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.

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Two photos showing people standing near some kind of pole, collecting data up on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean.
December 31, 2015

GPS data collection along the Big Sur coast in 2007 (L), and 2015 (R)

Left: USGS research hydrologist Mark Reid (left) and USGS research geologist Kevin Schmidt collect GPS data along the Big Sur coast on September 19, 2007. Photo credit: Maiana Hanshaw, USGS (now with swisstopo).

Right: Kevin Schmidt collects GPS data near Harlan Rock on the Big Sur coast on March 19, 2015. Rain Rocks Rock Shed, near Pitkins Curve Bridge, can be seen

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A buckle in the concrete lining of the Delta-Mendota canal.
December 31, 2015

Land Subsidence Along the Delta-Mendota Canal

Reduced surface-water availability (associated with droughts) during 1976-77, 1986-92, 2007-09, and 2012-current caused groundwater-pumping increases, water-level declines to near or beyond historic lows, and renewed aquifer compaction. The resulting land subsidence has canal buckling and reduced flow capacity of the Delta-Mendota Canal (pictured), the California Aqueduct

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A man sits at a computer screen holding a mouse with a keyboard in front of him, looking at the monitor talking and gesturing.
November 23, 2015

Jared Kluesner displays a 3D view of seismic data

Jared Kluesner displays a 3D view of seismic data collected off Santa Barbara. This visualization helps him analyze the Earth’s layers from the seafloor (rainbow-colored surface) to several kilometers below (slices extending down from the colored surface).

Man sits at a desk with a keyboard and computer screen with a colorful image on it and he is gesturing and talking about it.
November 23, 2015

Jared Kluesner discusses seismic data visualization

USGS geophysicist Jared Kluesner points at a three-dimensional cross-section of seismic data about 40 kilometers across and several kilometers deep located in the Santa Barbara Channel. This imaging deep below the seafloor allows scientists to visualize and map faults better.

November 17, 2015

PubTalk 11/2015 — Waterbirds in a Changing Landscape

Evaluating Avian Response to the West Coast's Largest Tidal Marsh Restoration Project

by Susan De La Cruz, USGS Research Wildlife Biologist

  • The urbanized San Francisco Bay is a critical wintering and stop-over area for more than a million migratory annually that rely on a mosaic of Bay habitats, including former salt ponds.
A forested mountainside with patches of dead trees
October 31, 2015

Dead trees during drought in Sequoia National Park

Dead trees viewed from the Colony Mill Trail in Sequoia National Park, photographed in 2015 during severe drought in California.

USGS Western Ecological Science Center's Dr. Nate Stephenson is studying how drought affects tree mortality in California.

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Two men stand and a woman sits on tilled earth near marsh grass, woman works on a black box, one man holds paper.
October 29, 2015

Magnetic base station setup

USGS scientists Kevin Denton (left), Katherine “Kyeti” Morgan, and David Ponce set up a magnetic base station during fieldwork along the Hayward-Rodgers Creek fault zone in wheat fields north of San Pablo Bay.

Man squats near a small box on a dirt road near a small pond of water.
October 29, 2015

Using gravimeter to measure gravity

USGS scientist David Ponce measuring gravity using a gravimeter along the Hayward-Rodgers Creek fault zone just north of San Pablo Bay, California.

Conceptual geologic model of partially crystallized magma (C1, C3) ...
October 29, 2015

Conceptual geologic model of partially crystallized magma (C1, C3) ...

C1 and C3 are granitic crystal-melt mush (partially crystallized magma) columns that fed the most recent Mono Craters eruptions. The connection from C1 to South Coulée (SC) is older and colder than the connection from C3 to North Coulée (NC) and Panum Crater (PC), which carries hydrothermal fluid to the surface. C2 depicts a fracture network containing fluids of

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Vial containing an egg sample that will undergo chemical extraction
October 28, 2015

Vial containing an egg sample that will undergo chemical extraction

Organic Chemistry Research Laboratory — Sacramento, California. Vial containing an egg sample

Spruce-covered mountains surround a dried-up lake.
October 24, 2015

Kenneth Lake, California

Spruce-covered mountains surround a dried-up lake.

October 22, 2015

PubTalk 10/2015 — Fire-climate Relationships in the Sierra Nevada

Surprises relevant to future fire regime forecasts

by Jon E. Keeley, USGS Research Scientist

  • Historical variation in annual fire activity is tied to climate only in the montane forests.
  • Fires are largely insensitive to winter temperatures but significantly affected by spring and summer temperatures.
  • Future
Filter Total Items: 985
USGS
July 29, 2008

A magnitude-5.4 earthquake rattled Los Angeles today, causing strong shaking, minor damage and was felt from Arizona to Nevada.

USGS
July 23, 2008

Imagine a new kind of farming in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta - "carbon-capture" farming, which traps atmospheric carbon dioxide and rebuilds lost soils. 

USGS
June 24, 2008

The southern sea otter of California, a threatened population on the Endangered Species list, continues to recover, but the rate of recovery appears to have slowed.

USGS
June 17, 2008

Long-term trends in landscape conditions have significantly reduced sagebrush habitat and populations of greater sage-grouse, according to a new study examining the bird's chances of survival.

USGS
May 22, 2008

Ever wonder exactly where the Hayward Fault is? Three new educational publications will show you just where to look. A field trip guidebook, online virtual tour, and fact sheet aimed at increasing awareness of the area's most hazardous and urbanized fault, are available online, courtesy of the scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS
May 22, 2008

Scientists today unveiled a hypothetical Scenario describing how a magnitude 7.8 Southern California earthquake -similar to the recent earthquake in China- would impact the region, causing loss of lives and massive damage to infrastructure, including critical transportation, power, and water systems.

USGS
May 19, 2008

Ever wonder exactly where the Hayward Fault is? Three U.S. Geological Survey scientists will be on hand to announce three new educational publications, showing you just where to look. 

USGS
April 15, 2008

New USGS research indicates that climate change may impact water supply from the Colorado River basin. This could greatly impact the more than 25 million people, including residents of Los Angeles and Las Vegas, who rely on this source for water and power. 

USGS
April 14, 2008

California has more than a 99% chance of having a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake within the next 30 years, according to scientists using a new model to determine the probability of big quakes.

USGS
April 11, 2008

Scientists report new state-wide probabilities of earthquakes in California as a result of a first-of-its-kind model of earthquake fault rupture. The consensus of the scientific community on this important issue allows for the first time, meaningful comparisons of the hazards in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as comparisons among several large faults.

USGS
March 25, 2008

The magnificent camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas, and magnolias that create a spectacular display of color each year at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park aren't what usually come to mind when one thinks about a government building and its landscaping.

USGS
March 20, 2008

An earthquake of M6.8 or greater on the Hayward Fault, in the heart of the San Francisco Bay area, is increasingly likely. The last major earthquake on the Hayward Fault was in 1868, 140 years ago: research by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and others indicate the past five such earthquakes have been 140 years apart on average.