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: September 17, 2021

Public notice for the upgrade and expansion of the water monitoring network in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) provided the public an opportunity  to review and comment on an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the construction, upgrade, and maintenance of new and existing monitoring stations in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta). Public...

Date published: September 1, 2021

How Rising Seas Push Coastal Systems Beyond Tipping Points

A new multidisciplinary case study from USGS and collaborators looks at how even modest sea-level rise threatens coastal communities, infrastructure and ecosystems such as beaches, tidal marshes and estuaries by pushing them past “tipping points,” the crucial junctures at which even slight changes can fundamentally alter how an entire system behaves.

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Date published: September 16, 2021
Status: Active

Using Video Imagery to Study Coastal Change: Santa Cruz Beaches

Two video cameras atop the Dream Inn hotel in Santa Cruz, California, overlook the coast in northern Monterey Bay. One camera looks eastward over Santa Cruz Main Beach and boardwalk, while the other looks southward over Cowells Beach.

Date published: September 16, 2021
Status: Active

Using Video Imagery to Study Coastal Change: Sunset State Beach

Two video cameras overlook the coast at Sunset State Beach in Watsonville, California. Camera 1 looks northwest while Camera 2 looks north. The cameras are part of the Remote Sensing Coastal Change project.

Date published: September 15, 2021
Status: Active

Drag and sediment transport: conditions at the bottom boundary

Research on bed sediment grain size, bedform morphology, vegetation characteristics, and sediment resuspension and transport is part of the Sediment Transport in Coastal Environments project.

Contacts: Jessie Lacy
Date published: September 2, 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: September 1, 2021
Status: Active

Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS)

The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) makes detailed predictions of storm-induced coastal flooding, erosion, and cliff failures over large geographic scales. CoSMoS was developed for hindcast studies, operational applications and future climate scenarios to provide emergency responders and coastal planners with critical storm-hazards information that can be used to increase public safety...

Date published: August 23, 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: August 23, 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: August 23, 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: August 23, 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: August 11, 2021
Status: Active

Investigation of Groundwater and Surface Water Interactions in Support of Ecosystem Management at San Sebastian Marsh, California

To help the U.S. Bureau of Land Management determine the long-term sustainability of the San Sebastian Marsh, and its critical role for the survival of the endangered desert pupfish (Cyprinodon macularius), the USGS is evaluating the potential interactions and relation between groundwater and surface water at the San Sebastian Marsh.

Contacts: Gregory Mendez
Date published: July 30, 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.

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Date published: September 15, 2021

Hydrodynamic and sediment transport data from San Pablo Bay and Grizzly Bay, California, 2020

The USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center collected hydrodynamic and sediment-transport data at shallow water sites in San Pablo Bay and Grizzly Bay, in northern San Francisco Bay between January and September 2020. The data were collected to determine hydrodynamic forcing, bed roughness, suspended-sediment concentration, and physical properties of the sediment bed. This data release...

Date published: September 2, 2021

CTD profiles and discrete water-column measurements collected off California and Oregon during NOAA cruise SH-18-12 (USGS field activity 2018-663-FA) from October to November 2018 (ver. 2.0, September 2021)

Various water column variables, including CTD (Conductivity Temperature Depth) data were measured at selected depths from sites offshore of California and Oregon from October to November 2018 during NOAA cruise SH-18-12 on R/V Bell M. Shimada (USGS field activity 2018-663-FA).

Date published: August 23, 2021

Donated AUV bathymetry and Chirp seismic-reflection data collected during Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute cruises in 2018-2019 offshore of south-central California

This data release consists of donated autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) bathymetry and Chirp seismic-reflection data collected using an AUV in 2018 and 2019. The collection of these data was funded entirely by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), and the data have been donated to the USGS. The data were collected in collaboration with the USGS and BOEM 

Date published: August 23, 2021

Composite multibeam bathymetry surface and data sources of the southern Cascadia Margin offshore Oregon and northern California

Bathymetry data from various sources, including newly released 2018 and 2019 multibeam data collected by NOAA and the USGS, were combined to create a composite 30-m resolution multibeam bathymetry surface of the southern Cascadia Margin offshore of Oregon and northern California. The bathymetry data are available as a 30-m resolution geoTIFF file, accompanied by a polygon shapefile 

Date published: July 28, 2021

Parent and alkylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in north San Francisco Bay, Napa River, and Sonoma Creek in 2018 and 2019

Sediment grain-size distributions, stable carbon isotope ratios (d13C), total carbon to total nitrogen ratios (C:N), short-lived radionuclides (Beryllium-7, Cesium-137, and Lead-210), concentrations of 76 parent and alkylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and concentrations of 33 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were measured in the northern reach of San Francisco Bay, and...

Date published: July 21, 2021

High-resolution multibeam bathymetry and backscatter data collected in 2004 for the northern Channel Islands region, southern California

This data release presents data for 5-m resolution multibeam-bathymetry and acoustic-backscatter data of the northern Channel Islands region, southern California. The USGS collected the data in the northern Channel Islands region in 2004 aboard R/V Ewing using a Kongsberg Simrad EM-1002 multibeam echosounder. These datam previously published, are now reprocessed to a finer spatial...

Date published: July 12, 2021

High-resolution multi-channel and Chirp seismic-reflection data from USGS cruise 2018-641-FA collected in south-central California in support of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Cal DIG I offshore alternative energy project

The purpose of the study is to assess shallow geohazards, benthic habitats, and thereby the potential for alternative energy infrastructure (namely floating wind turbines) offshore south-central California due to its proximity to power grid infrastructure associated with the Morro Bay power plant. This dataset was collected as part of a geophysical survey during two legs at sea in 2018.

Date published: July 8, 2021

Grain-size data for sediment samples collected in Whiskeytown Lake, northern California, in 2018 and 2019

The USGS measured topographic change associated with sediment deposition and erosion in and around Whiskeytown Lake after the Carr Fire, in order to support calculations of post-fire sediment yield from the surrounding landscape. This data release includes grain-size data from sediment samples collected in submerged and subaerial regions in Whiskeytown Lake and around the reservoir margin.

Date published: July 8, 2021

High-resolution (1 m) digital elevation model (DEM) of San Francisco Bay, California, created using bathymetry data collected between 1999 and 2020 (ver. 2.0, July 2021)

A 1-m resolution bathymetric digital elevation model of San Francisco Bay was constructed from bathymetric surveys collected from 1999 to 2020. The DEM has been divided into northern, central, and southern sections due to file size, and is available in both MLLW and NAVD88 versions. Background: In 2014 and 2015 the California Ocean Protection Council contracted the collection of bathymetric...

Date published: June 10, 2021

Geophysical and core sample data collected offshore San Francisco, California, during field activity 2019-649-FA from 2019-10-11 to 2019-10-18

USGS collected geophysical and core sample data aboard R/V Bold Horizon in 2019 on cruise 2019-649-FA offshore San Francisco, 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. This cruise was funded through...

Date published: June 8, 2021

Hydrodynamic and sediment transport model of San Pablo Bay, California, Nov-Dec 2014

A three-dimensional hydrodynamic and sediment transport model of San Pablo and Suisun Bays was constructed using the Delft3D4 modeling suite to simulate water levels, flow, waves, and suspended sediment for time period of 11/1-12/31, 2014. This data release describes the construction and validation of the model application and provides input files suitable to run the model on D3D software...

Date published: June 4, 2021

Vibracore CT scans from the San Lorenzo River

This data release contains information on computed tomography images of a vibracore sediment core. This was collected in 2019 near the San Lorenzo River in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, California to understand the history of recent vertical incision and floodplain abandonment. The core was split into 3 segments after collection. Each segment was scanned using a Geotek Rotating X-ray CT...

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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

Geologic controls of slow-moving landslides near the U.S. West Coast

Slow-moving landslides, often with nearly imperceptible creeping motion, are an important landscape shaper and a dangerous natural hazard across the globe, yet their spatial distribution and geologic controls are still poorly known owing to a paucity of detailed, large-area observations. Here, we use interferometry of L-band satellite radar images...

Xu, Yuankun; Schulz, William; Lu, Zhong; Kim, Jinwook; Baxstrom, Kelli Wadsworth

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Year Published: 2021

Geologic and geophysical maps of the Santa Maria and part of the Point Conception 30'×60' quadrangles, California

This report presents digital geologic, gravity, and aeromagnetic maps for the onshore parts of the Santa Maria and Point Conception 30'x60' quadrangles at a compilation scale of 1:100,000. The map depicts the distribution of bedrock units, surficial deposits, paleontological data, geophysical data and structural features in the Santa Maria basin...

Sweetkind, Donald S.; Langenheim, Victoria E.; McDougall-Reid, Kristin; Sorlien, Christopher C.; Demas, Shiera C.; Tennyson, Marilyn E.; Johnson, Samuel Y.
Sweetkind, D.S., Langenheim, V.E., McDougall-Reid, K., Sorlien, C.C., Demas, S.C., Tennyson, M.E., and Johnson, S.Y., 2021, Geologic and geophysical maps of the Santa Maria and part of the Point Conception 30'×60' quadrangles, California: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3472, 1 sheet, scale 1:100,000, 58-p. pamphlet, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3472. [Supersedes USGS Open-File Reports 95–25 and 92–189.]

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Year Published: 2021

Colored shaded-relief bathymetry, acoustic backscatter, and selected perspective views of the northern part of the California Continental Borderland, southern California

The California Continental Borderland is the complex continental margin in southern California that extends from Point Conception southward into northern Baja California (Fisher and others, 2009). This colored shaded-relief bathymetry map of the northern continental borderland in southern California was generated primarily from multibeam-...

Dartnell, Peter; Roland, Emily C.; Raineault, Nicole A.; Castillo, Christopher M.; Conrad, James E.; Kane, Renato; Brothers, Daniel S.; Kluesner, Jared; Walton, Maureen A. L.
Dartnell, P., Roland, E.C., Raineault, N.A., Castillo, C.M., Conrad, J.E., Kane, R., Brothers, D.S., Kluesner, J., and Walton, M.A.L., 2021, Colored shaded-relief bathymetry, acoustic backscatter, and selected perspective views of the northern part of the California Continental Borderland, southern California: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3473, 3 sheets, scale 1:250,000, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3473.

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Year Published: 2021

Multiple climate change-driven tipping points for coastal systems

As the climate evolves over the next century, the interaction of accelerating sea level rise (SLR) and storms, combined with confining development and infrastructure, will place greater stresses on physical, ecological, and human systems along the ocean-land margin. Many of these valued coastal systems could reach “tipping points,” at which hazard...

Barnard, Patrick L.; Dugan, Jenifer; Page, Henry M. ; Wood, Nathan J.; Finzi Hart, Juliette A.; Cayan, Daniel; Erikson, Li H.; Hubbard, David A.; Myers, Monique; Melack, John M.; Iacobellis, Samuel F.

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Year Published: 2021

Influence of invasive submerged aquatic vegetation (E. densa) on currents and sediment transport in a freshwater tidal system

We present a field study combining measurements of vegetation density, vegetative drag, and reduction of suspended-sediment concentration (SSC) within patches of the invasive submerged aquatic plant Egeria densa. Our study was motivated by concern that sediment trapping by E. densa, which has proliferated in the Sacramento–San Joaquin...

Lacy, Jessica R.; Foster-Martinez, Madeline R.; Allen, Rachel M.; Drexler, Judith Z.

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Year Published: 2021

Spatial and temporal distribution of radio-tagged Lost River (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose (Chasmistes brevirostris) suckers in Clear Lake Reservoir and associated spawning tributaries, Northern California, 2015–17

Executive SummaryData from a multi-year radio telemetry study were used to assess seasonal distribution patterns for two long-lived, federally endangered catostomids across substantially different water conditions in Clear Lake Reservoir, northern California. Lost River (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose (Chasmistes brevirostris) suckers, two...

Banet, Nathan; Hewitt, David A.; Dolan-Caret, Amari; Harris, Alta C.
Banet, N.V., Hewitt, D.A., Dolan-Caret, A., and Harris, A.C., 2021, Spatial and temporal distribution of radio-tagged Lost River (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose (Chasmistes brevirostris) suckers in Clear Lake Reservoir and associated spawning tributaries, Northern California, 2015–17: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1061, 37 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20211061.

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Year Published: 2021

Creep on the Sargent Fault over the past 50 yr from alignment arrays with implications for slip transfer between the Calaveras and San Andreas Faults, California

The 55‐km‐long Sargent fault connects the creeping Calaveras fault with the locked San Andreas fault through the Santa Cruz Mountains west of Gilroy, California. The position of the Sargent fault between these two faults may have implications for slip transfer and strain accumulation between a creeping and locked fault. The detection and...

Mongovin, Daniel; Philibosian, Belle

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Year Published: 2021

Approaches for assessing long-term annual yields of highway and urban runoff in selected areas of California with the Stochastic Empirical Loading and Dilution Model (SELDM)

The California Department of Transportation, commonly known as CalTrans, and other municipal separate storm sewer system permittees in California as well as other State departments of transportation nationwide need information about potential loads and yields (loads per unit area) of constituents of concern in stormwater runoff and discharges from...

Granato, Gregory E.; Friesz, Paul J.
Granato, G.E., and Friesz, P.J., 2021, Approaches for assessing long-term annual yields of highway and urban runoff in selected areas of California with the Stochastic Empirical Loading and Dilution Model (SELDM): U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2021–5043, 37 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20215043.

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Year Published: 2021

Holocene depositional history inferred from single-grain luminescence ages in southern California, North America

Significant sediment flux and deposition in a sedimentary system are influenced by climate changes, tectonics, lithology, and the sedimentary system's internal dynamics. Identifying the timing of depositional periods from stratigraphic records is a first step to critically evaluate the controls of sediment flux and deposition. Here, we show that...

Saha, Sourav; Moon, Seulgi; Brown, Nathan D.; Rhodes, Edward J.; Scharer, Katherine; McPhillips, Devin; McGill, Sally F.; Castillo, Bryan A.

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Year Published: 2021

Movement of sediment through a burned landscape: Sediment volume observations and model comparisons in the San Gabriel Mountains, California, USA

Post-wildfire changes to hydrologic and geomorphic systems can lead to widespread sediment redistribution. Understanding how sediment moves through a watershed is crucial for assessing hazards, developing debris flow inundation models, engineering sediment retention solutions, and quantifying the role that disturbances play in landscape evolution...

Rengers, Francis K.; McGuire, Luke A.; Kean, Jason W.; Staley, Dennis M.; Dobre, Mariana; Robichaud, Peter R.; Swetnam, Tyson

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Year Published: 2021

Effects of tidally varying river flow on entrainment of juvenile salmon into Sutter and Steamboat Sloughs

Survival of juvenile salmonids in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta (Delta) varies by migration route, and thus the proportion of fish that use each route affects overall survival through the Delta. Understanding factors that drive routing at channel junctions along the Sacramento River is therefore critical to devising management strategies that...

Romine, Jason G.; Perry, Russell; Stumpner, Paul; Blake, Aaron R.; Burau, Jon R.

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Year Published: 2021

Streambank erosion and related geomorphic change in Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park, California

Landscape change in Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park, California, was characterized using data derived from four lidar surveys: one airborne survey in 2006 and three terrestrial surveys in 2016, 2017, and 2018. These surveys were used to generate a better quantitative understanding of changes associated with fluvial processes along the...

DeLong, Stephen B.; Pickering, Alexandra J.; Kuhn, Timothy
DeLong, S.B., Pickering, A.J., and Kuhn, T., 2021, Streambank erosion and related geomorphic change in Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park, California: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2021–5025, 87 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20215025.

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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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September 23, 2021

Landsat 9 Launch Trajectory Animation

When #Landsat9 is launched from Lompoc, CA, a ULA Atlas V booster will lift it out over the Pacific Ocean, over 2,500 miles away in the first 15 minutes, rising quickly. If all goes as expected, about an hour later Landsat 9 will be in orbit, 438 miles high, falling around the Earth at 16,760 miles per hour, positioned to capture years of imagery.

The Landsat

September 20, 2021

Image of the Week - Fires Worldwide as Seen by Landsat 8

Landsat satellites acquire useful data on wildfires around the world. Their near infrared and shortwave infrared imaging allows for detection and mapping of fire, smoke, and burn scars often in remote areas.

In California: the Dixie Fire near Lake Almanor and the Caldor Fire near Lake Tahoe.

In Israel: over 6,000 acres in the Jerusalem Hills just west of

September 1, 2021

Image of the Week - Caldor Fire Expands Toward Lake Tahoe

The Caldor fire in California started on August 14, 2021 and quickly spread in high winds.

The fire continues to expand toward the Lake Tahoe area as residents evacuate.

This image was captured on August 21, the 8th day.

Landsat 8's near infrared and shortwave infrared bands reveal active fire, burn scars, and smoke.

Landsat's thermal and

Illustration looking down on a coastal margin with ocean floor features shown off the coast.
August 23, 2021

Cascadia margin bathymetry

Bathymetry data from various sources, including newly released 2018 and 2019 multibeam data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), were combined to create a composite 30-m resolution multibeam bathymetry surface of the southern Cascadia Margin offshore of Oregon and northern California.

August 20, 2021

Image of the Week - Dixie Fire Ravages Northern California

The Dixie Fire has become the largest single fire in California's recorded history. State fire officials don't list it at the top, however. The record is held by the massive August Complex fire of 2020 which burned over one million acres. The term "complex" is used when multiple fires in the same area ignite separately. Designating the fires as a complex allows them to be

August 10, 2021

Image of the Week - Dry Spell Depletes Northern California Reservoirs

A prolonged dry spell has sparked woes over water availability and wildfire in the western United States.

This stretch of northern California is heavily reliant on man-made reservoirs. The recent history of a single Landsat scene can serve to illustrate the ripple effects of those severely parched conditions. Water levels have dropped in Folsom Lake, Indian Valley

3D image of a canyon with the Mojave River Channel symbolized in transparent orange
July 16, 2021

The Mojave River: A 3D Journey

The Mojave River is the largest of the streams and rivers that flow through southwestern San Bernardino County, CA. It extends more than 100 miles east from its source in the San Bernardino Mountains to the end east of Afton Canyon. This 3D animation takes the viewer on a tour of the entire length of the river.

July 8, 2021

Earthquake Briefing — The Antelope Valley, CA Earthquake, July 8, 2021

Earthquake Briefing with Austin Elliot, USGS on the Antelope Valley, CA earthquake that occurred on July 8, 2021.

June 24, 2021

PubTalk - 6/2021: Mount St. Helens Revisited

Title: Mount St. Helens Revisited: Lives Changed, Lessons Learned, and Legacies of the 1980 Eruptions

By Carolyn Driedger, USGS Hydrologist & Outreach Specialist

  • Mount St. Helens' eruptions had a disproportionately large influence on our understanding of volcanoes, hazards, and eruption response.
  • Unique circumstances, both locally and abroad
Attribution: Mount St. Helens
sun setting over the ocean viewed from the back deck of a research vessel
May 31, 2021

Sunset on the R/V Sproul

Looking across the back deck/stern of the R/V Robert Gordon Sproul. The wire going through the block in the A-frame leads to the CHIRP sonar fish towed in the water. Oil platforms are shown in the distance.

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
several people stand in front of a large research vessel wearing masks
May 22, 2021

Seismic science crew and the R/V Sproul

In the background is the Research Vessel (R/V) Robert Gordon Sproul, operated by Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO). Science crew shown from left to right: Alicia Balster-Gee (USGS Geophysicist), Jamie Conrad (USGS Research Geologist, co-chief scientist), Rachel Marcuson (USGS Engineering Technician), Jared Kluesner (USGS Research Geophysicist, chief scientist),

...
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Steel piling mounted with solar panels, electronics enclosure, and PVC tubing standing in a body of water
September 17, 2021

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) provided the public an opportunity  to review and comment on an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the construction, upgrade, and maintenance of new and existing monitoring stations in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta). Public notifications were posted to this website and distributed via social media, but USGS received no comments during the review period.

A four-panel diagram shows how different amounts of sea-level rise change a coastal system.
September 1, 2021

A new multidisciplinary case study from USGS and collaborators looks at how even modest sea-level rise threatens coastal communities, infrastructure and ecosystems such as beaches, tidal marshes and estuaries by pushing them past “tipping points,” the crucial junctures at which even slight changes can fundamentally alter how an entire system behaves.

Steel piling mounted with solar panels, electronics enclosure, and PVC tubing standing in a body of water
August 30, 2021

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is providing the opportunity for the public to review and comment on an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed construction, upgrade, and maintenance of new and existing monitoring stations in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta). 

Michael Rosen with tufa
August 16, 2021

California Water Science Center scientist, the late Dr. Michael R. Rosen, and others have authored an article characterizing biosignatures in porous rock formations (called "tufas") in Big Soda Lake, Nevada.

Color photo of Ann Thompson and Landsat mural
July 27, 2021

Lompoc, California and the Landsat program have a long and storied history.

All eight Landsat satellites have launched from the military installation now known as Vandenberg Space Force Base (SFB), which will soon host the ascent of Landsat 9. 

USGS research boat on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
July 16, 2021

The USGS California Water Science Center’s Biogeochemistry Group continues to address surface water quality issues and food web dynamics throughout California, particularly in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Bay.

july 8 california earthquake
July 8, 2021

A magnitude 6.0 (M6.0) earthquake struck Little Antelope Valley, California near the Nevada border on July 8, 2021 at 3:49pm local time (July 8 at 22:49 UTC). 

color photo of Blue Oak Tree
July 8, 2021

A study published June 29, 2021 in the journal Frontiers in Climate, titled “Hotter Drought Escalates Tree Cover Declines in Blue Oak Woodlands of California,” by four EROS scientists, already has been attracting attention.

several people stand in front of a large research vessel wearing masks
June 30, 2021

To find out what’s shaking beneath the seafloor off southern California’s coast, USGS scientists turned on their hydrophones and used sound waves to “see” beneath the seafloor.

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.

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