Unified Interior Regions

Region 11: Alaska

Alaska Science Center

Alaska Science Center

4210 University Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
Phone: (907) 786-7000

View Center Website

Volcano Science Center

Volcano Science Center

4230 University Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
Phone: (907) 786-7497

View Center Website

Climate Adaptation Science Center

Climate Adaptation Science Center

4230 University Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
Phone: 907-301-7830

View Center Website

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USGS in Alaska engages approximately 400 scientists and support staff working across 3 major centers with a combined annual science budget of about $65 million. In just the last 5 years, USGS in Alaska has produced scientific benefits resulting from over 1000 publications and about 250 Technical Reports.

USGS publications for Alaska

Alaska Science Portal

AK CASC Projects

Alaska Volcano Observatory  

Filter Total Items: 169
Date published: September 25, 2019
Status: Active

Alaska Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI)

Our objective is to provide a strategic framework for planning, coordination, and execution of the USGS Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI) in Alaska. Earth MRI aims to improve knowledge of the U.S. geologic framework through new geological and geophysical mapping and to identify areas that have the potential to contain undiscovered critical mineral resources.

Date published: September 11, 2019
Status: Active

Seabird Die-offs in Alaska

Beginning in 2015, large numbers of dead seabirds have been appearing on beaches in most marine areas of Alaska. Although seabird die-offs are known to occur sporadically (e.g. 1970, 1989, 1993, 1997/1998, and 2004) in Alaska, these recent die-offs have been distinguished from past events by their increased frequency, duration, geographic extent, and number of different species involved. 

Date published: September 9, 2019
Status: Active

Tracking Data for Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors)

Available here are tracking data of Blue-winged Teal, a duck species that breeds throughout much of North America and whose wintering range includes neotropical areas of the Caribbean and Central and South America, thus providing a migratory link between the continents of North and South America. These data were collected to better understand the timing and patterns of migratory movement of...

Date published: September 5, 2019
Status: Active

Tracking Data for Northern Pintails (Anas acuta)

Available here are tracking data of Northern Pintails, a duck species that, in Alaska, nests throughout the state and in adjacent regions of Russia and Canada. These data were collected to better understand the timing and patterns of migratory movements of Northern Pintails from wintering grounds in Japan as part of a project on the possible spread of Eurasian forms of avian influenza to North...

Date published: August 25, 2019
Status: Active

Condition of Forage Fish in Prince William Sound During the Marine Heatwave

Changes in the body condition of a key forage fish species, Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes personatus), are examined to understand how energy transfer to predators may have been disrupted during the recent marine heatwave in the North Pacific (late 2013 to mid 2016).

Date published: August 21, 2019
Status: Completed

Potential Landslide Paths and Implications for Tsunami Hazards in Glacier Bay, Alaska – An Initial Investigation

Glacier Bay and its inlets are a popular destination for cruise ships and passenger boats; about 540,000 people visited Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve (GBNPP) in 2017. A typical tour of the Bay traverses the entire length up to the glacier calving viewpoints in the Johns Hopkins and Tarr Inlets.  A 2018 article “Landslides and Giant Waves” by the National Park Service (NPS) states, “...

Date published: August 2, 2019
Status: Active

Cook Inlet Seabird and Forage Fish Study

A massive die-off of Common Murres was documented in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) during the fall and winter of 2015-2016 in association with a record-breaking marine heat wave in the GOA.

Date published: August 1, 2019
Status: Active

North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database

The North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database (NPPSD) includes more than 460,000 survey transects that were designed and conducted by numerous partners primarily to census seabirds at sea.

Date published: July 31, 2019
Status: Active

USGS Alaska Science Center Wildlife Tracking Data Collection

Understanding the short- and long-distance movements of wildlife is critical for a wide variety of ecological research questions and management decisions. Since the mid-1980s, the USGS Alaska Science Center has used information from telemetry devices on wildlife species to determine locations of animals throughout their annual cycles, understand patterns of habitat use, quantify time spent on...

Date published: July 22, 2019
Status: Active

Tracking Data for Marbled Godwits (Limosa fedoa)

Available here are tracking data of Marbled Godwits, a large-bodied shorebird that, in Alaska, nests in the southwestern portion of the state. These data were collected to better understand the timing and patterns of migratory movements and seasonal use of different coastal areas in the Pacific region.

Date published: July 11, 2019
Status: Active

Harmful Algal Bloom Toxins in Alaska Seabirds

Elevated ocean temperatures are linked to the development of harmful algal blooms (HABs). Toxins from these blooms may pose health threats to marine organisms, including seabirds. Since 2015, the USGS has worked with a variety of stakeholders to develop testing methods and research projects to better understand the geographic extent, timing and impacts of algal toxins in Alaska marine...

Date published: June 28, 2019
Status: Active

Seismic Seiches

Definition of seismic seiches and examples dating back to their first public mention in 1755.

USGS research activities relevant to Alaska have yielded more than 9400 historical publications. This page features some of the most recent newsworthy research findings.

Search USGS publications for Alaska

Arctic Science for Decision Maker

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report
Filter Total Items: 2,613
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Year Published: 2021

Whole‐genome resequencing reveals persistence of forest‐associated mammals in Late Pleistocene refugia along North America’s North Pacific Coast

AimNumerous glacial refugia have been hypothesized along North America's North Pacific Coast that may have increased divergence of refugial taxa, leading to elevated endemism and subsequently clustered hybrid zones following deglaciation. The locations and community composition of these ice‐free areas remains controversial, but whole‐genome...

Colella, Jocelyn P.; Lan, Tianying; Talbot, Sandra L.; Lindqvist, Charlotte; Cook, Joseph A.

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Year Published: 2021

Ecosystem response persists after a prolonged marine heatwave

Some of the longest and most comprehensive marine ecosystem monitoring programs were established in the Gulf of Alaska following the environmental disaster of the Exxon Valdez oil spill over 30 years ago. These monitoring programs have been successful in assessing recovery from oil spill impacts, and their continuation decades later...

Suryan, Robert M.; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Coletti, Heather A.; Hopcroft, Russell R.; Lindeberg, Mandy; Barbeaux, Steven J.; Batten, Sonia; Burt, William J.; Bishop, Mary Anne; Bodkin, James L.; Brenner, R.; Campbell, Robert W.; Cushing, Daniel A.; Danielson, Seth L.; Dorn, Martin W.; Drummond, Brie; Esler, Daniel N.; Gelatt, Thomas S.; Hanselman, Dana H.; Iken, Katrin; Irons, David B.; Hatch, Scott A.; Haught, Stormy; Holderied, Kris; Kimmel, David G.; Konar, Brenda H.; Kuletz, Kathy J.; Kettle, Arthur B.; Laurel, Benjamin J.; Maniscalco, John M.; Monson, Daniel; Matkin, Craig O.; McKinstry, Caitlin; Moran, John; Olsen, D.; Piatt, John F.; Palsson, Wayne A.; Pegau, W. Scott; Rogers, Lauren A.; Rojek, Nora A.; Schaefer, Anne; Spies, Ingrid B.; Straley, J.M.; Strom, Suzanne L.; Szymkowiak, Marysia; Weitzman, Ben P.; Sweeney, Kathryn L.; Yasumiishi, Ellen M.; Zador, Stephanie

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Year Published: 2021

U.S. Geological Survey—Department of the Interior Region 11, Alaska —2020 annual science report

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Mission: The USGS national mission is to monitor, analyze, and predict current and evolving dynamics of complex human and natural Earth-system interactions and to deliver actionable information at scales and timeframes relevant to decision-makers. Consistent with the national mission, the USGS in Alaska provides...

Powers, Elizabeth M.; Williams, Dee M.
Attribution: Region 11: Alaska
Powers, E.M., and Williams, D.M., eds., 2021, U.S. Geological Survey—Department of the Interior Region 11, Alaska —2020 annual science report: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021-1010, 80 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20211010.

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Year Published: 2021

Extending seasonal discharge records for streamgage sites on the North Fork Fortymile and Middle Fork Fortymile Rivers, Alaska, through water year 2020

Daily mean discharge records are needed for management of selected streams in the Fortymile River Basin. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, updated a technique for estimating seasonal (partial year) discharge at two short-record streamgage sites in the basin and evaluated the accuracy of the...

Curran, Janet H.
Curran, J.H., 2021, Extending seasonal discharge records for streamgage sites on the North Fork Fortymile and Middle Fork Fortymile Rivers, Alaska, through water year 2020: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2021–5014, 11 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20215014.

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Year Published: 2021

Genomic comparison of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae from humans and gulls in Alaska

ObjectivesWildlife may harbor clinically important antimicrobial resistant (AMR) bacteria, but the role of wildlife in the epidemiology of AMR bacterial infections in humans is largely unknown. In this study, we aimed to assess dissemination of theblaKPC carbapenemase gene among humans and gulls in Alaska.MethodsWe performed whole genome...

Ahlstrom, Christina; Frick, Anna; Pongratz, Catherine; Spink, Kimberly; Xavier, Catherine; Bonnedahl, Jonas; Ramey, Andrew M.

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Year Published: 2021

Seal body condition and atmospheric circulation patterns influence polar bear body condition, recruitment, and feeding ecology in the Chukchi Sea

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are experiencing loss of sea ice habitats used to access their marine mammal prey. Simultaneously, ocean warming is changing ecosystems that support marine mammal populations. The interactive effects of sea ice and prey are not well understood yet may explain spatial‐temporal variation in the response of polar bears...

Rode, Karyn D.; Regehr, Eric V.; Bromaghin, Jeffrey F.; Wilson, Ryan R.; St. Martin, Michelle; Crawford, Justin A.; Quakenbush, Lori T.

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Year Published: 2021

Implications of historical and contemporary processes on genetic differentiation of a declining boreal songbird: The rusty blackbird

The arrangement of habitat features via historical or contemporary events can strongly influence genomic and demographic connectivity, and in turn affect levels of genetic diversity and resilience of populations to environmental perturbation. The rusty blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) is a forested wetland habitat specialist whose population size...

Wilson, Robert E.; Matsuoka, Steven M.; Powell, Luke L.; Johnson, James A.; Demarest, Dean W.; Stralberg, Diana; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.

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Year Published: 2021

Geochemical advances in Arctic Alaska oil typing - North Slope oil correlation and charge history

The Arctic Alaska petroleum province is geologically and geochemically complex. Mixed hydrocarbon charge from multiple source rocks and/or levels of thermal maturity is common within an individual oil pool. Biomarker and chemometric statistical analyses were used to correlate twenty-nine oils to five oil families derived from: (1) Triassic...

Botterell, Palma J.; Houseknecht, David W.; Lillis, Paul G.; Barbanti, Silvana M.; Dahl, Jeremy E.; Moldowan, J. Michael

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Year Published: 2021

Extreme Quaternary plate boundary exhumation and strike slip localized along the southern Fairweather fault, Alaska, USA

The Fairweather fault (southeastern Alaska, USA) is Earth’s fastest-slipping intracontinental strike-slip fault, but its long-term role in localizing Yakutat–(Pacific–)North America plate motion is poorly constrained. This plate boundary fault transitions northward from pure strike slip to transpression where it comes onshore and undergoes a <...

Lease, Richard O.; Haeussler, Peter; Witter, Robert C.; Stockli, Daniel F.; Bender, Adrian; Kelsey, Harvey; O'Sullivan, Paul

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Year Published: 2021

The imminent calving retreat of Taku Glacier

Along the rugged Southeast Alaska coast, 30 kilometers northeast of the state capital Juneau, a tidewater glacier has largely defied global trends by steadily advancing for most of the past century while most glaciers on Earth retreated. This 55-kilometer-long and nearly 1,500-meter-thick tidewater glacier, named Taku Glacier, or T'aaḵú...

McNeil, Christopher J.; Amundson, Jason; O'Neel, Shad; Motyka, Roman; Sass, Louis C.; Truffer, Martin; Ziemann, Jenna; Campbell, Seth

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Year Published: 2021

Changes in rocky intertidal community structure during a marine heatwave in the northern Gulf of Alaska

Marine heatwaves are global phenomena that can have major impacts on the structure and function of coastal ecosystems. By mid-2014, the Pacific Marine Heatwave (PMH) was evident in intertidal waters of the northern Gulf of Alaska and persisted for multiple years. While offshore marine ecosystems are known to respond to these warmer waters, the...

Weitzman, Ben; Konar, Brenda; Iken, Katrin; Coletti, Heather; Monson, Daniel; Suryan, Robert M.; Dean, Thomas; Hondolero, D.; Lindeberg, Mandy

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Year Published: 2021

Heatwave-induced synchrony within forage fish portfolio disrupts energy flow to top pelagic predators

During the Pacific marine heatwave of 2014–2016, abundance and quality of several key forage fish species in the Gulf of Alaska were simultaneously reduced throughout the system. Capelin (Mallotus catervarius), sand lance (Ammodytes personatus), and herring (Clupea pallasii) populations were at historically low levels, and within this community...

Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Piatt, John F.; Hatch, Scott; Suryan, Robert M.; Batten, Sonia; Bishop, Mary Anne; Campbell, Rob W.; Coletti, Heather; Cushing, Dan; Gorman, Kristen; Hopcroft, Russell R.; Kuletz, Kathy J.; Marsteller, Caitlin Elizabeth; McKinstry, Caitlin; McGowan, David; Moran, John; Pegau, W. Scott; Schaefer, Anne; Schoen, Sarah K.; Straley, Jan; von Biela, Vanessa R.

Browse a selection of videos, audio clips, images, and more from a wide range of science topics covered by USGS!

"Science for a Changing World" - watch the short film here!

Documentary on walruses here!

Watch the first-ever footage of a polar bear on Arctic sea ice!

Join USGS geologists as they collect lava samples from Kilauea Volcano.

Watch researchers in the Arctic!

Filter Total Items: 984
Geologist at Yukon Tanana Uplands Alaska
December 31, 2019

Geologist at Yukon Tanana Uplands Alaska

Geologist at Yukon Tanana Uplands Alaska.  This is part of the Earth MRI project.

Keychain in Inupiaq for USGS outreach activities about bird banding and reporting
December 3, 2019

Keychain in Inupiaq for USGS outreach activities about bird banding

Keychain developed for USGS outreach activities about bird banding and reporting in Inupiaq and English. Inupiaq translation provided by Qaiyaan and Jana Harcharek.

Tundra swan on the Colville River Delta
October 31, 2019

Tundra swan on the Colville River Delta, Alaska

Tundra swan on the Colville River Delta, Alaska 2013.

October 31, 2019

Animation depicting seasonal cycles on Alaska's Arctic bluffs

In the spring, winter sea ice thaws and moves offshore leaving the coast exposed to increased wave action and relatively warm water temperatures that, when in contact with the bluff, erodes the toe of the bluff. Additionally, warm air temperatures during the spring and summer months thaw the upper layers of permafrost causing erosion or sloughing of the bluff face above

October 24, 2019

Climate Adaptation Planning with Alaska-Based Adaptation Tools

The dynamic landscape and climate of Alaska presents many challenges to the over 200 communities that live in rural areas of the state and have a wide variety of resource needs. Coastal and riverine erosion, flooding, wildfire, permafrost dynamics and increasing temperatures act as drivers for many of these landscape changes. Both the Alaska Climate Adaptation Science

Beaver dam and lodge on the Wrench Creek, Noatak National Preserve
October 16, 2019

Beaver dam and lodge on the Wrench Creek, Noatak National Preserve

Beaver dam and lodge on the Wrench Creek, Noatak National Preserve

Beaver dam complex and lodge at the confluence of Wrench Creek and Kelly River, Noatak National Preserve
October 16, 2019

Beaver dam complex and lodge at the confluence

Beaver dam complex and lodge at the confluence of Wrench Creek and Kelly River, Noatak National Preserve

Adult Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) caught in impounded water above beaver dam. >2 5rKM from coast
October 9, 2019

Adult Pacific salmon caught in impounded water above beaver dam

Adult Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) caught in impounded water above beaver dam. >25 rKM (river KM) from coast.

Keychain for USGS outreach activities about bird banding and reporting
September 17, 2019

Keychain for USGS outreach activities about bird banding and reporting

Keychain developed for USGS outreach activities about bird banding and reporting in Yup'ik and English. Yup'ik translation provided by Jakob Sipary, Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP).

Please see description for full content of infographic
September 10, 2019

Gas Hydrates in Alaska 2019

The Alaska North Slope is rich in gas hydrate-bearing formations which contain significant natural gas resources. The USGS has released a geologically based assessment for how much of these resources is technically recoverable.

53.8 trillion cubic feet
Estimate of the undiscovered technically recoverable amount of natural gas that is stored in

...
Water chemistry measurements on the Alaska Peninsula
September 6, 2019

Hydrologist takes water chemistry measures on the Alaska Peninsula

Laura Hubbard of the USGS Upper Midwest Water Science Center takes water chemistry measures on the Alaska Peninsula as part of research to understand how long influenza viruses remain viable in the environment.  

Browse a collection of stories about prominent USGS scientists and projects in Alaska news.

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 252
A man standing on a log in the grass near a bay
March 5, 2019

Recent geological studies of a key section of the Aleutian Island chain of Alaska suggest Aleutian tsunamis may occur more frequently than previously understood.

Map of earthquake in Anchorage, Alaska, November 30, 2018
November 30, 2018

A magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck north of Anchorage, Alaska, on November 30, 2018, at 8:29 a.m. local time (17:29:28 UTC).  For the most up-to-date information, please visit the USGS event page, and for estimates of casualties and damage, visit the USGS Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response (PAGER) website.

man standing on dock next to large white ship
August 6, 2018

Researchers from NOAA, U.S. Geological Survey and their partners have completed the first high-resolution, comprehensive mapping of one of the fastest moving underwater tectonic faults in the world, located in southeastern Alaska. This information will help communities in coastal Alaska and Canada better understand and prepare for the risks from earthquakes and tsunamis that can occur when faults suddenly move.

Animated GIF of polar bears interacting on the ice
February 1, 2018

In June of 2014, the USGS released the first-ever polar bear point-of-view footage, offering a never-seen-before perspective from the top Arctic predator.

Map showing part of southern Alaska and Gulf of Alaska, with orange star in Gulf & white dots strung out along Aleutian Islands
January 30, 2018

One week ago, on January 23rd at 12:31 a.m. local time, Alaskans were rocked by a magnitude 7.9 earthquake, with an epicenter in the Gulf of Alaska, about 350 miles southwest of Anchorage, and about 175 miles southeast of Kodiak Island.

Image shows a map of Florida with USGS groundwater monitoring stations
January 24, 2018

At 12:32 am Alaska time on January 23, 2018, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake shook Alaska residents out of their beds and set off fears of a tsunami all down the West Coast. Fortunately, the tsunami was only a few inches in height, but within an hour of the earthquake in Alaska, waves of a different sort were hitting far away in Florida. 

Regional map showing the Gulf of Alaska and epicenter of M7.9 earthquake
January 23, 2018

The USGS has up-to-date details on the January 23, 2018 event.

Image shows a river winding through a green landscape
December 22, 2017

Less than 80 miles from Prudhoe Bay, home to the giant oil fields that feed the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, lies the site of USGS’ latest oil and gas assessment: the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and adjacent areas. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the NPR-A covers 22.8 million acres, more than the entire state of South Carolina.

Drill Rig at the Mt. Elbert Test Site
October 20, 2017

In the past decade, the development of the Barnett, Eagle Ford, Marcellus, and other shales has dominated the national consciousness regarding natural gas. But in Alaska, another form of natural gas has been the focus of research for decades—methane hydrate.

3 men leaning over big yellow metal grab bucket on the deck of a ship. Dark sediment is visible inside bucket
October 19, 2017

An international team of scientists just finished probing the depths of the Pacific Ocean offshore of Alaska and British Columbia, to better understand the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather Fault. During the past century, the 700-mile-long fault has generated at least half a dozen major earthquakes, and future shocks threaten coastal communities in both the United States and Canada.

Stay up-to-date with what is happening in the Alaska Region by checking out our different social media accounts. You can also contact Alaska Regional Office staff or Center Directors for more information.

The Regional Office provides active input to a variety of external collaborations by:

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