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: November 15, 2021

The Role of Sediment in Coastal Resiliency

The delivery and deposition of sediment along coastlines is essential to building barriers such as sandbars, dunes and marshes that protect coastal communities from storms and sea-level rise.

Date published: October 27, 2021

Media Alert: Airplane to Make Low-Level Flights Over Western and Northern Nevada and Part of Eastern California

Residents and visitors may witness a low-flying aircraft over western Nevada and part of eastern California starting around November 1, 2021 and continuing into the summer of 2022.

Date published: October 25, 2021

How Wildfires Threaten Water Supplies By Unleashing Sediment

In the year after the Carr Fire in northern California, USGS researchers found that greater-than-average precipitation moved large sediment loads through watersheds—in some cases, orders of magnitude more sediment compared to pre-fire amounts. 

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Date published: October 16, 2021
Status: Active

Offshore Faults along Central and Northern California

From Point Conception to Cape Mendocino, seafloor faults have been, in the past, mapped in varying ways and without enough detail to assess their earthquake potential. To provide this important information, USGS uses advanced technology to image offshore faults that could trigger devastating earthquakes near densely populated areas and a nuclear power plant.

Contacts: Janet Watt
Date published: October 15, 2021
Status: Active

Sediment transport in submarine canyons

This research is part of the project, “Sediment Transport in Coastal Environments.”

Date published: October 15, 2021
Status: Active

Sediment transport between estuarine habitats in San Francisco Bay

We investigate mechanisms of sediment transport, resuspension dynamics in shoals, wave evolution in the shallows, wave attenuation in marshes, and transport of sediment between mudflats and marshes. We produce data sets for calibration of and comparison with sediment transport models, including wave parameters, suspended sediment concentration, and sediment flux. This research is part of the...

Contacts: Jessie Lacy
Date published: October 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: October 15, 2021
Status: Active

U.S. West Coast and Alaska Marine Geohazards

Marine geohazards are sudden and extreme events beneath the ocean that threaten coastal populations. Such underwater hazards include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and tsunamis.

Devastating earthquakes in Japan (2011) and Chile (2010) that spawned pan-oceanic tsunamis sent a sobering reminder that U.S. coastlines are also vulnerable to natural disasters that originate in...

Date published: October 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: 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: Tim Glynn
Date published: October 4, 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 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...

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Date published: October 16, 2021

Donated ROV vibracore and sampling data collected during Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute cruises in 2019 offshore of south-central California

This dataset includes photographs of vibracores that were collected by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in February 2019 and November 2019 aboard R/V Western Flyer using the remotely operated vehicle Doc Ricketts. The collection of these cores was funded entirely by MBARI, and the cores have been donated to the USGS. The cores were collected in collaboration with...

Date published: October 16, 2021

Piston and gravity core data collected during USGS cruise 2019-642-FA offshore of south-central California in support of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management California Deepwater Investigations and Groundtruthing alternative energy project, Sept. 2019

This data release includes photographs, multi-sensor core logger, porewater analyses, and location and depth data from piston and gravity cores collected off the south-central California coast. This dataset is one of several collected as part of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management-funded California Deepwater Investigations and Groundtruthing project. The purpose of the study is to assess ...

Date published: October 15, 2021

Grain-size data from core S3-15G, Monterey Fan, Central California

This data release presents sediment grain-size data from samples collected from core S3-15G, a 4.72-m long gravity core collected at a depth of 3,491 meters on the western levy of the Monterey Fan on May 31, 1978 (USGS Field Activity S-3-78-SC).

Date published: October 15, 2021

Hydrodynamic, sediment transport, and sediment flocculation data from south San Francisco Bay, California, summer 2020

USGS collected hydrodynamic and suspended sediment flocculation data at channel and shallow water sites in south San Francisco Bay in July 2020. The data were used to determine water column stratification, turbulence profiles, and floc size evolution. The goal of this project was to bound the controls on floc size and floc settling velocity to improve estimates of sediment fluxes and consider...

Date published: October 15, 2021

Geophysical properties, geochronologic, and geochemical data of sediment cores collected from San Pablo Bay, California, October 17-20, 2016

P-wave velocity, gamma ray density, and magnetic susceptibility, radiocarbon, excess Lead-210, and Cesium-137, and organic carbon content and 60 element contents are reported for select vibracores collected aboard S/V Retriever October 17-20, 2016 in San Pablo Bay, California. Geophysical properties were measured with a Geotek Multi-Sensor Core Logger. Radiocarbon was measured by...

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 

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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.

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Year Published: 2021

The HayWired Earthquake Scenario—Societal Consequences

The HayWired earthquake scenario, led by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), anticipates the impacts of a hypothetical moment magnitude 7.0 earthquake on the Hayward Fault. The fault runs along the east side of California’s San Francisco Bay and is among the most active and dangerous in the United States, passing through a densely urbanized and...

Wein, Anne M.; Jones, Joseph L.; Johnson, Laurie A.; Kroll, Cynthia; Strauss, Jennifer A.; Witkowski, David; Cox, Dale A.
Wein, A.M., Jones, J.L., Johnson, L.A., Kroll, C., Strauss, J., Witkowski, D., Cox, D.A., 2021, The HayWired Earthquake Scenario—Societal Consequences: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2021–3054, 6 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20213054.

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Year Published: 2021

Watershed sediment yield following the 2018 Carr Fire, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, northern California

Wildfire risk has increased in recent decades over many regions, due to warming climate and other factors. Increased sediment export from recently burned landscapes can jeopardize downstream infrastructure and water resources, but physical landscape response to fire has not been quantified for some at-risk areas, including much of northern...

East, Amy E.; Logan, Joshua B.; Dartnell, Peter; Lieber-Kotz, Oren; Cavagnaro, David B.; McCoy, Scott W.; Lindsay, Donald N.

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Year Published: 2021

Flooding duration and volume more important than peak discharge in explaining 18 years of gravel–cobble river change

Floods play a critical role in geomorphic change, but whether peak magnitude, duration, volume, or frequency determines the resulting magnitude of erosion and deposition is a question often proposed in geomorphic effectiveness studies. This study investigated that question using digital elevation model differencing to compare and contrast three...

Gervasi, Arielle; Pasternack, Gregory; East, Amy E.

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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

Cohesive sediment modeling in a shallow estuary: Model and environmental implications of sediment parameter variation

Numerical models of sediment transport in estuarine systems rely on parameter values that are often poorly constrained and can vary on timescales relevant to model processes. The selection of parameter values can affect the accuracy of model predictions, while environmental variation of these parameters can impact the temporal and spatial ranges...

Allen, Rachel; Lacy, Jessica R.; Stevens, Andrew W.

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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

Filter Total Items: 9
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 MODFLOW One-Water Hydrologic Flow Model (MF-OWHM) is an integrated hydrologic model designed for the analysis of conjunctive-use management.

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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Two people float in a small boat in a calm inner channel of a marshy area.
November 15, 2021

Whale Tail Marsh in San Francisco Bay

USGS researchers from the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center gather bathymetry data from Whale Tail Marsh in San Francisco Bay

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 (

Color thumbnail for USGS EROS podcast Eyes on Earth Episode 61
September 27, 2021

Eyes on Earth Episode 61 - Landsat 9 Launch Part 2

Hundreds of scientists, officials, international representatives, and others witnessed the launch of Landsat 9 on September 27, 2021, from a handful of viewing sites around Santa Barbara County, California. Their interests were as varied as their backgrounds, but the new satellite’s extension of the Landsat program’s invaluable 50-year record of Earth observations was top

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.

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Two people float in a small boat in a calm inner channel of a marshy area.
November 15, 2021

The delivery and deposition of sediment along coastlines is essential to building barriers such as sandbars, dunes and marshes that protect coastal communities from storms and sea-level rise.

Map of Nevada with grey shape covering most of western and northern Nevada and small parts of eastern California on the border
October 27, 2021

Residents and visitors may witness a low-flying aircraft over western Nevada and part of eastern California starting around November 1, 2021 and continuing into the summer of 2022.

Aerial view of a lake showing the surrounding landscape elevation and the water depth using shades of color.
October 25, 2021

In the year after the Carr Fire in northern California, USGS researchers found that greater-than-average precipitation moved large sediment loads through watersheds—in some cases, orders of magnitude more sediment compared to pre-fire amounts. 

color photo of Landsat 9 launch
October 20, 2021

Santa Barbara County, CA, became a hub of Landsat activity in the last week of September 2021. That’s the week Landsat 9 launched into orbit on board an Atlas V rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base.

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.

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