Unified Interior Regions

North Carolina

We conduct impartial, multi- and interdisciplinary research and monitoring on a large range of natural-resource issues that impact the quality of life of citizens and landscapes of the Southeastern United States and the Caribbean region.

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We conduct impartial, multi- and interdisciplinary research and monitoring on a large range of natural-resource issues that impact the quality of life of citizens and landscapes of the Southeastern United States and the Caribbean region.

News

Date published: September 5, 2019

USGS Scientists Document Hurricane Dorian’s Impacts

Editor’s Note: This story was revised Sept. 10, 2019 to include the later phases of USGS’ response to Hurricane Dorian.

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Dorian, visit the USGS Hurricane Dorian page at www.usgs.gov/dorian.

Date published: September 2, 2019

USGS deploying about 150 storm-tide sensors in the Carolinas

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Dorian, visit the USGS Hurricane Dorian page at www.usgs.gov/dorian.

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Date published: April 17, 2020
Status: Active

The Response of Coastal Wetlands to Sea-level Rise: Understanding how Macroscale Drivers Influence Local Processes and Feedbacks

The purpose of this work is to advance our understanding of how coastal wetland responses to sea-level rise (SLR) within the conterminous United States are likely to vary as a function of local, regional, and macroscale drivers, including climate. Based on our interactions with managers and decision makers, as well as our knowledge of the current state of the science, we propose to: (a)...

Date published: March 19, 2020
Status: Active

Monitoring water-quality and geomorphology in the French Broad River during I-26 construction

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to assess the water-quality and geomorphologic impacts resulting from the I-26 construction projects in western North Carolina. Streamflow, precipitation, and water-quality monitoring data, coupled with periodic assessments of geomorphology, will support the NCDOT construction-site...

Date published: March 16, 2020
Status: Active

Wake County Groundwater Assessment

The objective of this study is to develop a county-wide assessment of groundwater availability within the fractured-rock aquifer system in Wake County that will prepare the County for planning into the future. The goal is to develop a comprehensive groundwater budget for the county, including sources and distribution of water into the system and out of the system. Since fractured rock aquifers...

Date published: January 22, 2020
Status: Active

Using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Capabilities to Help Identify Giant Salvinia (Salvinia molesta) and the effects of Salvinia weevil (Cyrtogagous salviniae)

USGS is collecting remotely sensed data to classify Salvinia molesta, a non-native aquatic species that reduces light and oxygen levels in water, making it unsuitable for fish and other aquatic plant life.

Date published: January 16, 2020
Status: Completed

Water quality characterization of bridge deck runoff in NC

There is evidence that bridge deck runoff has a relatively high loading of a variety of constituents such as nutrients, solids, pesticides, metals, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Information on the quality of bridge deck runoff in North Carolina is, however, lacking. Stormwater permits are designed to reduce nonpoint source loadings of anthropogenically derived constituents to...

Date published: October 3, 2019
Status: Active

Topobathymetric Elevation Model of Outer Banks and Pamlico Sound, North Carolina

Pamlico Sound is ecologically important as it is the second largest estuary in the United States, and is the largest lagoon on the U.S. east coast. The sound is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the Outer Banks, a series of low, sandy barrier islands that are vulnerable to hurricane storm surge and sea-level rise. The seamless high-resolution topobathymetric digital elevation model (TBDEM)...

Date published: September 13, 2019
Status: Active

Hurricane Dorian - Forecast and Documentation of Coastal Change

Hurricane Dorian coastal change forecast and pre- and post-storm photos documenting coastal change.

Contacts: Kara Doran
Date published: September 4, 2019
Status: Active

Real-Time Storm Response

Coastal change forecasts and pre- and post-storm photos documenting coastal change for landfalling storms. Currently responding to Hurricane Dorian.

Contacts: Kara Doran
Date published: August 31, 2019
Status: Active

Hurricane Dorian 2019

The South Atlantic Water Science Center prepares for Hurricane Dorian. 

Date published: March 28, 2019
Status: Active

Sea Level and Storm Hazards: Past and Present

Sea level and Storm Hazards: Past and Present is a multidisciplinary study of past changes in sea level. Prehistoric shorelines can be used as a baseline for current and future sea level changes under warmer-than-present climate. Emphasis is placed on looking at sea levels during warm periods of the last 500,000 years as well as how base level changes increase the risk of coastal inundation...

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Date published: April 23, 2020

Domestic Wells in the United States

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. 

Date published: January 28, 2020

USGS Water Use Data for North Carolina

Retrieve state and county water-use data for North Carolina for 1985 to 2015.

Date published: August 28, 2018

USGS Domestic Continuous (Unconventional) Oil & Gas Assessments, 2000-Present

Interactively explore assessment summary information for continuous (unconventional) assessments conducted at the USGS from 2000-2018. The assessment results data used to generate this visualization can be downloaded here in Excel Format.  These data represent all assessment results...

Date published: January 19, 2018

Oblique Aerial Photography Viewer

Obique photos offer a unique perspective of the coast. Features such as beach erosion or accretion, dune erosion and overwash can all be clearly characterized in this imagery. It also documents coastal infrastructure, as well as the damage that infrastructure may incur as the result of an impacting hurricane. 

Date published: August 24, 2017

Coastal Change Hazards Portal

Interactive access to coastal change science and data for our Nation’s coasts. Information and products are organized within three coastal change hazard themes: 1) extreme storms, 2) shoreline change, and 3) sea-level rise. Displays probabilities of coastal erosion.

Date published: June 6, 2017

Surface-water data for the South Atlantic Water Science Center (NWISWeb)

Real-time, daily, peak-flow, field measurements, and statistics of current and historical data that describe stream levels, streamflow (discharge), reservoir and lake levels, surface-water quality, and rainfall in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

Current Conditions:  Georgia...

Date published: June 3, 2017

Groundwater data for the South Atlantic Water Science Center (NWISWeb)

Data from wells, springs, test holes, tunnels, drains, and excavations in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina; well location data includes information such as latitude and longitude, well depth, and aquifer. Current and historical observations, and daily data are offered.

Current Conditions: Georgia...

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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. 

Sparrow Modeling North Carolina Watersheds Map
June 26, 2019

The USGS developed the SPARROW (SPAtially Referenced Regressions On Watershed attributes) modeling framework to relate water-quality monitoring data to upstream nutrient and sediment sources and watershed characteristics. The mapper can be used to evaluate alternative hypotheses about the relative importance of various pollutant sources.

Jordan Lake sample sites image
January 20, 2017

The New Hope arm of Jordan Lake, located in Chatham County, North Carolina, serves as a drinking-water supply for the Towns of Cary, Apex, and Morrisville. The reservoir is listed as impaired due to nutrient over-enrichment and occasionally experiences algal blooms and fish kills.

Map of nutrient sampling sites Durham County, North Carolina
November 8, 2016

All data collected and analyzed by the USGS will be archived in the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS) database

Map of water sampling sites
October 25, 2016

The USGS and EPA project will be conducted at the North Carolina State University (NCSU) Lake Wheeler Road Field Laboratory (LWRFL) in Wake County, North Carolina. The LWRFL is an agricultural site used for both research and teaching purposes. The farm contains both a swine facility and a dairy facility with each having two animal-waste storage lagoons.

Image of Jordan Lake Watershed biosolids study map
October 19, 2016

Location of the precipitation gage and streamflow and surface water quality monitoring stations in Orange County, North Carolina

Map of stream gages in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina area
August 1, 2016

There are 54 streamgage sites collecting 5-minute continuous gage height data in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Network. Of these 54 sites, 44 compute streamflow data as well.

Most sites use line-of-site radios to transmit the data to the USGS within minutes after the data is recorded. These data are loaded in the USGS database and available online soon after.

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Year Published: 2020

The relation of geogenic contaminants to groundwater age, aquifer hydrologic position, water type, and redox conditions in Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain aquifers, eastern and south-central USA

Groundwater age distributions developed from carbon-14 (14C), tritium (3H), and helium-4 (4He) concentrations, along with aquifer hydrologic position, water type, and redox conditions, were compared to geogenic contaminants of concern (GCOC) from 252 public-supply wells in six Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain unconsolidated-sediment aquifers....

Degnan, James R.; Lindsey, Bruce D.; Levitt, Joseph Patrick; Szabo, Zoltan

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Year Published: 2019

Paleoliquefaction field reconnaissance in eastern North Carolina—Is there evidence for large magnitude earthquakes between the central Virginia seismic zone and Charleston seismic zone?

In June 2016, approximately 64 kilometers (km) of riverbank were examined along the Tar and Neuse Rivers near Tarboro and Kinston, North Carolina, for evidence of liquefaction-forming earthquakes. The study area is in the vicinity of the Grainger’s fault zone in eastern North Carolina. The Grainger’s fault zone is a fault zone in the inner Coastal...

Carter, Mark W.; McLaurin, Brett T.
Carter, M.W., and McLaurin, B.T., 2019, Paleoliquefaction field reconnaissance in eastern North Carolina—Is there evidence for large magnitude earthquakes between the Central Virginia Seismic Zone and Charleston Seismic Zone?: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2019–5057, 54 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20195057.

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Year Published: 2019

Bayesian analysis of the impact of rainfall data product on simulated slope failure for North Carolina locations

In the past decades, many different approaches have been developed in the literature to quantify the load-carrying capacity and geotechnical stability (or the Factor of Safety, F_s) of variably saturated hillslopes. Much of this work has focused on a deterministic characterization of hillslope stability. Yet, simulated F_s values are subject to...

Yatheendradas, Soni; Kirschbaum, Dalia; Nearing, Grey; Vrugt, Jasper A.; Baum, Rex L.; Wooten, Rick; Lu, Ning; Godt, Jonathan W.
Yatheendradas, S., Kirschbaum, D., Nearing, G., Vrugt, J.A., Baum, R.L., Wooten, Rick, Lu, Ning, Godt, J.W., 2019, Bayesian analysis of the impact of rainfall data product on simulated slope failure for North Carolina locations: Computational Geosciences, v. 23, no. 3, p. 495–522. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10596-018-9804-y

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Year Published: 2018

Subsurface controls on the development of the Cape Fear Slide Complex, central US Atlantic Margin

The Cape Fear Slide is one of the largest (>25 000 km3) submarine slope failure complexes on the US Atlantic margin. Here we use a combination of new high-resolution multichannel seismic data (MCS) from the National Science Foundation Geodynamic Processes at Rifting and Subducting Margins (NSF GeoPRISMS) Community Seismic Experiment and legacy...

Hill, Jenna C.; Brothers, Daniel S.; Hornbach, Matthew J.; Sawyer, Derek E.; Shillington, Donna J.; Bécel, Anne

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Year Published: 2017

Geologic controls on submarine slope failure along the central U.S. Atlantic margin: Insights from the Currituck Slide Complex

Multiple styles of failure, ranging from densely spaced, mass transport driven canyons to the large, slab-type slope failure of the Currituck Slide, characterize adjacent sections of the central U.S. Atlantic margin that appear to be defined by variations in geologic framework. Here we use regionally extensive, deep penetration multichannel...

Hill, Jenna C.; Brothers, Daniel S.; Craig, Bradley K.; ten Brink, Uri S.; Chaytor, Jason D.; Flores, Claudia

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Year Published: 2016

Characterization of water-quality and bed-sediment conditions in Currituck Sound, North Carolina, prior to the Mid-Currituck Bridge construction, 2011–15

The North Carolina Turnpike Authority, a division of the North Carolina Department of Transportation, is planning to make transportation improvements in the Currituck Sound area by constructing a two-lane bridge from U.S. Highway 158 just south of Coinjock, North Carolina, to State Highway 12 on the Outer Banks just south of Corolla, North...

Wagner, Chad R.; Fitzgerald, Sharon; Antolino, Dominick J.
Wagner, Chad, Fitzgerald, Sharon, and Antolino, Dominick, 2016, Characterization of water-quality and bed-sediment conditions in Currituck Sound, North Carolina, prior to the Mid-Currituck Bridge construction, 2011–15 (ver. 1.1, July 2016): U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1208, 84 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20151208.

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Year Published: 2016

Barrier island breach evolution: Alongshore transport and bay-ocean pressure gradient interactions

Physical processes controlling repeated openings and closures of a barrier island breach between a bay and the open ocean are studied using aerial photographs and atmospheric and hydrodynamic observations. The breach site is located on Pea Island along the Outer Banks, separating Pamlico Sound from the Atlantic Ocean. Wind direction was a major...

Safak, Ilgar; Warner, John C.; List, Jeffrey H.
Safak, I., J. C. Warner, and J. H. List (2016), Barrier island breach evolution: Alongshore transport and bay-ocean pressure gradient interactions, J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 121, doi:10.1002/2016JC012029.

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Year Published: 2016

Cape Lookout, North Carolina, 2012 National Wetlands Inventory Habitat Classification

In the face of sea level rise and as climate change conditions increase the frequency and intensity of tropical storms along the north-Atlantic Coast, coastal areas will become increasingly vulnerable to storm damage, and the decline of already-threatened species could be exacerbated. Predictions about response of coastal birds to effects of...

Spear, Kathryn A.; Jones, William R.
Spear, K.A., and Jones, W.R., 2016, Cape Lookout, North Carolina, 2012 National Wetlands Inventory Habitat Classification: U.S. Geological Survey Data Release, http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F7MP51F7.

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Year Published: 2016

Greenhouse gas emissions from a created brackish marsh in eastern North Carolina

Tidal marsh creation helps remediate global warming because tidal wetlands are especially proficient at sequestering carbon (C) in soils. However, greenhouse gas (GHG) losses can offset the climatic benefits gained from C storage depending on how these tidal marshes are constructed and managed. This study attempts to determine the GHG emissions...

Shiau, Yo-Jin; Burchell, Michael R.; Krauss, Ken W.; Birgand, François; Broome, Stephen W.
Shiau, Y.-J., Burchell, M.R., Krauss, K.W., Birgand, F., and Broome, S.W., 2016, Greenhouse gas emissions from a created brackish marsh in eastern North Carolina: Wetlands, Online First, 16 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13157-016-0815-y.

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Year Published: 2016

Quality of surface-water supplies in the Triangle Area of North Carolina, water years 2012–13

Surface-water supplies are important sources of drinking water for residents in the Triangle area of North Carolina, which is located within the upper Cape Fear and Neuse River Basins. Since 1988, the U.S. Geological Survey and a consortium of local governments have tracked water-quality conditions and trends in several of the area’s water-supply...

Pfeifle, C.A.; Cain, J.L.; Rasmussen, R.B.
Pfeifle, C.A., Cain, J.L., and Rasmussen, R.B., 2016, Quality of surface-water supplies in the Triangle area of North Carolina, water years 2012–13: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2016–1137, 18 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20161137.

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Year Published: 2016

Regional chloride distribution in the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain aquifer system from Long Island, New York, to North Carolina

The aquifers of the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain are the principal source of water supply for the region’s nearly 20 million residents. Water quality and water levels in the aquifers, and maintenance of streamflow, are of concern because of the use of this natural resource for water supply and because of the possible effects of climate...

Charles, Emmanuel
Charles, E.G., 2016, Regional chloride distribution in the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain aquifer system from Long Island, New York, to North Carolina: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5034, 37 p., appendixes, http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20165034.

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Year Published: 2016

Historical files from Federal Government mineral exploration-assistance programs, 1950 to 1974

The Defense Minerals Administration (DMA), Defense Minerals Exploration Administration (DMEA), and Office of Minerals Exploration (OME) mineral exploration programs were active over the period 1950–1974. Under these programs, the Federal Government contributed financial assistance in the exploration for certain strategic and critical minerals. The...

Frank, David G.
Frank, D.G., 2016, Historical files from Federal Government mineral exploration-assistance programs, 1950 to 1974: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1004, http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ds1004.

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Floodplain and Channel Evaluation Tool (FACET)
December 4, 2019

The Floodplain and Evaluation Tool (FACET) is an open-source python tool that maps the floodplain extent and derives reach-scale summaries of stream and floodplain geomorphic measurements from high-resolution digital elevation models (DEMs).

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April 2, 2020

Image of the Week — An Early Spring via Satellite

The study of the Earth's natural life cycles is known as phenology. Scientists track the emergence of shoots and leaves, blooming flowers and pollinators as phenological signals every spring. Spring has sprung earlier than usual in much of the United States this year. The USA National Phenology Network notes that much of the country has seen spring come 3 to 4 weeks faster

December 23, 2019

Image of the Week - Festive Fields in North Carolina

The smell of a fresh cut Christmas tree can evoke visions of majestic evergreen forests teeming with winter wildlife. In truth, more than half of U.S. Christmas trees come from farms in Oregon, North Carolina, or Michigan. Cut Christmas Trees area commodity, tracked by the U.S. Department of Agriculture just like corn or soybeans. These USDA aerial images show tree harvest

Sean Egen, hydrologic technician, installs a storm tide sensor at River Dunes Marina in Pamlico County, NC
September 6, 2019

Storm Tide Sensor Installation, Pamlico County, NC

Sean Egen, hydrologic technician, installs a storm tide sensor
at River Dunes Marina in Pamlico County, NC

Lassiter Swamp, North Carolina
August 14, 2019

Lassiter Swamp at Merchants Millpond State Park, NC

Tree-ring analyses from Lassiter Swamp, located along a tributary of the Chowan River, indicate that cypress trees have occupied the site for at least 500 years. To extend the record even farther back in time, scientists from USGS, Duke University and East Carolina University are working together with students at C.S. Brown High School STEM in Winton, NC to study sediment

...
Image from an application that navigates users through USGS National Oil and Gas Assessment Provinces
November 14, 2018

National Oil and Gas Assessment Provinces

This is a graphic from the USGS National Oil and Gas Assessment Explorer application, which allows user to drill into 70 oil and gas assessment provinces throughout the United States.

October 5, 2018

Image of the Week - Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence hit the Carolina coast on September 14, 2018, but it took much longer for the full impact to emerge.
Remotely-sensed images show the slow devastation that 13 trillion gallons of rain can bring as it moves back toward the sea.
Each week, the Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center highlights a new satellite image(s) featuring

Map shows 10.3.18 flood event viewer data for Hurricane Florence
October 3, 2018

USGS science on a map of the Carolinas after Hurricane Florence

This flood event viewer map, dated Oct. 3, 2018, shows the extent and type of information collected by USGS hydrologists in North and South Carolina in the wake of historic flooding brought on by Hurricane Florence.

A hydrographer checks a high water mark on a door frame
September 25, 2018

Double-checking a high water mark on a church door near Maxton, NC

USGS hydrographer Daniel McCay uses a level to double-check a high water mark on a church door near Maxton, NC as his USGS colleague Mary Winsor observes on Sept. 25, 2018, in the wake of flooding brought on by Hurricane Florence.

A hydrographer marks a high water mark on the eaves of a church
September 21, 2018

A high water mark above the eaves of a Spring Hill, NC house

USGS hydrologic technician Rob Forde flags a high water mark above the eaves at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, 118 Manchester Road, Spring Hill, North Carolina on Sept. 21, 2018, in the wake of flooding brought on by Hurricane Florence.

September 20, 2018

Habitat Connectivity: Assessing Threats and IDing Conservation Actions

An important conservation strategy for climate change is to enhance and maintain regional habitat connectivity for the long-term viability of wildlife populations. Modeling habitat connectivity for wildlife species often results in a mapped network of linkages between habitat patches. A critical next step is to determine which of those linkages are priorities for

A hydrographer kneels in water to measure a high water mark on a wall.
September 18, 2018

Measuring a high water mark as flooding recedes

USGS hydrographer Kyle Marchman measures a high water mark on the rear wall of a Kangaroo gas station on Highway 24 north of Fayetteville, NC on Sept. 18, 2018, after flooding caused by Hurricane Florence.

USGS intern James Stonecypher measures Lumber River floodwaters
September 17, 2018

Measuring the Lumber River floodwaters

James Stonecypher measures flood waters from the Lumber River that breached a dam in Lumberton, North Carolina after the passage of Hurricane Florence, Sept. 17, 2018. 

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Image shows a satellite image of Hurricane Dorian as it approaches Florida
September 2, 2019

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Dorian, visit the USGS Hurricane Dorian page at www.usgs.gov/dorian.

Dr. Krissy Hopkins lecture about urban streams
August 21, 2019

SAWSC research physical scientist Dr. Krissy Hopkins gave a Lunchtime Discovery Lecture at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences on August 14, 2019. 

Bacteria from a deep sea cruise are being cultured in a Petri dish
May 16, 2019

S Gold, a student researching projects for a master’s degree at Western Carolina University, saw the news coverage last fall about the DEEP SEARCH research expedition to a large deep-sea coral area off the South Carolina coast and reached out to SPCMSC Research Microbiologist Christina Kellogg about doing a master’s project involving microbiology and these deep-sea corals. 

USGS scientists use a boat on a flooded road in North Carolina to measure flood waters from Hurricane Florence.
November 13, 2018

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Florence, visit the USGS Hurricane Florence page at https://www.usgs.gov/florence.

Two people, wearing safety gear, stand on board a ship and retrieve an instrument, attached to heavy cable, from the water..
November 1, 2018

In August 2018, the USGS Coastal/Marine Hazards and Resources Program (CMHRP) completed the Mid-Atlantic Resource Imaging Experiment (MATRIX), a three-week cruise that acquired more than 2,000 kilometers of multichannel seismic data between Hudson Canyon and Cape Hatteras on the U.S. Atlantic margin.

North Carolina geomorphological features
November 1, 2018

Three statewide datasets were compiled to provide information on geomorphological features in North Carolina. Datasets include state-wide coverages of geomorphon common forms, landscape openness, and slope area index. Datasets were generated from light detection and ranging (lidar) derived digital elevation models at 10 ft. or 30 ft. resolution.

Image of Hurricane Florence preliminary peak stage and streamflow data
October 24, 2018

Preliminary Peak Stage and Streamflow Data at Selected U.S. Geological Survey Streamgaging Stations in North and South Carolina for Flooding Following Hurricane Florence, September 2018

Map shows 10.3.18 flood event viewer data for Hurricane Florence
October 3, 2018

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after #Florence, visit the #USGS Hurricane Florence page at https://www.usgs.gov/florence

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