Unified Interior Regions


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: 580
Date published: April 19, 2016

The United States Interagency Elevation Inventory (USIEI)

The USIEI is a comprehensive, nationwide listing of known high-accuracy topographic and bathymetric data for the United States and its territories. The project is a collaborative effort of the USGS and NOAA with contributions from other federal agencies. The inventory supports the 3D Elevation Program and the Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping effort. This resource is updated in Spring and...

Date published: April 19, 2016

Elevation Data

The 3DEP products and services available through The National Map consist of lidar point clouds (LPC), standard digital elevation models (DEMs) at various horizontal resolutions, elevation source and associated datasets, an elevation point query service and bulk point query service. All 3DEP products are available, free of charge and without use restrictions.

Date published: April 12, 2016

Orthoimagery Data

Orthoimagery data typically are high resolution aerial images that combine the visual attributes of an aerial photograph with the spatial accuracy and reliability of a planimetric map. The National Map offers public domain, 1-meter orthoimagery for the conterminous United States with many urban areas and other locations at 2-foot or finer resolution.

Date published: April 12, 2016

The National Map Small-Scale Collection

The National Map offers a collection of small-scale datasets, most of which are at 1:1,000,000. The National Map publishes two data collections at one million-scale: one for Global Map users and one for National Map users. In terms of vector geometry, the lines, points, and areas in these data collections are identical. The difference is in the attributes assigned to these features.

Date published: March 28, 2016

Hydraulic Mine Pits of California

This dataset is a compilation of boundary location polygons for 167 hydraulic mine pits located in northern California. This dataset was compiled from three sources, Topographically Occurring Mine Symbols (TOMS) database produced by the California Department of Conservation (2001), Yeend W.E., 1974, and on-screen digitizing, using current (2015) satellite imagery, of addit

Date published: March 25, 2016

Sediment core data from offshore Palos Verdes, California

The seven files included in this U.S. Geological Survey data release are data from a set of sediment cores acquired from the continental slope, offshore Los Angeles and the Palos Verdes Peninsula, adjacent to the Palos Verdes Fault, in 2009 and 2010.

Date published: March 25, 2016

Radiocarbon sample data and calibrated ages of sediment core collected in 2009 offshore from Palos Verdes, California

This part of the data release is a spreadsheet including radiocarbon sample information and calibrated ages of sediment cores collected in 2009 offshore of Palos Verdes, California. It is one of seven files included in this U.S. Geological Survey data release that include data from a set of sediment cores acquired from the continental slope, offshore Los Angeles and the Palos Verdes Peninsula...

Date published: March 25, 2016

Name, location, and length of sediment cores collected in 2009 offshore from Palos Verdes, California

This part of the data release is a spreadsheet including the name, location, and length of sediment cores collected in 2009 offshore from Palos Verdes, California. It is one of seven files included in this U.S. Geological Survey data release that include data from a set of sediment cores acquired from the continental slope, offshore Los Angeles and the Palos Verdes Peninsula, adjacent t

Date published: March 20, 2016

Oceanographic and Water Quality Measurements in two Southern California Coastal Wetlands, 2013-2014

The objective was to compare an urbanized wetland with limited sediment supply (Seal Beach) with a less modified marsh (Pt. Mugu) with fluvial sediment supply. Marine temperature, conductivity, pressure sensors, optical turbidity sensors and acoustic velocity meters were deployed on bottom platforms to quantify the conditions in the water column.

Date published: March 17, 2016

Volcano Monitoring Data

Many volcanoes in the U.S. are monitored by arrays of several instruments that detect subtle movements within the earth and changes in gas and water chemistry. The Volcano Hazards Program streams this data to its Volcano Observatories and makes it available on volcano-specific websites.

Date published: March 11, 2016

2014 Water-Table Contours of the Mojave River and the Morongo Groundwater Basins, San Bernardino County, California

During 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey and other agencies made approximately 1,026 water-level measurements in the Mojave River and Morongo groundwater basins. These data document recent conditions and, when compared with previous data, changes in groundwater levels. A water-level contour map was drawn using data from about 610 wells, providing coverage for most of the basins. Twenty-f

Filter Total Items: 1,108
Photographic panorama showing the San Lorenzo river flowing wide and muddy into the ocean, past the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
January 8, 2017

Atmospheric River Fills California Rivers with Water and Sediment

An atmospheric river, or narrow band of moisture moving from the tropics to the higher latitudes, hit California in early January and brought the first heavy rains of 2017. While these storms help a drought-stricken state, the onslaught of rain triggers floods and mudslides, and fills rising rivers with sediment and debris. Here the San Lorenzo River flows full and muddy

Map of the seafloor showing its characteristics which include long, linear features that are earthquake fault zones.
December 31, 2016

Offshore of Point Estero

Seafloor offshore of Point Estero (PE) showing east (EH) and west (WH) strands of the Hosgri fault zone. Arrow points to a seafloor slope (a 12,000 year old shoreline) that has been offset by the east Hosgri strand, indicating a slip rate of about 2.6 millimeters per year.

Kings Canyon view
December 31, 2016

Kings Canyon landscape

Grass/shrub landscape with mountains in background. Taken as part of the Land-cover Trends Project field verification process.

Large waves crashing on rocks at beach.
December 31, 2016

Storm waves in Santa Cruz

Large storm waves crashing on the rocks near Santa Cruz, California

Map of offshore southern California showing the contours of the seafloor, with labels pointing to circles showing landslides.
December 31, 2016

Large submarine slides off southern California

Large submarine slides off southern California (outlined in small white dots). Low-resolution bathymetry shown in light grey (approximately 100 meters/pixel). High-resolution bathymetry shown in darker grey (less than 20 meters/pixel).

Yosemite Toad
December 31, 2016

Yosemite Toad Vocalization

Amphibians’ permeable skin makes them incredibly sensitive to changes in their environment. Scientists and conservationists alike are using them as “sentinel species” that could provide early warnings of ecosystem change and stress affecting them and other organisms. Next time you are out, stop and listen. Do you hear them?

Map of the San Joaquin Valley displaying contours of land subsidence that occurred from 2008 to 2010.
December 31, 2016

2008-2010 Land Subsidence Contours, San Joaquin Valley, California

Land subsidence contours showing vertical changes in land surface in the central San Joaquin Valley area, California, during January 8, 2008-January 13, 2010. The top graph illustrates elevation changes computed from repeat geodetic surveys along Highway 152 for 1972-2004. The bottom graph depicts elevation changes computed from repeat geodetic surveys along the Delta-

map of San Joaquin Valley shaded by 2008-2010 subsidence in millimeters
December 31, 2016

Subsidence (2008-2010), San Joaquin Valley, California

Map showing estimated regions of subsidence derived from interferograms for 2008–2010 and selected surface-water conveyance infrastructure in the San Joaquin Valley area of the Central Valley, California.

Image shows a sample of elbaite on a black background
December 31, 2016


Elbaite is one of the best-known members of the tourmaline mineral family, particularly for its high-quality gemstones. Read more about the tourmaline mineral family here

Sample provided by Carlin Green, USGS. Sample originated from Himalaya Mine, California, and is 4

banding of Panum pumice and obsidian
December 31, 2016

Flow banding of Panum pumice and obsidian

Flow banding of Panum pumice and obsidian of the same composition.

man pointing to image on computer screen in an office setting
December 31, 2016

Geologist explains photo analysis of Calif. coastal cliffs

USGS research geologist Jon Warrick explains how his team applied structure-from-motion analysis to photos from the California Coastal Records Project to measure coastal change. Jon Warrick explains a “difference map” constructed from structure-in-motion data. Red areas indicate loss of material (erosion); blue areas show addition of material (deposition).

Filter Total Items: 984
March 4, 2010

Menlo Park, Calif. -- Southern California scientists, emergency planners, businesses, and organizations who worked on communication efforts for the 2008 earthquake drill ShakeOut received a prestigious federal award Wednesday at the U.S. Geological Survey’s facilities here.

February 27, 2010

Menlo Park , Calif. – At noon today, USGS scientists will provide a brief statement regarding the M8.8 Chilean earthquake and tsunami that it generated.  USGS staff will be available to answer questions. 

February 23, 2010

Menlo Park, Calif. -- An upcoming emergency-preparedness exercise that looks at how California would be affected by a series of “Atmospheric River” storms is the subject of a lecture at Menlo Park Thursday, February 25, 2010.  USGS Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project manager Dale Cox will detail how scientists are preparing for the ARkSTORM exercise, which will take place May 17-19, 2011.

February 18, 2010

San Diego, Calif. – U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt will deliver a plenary lecture on ocean science February 21 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Diego. Three USGS scientists will be recognized as AAAS fellows, and several other USGS scientists will be presenting key findings at the meeting. USGS presentations include:

January 27, 2010

Pasadena, Calif. – Southern California communities expecting large and potentially destructive debris flows last week were spared when storms dropped less rain than expected. The storm system, made up of three main pulses, dropped between 4.5 and 8.5 inches of rain on the area burned by the Station Fire, one of the areas most susceptible to debris flows.

January 20, 2010

Pasadena, Calif. – Debris flow experts from the U.S. Geological Survey here are encouraging residents of the Foothill communities to take evacuation orders seriously and not risk their lives by staying in areas where potential debris flow impact has been identified.

January 20, 2010

Landsat satellite images from the U.S. Geological Survey are being used to assess damage from the recent earthquake in Haiti, and help speed relief efforts to where it is most needed. Learn about the current status of Landsat satellites 5 and 7, and plans for the next Landsat satellite.

January 15, 2010

Crews from the U.S. Geological Survey are gearing up to provide real-time monitoring of streams and areas recently burned by wildfires as a series of powerful storms bears down on California.

USGS science for a changing world logo
December 14, 2009

An earthquake early warning system for California is feasible in coming years, according to research being presented Dec. 14-15 at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. The ongoing study demonstrates that an earthquake early warning system for California is possible and lays out how such a system could be built.

USGS science for a changing world logo
December 11, 2009

Citizen scientists contribute to earthquake monitoring. Press conference on Two new projects take different approaches to involve interested individuals in collecting earthquake data. Come hear about the USGS Twitter Earthquake Detection project and about NetQuakes instruments in homes and businesses.

USGS science for a changing world logo
December 8, 2009

A new generation of topographic maps will be discussed at a free public lecture in Menlo Park this Thursday, December 10, 2009. The maps, available free from the U.S. Geological Survey online store, are customizable, provide richer content, and can be printed for immediate use.

USGS science for a changing world logo
December 7, 2009

At a loss for gift ideas? Or just plain lost? The Map and Publication Sales office (MaPS) is offering unusual, free holiday wrapping paper, in the form of outdated topographical maps to promote recycling and to save the colorful but space-consuming maps from landfill.