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

Filter Total Items: 391
Date published: April 19, 2014
Status: Active

Aftershock Forecast Communication for Risk Reduction

Studies of the communication of aftershock information during the Canterbury, New Zealand earthquake sequence conducted by Hazards Societal Consequences and Risk Communication team members and collaborators in New Zealand are...

Date published: September 4, 2013
Status: Completed

SAFRR Tsunami Scenario

The third SAFRR scenario is initiated by a magnitude 9.0 megathrust earthquake in the eastern Aleutian Islands, an event presenting a hypothetical but plausible distant-tsunami threat to southern and central California. USGS and other federal and state agencies entities developed the SAFRR Tsunami Scenario. The scenario describes wave heights, current velocities and inundation for the coast of...

Date published: August 8, 2013
Status: Completed

ARkStorm

The SAFRR project’s second scenario, called ARkStorm, addresses massive U.S. West Coast storms analogous to those that devastated California in 1861–62. Storms of this magnitude are projected to become more frequent and intense as a result of climate change. The SAFRR project assembled experts from scientific research agencies to design the large, but scientifically plausible, hypothetical...

Date published: May 24, 2013
Status: Active

Iron Mountain: An Extraordinary and Extreme Environment

At its peak production, Iron Mountain ranked as the tenth largest copper production site in the world, sixth in the U.S. and first in California. During its operation, from 1879 - 1963, ten different mines throughout the site's 4,400 acres were the source of not just copper, but also silver, iron, gold, zinc and pyrite (iron sulfide).

A century of active mining at Iron Mountain took an...

Date published: April 19, 2013
Status: Completed

Serious Games for Science

Serious or pedagogical games are an engaging way to educate decisionmakers and stakeholders about environmental challenges that are usefully informed by natural and social scientific information and knowledge. USGS designed two serious games intended to promote interactive learning and exploration in the face of large uncertainties, divergent values, and complex situations. Delta Skelta...

Date published: March 1, 2013
Status: Active

SWOT - Surface Water and Ocean Topography

Satellite altimetry associated with the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission offers a solution for measuring (1) river stage and slope, (2) water surface area including mean channel width and (3) derivatives such as river discharge. The measurements can be used to track changes in these variables and provide an accounting of the Earth's fresh-water bodies from space at the reach...

Contacts: John W Fulton
Date published: August 27, 2012
Status: Active

Central Valley Hydrologic Model (CVHM)

In an effort to aid water managers in understanding how water moves through the aquifer system, predicting water-supply scenarios, and addressing issues related to water competition, the USGS developed a new hydrologic modeling tool, the Central Valley Hydrologic Model (CVHM). The CVHM is an extensive, detailed three-dimensional (3D) computer model of the hydrologic system of the Central...

Contacts: Claudia C Faunt
Date published: September 28, 2011
Status: Completed

Native Fish Population and Habitat Study - Santa Ana River

California Water Science Center scientists further research on two native fish species.

Contacts: Larry Brown
Date published: September 28, 2011
Status: Completed

Exploring Drivers of Pelagic Fish Population Decline in Bay-Delta

USGS scientists develop spatially explicit ecosystem model to explore changes pelagic fish species population and distribution in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Suisun Bay.

Contacts: Larry Brown
Date published: May 6, 2009
Status: Completed

Sources of Microbial Contamination at Public Beaches, Santa Barbara

The focus of this study is on analysis of existing hydrologic, chemical, and microbiological data; collection of surface-water and shallow ground-water hydrologic, chemical, and microbiological data; and characterization of dissolved organic carbon composition.

Contacts: John Izbicki
Date published: May 14, 2008
Status: Completed

ShakeOut

The ShakeOut Scenario was located in southern California where earthquake risk is high compared to the rest of the country. This scenario is a hypothetical, but plausible 7.8 magnitude earthquake on the southern San Andreas Fault. This scenario was completed in May 2008. The ShakeOut Scenario is described in two publications: The Scenario (Jones and others) and The Narrative (Perry and others...

Date published: January 1, 2008
Status: Completed

Does Pleasure Point Need A Seawall?

Information about the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center's study of Pleasure Point in Santa Cruz, California, from 2005-2007.

Filter Total Items: 517
Date published: January 1, 2017

CoSMoS (Coastal Storm Modeling System) Southern California v3.0 Phase 2 water-level projections: 1-year storm in Orange County

Model-derived total water levels (in meters) for the given storm condition and sea-level rise (SLR) scenario.
The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) makes detailed predictions (meter-scale) over large geographic scales (100s of kilometers) of storm-induced coastal flooding and erosion for both current and future sea-level rise (SLR) scenarios. CoSMoS v3.0 for Souther

Date published: January 1, 2017

CoSMoS (Coastal Storm Modeling System) Southern California v3.0 Phase 2 flood-hazard projections: 1-year storm in Orange County

Geographic extent of projected coastal flooding, low-lying vulnerable areas, and maxium/minimum flood potential (flood uncertainty) associated with the sea-level rise and storm condition indicated.
The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) makes detailed predictions (meter-scale) over large geographic scales (100s of kilometers) of storm-induced coastal flooding and erosi

Date published: January 1, 2017

CoSMoS (Coastal Storm Modeling System) Southern California v3.0 Phase 2 flood-hazard projections: 100-year storm in Los Angeles County

Projected Hazard: Geographic extent of projected coastal flooding, low-lying vulnerable areas, and maxium/minimum flood potential (flood uncertainty) associated with the sea-level rise and storm condition indicated.
Model Summary: The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) makes detailed predictions (meter-scale) over large geographic scales (100s of kilometers) of sto

Date published: January 1, 2017

Acoustic Backscatter of the Sacramento River, from the Feather River to Knights Landing, California in February 2011

This part of the data release presents acoustic backscatter data collected on February 1, 2011, in the Sacramento River from the confluence of the Feather River to Knights Landing. The data were collected by the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (PCMSC) team with collaboration and funding from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. This project used interferometric sidescan sonar t

Date published: January 1, 2017

CoSMoS (Coastal Storm Modeling System) Southern California v3.0 Phase 2 wave-hazard projections: 1-year storm in Ventura County

Model-derived significant wave height (in meters) for the given storm condition and sea-level rise (SLR) scenario.
The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) makes detailed predictions (meter-scale) over large geographic scales (100s of kilometers) of storm-induced coastal flooding and erosion for both current and future sea-level rise (SLR) scenarios. CoSMoS v3.0 for So

Date published: January 1, 2017

Bathymetric DEM of the Sacramento River, from the Feather River to Knights Landing, California in February 2011

This part of the data release presents a digital elevation model (DEM) created from bathymetry data collected on February 1, 2011, in the Sacramento River from the confluence of the Feather River to Knights Landing. The data were collected by the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (PCMSC) team with collaboration and funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This proje

Date published: January 1, 2017

CoSMoS (Coastal Storm Modeling System) Southern California v3.0 Phase 2 flood-hazard projections: 20-year storm in Los Angeles County

Projected Hazard: Geographic extent of projected coastal flooding, low-lying vulnerable areas, and maxium/minimum flood potential (flood uncertainty) associated with the sea-level rise and storm condition indicated.
Model Summary: The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) makes detailed predictions (meter-scale) over large geographic scales (100s of kilometers) of sto

Date published: January 1, 2017

CoSMoS (Coastal Storm Modeling System) Southern California v3.0 Phase 2 wave-hazard projections: 20-year storm in Los Angeles County

Projected Hazard: Model-derived significant wave height (in meters) for the given storm condition and sea-level rise (SLR) scenario.
Model Summary: The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) makes detailed predictions (meter-scale) over large geographic scales (100s of kilometers) of storm-induced coastal flooding and erosion for both current and future sea-level rise %2

Date published: January 1, 2017

Bathymetry hillshade--Offshore of Gaviota Map Area, California

This part of DS 781 presents data for bathymetry for several seafloor maps of the Offshore of Gaviota Map Area, California. The vector data file is included in "BathymetryHS_OffshoreGaviota.zip," which is accessible from https://doi.org/10.5066/F7TH8JWJ. These data accompany the pamphlet and map sheets of Johnson, S.Y., Dartnell, P., Cochrane, G.R...

Date published: January 1, 2017

Minisparker seismic-reflection data of field activity B-05-11-CC, from Point Sur to Morro Bay, offshore central California, 2011-09-12 to 2011-09-26

This dataset includes raw, and swell-filtered, high-resolution seismic-reflection data, collected by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in 2011, between Point Sur and Morro Bay in central California.

Date published: January 1, 2017

Bathymetry--Offshore of Gaviota Map Area, California

This part of DS 781 presents data for bathymetry for several seafloor maps of the Offshore of Gaviota Map Area, California. The GeoTiff is included in "Bathymetry_OffshoreGaviota.zip," which is accessible from https://doi.org/10.5066/F7TH8JWJ. These data accompany the pamphlet and map sheets of Johnson, S.Y., Dartnell, P., Cochrane, G.R., Hartwell...

Date published: January 1, 2017

CoSMoS (Coastal Storm Modeling System) Southern California v3.0 Phase 2 ocean-currents projections: 20-year storm in Orange County

Model-derived ocean current velocities (in meters per second) for the given storm condition and sea-level rise (SLR) scenario.
The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) makes detailed predictions (meter-scale) over large geographic scales (100s of kilometers) of storm-induced coastal flooding and erosion for both current and future sea-level rise (SLR) scenarios. CoSMoS

Filter Total Items: 985
Nasturtiums hang down over a graffiti-decorated culvert conveying Sausal Creek
May 12, 2017

Urban creek graced by flowers and graffiti

Flowers and graffiti turn urban Sausal Creek into a bizarre wonderland. Water-quality and ecological surveys were done at the creek as part of the USGS Regional Stream Quality Assessment (RSQA) in the summer of 2016.

A man walks knee-deep in stream next to outfall pipe
May 11, 2017

A geomorphologist walks a stream as part of an ecological survey

As part of the Regional Stream Quality Assessments (RSQA), hydrologists, ecologists, and technicians did ecological surveys of aquatic biota and stream habitat.  Here, a geolomorphologist assesses stream banks.

Distant view of the shore from a flat rooftop that is visible at bottom of image.
May 6, 2017

“Snapshot” or first frame of beach video, Santa Cruz, California

Snapshot, or first frame of from a 10-minute video taken May 6, 2017, in Santa Cruz, California. View is from atop a hotel looking down on Cowells Beach, a popular surf spot. Researchers at the USGS are using these and other video images to improve understanding and computer modeling of beach processes, especially those that change the coast. 

...
Distant view of the shore from a flat rooftop that is visible at bottom of image.
May 6, 2017

Time-averaged image from video of beach in Santa Cruz, California

Time-averaged image, or “timex,” created by averaging the intensity of light recorded at each spot, or “pixel,” during a 10-minute video taken at Santa Cruz, California, on May 6, 2017. Blurred white zones show where waves are breaking. Line between wet and dry sand shows the maximum height on the beach reached by the waves (“runup”). Researchers at the USGS are using

...
Image in mostly black and white tones, showing distant view of beach stretching from bottom left to upper right.
May 6, 2017

Variance image from video of beach in Santa Cruz, California

“Variance” image produced from video shot at Cowells Beach in Santa Cruz, California, on May 6, 2017. The more the light intensity changes at a given spot, or “pixel,” during the video, the brighter the value assigned to that pixel. Motion tends to produce changes in light intensity. Note bright areas along and beyond the shore where waves were breaking. Researchers are

...
An extremely rare Mojave River western pond turtle was recently observed in the Mojave Desert.
May 4, 2017

An extremely rare Mojave River western pond turtle

An extremely rare Mojave River western pond turtle was recently observed by USGS scientists and staff from The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in the Mojave Desert. Turtles of this population have rarely been seen since the late 1990s.

Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, CA
May 2, 2017

Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, CA

Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, CA

View from a boat of a man snorkeling in a marshy waterway with thick vegetation along the edge of and in the water.
April 5, 2017

Brazilian waterweed

Tips of Brazilian waterweed (Egeria densa) break the surface at low tide in Lindsey Slough in the northern Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. More commonly, this invasive plant is completely submerged.

March 31, 2017

Establishing Forster's Tern Nesting Colonies

Scientists from the USGS Western Ecological Research Center (WERC) are conducting a "social attraction" study for seabirds in the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Historically, this region offered wetland habitats to local wildlife. With the introduction of industrial salt ponds and human development, however, much of this habitat was lost. Now,

California Wildflower Superbloom, Spring 2017, Landsat 8
March 28, 2017

California Wildflower Superbloom, Spring 2017, Landsat 8

After 5 years of drought, California finally got relief during the winter of 2016–2017 with much needed precipitation. One result of this additional moisture was a springtime abundance of wildflowers in 2017. This Landsat 8 image shows a large area of wildflower "superbloom" just north of Los Padres National Forest in southern California.

 

Satellite image showing wildflower blooming in California.
March 28, 2017

The Wildflower Superbloom in California from Landsat’s Perspective

After 5 years of drought, California finally got relief during the winter of 2016–2017 with much needed precipitation. One result of this additional moisture was a springtime abundance of wildflowers.

There were many places to see this wildflower “superbloom” in southern California. This pair of images from Landsat

...
Men stand on a boat wearing safety gear and they are recovering damaged instrumentation from the water using cables and ropes.
March 21, 2017

Recovering instrument package from Monterey Canyon

On March 21, 2017, the sediment trap from this instrument package (deployed the previous October into Monterey Canyon) is gone and the mounting frame is mangled, having been exposed to several significant turbidity currents in one deployment. 

Filter Total Items: 934
USGS
June 26, 2012

MENLO PARK, Calif. —Throughout the United States, June is recognized as National Oceans Month.  This Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey invites the public to a lecture entitled "Scanning the Seafloor with Sound." 

USGS
June 5, 2012

California, Louisiana and Mississippi join the more than 40 states covered by the US Topo
 

USGS
May 30, 2012

MENLO PARK, Calif. —May is American Wetlands Month. Hear how U.S. Geological Survey scientists are supporting the ongoing restoration efforts to improve South Bay wetlands for endangered species and migratory birds, as well as conducting studies to better understand this wetland ecosystem, and how adaptive management practices will be working over the coming decades to restore...

USGS
May 29, 2012

MENLO PARK, Calif. – 100 years ago, in June 1912, the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century took place in what is now Alaska's Katmai National Park and Preserve. U.S. Geological Survey geologist Judy Fierstein, co-author of a new landmark study on this huge volcanic event, shares her work with the community in a free public lecture Wednesday, June 6, a century to the...

USGS
May 28, 2012

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — The results of an innovative collaboration that paired artists from California’s central coast and the greater San Francisco Bay Area with scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, will be on display at the R. Blitzer Gallery in Santa Cruz June 1 through July 7. 

USGS
May 23, 2012

CARNELIAN BAY, Calif. — Results of a new U.S. Geological Survey study conclude that faults west of Lake Tahoe, Calif., referred to as the Tahoe-Sierra frontal fault zone, pose a substantial increase in the seismic hazard assessment for the Lake Tahoe region of California and Nevada, and could potentially generate earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 6.3 to 6.9. 

USGS
May 22, 2012

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — The results of an innovative collaboration that paired artists from California's central coast and the greater San Francisco Bay Area with scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey's Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, will be on display at the R. Blitzer Gallery in Santa Cruz during June. 

Lassen Peak viewed from the south at the summit of Brokeoff Volcano...
May 22, 2012

On May 22, 1915 an explosive volcanic eruption occurred at Lassen Peak, California.

USGS
May 18, 2012

MENLO PARK, Calif. – Members of the news media are invited to attend the U.S. Geological Survey Open House in Menlo Park this weekend.  This event includes over 80 exhibits that highlight the work USGS scientists do. Join them in action as they share the excitement of their scientific work and discoveries with the general public. 

USGS
May 16, 2012

PORTLAND, Ore.­– The U.S. Geological Survey has developed models to help water managers identify strategies to use groundwater for meeting competing water demands in the semi-arid upper Klamath Basin. 

USGS
May 9, 2012

MENLO PARK, Calif. – Many Bay Area residents know what it’s like to experience an earthquake, but fewer of them know why earthquakes happen. The concepts behind earthquakes and living safely in earthquake country are as simple as a fishing line hooked to a stack of bricks, explains USGS geophysicist Ross Stein, whose family-friendly seismic demos and models are part of the...

USGS
May 7, 2012

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. -- For the first time, scientists have measured the amounts of mercury flowing into the San Francisco estuary from tidal wetlands using a new technique that can measure concentrations of mercury in water every few minutes, which is essential for understanding mercury flows in a complex tidal estuarine environment.