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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Photo of remains of a southwestern pond turtle as found in the dry lake bed of Elizabeth Lake, Los Angeles California.
September 16, 2015

Remains of a southwestern pond turtle in Elizabeth Lake, California

Salt-encrusted remains of a southwestern pond turtle (Actinemys pallida) as found in the dry lake bed of Elizabeth Lake, Los Angeles County, California. Note the heavy coating of evaporites on the carcass. Most living turtles collected in 2014 had similar but varying degrees of coatings on the head, limbs and shell.

Almost all of the turtles living in a southern

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Photograph of Elizabeth Lake in the fourth year of drought and two years after the Powerhouse Fire.
September 16, 2015

Photograph of Elizabeth Lake in the fourth year of drought

Photograph of Elizabeth Lake in the fourth year of drought and two years after the Powerhouse Fire. Note salt encrustation of surface and small accumulations of water remaining in the foreground and background.

Almost all of the turtles living in a southern California lake died following a large fire and years of drought, according to a new USGS report.

A time-averaged image from Duck, North Carolina, on September 1, 2015.
September 1, 2015

A time-averaged image from Duck, North Carolina, on September 1, 2015

A time-averaged image from Duck, North Carolina, on September 1, 2015. Dark bands extending offshore from the beach show the rip current channels.

August 27, 2015

PubTalk 8/2015 — Yes, Humans Really Are Causing Earthquakes

by Justin Rubinstein, USGS Research Geophysicist

  • The earthquake rate has dramatically increased in the central US in the last 6 years.
  • Oklahoma had more M≥3 earthquakes in 2014 than California.
  • This increase is due to earthquake activity induced by oil and gas operations.
  • Most earthquakes are not caused by hydraulic
July 30, 2015

PubTalk 7/2015 — The Giant Cascadia Earthquake of January 26, 1700

Detective Stories from North America and Japan

by Brian Atwater, USGS Seattle

  • A tsunami from western North America entered Japanese written history in Jan 1700
  • Decades of basic research on both sides of the Pacific led to this discovery
  • The endings underpin public-safety measures in the United States and
July 19, 2015

Post-wildfire Flood and Debris Flow: 2014 Silverado Fire

In 2014, the Silverado Fire burned approximately 4 km^2 in Orange County, California. After the fire, the USGS installed an automated rain-triggered camera to monitor post-wildfire flooding and debris flow at the outlet of a small 0.6 km^2 basin within the burn area. This video shows the initial surge and peak flow triggered by an intense rainstorm on July 19, 2015. The

Photo of USGS employee holding a mallard chick.
July 17, 2015

USGS WERC Scientist Holding Mallard Chick

Photo of a USGS employee holding a mallard chick. USGS Western Ecological Research Center scientists based out of Dixon, CA are marking and tagging adult waterfowl with GPS transmitters as part of an ongoing study.

Man gestures to a map hanging on a wall, like he's telling a story about it.
June 11, 2015

Sam Johnson explains details of a fault zone

Sam Johnson explaining details of the Hosgri fault zone at USGS offices in Santa Cruz.

May 21, 2015

PubTalk 5/2015 — Breaking Badly:Forecasting California Earthquakes

by Morgan Page, USGS Research Geophysicist

  • Scientists cannot currently predict the precise time, location, and size of future damaging earthquakes.
  • Historical records of earthquakes in California date back over 150 years.
  • Geologists have dug trenches to extend the known history on some faults back to around 1,000 years before
Computer simulation that shows water depth of a large bay, deeper water highlighted by darker colors.
May 18, 2015

Colored Shaded-Relief Bathymetry of San Francisco

 This colored shaded-relief bathymetry map of the Offshore of San Francisco map area in northern California was generated from bathymetry data collected by California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) and by Fugro Pelagos (fig. 1). Most of the area was mapped by CSUMB in 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2008; a small offshore portion near the southern boundary of the map area

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May 2, 2015

Mojave Golden Eagles

This short video features incredible and graphic images and video of golden eagle prey. These birds are eating machines. USGS biologist-rock climbers install nest cameras to study the eating habits of golden eagles and their young in the Mojave Desert. This work goes towards creating a Prey Availability Habitat Model to better site green energy projects so that they will

April 23, 2015

PubTalk 04/2015—"Fearfully Grand" Eruptions: Lassen Peak, CA, 1914-17

Title: A Sight "Fearfully Grand" Eruptions of Lassen Peak, California, 1914 to1917

  • A summary of the eruptions and their effects
  • Illustrated with historical photographs
Filter Total Items: 986
USGS science for a changing world logo
November 30, 2007

Santa Ana winds and drought, not the build-up of sage scrub and chaparral vegetation fuels, were primary causes that turned natural and human-induced fires into ravaging disasters in Southern California, according to a USGS scientist.

USGS science for a changing world logo
November 29, 2007

The U.S. Geological Survey launched a Web site today where the public can access science information to help them in the aftermath of the Southern California wildfires.

USGS science for a changing world logo
November 29, 2007

At a loss for gift ideas?  Or just plain lost? The Department of Conservation's California Geological Survey (CGS) Map and Publication Sales office (MaPS) at the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS), has just what you're looking for in a unique "one-stop-shop" for delivery of natural science information products and services. 

USGS science for a changing world logo
November 7, 2007

Wildlife photos from a motion-triggered camera used in wildlife research in Orange County between Los Angeles and San Diego managed to survive the fire intact, along with some astonishing photos.

USGS science for a changing world logo
November 7, 2007

A debris flow and flash flood warning system developed jointly by NOAA's National Weather Service and the U.S. Geological Survey will help protect Southern Californians from potentially devastating debris flows-commonly known as mud slides- and flash floods in and around burn areas created by the recent wildfires.

USGS
November 7, 2007

Winter Rains on Burn Areas Could Spawn New Danger—A debris flow and flash flood warning system developed jointly by NOAA's National Weather Service and the U.S. Geological Survey will help protect Southern Californians from potentially devastating debris flows-commonly known as mud slides- and flash floods in and around burn areas created by the recent wildfires.

USGS
October 24, 2007

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) wildfire ecologist Jon Keeley will be at Menlo Park on Thursday to discuss the role of wildfire in ecosystem processes. Before his talk he will be available to media for interviews about the recent devastating wildfires in Southern California.

USGS
October 17, 2007

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is releasing a new map showing the shaking produced by the 1868 Hayward earthquake, the 12th most deadly earthquake in U.S. history. A repeat of the 1868 earthquake on the Hayward Fault would produce strong shaking throughout the San Francisco Bay Area with shaking ranging from strong to very strong in the cities of Hayward, San Leandro, and Fremont. 

USGS
October 17, 2007

In celebration of Earth Science Week, approximately 1250 students from more than 44 local schools and home schools are signed up to visit the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Menlo Park on Tuesday, Oct. 16, from 9:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., to meet with scientists for hands-on activities, workshops, and demonstrations.

USGS
October 4, 2007

For the first time, geologists have extracted intact rock samples from 2 miles beneath the surface of the San Andreas Fault, the infamous rupture that runs 800 miles along the length of California.

USGS
September 24, 2007

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a report today describing salinity levels in streams and ground water in parts of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. The report concludes that although salinity varies widely throughout the region, levels have generally decreased in many streams during the past two decades.

USGS
August 8, 2007

Life is increasingly uncertain for trees in California's Sierra Nevada. A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reports a rising death rate for trees in this mountain range, paralleling increasing summer drought due to warming temperatures.