water from 143 sites (including 101 wells) located within 3 miles of the San Ardo Oil Field in Monterey County, central California. Historical geochemistry data were compiled from multiple data sources for selected water-quality indicators, major and minor ions, nutrients, and trace elements.

Date published: March 22, 2021

Pesticide detections in streams throughout the foothills of the Sierra Nevada range using passive samplers from 2017 to 2019

This dataset was produced from analyzing Affinisep SDB-RPS, Affinisep HLB, and Restek Resprep C18 disks that were deployed with the use of Chemcatcher� passive sampling devices. Silicone bands were also deployed and used for exploring economical methods of sampling for pesticides in surface water.

Date published: March 19, 2021

Geophysical and sampling data collected offshore Oceanside, southern California during field activity 2017-686-FA from 2017-10-23 to 2017-10-31

This data release contains geophysical and sediment sample data that were collected aboard the R/V Snavely in 2017 on U.S. Geological Survey cruise 2017-686-FA offshore Oceanside, southern California. The goal of the survey was to provide high-resolution imaging, magnetic anomaly profiles and sediment analysis to characterize the surface and subsurface properties of the study area such as

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Underwater photograph showing deep-water corals growing on a rocky area.
May 25, 2021

Less than 20% of the world's oceans have been explored. A global initiative seeks to change that, by pledging to complete detailed mapping of 10% of the seafloor by the year 2030. The United States is contributing to this effort in part through a collaborative team of federal, state, and nongovernment organizations to map, explore, and characterize waters along the US Pacific coast...

View of Capitola, California, coastline
January 26, 2021

Prediction of Flooding Now and Into the Future: a geonarrative on coastal storms

map excerpt displaying geology
January 21, 2021

The USGS is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of groundwater resources of the Adelaida area. Use this map to explore the hydrogeology of the area, including land use, geology, and USGS hydrologic data by watershed or water management district. 

nightly view of highway with large cracks from earthquake and car in the distance.
December 4, 2020

This USGS geonarrative (Esri Story Map) summarizes the USGS response and findings after the M6.4 on July 4 and M7.1 on July 6, 2019 in Searles Valley, Southern California, and includes links to USGS research publications and data releases.

bluegreen algae distribution map
August 7, 2020

A data visualization exploring the relationship between nutrient distribution and phytoplankton under different conditions across the San Francisco Delta and Estuary. Assessing distribution and abundance aids understanding of how managing nutrient supplies affects aquatic food webs, helping managers evaluate the potential environmental benefits of future nutrient reduction efforts against costs.

screen shot of Bay-Delta web app that visualizes water quality data
August 6, 2020

Data visualization tool created for California's Bay-Delta Regional Monitoring Program.  This web application visualizes nutrients and phytoplankton spatially and temporally for data collected in 2018.

This is a map of the Southwest US with RestoreNet sites in six ecoregions.
May 14, 2020

RestoreNet is a networked ecological experiment on the cutting-edge of restoration science. The experiment sites span dryland ecoystems of the southwest U.S.

Black and grey map of the contiguous 48 states shaded by the number of people using domestic wells per square kilometer (2010)
April 23, 2020

Domestic wells provide drinking water supply for approximately 40 million people in the United States. Knowing the location of these wells, and the populations they serve, is important for identifying heavily used aquifers, locations susceptible to contamination, and populations potentially impacted by poor-quality groundwater. 

volcano exposure storymap
April 1, 2020

A geonarrative summary of the USGS report that provides a broad perspective on California’s exposure to volcanic hazards. By integrating volcanic hazard information with geospatial data on populations, infrastructure, and resources, the results provide estimates of impacts to people and our environment if an eruption were to occur.

screenshot of the user interface for the groundwater quality mapper
March 25, 2020

The GAMA-PBP Public-Supply Well Results data viewer allows the user to visualize and download California water-quality data and trends for1974 - 2014. Groundwater-quality data for 38 inorganic constituents are captured and can be downloaded for individual sites or by grid cell. 

Figure 4 for Southwestern Willow Flycatcher Habitat Viewer webpage
March 12, 2020

Figure 4. Yearly Distribution (2007-2019) of Tamarisk Beetle (Diorhabda spp.). Annual tamarisk beetle distribution map. Provided by RiversEdge West. 2020. Used with permission from Ben Bloodgood, Program Coordinator.

Bathymetry of Monterey Canyon and the Soquel Canyon tributary
February 28, 2020

The California Seafloor Mapping Program (CSMP) is a cooperative program to create a comprehensive coastal and marine geologic and habitat base map series for California's State waters. Initiated in 2008, the CSMP has collected bathymetry and backscatter data that are being turned into habitat and geologic base maps.

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Year Published: 2021

The value of US coral reefs for flood risk reduction

Habitats, such as coral reefs, can mitigate increasing flood damages through coastal protection services. We provide a fine-scale, national valuation of the flood risk reduction benefits of coral habitats to people, property, economies and infrastructure. Across 3,100 km of US coastline, the top-most 1 m of coral reefs prevents the 100-yr flood...

Reguero, Borja G.; Storlazzi, Curt; Gibbs, Ann E.; Shope, James B.; Cole, Aaron D.; Cumming, Kristen A.; Beck, Mike

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Year Published: 2021

Landscape evolution in eastern Chuckwalla Valley, Riverside County, California

This study investigates sedimentary and geomorphic processes in eastern Chuckwalla Valley, Riverside County, California, a region of arid, basin-and-range terrain where extensive solar-energy development is planned. The objectives of this study were to (1) measure local weather parameters and use them to model aeolian sediment-transport potential...

East, Amy E.; Gray, Harrison J.; Redsteer, Margaret Hiza; Ballmer, Matthew
East, A.E., Gray, H.J., Redsteer, M.H., and Ballmer, M., 2021, Landscape evolution in eastern Chuckwalla Valley, Riverside County, California: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2021–5017, 46 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20215017.

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Year Published: 2021

Potential use of the benthic foraminifers Bulimina denudata and Eggerelloides advenus in marine sediment toxicity testing

The benthic foraminifers Bulimina denudata and Eggerelloides advenus are commonly abundant in offshore regions in the Pacific Ocean, especially in waste-discharge sites. The relationship between their abundance and standard macrofaunal sediment toxicity tests (amphipod survival and sea urchin fertilization) as well as sediment...

McGann, Mary

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Year Published: 2021

Preconditioning by sediment accumulation can produce powerful turbidity currents without major external triggers

Turbidity currents dominate sediment transfer into the deep ocean, and can damage critical seabed infrastructure. It is commonly inferred that powerful turbidity currents are triggered by major external events, such as storms, river floods, or earthquakes. However, basic models for turbidity current triggering remain poorly tested, with few...

Bailey, Lewis; Clare, Michael; Rosenberger, Kurt J.; Cartigny, Matthieu J.B.; Talling, Peter J.; Paull, Charles K.; Gwiazda, Roberto; Parsons, Daniel; Simmons, Stephen; Xu, Jingping; Haigh, Ivan; Maier, Katherine L.; McGann, Mary; Lundsten, Eve M.

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Year Published: 2021

Characterization of deep-sea coral and sponge communities in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary: Point Arena South Essential Fish Habitat Conservation Area and New Amendment 28 Areas

This report summarizes samples collected during a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) cruise conducted in October 2019 on board E/V Nautilus. Areas sampled in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary included areas proposed for fisheries management zoning in the Point Arena South (PAS) Essential Fish Habitat Conservation Area (EFH). Dive planning...

Graiff, Kaitlin; Roletto, Jan; Tezak, Sage; Williams, Gary E.; Cochrane, Guy R.

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Year Published: 2021

Forecasting the frequency and magnitude of postfire debris flows across southern California

Southern California has a long history of damaging debris flows after wildfire. Despite recurrent loss, forecasts of the frequency and magnitude of postfire debris flows are not available for the region like they are for earthquakes. Instead, debris flow hazards are typically assessed in a reactive manner after wildfires. Such assessments are...

Kean, Jason W.; Staley, Dennis M.

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Year Published: 2021

A geology and geodesy based model of dynamic earthquake rupture on the Rodgers Creek‐Hayward‐Calaveras Fault System, California

The Hayward fault in California's San Francisco Bay area produces large earthquakes, with the last occurring in 1868. We examine how physics‐based dynamic rupture modeling can be used to numerically simulate large earthquakes on not only the Hayward fault, but also its connected companions to the north and south, the Rodgers Creek and Calaveras...

Harris, Ruth A.; Barall, Michael; Lockner, David A.; Moore, Diane E.; Ponce, David A.; Graymer, Russell; Funning, Gareth J.; Morrow, Carolyn A.; Kyriakopoulos, Christodoulos; Eberhart-Phillips, Donna

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Year Published: 2021

The weight of cities: Urbanization effects on Earth’s subsurface

Across the world, people increasingly choose to live in cities. By 2050, 70% of Earth's population will live in large urban areas. Upon considering a large city, questions arise such as, how much does that weigh? What are its effects on the landscape? Does it cause measurable subsidence? Here I calculate the weight of San Francisco Bay region...

Parsons, Thomas E.

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Year Published: 2021

Toward physics-based nonergodic PSHA: A prototype fully-deterministic seismic hazard model for southern California

We present a nonergodic framework for probabilistic seismic‐hazard analysis (PSHA) that is constructed entirely of deterministic, physical models. The use of deterministic ground‐motion simulations in PSHA calculations is not new (e.g., CyberShake), but prior studies relied on kinematic rupture generators to extend empirical earthquake rupture...

Milner, Kevin R.; Shaw, Bruce E.; Goulet, Christine A.; Richards-Dinger, Keith B.; Callaghan, Scott; Jordan, Thomas H.; Dieterich, James H.; Field, Edward H.

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Year Published: 2021

Juvenile Chinook salmon survival, travel time, and floodplain use relative to riverine channels in the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta

Floodplains provide multiple benefits to both resident and migratory fish species, including juvenile Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, but direct comparisons of survival during migration through a floodplain versus riverine routes are scarce. The Yolo Bypass is a broad floodplain of the Sacramento River that floods in about 30% of...

Pope, Adam; Perry, Russell; Harvey, Brett N.; Hance, Dalton; Hansel, Hal C

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Year Published: 2021

Toward an integrative geological and geophysical view of Cascadia subduction zone earthquakes

The Cascadia subduction zone (CSZ) is an exceptional geologic environment for recording evidence of land level changes, tsunamis, and ground motion that reveals at least 19 great megathrust earthquakes over the past 10 kyr. Such earthquakes are among the most impactful natural hazards on Earth, transcend national boundaries, and can have global...

Walton, Maureen A. L.; Staisch, Lydia M.; Dura, Tina; Pearl, Jessie Kathleen; Sherrod, Brian; Gomberg, Joan S.; Engelhart, Simon E.; Trehu, Anne; Watt, Janet; Perkins, Jonathan P; Witter, Robert C.; Bartlow, Noel; Goldfinger, Chris; Kelsey, Harvey; Morey, Ann; Sahakian, Valerie J.; Tobin, Harold; Wang, Kelin; Wells, Ray; Wirth, Erin

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Year Published: 2021

The impacts of the 2015/2016 El Niño on California's sandy beaches

The El Niño Southern Oscillation is the most dominant mode of interannual climate variability in the Pacific. The 2015/2016 El Niño event was one of the strongest of the last 145 years, resulting in anomalously high wave energy across the U.S. West Coast, and record coastal erosion for many California beaches. To better manage coastal resources,...

Smith, Schuyler A; Barnard, Patrick L.

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Image of a coastal cliff with lines drawn on it, that help to define the shape and areas of weakness.
August 19, 2020

The Cliff Feature Delineation Tool scans digital elevation models (DEM) to delineate features on seacliffs like the cliff top, midline, toe, and convexities/concavities on the cliff face, outputting linear features as polylines and point shapefiles. 

One-Water Hydrologic Flow Model cross section
April 7, 2020

The MODLFOW One-Water Hydrologic Flow Model (MF-OWHM) (MF-OWHM; Boyce and others, 2020Hanson and others, 2014) is a MODFLOW-2005-based integrated hydrologic flow model (IHM) that is the most complete version, to date, of the MODFLOW family of hydrologic simulators needed for the analysis of a broad range of conjunctive-use issues. 

Screenshot of GAMACTT web application.
January 24, 2020

Use this Groundwater Age Mixtures and Contaminant Trends Tool (GAMACTT) to explore the effects of basic aquifer properties and well configurations on groundwater age mixtures in groundwater discharge and on contaminant trends from varying nonpoint-source contaminant input scenarios.

4 graphs displaying example output from the TracerLPM software
January 15, 2020

An Excel® Workbook for Interpreting Groundwater Age Distributions from Environmental Tracer Data

multicolored map of Ocean Shores, Washington
April 13, 2017

The Pedestrian Evacuation Analyst is an ArcGIS extension that estimates how long it would take for someone to travel on foot out of a hazardous area that was threatened by a sudden event such as a tsunami, flash flood, or volcanic lahar. It takes into account the elevation changes and the different types of landcover that a person would encounter along the way.

MODPATH-OBS_distance-direction-observations_USGS-hydrologic-modelling
April 26, 2013

The MODPATH-OBS (Hanson and others, 2013) computer program is designed to calculate simulated equivalents for observations related to advective groundwater transport that can be represented in a quantitative way by using simulated particle-tracking data. 

map of the central valley with the CVHM grid cells overlaid, and a cross section of the subsurface
August 27, 2012

The Central Valley Hydrologic Model (CVHM) is an extensive, detailed three-dimensional (3D) computer model of the hydrologic system of the Central Valley (Faunt, 2009). The Central Valley Hydrologic Model (CVHM) simultaneously accounts for changing water supply and demand across the landscape, and simulates surface water and groundwater flow across the entire Central Valley.

subsurface grid showing relationship surface water and groundwater recharge
June 19, 2008

A Grid-Based, Distributed-Parameter Watershed Model to Estimate Net Infiltration Below the Root Zone

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May 27, 2021

PubTalk 5/2021 - Where Earthquakes Hide in the Desert

Title: Where Earthquakes Hide in the Desert: What we've learned from recent fault ruptures in the western U.S.

By Austin J. Elliott, USGS Research Geologist

  • Three large earthquakes since 2019 have ruptured incompletely mapped faults in the western U.S.
  • Both satellite and field measurements give extremely detailed maps of how the
Attribution: Natural Hazards
Scientists aboard research vessel conduct water-quality mapping in support of wastewater-derived nutrients project
May 11, 2021

Scientists aboard research vessel conduct water-quality mapping

Scientists aboard R/V Aiken conduct water-quality mapping in support of wastewater-derived nutrients project

April 23, 2021

Turn Around, Salamander!

This video shows a California tiger salamander finding its way to an underpass designed to help amphibians and reptiles cross the road safely, with the help of a "turn-around" that helps guide the salamander back in the right direction as it travels away from the underpass. The salamander was caught on wildlife cameras at various points between the turn-around and the

April 22, 2021

PubTalk 4/2021 - From Data to Maps - The National Geospatial Program

Title: From Data to Maps The National Geospatial Program - the Nation's source for topographic information

By: Michael Tischler

  • Responsibilities of a national mapping agency
  • National elevation data
  • National hydrography data
  • Next-generation mapping products 
     
April 22, 2021

We are the Coastal and Marine Hazards and Resources Program (AD)

We are the USGS Coastal and Marine Hazards and Resources Program. Our mission is to provide science for sustainable stewardship of Earth’s precious resources. We conduct research, quantify resources, work to understand ecosystems, and develop tools to ensure our Nation has the best information to manage resources and prepare for

April 22, 2021

We are the Coastal and Marine Hazards and Resources Program

We are the USGS Coastal and Marine Hazards and Resources Program. Our mission is to provide science for sustainable stewardship of Earth’s precious resources. We conduct research, quantify resources, work to understand ecosystems, and develop tools to ensure our Nation has the best information to manage resources and prepare for

April 12, 2021

Terra MODIS & S-NPP VIIRS Observe Snowpack in Sierra Nevada Mt. Range

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor is located aboard NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) sensor is aboard the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) satellite. Together these sensors provide us with over two decades of crucial data for studying changes that have occurred on the

March 31, 2021

Red-Legged Frog Tadpoles Explore Their New Home

This video provides background on and shows the release of California red-legged frog tadpoles into a pond in San Diego County, CA on March 31, 2021. These tadpoles originated from a pond in the Sierra San Pedro Martir Mountains in Baja California, Mexico and were translocated as eggs to the USA on Feb 4, 2021 as part of a multi-national conservation team consisting of TNC

March 31, 2021

Image of the Week: Mudslide Cuts Through Big Sur Burn Scar

A mudslide near the 2020 Dolan Fire's ignition point chopped through a chunk of California's scenic State Highway 1 in late January. 

The Dolan Fire began near Big Sur on August 18th, 2020. It scarred nearly 125,000 acres before being fully contained in December. 

The damage is clear in false color Landsat 8 imagery from August and October. The scar is still

March 25, 2021

PubTalk 3/2021 - A Jaguar's Field of Dreams

Title: A Jaguar's Field of Dreams - If you build it, they will come (& other lessons from the U.S. - Mexico border) By: Laura M. Norman USGS, Western Geographic Science Center * Case study: the very lonely Jaguar * Madrean Archipelago Ecoregion, a biodiversity hotspot of the planet * Restoration ecohydrology and rewilding * Learn about the ecosystem services of rock

March 3, 2021

How USGS Streamgages Work

This video explains how streamgages are used to measure the height and flow, or speed, of streams. By monitoring the height and flow of streams, the people who manage water infrastructure can have advanced noted of when the water is rising and how fast it’s coming. This helps to prepare for flooding, mudslides, and other hazardous impacts that a lot of fast-moving water

A woman stands in a rut eroded by water, on a very steep hill surrounded by burned trees.
February 28, 2021

Burned, denuded hillside in the CZU Lightning Complex

The USGS landslide team monitors and continues to update the hazard map models based on data collected in burn areas. This information improves future models and provides better hazard assessments used by officials for emergency response and decision making. Many of the steep hillsides burned and denuded in California fires repel water rather than soak it in. This

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A scientist stands on a bare, rocky slope of a mountain, punching a steel tube into the ground with a glass sample bottle on top
June 4, 2021

One of the three main ways that California Volcano Observatory scientists monitor the state’s threatening volcanoes is by sampling the gases that are released from magma deep below (in addition to monitoring seismicity and deformation).

2021 May Public Lecture Flyer
May 26, 2021

You are invited to a public lecture about recent surface rupturing earthquakes in the western United States.

Color photograph of person in colorful shirt in front of rock wall
May 12, 2021

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — On May 9, 2021, Christina (Tina) Neal became the new director of the U.S. Geological Survey Volcano Science Center, home of the Alaska, California, Cascades, Hawaiian and Yellowstone volcano observatories.  

Earthquake Early Warning Basics
May 4, 2021

After 15 years of planning and development, the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system is now available to more than 50 million people in California, Oregon and Washington, the most earthquake-prone region in the conterminous U.S.

White salts covers the surface of the San Rafael Swell, Utah. 
April 19, 2021

Salinity levels in the Upper Colorado River Basin, which covers portions of Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, have steadily decreased since 1929, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study analyzing decades of water-quality measurements.

Two people kneeling to collect a carcass
March 31, 2021

CORVALLIS, ORE. – Reduction in wildlife mortality rates is sometimes cited as a potential benefit to the replacement of older, smaller turbines by larger, next generation turbines. In contrast, others have expressed concern that newer, larger turbines may actually increase bird and bat deaths.

THUMBNAIL: Timelapse of Schools in CA NV
March 29, 2021

Summary statistics are now available for this challenge. Thanks again to everyone who contributed!

2021 March Public Lecture Flyer
March 24, 2021

The U.S. Geological Survey public lecture series is back and virtual. News reporters are invited to attend to learn how USGS scientists are helping protect one of the only jaguars that lives in the U.S.

road on side of cliff above ocean showing part of road taken out by a landslide
March 24, 2021

Recent landslide activity along California’s Pacific coast in the region known as Big Sur has provided graphic examples of the power and impacts of natural hazard events.

TNMCorps Mapping Challenge: Schools in CA NV FINISHED
March 18, 2021

This challenge is now complete! Thank you to everyone who contributed!

TNMCorps Mapping Challenge: Schools in CA NV
March 11, 2021

Volunteers contributed almost 800 edits toward this challenge since last week. This includes the removal of over 100 points that were either closed or represented the wrong feature type - NICE WORK!!    

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