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

Regions L2 Landing Page Tabs

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: 2,626
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Year Published: 2019

The Yellow-billed Loon

The Yellow-billed Loon, known in Europe as the White-billed Diver, is a relatively rare bird nesting in arctic tundra regions of North America and Eurasia. This species was first described by G. R. Gray in 1859 (1), and named (Gavia adamsii) after the surgeon Dr. Edward Adams (who collected the first specimen) aboard the H.M.S. Enterprise...

Uher-Koch, Brian D.; Mike North; Schmutz, Joel A.

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Year Published: 2019

Catalog of earthquake parameters and description of seismograph and infrasound stations at Alaskan volcanoes—January 1, 2013, through December 31, 2017

Between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2017, the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) located a total of 28,172 earthquakes at volcanoes in Alaska. The annual totals are 3,840, 5,819, 5,297, 6,151, and 7,065 earthquakes for the years 2013 through 2017, respectively. This represents an average of 5,634 earthquakes per year, which is comparable to...

Dixon, James P.; Stihler, Scott D.; Haney, Matthew M.; Lyons, John J.; Ketner, Dane M.; Mulliken, Katherine M.; Parker, Thomas; Power, John A.
Dixon, J.P., Stihler S.D., Haney, M.M., Lyons, J.J., Ketner, D.M., Mulliken, K.M., Parker, T., and Power, J.A., 2019, Catalog of earthquake parameters and description of seismograph and infrasound stations at Alaskan volcanoes—January 1, 2013, through December 31, 2017: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1115, 92 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ds1115.

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Year Published: 2019

Soil mineralogy and geochemistry along a north-south transect in Alaska and the relation to source-rock terrane

Soils collected along a predominately north-south transect in Alaska were used to evaluate regional differences in the soil mineralogy and geochemistry in the context of a geotectonic framework for Alaska. The approximately 1,395-kilometer-long transect followed the Dalton, Elliott, and Richardson Highways from near Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. Sites...

Wang, Bronwen; Hults, Chad P.; Eberl, Dennis D.; Woodruff, Laurel G.; Cannon, William F.; Gough, Larry P.
Wang, B., Hults, C., Eberl, D., Woodruff, L., Cannon, W., and Gough, L., 2019, Soil mineralogy and geochemistry along a north-south transect in Alaska and the relation to source-rock terrane in Dumoulin, J.A., ed., Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska, vol. 15: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1814–E, 27 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/pp1814E.

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Year Published: 2019

Confronting models with data: The challenges of estimating disease spillover

For pathogens known to transmit across host species, strategic investment in disease control requires knowledge about where and when spillover transmission is likely. One approach to estimating spillover is to directly correlate observed spillover events with covariates. An alternative is to mechanistically combine information on host density,...

Cross, Paul C.; Prosser, Diann; Ramey, Andrew M.; Hanks, Ephraim M.; Pepin, Kim M.

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Year Published: 2019

An initial assessment of areas where landslides could enter the West Arm of Glacier Bay, Alaska and implications for tsunami hazards

Tsunamis generated by landslides in Glacier Bay are uncommon, but have potential to be extraordinarily destructive when they occur. This article identifies areas that are susceptible to landslides that could generate tsunamis and discusses approaches to characterize hazard and risk from these events.

Coe, Jeffrey A.; Schmitt, Robert G.; Bessette-Kirton, Erin

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Year Published: 2019

Giving ecological meaning to satellite-derived fire severity metrics across North American forests

Satellite-derived spectral indices such as the relativized burn ratio (RBR) allow fire severity maps to be produced in a relatively straightforward manner across multiple fires and broad spatial extents. These indices often have strong relationships with field-based measurements of fire severity, thereby justifying their widespread use in...

Parks, Sean; Holsinger, Lisa M.; Koontz, Michael J.; Collins, Luke S.; Whitman, Ellen; Parisien, Marc-André; Loehman, Rachel A.; Barnes, Jennifer L.; Bourdon, Jean-François; Boucher, Jonathan; Boucher, Yan; Caprio, Anthony C.; Collingwood, Adam; Hall, Ron; Park, Jane; Saperstein, Lisa; Smetanka, Charlotte; Smith, Rebecca; Soverel, Nick

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Year Published: 2019

The Aleutian Low – Beaufort Sea Anticyclone: A climate index for predicting the timing of springtime melt in the Pacific Arctic cryosphere

Early and late extremes in the timing of snowmelt have recently been observed in the Pacific Arctic. Subseasonal-to-seasonal forecasts of this timing are important for industry, environmental management and Arctic communities. In northern Alaska, the timing is influenced by the advection of marine air from the north Pacific by the Aleutian Low,...

Cox, Christopher J.; Stone, Robert S.; Douglas, David C.; Stanitski, Diane; Gallagher, Michael
Cox, C. J., Stone, R. S., Douglas, D. C., Stanitski, D. M., & Gallagher, M. R. (2019). The Aleutian Low‐Beaufort Sea Anticyclone: A climate index correlated with the timing of springtime melt in the Pacific Arctic cryosphere. Geophysical Research Letters, 46, 7464–7473. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL083306

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Year Published: 2019

Filling knowledge gaps in a threatened shorebird flyway through satellite tracking

Satellite‐based technologies that track individual animal movements enable the mapping of their spatial and temporal patterns of occurrence. This is particularly useful in poorly studied or remote regions where there is a need for the rapid gathering of relevant ecological knowledge to inform management actions. One such region is East Asia, where...

Yin-Chi Chan; Tibbitts, Lee; Tamar Lok; Chris Hassell; Peng, He-Bo; Zhijun Ma; Zhengwang Zhang; Theunis Piersma

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Year Published: 2019

Improving population estimates of threatened spectacled eiders: Correcting aerial counts for visibility bias

Listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1993, the Spectacled Eider (Somateria fischeri) population in western Alaska has since rebounded, prompting an assessment of their suitability for delisting. This assessment, however, is limited by aerial-based population estimates that are incompletely corrected for unobserved eiders....

Lewis, Tyler; Michael Swaim; Schmutz, Joel A.; Julian Fischer
Lewis TL, Swaim MA, Schmutz JA, Fischer JB (2019) Improving population estimates of threatened spectacled eiders: correcting aerial counts for visibility bias. Endang Species Res 39:191-206. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00959

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Year Published: 2019

Are polar bear habitat resource selection functions developed from 1985-1996 data still useful?

1. Greenhouse gas-induced warming in the Arctic has caused declines in sea ice extent and changed its composition, raising concerns by all circumpolar nations for polar bear conservation. 2. Negative impacts have been observed in three well-studied polar bear subpopulations. Most subpopulations, however, receive little or no direct monitoring,...

Durner, George M.; Douglas, David C.; Atwood, Todd C.

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Year Published: 2019

Late Miocene to Pleistocene source to sink record of exhumation and sediment routing in the Gulf of Alaska from detrital zircon fission-track and U-Pb double dating

We investigate the late Miocene‐Pleistocene offshore sedimentary record of the Yakutat microplate to evaluate the spatial and temporal variations in rock exhumation and sediment routing patterns at the heavily glaciated and actively converging plate boundary in southeast Alaska. We present 1,456 new fission track ages and 1,372 new U‐Pb ages from...

Bootes, Nathaniel; Enkelmann, Eva; Lease, Richard O.

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
ASC biologists necropsy Common Murres
November 30, 2016

ASC biologists necropsy Common Murres

ASC biologists John Piatt, Sarah Schoen, Gary Drew, and Brielle Heflin necropsy Common Murres recovered in Prince William Sound following the massive die-off of murres in 2015/2016.

Emaciated Common Murre lays on the laboratory table
November 30, 2016

Emaciated Common Murre lays on the laboratory table

An emaciated Common Murre lays on the laboratory table during a necropsy to determine the cause of death for a massive die-off of murres in 2015/2016.

Tufted Puffin, the species most affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, AK
November 23, 2016

Tufted Puffin, near Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska

Tufted Puffin, the species most affected by a recent seabird die-off in the Pribilof Islands, AK. Near Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska

November 15, 2016

Surprising Role of Trees in the Boreal Water Cycle

Approximately 25 to 50 percent of a living tree is made up of water, depending on the species and time of year. The water stored in trees has previously been considered just a minor part of the water cycle, but a study by University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists with support from the DOI Alaska Climate Science Center shows otherwise. Their research is the first to show

Salmon River
October 27, 2016

Salmon River in Southeast Alaska

Salmon River is one of the transboundary watersheds of Southeast Alaska.

Glacier Creek bridge
October 27, 2016

Glacier Creek bridge

Glacier Creek bridge

Kashwitna River sonar on a bridge
October 10, 2016

Kashwitna River sonar on a bridge

Kashwitna River sonar on a bridge

Many Dolly Varden char and Arctic grayling underwater in the Agashashok River
September 30, 2016

Dolly Varden and Arctic grayling in the Agashashok River

Underwater photo of a large school of Dolly Varden char and Arctic grayling in the Agashashok River.  These fish were part of the Hydro-Ecology of Arctic Thawing (HEAT) project.

Two people stand on a coastal bluff wearing heavy coats and hoods to keep warm, with waves crashing in the distance.
September 18, 2016

Coastal bluff study site prep

Two scientists on the Arctic coastal bluff preparing a study location with cameras that they hope will run continuously, collecting images.

Polar bear appears to walk on top of rippled gray water. Just behind it are very large breaking waves below a gray-blue sky.
September 18, 2016

Polar bear walks across flooded barrier island during Arctic storm

Adult polar bear walking across a recently overwashed barrier island during a large Arctic storm in September 2016. The barrier island is offshore of Barter Island on Alaska’s north coast. Polar bears typically rest on the barrier islands during the day and transit to the "bone pile" on Barter Island in the evenings to feast on whale carcass remnants supplied by local

...
A shorebird walking in small rocks on a shore
September 17, 2016

Pacific Golden-Plover standing on rocks near Big Creek, Alaska

Pacific Golden-Plover standing on rocks near Big Creek, Alaska.

The Agashashok River and Asik watershed
September 15, 2016

Agashashok River and Asik watershed

The Agashashok River and Asik watershed

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

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 252
USGS science for a changing world logo
May 15, 2003

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and their partners studying the largest on-land earthquake in North America in almost 150 years report new information that will help further safety-planning efforts for future large quakes, according to an article published in the May 16, 2003, edition of the journal Science.

USGS
May 15, 2003

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and their partners studying the largest on-land earthquake in North America in almost 150 years report new information that will help further safety-planning efforts for future large quakes, according to an article published in the May 16, 2003, edition of the journal Science.

USGS science for a changing world logo
December 6, 2002

Standard fare in geology textbooks and school classrooms across the world is that the hot springs, geysers and volcanoes of Yellowstone National Park, Hawaii, Iceland, and many other volcanic regions were "created" by plumes of hot rock that rise from near the Earth’s core. New results from recently published U.S. Geological Survey research hint, astonishingly, that such plumes may not exist.

USGS science for a changing world logo
November 8, 2002

A ShakeMap portraying the variations in shaking intensity from the Nov. 3, 2002, 7.9-magnitude earthquake was released today by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

USGS
November 8, 2002

A ShakeMap portraying the variations in shaking intensity from the Nov. 3, 2002, 7.9-magnitude earthquake was released today by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. The map is the first ShakeMap produced for the state of Alaska and is considered a prototype.

USGS
November 7, 2002

Sunday’s magnitude 7.9 earthquake in central Alaska created a scar across the landscape for more than 145 miles, according to surveys conducted the past two days by geologists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Survey.

USGS
November 6, 2002

Sunday’s magnitude (M) 7.9 central Alaska earthquake was one of the largest recorded earthquakes in our Nation’s history. The epicenter of the Nov. 3 temblor was located approximately 75 miles (135 km) south of Fairbanks and 176 miles (283 km) north of Anchorage. 

USGS
October 25, 2002

On October 23, 2002, a strong magnitude (M) 6.7 earthquake occurred at 3:27 AM Local time 85 miles (135 km) south of Fairbanks and 172 miles (276 km) north of Anchorage. The earthquake was felt broadly, from Fairbanks in the north to Anchorage in the south, a distance of 255 miles. Because of the remote location, however, there was very little damage.

USGS
October 23, 2002

A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) shows that the Castle Mountain fault in south-central Alaska may be ready to produce a strong magnitude 6 to 7 earthquake. The study, which examined the ancient earthquake history of the Castle Mountain fault, was just published in the October issue of the Geological Society of America Bulletin.

USGS science for a changing world logo
August 16, 2002

The immediate threat of overflow of water from Russell Lake caused by the advance of Hubbard Glacier, North America’s largest tidewater glacier, is over, according to reports from Dennis Trabant, a glaciologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS
August 16, 2002

The immediate threat of overflow of water from Russell Lake caused by the advance of Hubbard Glacier, North America’s largest tidewater glacier, is over, according to reports from Dennis Trabant, a glaciologist with the U.S. Geological Survey

USGS science for a changing world logo
June 18, 2002

North America’s largest calving glacier, Hubbard Glacier, is advancing and is close to blocking the entrance to Russell Fiord near Yakutat, Alaska, according to reports from Dennis Trabant, a glaciologist with the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS).

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.