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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A man crouches next to an instrument as he prepares and secures it on board a ship.
October 6, 2015

Preparing mooring for deployment

USGS oceanographer Kurt Rosenberger prepares a mooring for deployment from the research vessel Rachel Carson on October 6, 2015. The tan, cone-shaped instrument is a sediment trap. Near the far end of the trap is a CTD (with small red tag) for measuring seawater conductivity (related to salinity), temperature, and depth. The line held additional instruments, such

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People stand on the stern of a ship guiding a piece of equipment that is attached to a crane.
October 6, 2015

Mooring deployment, Monterey Canyon

Scientists deploy a mooring holding current meters and other instruments on October 6, 2015.

Photo of a hen pintail with a GPS transmitter.
September 30, 2015

Hen Pintail with GPS Transmitter

Photo of a hen pintail equipped with a camouflage GPS transmitter. USGS Western Ecological Research Center scientists based out of Dixon, CA are marking and tagging waterfowl in Suisun Marsh with GPS transmitters as part of an ongoing study.

September 24, 2015

PubTalk 9/2015 — Coral Reefs, Climate Change, and Atoll Sustainability

Will Micronesians become the U.S.'s first climate change refugees?

by Curt Storlazzi, USGS Research Geologist and Oceanographer

  • Sea level is rising, threatening low-lying atoll islands throughout the western Pacific Ocean
  • Climate change is degrading the coral reefs that atoll islands have developed upon, decreasing
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.

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USGS
March 18, 2008

Competition for water is becoming more intense as the nation's population continues to grow, increasing the demands for water use in agriculture and power production.

USGS
January 9, 2008

The Southern California wildfires in late 2007 impacted more than humans. Wildlife also suffered. Listen to USGS Biologist Robert Fisher describe what USGS scientists discovered about the wildfire impact on wildlife by listening to episode 25 of CoreCast, the USGS podcast.

USGS science for a changing world logo
December 19, 2007

Menlo Park, Calif. — Once the smoke clears from a wildfire, the danger is not over. Other hazards, such as flash floods and debris flows, now become the concern. Watch a video of the Christmas Day, 2003, debris flow in Devore, Calif., taken by local citizen Howard Davis by visiting the USGS California Water Science Center webpage.

USGS science for a changing world logo
December 10, 2007

What are we learning about the magma systems that underlie Yellowstone and Long Valley's restless volcanic calderas? How will the Rocky Mountains' shrinking glaciers affect the landscape, water and habitat enjoyed today? 

USGS science for a changing world logo
December 10, 2007

As the 140th Anniversary of the last big earthquake on the Hayward Fault approaches, new U.S. Geological Survey studies provide mounting evidence that the Bay Area should get ready for another big quake soon.

USGS science for a changing world logo
December 10, 2007

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta was once a tidal wetland that was drained and reclaimed for agricultural production beginning in the mid-nineteenth century. Drainage of the organic peat soils has resulted in land-surface subsidence in the region to as much as 8 m below sea level. 

USGS science for a changing world logo
December 7, 2007

Maps showing the potential for destructive mudflows in the wake of recent Southern California wildfires were made available to the public and emergency responders today by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). 

The maps estimate the size of potential debris flows, commonly known as mudflows, and the areas that could be affected when rainfall begins on recently-burned areas. 

USGS science for a changing world logo
December 4, 2007

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists today installed a real-time webcam and radar-velocity sensor to provide additional real-time monitoring capabilities for flooding and debris-flow hazards from Modjeska and Williams canyons in the Santiago Fire burn area. The webcam is at USGS' Santiago Creek stream-gaging station, a few miles east of Tustin, Calif., in the foothills of Orange County.

USGS science for a changing world logo
December 4, 2007

Ash from last month's southern California fires may pose problems to health and the environment, according to preliminary results from a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study released to the Multi-Agency State and Federal Task Force.

USGS science for a changing world logo
December 3, 2007

California's riparian areas act as wildlife corridors, provide essential reserve and open-space in many urbanizing regions of the state, and are ecologically important to watersheds. Riparian areas also occur within the floodplain and are the transition between the aquatic and terrestrial environments. 

USGS science for a changing world logo
December 3, 2007

Reporters are invited to be on-scene as U.S. Geological Survey scientists install a real-time webcam to monitor Santiago Creek for flooding and debris-flows expected as a result of recent wildfires.

To access the webcam, go to the USGS California Water Science Center home page and click on 'View Webcams' in the upper left of the page.

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.