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: May 30, 2017
Status: Active

Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE)

ABoVE: Vulnerability of inland waters and the aquatic carbon cycle to changing permafrost and climate across boreal northwestern North America.

Carbon released from thawing permafrost may fuel terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems or contribute to greenhouse gas emission, leading to a potential warming feedback and further thaw.

Contacts: Rob Striegl, Michelle Walvoord, Burke Minsley, Kimberly Wickland, Brian A Ebel, Joshua C Koch, Ph.D., Bruce Wiley, Torre Jorgenson, Dave Butman, Rob Spencer
Date published: April 28, 2017
Status: Active

Boreal Partners in Flight

WELCOME to the Alaska Landbird Resource Information System, the official web site for Boreal Partners in Flight! Thanks for taking the time to learn more about the Boreal Partners in Flight program and our efforts to understand and conserve northern populations of landbirds.

Date published: April 18, 2017
Status: Active

Nome Creek Experimental Watershed

The Nome Creek Experimental Watershed (NCEW) has been the site of multiple studies focused on understanding hydrology, biogeochemistry, and ecosystem changes related to permafrost thaw and fire in the boreal forest.

Date published: April 12, 2017
Status: Active

Hydro-Ecology of Arctic Thawing (HEAT): Hydrology

The Arctic is warming at higher rates than much of the rest of the world. For Alaska, this results in changes in hydrology and ecosystems – permafrost is thawing, changing landscapes and releasing nutrients to soils and streams. 

Date published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Western Alaska Range Metallogeny and Tectonics

There are many different types of mineral deposits present in the Western Alaska Range: plutonic gold, porphyry copper-gold (Pebble prospect), epithermal gold, tin-silver skarns, sedimentary barite, mafic hosted nickle-platinum-group elements, uranium-thorium rare earth elements, and even a diamond prospect.

Date published: December 1, 2016
Status: Active

Riparian Ecology

Riparian ecologists at the Fort Collins Science Center study interactions among flow, channel change, and vegetation along rivers across the western United States and worldwide. Our work focuses on issues relevant to the management of water and public lands, including dam operation, climate change, invasive species, and ecological restoration. Investigations take place on a range of scales. ...

Date published: November 6, 2016
Status: Active

Seabirds at Sea

Helpful links for Seabirds at Sea

Date published: November 6, 2016
Status: Active

NPPSD Resources and Protocols

List of resources and protocols used by the North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database (NPPSD).

Date published: August 10, 2016
Status: Active

Molecular Ecology Lab (MEL)

The Molecular Ecology Laboratory applies genetic and genomic technologies to address a variety of complex questions and conservation issues facing the management of the Nation's fish and wildlife resources. Together with our partners, we design and implement studies to document genetic diversity and the distribution of genetic variation among individuals, populations, and species. Information...

Date published: July 26, 2016
Status: Active

HDgov: Multi-agency Website for Human Dimensions of Natural Resources

HDgov is an interactive and mobile-responsive online portal to interagency, academic, and non-government resources focused on the human dimensions of natural resource management. The web portal provides easy access to tools, publications, data, and methods that help ensure that the people side of natural resources is considered throughout the entire natural resource management process. The...

Date published: July 26, 2016
Status: Active

National Park Service Visitor Spending Effects

The National Park Service (NPS) manages the Nation’s most iconic destinations that attract millions of visitors from across the Nation and around the world. Trip-related spending by NPS visitors generates and supports a considerable amount of economic activity within park gateway communities. USGS economists collaborate with the National Park Service social science program to estimate NPS...

Date published: July 21, 2016
Status: Active

North American Waterfowl Management Plan

The ultimate success of North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) depends on maintaining relevance to stakeholders and society. In order to be relevant, a first step is to better understand what people value in regard to waterfowl and their habitats. 

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: 2,659
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Year Published: 2020

U-Pb Zircon ages from bedrock samples collected in the Tanacross D-1, and parts of the D-2, C-1, and C-2 quadrangles, Alaska

This Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys (DGGS) Preliminary Interpretive Report presents U-Pb ages of zircons from 14 sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous samples collected during 2017 and 2018 field investigations in the northeastern Tanacross Quadrangle, Alaska. The DGGS Northeast Tanacross project is a part of multi-year...

Wypych, Alicja; Jones, James V.; O'Sullivan, Paul B.

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Year Published: 2020

Erratum: Seismic survey design and effects on maternal polar bear dens

Since the publication of this manuscript, readers have noted two errors in our analysis. The first is that we inadvertently stated that the forward looking infrared (FLIR) survey simulations only represented a single FLIR survey. In reality, the analysis assumed two independent FLIR surveys occurred prior to simulated seismic activity occurring...

Wilson, Ryan R.; Durner, George M.

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Year Published: 2020

Deglacierization of a marginal basin and implications for outburst floods, Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

Suicide Basin is a partly glacierized marginal basin of Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska, that has released glacier lake outburst floods (GLOFs) annually since 2011. The floods cause inundation and erosion in the Mendenhall Valley, impacting homes and other infrastructure. Here, we utilize in-situ and remote sensing data to assess the recent...

Kienholz, Christian; Pierce, Jamie; Hood, Eran; Amundson, Jason M.; Wolken, Gabriel; Jacobs, Aaron; Hart, Skye; Wikstrom-Jones, Katreen; Abdel-Fattah, Dina; Johnson, Crane; Conaway, Jeffrey S.

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Year Published: 2020

Evidence for large Holocene earthquakes along the Denali fault in southwest Yukon, Canada

The Yukon–Alaska Highway corridor in southern Yukon is subject to geohazards ranging from landslides to floods and earthquakes on faults in the St. Elias Mountains and Shakwak Valley. Here we discuss the late Holocene seismic history of the Denali fault, located at the eastern front of the St. Elias Mountains and one of only a few known...

Blais-Stevens, Andrée; Clague, J.J.; Brahney, J.; Lipovsky, P.; Haeussler, Peter; Menounos, B.

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Year Published: 2020

Evaluation of the analytical methods used to determine the elemental concentrations found in the stream geochemical dataset compiled for Alaska

A recent U.S. Geological Survey data compilation of stream-sediment geochemistry for Alaska contains decades of analyses collected under numerous Federal and State programs. The compiled data were determined by various analytical methods. Some samples were reanalyzed by a different analytical method than the original, resulting in some elements...

Wang, Bronwen; Ellefsen, Karl J.; Granitto, Matthew; Kelley, Karen D.; Karl, Susan M.; Case, George N.D.; Kreiner, Douglas C.; Amundson, Courtney L.
Wang, B, Ellefsen, K.J., Granitto, M., Kelley, K.D., Karl, S.M., Case, G.N.D., Kreiner, D.C., and Amundson, C.L., 2020, Evaluation of the analytical methods used to determine the elemental concentrations found in the stream geochemical dataset compiled for Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020-1038, 66 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201038.

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Year Published: 2020

At the end of the road: Lessons learned from comparing model- and design-based approaches to estimate population sizes of boreal birds in Alberta, Canada

Estimating population abundance is a challenging task complicated by the amount, type, and quality of available data. Conservationists have relied on design-based estimates from Partners in Flight (PIF), which primarily uses roadside data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) to estimate populations sizes. However, the BBS was not...

Solymos, Peter; Toms, Judith D; Matsuoka, Steven M.; Cumming, Steven G.; Barker, Nicole K. S.; Thogmartin, Wayne E.; Stralberg, Diana; Crosby, Andrew D.; Denes, Francisco V; Hache, Samuel; Mahon, C Lisa; Schmiegelow, Fiona K A; Bayne, Erin M.

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Year Published: 2020

A red knot as a black swan: How a single bird shows navigational abilities during repeat crossings of the Greenland Icecap

Despite the wealth of studies on seasonal movements of birds between southern nonbreeding locations and High Arctic breeding locations, the key mechanisms of navigation during these migrations remain elusive. A flight along the shortest possible route between pairs of points on a sphere (‘orthodrome’) requires a bird to be able to assess its...

Kok, Eva; Tibbitts, Lee; Douglas, David C.; Howey, Paul; Dekinga, Anne; Gnep, Benjamin; Piersma, Theunis

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Year Published: 2020

U.S. Geological Survey 2018 Kīlauea Volcano eruption response in Hawai'i—After-action review

The 2018 Kīlauea Volcano eruption lasted 107 days, and now ranks as the most destructive event at Kilauea since 1790, and as one of the most costly volcanic disasters in U.S. history. Multiple simultaneous hazard events unfolded, including sustained seismic activity leading to collapse at the summit of Halema'uma'u crater and severe damage to the...

Williams, Dee M.; Avery, Vic F.; Coombs, Michelle L.; Cox, Dale A.; Horwitz, Lief R.; McBride, Sara K.; McClymont, Ryan J.; Moran, Seth C.
Attribution: Region 11: Alaska
Williams, D.M., Avery, V.F., Coombs, M.L., Cox, D.A., Horwitz, L.R., McBride, S.K., McClymont, R.J., and Moran, S.C., 2020, U.S. Geological Survey 2018 Kīlauea Volcano eruption response in Hawai'i—After-action review: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020-1041, 56 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201041.

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Year Published: 2020

Ground failure triggered by shaking during the November 30, 2018, magnitude 7.1 Anchorage, Alaska, earthquake

We developed an initial inventory of ground failure features from the November 30, 2018, magnitude 7.1 Anchorage earthquake. This inventory of 153 features is from ground-based observations soon after the earthquake (December 5–10) that include the presence or absence of liquefaction, landslides, and individual crack traces of lateral spreads and...

Grant, Alex R. R. ; Jibson, Randall W.; Witter, Robert C.; Allstadt, Kate E.; Thompson, Eric M.; Bender, Adrian M.
Grant, A.R.R., Jibson, R.W., Witter, R.C., Allstadt, K.E., Thompson, E.M., and Bender, A.M., 2020, Ground failure triggered by shaking during the November 30, 2018, magnitude 7.1 Anchorage, Alaska, earthquake: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020–1043, 21 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201043.

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Year Published: 2020

Further information on the avifauna of St. Matthew and Hall Islands, Bering Sea, Alaska

In June and July 2018 and July 2019 we surveyed birds on St. Matthew and Hall islands, isolated in the central Bering Sea. Our surveys were focused on the McKay’s Bunting (Plectrophenax hyperboreus), Rock Sandpiper (Calidris ptilocnemis ptilocnemis), and Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus) but encompassed all birds and yielded 13 species...

Robinson, Bryce W.; Withrow, Jack J.; Richardson, Rachel M.; Matsuoka, Steven M.; Gill, Robert E.; Johnson, Andrew S.; Lovette, Irby J.; Johnson, James A.; DeGange, Anthony R.; Romano, Marc D.

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Year Published: 2020

Geometric and material variability influences stress states relevant to coastal permafrost bluff failure

Scientific knowledge and engineering tools for predicting coastal erosion are largely confined to temperate climate zones that are dominated by non-cohesive sediments. The pattern of erosion exhibited by the ice-bonded permafrost bluffs in Arctic Alaska, however, is not well explained by these tools. Investigation of the oceanographic, thermal,...

Thomas, Matthew A.; Mota, Alejandro; Jones, Benjamin M.; Choens, R. Charles; Frederick, Jennifer M.; Bull, Diana L.

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Year Published: 2020

Does habitat partitioning by sympatric plovers affect nest survival?

The vertical structure and composition of vegetation can influence the quantity and quality of potential nesting sites for birds. Interspecific competition for high-quality nesting habitat may force some individuals into suboptimal habitat and lead to reduced reproductive success, eventually leading to changes in distribution or abundance. Large...

Overduijn, Kelly S; Handel, Colleen M.; Powell, Abby

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: 976
Sampling a stream in the mist in the Akilik River drainage
August 31, 2017

Sampling a stream from the Akilik River drainage

Sampling a stream from the Akilik River drainage in the Boreal-Arctic transition of the Brooks Range in Noatak National Park and Preserve, Kobuk Valley National Park. This is part of the Hydro-Ecoloy of Arctic Thawing (HEAT) project.

Scientist walking up the Akilik River with a minnow trap to catch fish
August 31, 2017

Akilik River stream sampling

Hiking up a stream from the Akilik River drainage to set minnow traps for fish sampling. This is a stream type at the Boreal-Arctic transition of the Brooks Range, Noatak National Park and Preserve, Kobuk Valley National Park.

A small arctic grayling near the bottom of the Imelyak River
August 31, 2017

Small arctic grayling in the Imelyak River, Brooks Range

Small arctic grayling hugging the bottom in the Imelyak River in the Brooks Range. This is part of the Hydro-Ecoloy of Arctic Thawing (HEAT) project.

Unnamed stream and beaver pond in the Taiya River floodplain
August 30, 2017

Unnamed stream and beaver pond in the Taiya River floodplain

Unnamed stream and beaver pond in the Taiya River floodplain

A field of peatland surrounded by spruce and other understory plants in Alaska. Mountains can be seen in the background.
August 30, 2017

Thawing Peatlands, Alaska

Cores were collected from various areas of thawing permafrost-peatlands in Alaska. Permafrost thaw results in ground subsidence and inundation that kills black spruce and other understory plants living on the permafrost plateau. 

Glacier Creek sonar on a bridge
August 29, 2017

Glacier Creek sonar on a bridge

Glacier Creek sonar

A small shorebird walking along the mud
August 25, 2017

Black-bellied Plover on the mud shore of Big Creek near Egegik, Alaska

Black-bellied Plover on the mud shore of Big Creek, Alaska.

A shorebird walking along the shore
August 25, 2017

Pacific Golden-Plover on the shore near Big Creek near Egegik, Alaska

Pacific Golden-Plover on the shore near Big Creek, Alaska.

Common Murres in a colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska in 2017
August 19, 2017

Common Murres in a colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska in 2017

Common Murres in a colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska in 2017

Black-legged Kittiwakes sitting on the side of a rock wall in Cook Inlet, Alaska
August 19, 2017

Black-legged Kittiwakes in a colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska

Black-legged Kittiwakes in a colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska. One bird on a nest.

Common Murres in their colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska. Adult touching bill to chick.
August 19, 2017

Common Murres in their colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska

Common Murres in their colony in Cook Inlet, Alaska

A lot of small fish from a fyke net set near Kaktovik, AK.  Biologists sort through them.
August 7, 2017

The catch from a fyke net set near Kaktovik, Alaska

Biologists identify species, count, measure length, and release thousands of fish each year to understand how fish use nearshore habitats.

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

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 255
USGS science for a changing world logo
October 25, 2011

Thawing permafrost in the Yukon River watershed may be a source of naturally occurring mercury being conveyed by rivers into the environment, according to USGS research scientists.

USGS science for a changing world logo
October 13, 2011

Dr. David Shelly, a research seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, was named one of President Obama's recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

USGS science for a changing world logo
October 7, 2011

Stephen Gray has been selected as the center director of the Department of the Interior’s Alaska Climate Science Center, located at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, in Anchorage.

USGS science for a changing world logo
September 13, 2011

Personal interviews with Alaska Natives in the Yukon River Basin provide unique insights on climate change and its impacts, helping develop adaptation strategies for these local communities.

USGS science for a changing world logo
September 13, 2011

The USGS Alaska Science Center has released new high-resolution video of Pacific walruses hauling out near Point Lay, Alaska, in late August, 2011. 

Also available on the USGS Alaska Science Center walrus website are animations of the walruses’ movements as tracked by radio transmitters, and FAQs on the ongoing walrus studies.

USGS science for a changing world logo
August 16, 2011

USGS Alaska Science Center researchers, in cooperation with the Native Village of Point Lay, will attempt to attach 35 satellite radio-tags to walruses on the northwestern Alaska coast in August as part of their ongoing study of how the Pacific walrus are responding to reduced sea ice conditions in late summer and fall.

USGS science for a changing world logo
August 1, 2011

Marine biologists are setting up camp in Forks this week, and sea otters will be their quarry on a three-week expedition. Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey, Seattle Aquarium, Monterey Bay Aquarium and other institutions are studying the health of local sea otters to assess the condition of Washington’s nearshore ecosystem. 

USGS science for a changing world logo
July 20, 2011

The U.S. Geological Survey is conducting a study that analyzes movements of 62 satellite-collared female polar bears over a 6-year period (2004-2009), providing a first description of swimming events within a population of polar bears. The results of the study have not yet been published, but  are already generating significant attention.

USGS science for a changing world logo
June 28, 2011

The Cook Inlet Region of Alaska contains an estimated mean of 19 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, about 600 million barrels of oil, and 46 million barrels of natural gas liquids, according to a new assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). This estimate is of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources, and includes both unconventional and conventional resources.

USGS science for a changing world logo
May 16, 2011

Marine biologists are gathering in Alaska this week to kick off a three-week expedition studying sea otters, as part of a joint U.S.-Canadian project to investigate the ecological health of the Pacific coastline.

The "Pacific Nearshore Project" is a multinational, multiagency project investigating sea otters as health indicators of coastal waters and marine resources from California nort

USGS science for a changing world logo
May 4, 2011

The U.S. Geological Survey assessment on the economic recoverability of undiscovered, conventional oil and gas resources within the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA) and adjacent state waters is now available online.

USGS
December 15, 2010

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Sea-ice habitats essential to polar bears would likely respond positively should more curbs be placed on global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new modeling study published today in the journal, Nature. 

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.