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...

Filter Total Items: 421
Date published: October 12, 2021
Status: Active

Eyes on Earth Episode 60 – Landsat 9 Launch Part 1

Eyes on Earth is a podcast on remote sensing, Earth observation, land change and science, brought to you by the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center. In this episode, we hear interviews with some of the various agency officials gathered before the Landsat 9 launch.

Contacts: Janice Nelson
Date published: September 30, 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.

Date published: September 30, 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 30, 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 28, 2021
Status: Completed

Los Angeles Coastal Plain Groundwater-flow Model

The Los Angeles Coastal Plain Groundwater-flow Model (LACPGM) is a tool to help water managers better understand groundwater flow and seawater intrusion in the Los Angeles coastal plain basins. It is the culmination of years of data collection and studies in the area and builds on our understanding of the area’s geology and hydrology obtained through the geologic and groundwater flow models....

Contacts: Scott Paulinski
Date published: September 15, 2021
Status: Active

Sediment Transport in Coastal Environments

Our research goals are to provide the scientific information, knowledge, and tools required to ensure that decisions about land and resource use, management practices, and future development in the coastal zone and adjacent watersheds can be evaluated with a complete understanding of the probable effects on coastal ecosystems and communities, and a full assessment of their vulnerability to...

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 Climate Impacts

The impacts of climate change and sea-level rise around the Pacific and Arctic Oceans can vary tremendously. Thus far the vast majority of national and international impact assessments and models of coastal climate change have focused on low-relief coastlines that are not near seismically active zones. Furthermore, the degree to which extreme waves and wind will add further stress to coastal...

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.

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Date published: September 30, 2021

Overlapping lakebed images and associated GNSS locations acquired near Dollar Point, Lake Tahoe, CA, March 2021

We collected underwater images using a recently developed towed-surface vehicle with multiple downward-looking underwater cameras. The system is named the Structure-from-Motion (SfM) Quantitative Underwater Imaging Device with Five Cameras (SQUID-5). Images were collected March 10th and 11th of 2021 by towing the SQUID-5 at a speed of approximately 3.0 knots along a series of adjacent survey...

Date published: September 28, 2021

California Wildfires

Wildfires pose significant threat in an increasingly arid California landscape, threatening life, property, and air quality, and having long-term impacts on the state's water. Knowing the location and extent of wildfires may help scientists and resource managers predict and manage potential impacts burns may have upon California's water quality, availability, and movement.

Date published: September 28, 2021

MODFLOW-USG model used to evaluate water management issues in the Los Angeles Coastal Plain, California

The Los Angeles Coastal Plain Groundwater Model predicts water levels under future water-management scenarios, base case wet and dry scenarios, increased pumpage wet and dry scenarios, and optimized replenishment wet and dry scenarios.

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...

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Close up on fog drip on pine needles
October 6, 2021

California's Channel Islands were once home to cloud forests, but this unique ecosystem was lost. USGS & partners are bringing them back.

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.

Filter Total Items: 481
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Year Published: 2021

Drivers of extreme water levels in a large, urban, high-energy coastal estuary – A case study of the San Francisco Bay

Reliable and long-term hindcast data of water levels are essential in quantifying return period and values of extreme water levels. In order to inform design decisions on a local flood control district level, process-based numerical modeling has proven an essential tool to provide the needed temporal and spatial coverage for different extreme...

Nederhoff, Kees; Saleh, Rohin; Tehranirad, Babak; Herdman, Liv M.; Erikson, Li H.; Barnard, Patrick L.; Van der Wegen, Mick

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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

Point clouds of bridge generated by terrestrial laser scanner and images via Structure from Motion technique: Comparison study

A collection of points representing an object in space is commonly called a point cloud. There are several techniques for collecting point clouds. This research is focused on a comparison study of two approaches: (1) collecting point clouds with a surveying grade terrestrial laser scanner (TLS) and (2) generating point clouds from drone-taken...

Takhirov, Shakzod; Kayen, Robert E.

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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

Carbonate-hosted microbial communities are prolific and pervasive methane oxidizers at geologically diverse marine methane seep sites

At marine methane seeps, vast quantities of methane move through the shallow subseafloor, where it is largely consumed by microbial communities. This process plays an important role in global methane dynamics, but we have yet to identify all of the methane sinks in the deep sea. Here, we conducted a continental-scale survey of seven geologically...

Marlow, Jeffrey J.; Hoer, Daniel; Jungbluth, Sean; Reynard, Linda; Gartman, Amy; Chavez, Marko S.; El-Naggar, Mohamed Y.; Tuross, Noreen; Orphan, Victoria; Girguis, Peter R.

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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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map with hexagon grid overlay depicting study areas and points depicting barred owl sightings in 2015
October 4, 2021

Barred owl sightings at Oregon Coast Range monitoring sites, 2015

Locations of barred owl sightings recorded during 2015 owl monitoring activities. Barred owls were lethally removed from the areas highlighted in pink. Supporting data is found at https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201089.

map with hexagon grid overlay depicting study areas and points depicting barred owl sightings in 2020
October 4, 2021

Barred owl sightings at Oregon Coast Range monitoring sites, 2020

Locations of barred owl sightings recorded during 2020 owl monitoring activities. Barred owls were lethally removed from the areas highlighted in pink. Supporting data is found at https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201089.

arrows pointing to northern spotted owl territory and the movement of barred owl west and its present day territory
October 4, 2021

Barred owl movement west

Barred owls spread west during the 1900s and today completely overlap the range of the northern spotted owl.

3D aerial view of the greater Los Angeles area with a fence diagram overlay of stratigraphic layers
September 28, 2021

Los Angeles Coastal Plain Groundwater-flow Model

Complex aquifer system simulated in the Los Angeles Coastal Plain, California.

September 27, 2021

Landsat 9 Launch from Vandenberg: 3 Views

Landsat 9 Launch from Vandenberg: 3 Views

Three views of the Landsat 9 launch on September 27, 2021. Liftoff of the Atlas V rocket took place at 11:12 local time from Vandenberg Space Force Base near Lompoc, California. Mild fog and the "marine layer" of clouds cleared just enough to see the first 10 seconds of flight from 4 miles away at the OS-45 viewing area (

Thumbnail for Eyes on Earth podcast episode 60 - Landsat 9 launch part 1
September 26, 2021

Eyes on Earth Episode 60 – Landsat 9 Launch Part 1

Landsat 9 launched into orbit from Vandenberg Space Force Base on Monday, September 27, 2021, to carry on the legacy of a nearly 50-year record of continuous Earth observation that began in 1972. The days leading up to the event saw guests from around the world descend upon Santa Barbara County in California to watch the historic event take place. Over the next few weeks,

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

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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).

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