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: 181
Glacier National Park
Date Published: June 18, 2018
Status: Active

Glaciers and Climate Project

Scientists with the Glaciers and Climate Project study many of the pertinent impacts that glaciers present to society, such as altering hydrologic cycles, contributing to sea-level rise, and creating environmental hazards. 

February 16, 2014 rock avalanche from Mount La Perouse. Relief from head scarp to toe is about 1770 m.
Date Published: June 18, 2018
Status: Completed

Mountain Permafrost, Climate Change, and Rock Avalanches in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

Release Date: JUNE 18, 2018

We usually hear about landslides and avalanches that are caused by large amounts of rainfall, the shaking from earthquakes, or a volcanic eruption, but we may be hearing more about avalanches caused by the (seemingly innocuous) melting of ice in the coming years.

Alaska Resource Data File quadrangle map
Date Published: June 18, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska Resource Data File

The Alaska Resource Data File (ARDF) site provides descriptions of mines, prospects, and mineral occurrences for individual U.S. Geological Survey 1:250,000-scale quadrangles in Alaska.

Alaska geology map revealed
Date Published: June 11, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska Databases and Information Analysis

We provide GIS and database support for Alaska-based research projects, including database design, data capture, and maintenance, GIS analysis and display, and production of datasets and metadata for publication and data releases.

Contacts: Nora B Shew
Half-meter-thick quartz veins cut across outcrops of granitic gneiss on Divide Mountain along the Alaska-Yukon border
Date Published: May 22, 2018
Status: Active

Tectonic and Metallogenic Evolution of the Eastern Yukon-Tanana Upland, Alaska

The Yukon-Tanana terrane, stretching from eastern Alaska to northern British Columbia, is a geologically complex block containing deposits of base-metal, platinum-group-element, and gold-silver-copper mineralization.

Darby Mountain outcrop of quartz monzonite towards the contact between the pluton and Paleozoic marbles
Date Published: May 22, 2018
Status: Active

Petrology, Tectonic Setting, and Potential for Concentration of Rare Earth Elements (REE) and High Field Strength Elements (HFSE) in the High-K Darby and Kachauik Plutons, Seward Peninsula, Alaska

One of the geologic environments that host rare earth and other critical and strategic element deposits are alkaline intrusive rocks.

Scientists wait for a helicopter pickup at a geologic mapping and sampling station high in the Neacola Mountains, Alaska
Date Published: May 22, 2018
Status: Completed

Metallogeny and Tectonics of the Lake Clark and Neacola Mountains Region, South-central Alaska

Alaska hosts a well-documented belt of ore deposits that lies roughly parallel to the Alaska Range, beginning at the Alaska Peninsula in the southwest, continuing up through the Fairbanks Mining District in the north, and curving back into the Tintina Gold Belt on its eastern end. Known mineral prospects and occurrences include porphyry copper, intrusion-related gold, volcanogenic massive...

Map of Alaska showing estimated mineral-resource potential
Date Published: May 22, 2018
Status: Active

GIS Prospectivity Analysis for Critical Minerals in Ore-Forming Systems in Alaska

Alaska is dominated by a history of tectonic events that foster mobilization and concentration of a wide variety of mineral commodities that are critical to the US economy and are vital to national defense, renewable-energy, and emerging electronics technologies.

Duck with various brown colored feathers
Date Published: May 18, 2018
Status: Active

High Priority Species for Avian Influenza in Alaska

In early 2006, an Alaska Interagency Avian Influenza Working Group was formed to develop a ranking matrix for selecting priority species to be sampled within Alaska. Most wild bird species with populations that utilize areas of both Alaska and Asia were identified and considered in the ranking exercise. Based on scoring criteria, 28 target species were chosen for sampling. Alaska is a...

Tundra Swan swimming on a lake in northern Alaska
Date Published: May 18, 2018
Status: Active

Bird Migration and Influenza

The movement and transmission of avian influenza viruses in wild birds may differ by the migratory nature of each host species.

Flooding encroaches on trees, Exit Creek
Date Published: May 18, 2018
Status: Active

Flood Frequency Studies in Alaska

 

Flood frequency statistics for streamgages and methods for estimating flood frequency statistics at ungaged sites in Alaska and conterminous basins in Canada are presented in U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5024. This report revised methods for obtaining basin characteristics and...

Contacts: Janet H Curran
View of Toklat River from a bridge
Date Published: May 18, 2018
Status: Active

Flow Duration and Low-Flow Frequency Studies in Alaska

Flow duration and low-flow frequency statistics for streamgages and methods for estimating flow-duration and low-flow frequency statistics at ungaged sites in Alaska and conterminous basins in Canada are presented in U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Investigations Report 2003-4114.

Contacts: Janet H Curran
Filter Total Items: 2,329
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Year Published: 2019

Spatial distribution of band recoveries of black brant

On average, band recovery rates of adult black brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) more than doubled between the 2000s and 2010s. However, the spatial distribution of band recoveries of black brant has not been reported. Our objective was to describe the spatial distribution of band recoveries of black brant since 1990. We found that Alaska,...

Leach, Alan G.; Ward, David H.; Sedinger, James S.; Riecke, Thomas V.; Hupp, Jerry W.; Ritchie, Robert J.

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Year Published: 2019

Heightened immune system function in polar bears using terrestrial habitats

Climate change is altering the distribution of some wildlife species while warming temperatures are facilitating the northward expansion of pathogens, potentially increasing disease risk. Melting of Arctic sea ice is causing polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the Southern Beaufort Sea (SBS) to increasingly spend summer on land, where they may...

Whiteman, John P.; Harlow, Henry J.; Durner, George M.; Regehr, Eric V.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Ben-David, Merav

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Year Published: 2019

Brood size affects future reproduction in a long-lived bird with precocial young

Estimation of trade-offs between current reproduction and future survival and fecundity of long-lived vertebrates is essential to understanding factors that shape optimal reproductive investment. Black brant geese (Branta bernicla nigricans) fledge more goslings, on average, when their broods are experimentally enlarged to be greater than the most...

Alan Leach; James Sedinger; Thomas Riecke; Amanda Van Dellen; Ward, David H.; Sean Boyd

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Year Published: 2019

Seasonal distribution of Dall's porpoise in Prince William Sound, Alaska

Dall's porpoise, Phocoenoides dalli, are a conspicuous predator in the Prince William Sound ecosystem, yet there has been little effort directed towards monitoring this species since the 1980s, prior to the Exxon Valdez oil spill. We used vessel-based surveys to examine the seasonal distribution of Dall's porpoise in the waters of Prince William...

J.R. Moran; O'Dell, M.B.; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Straley, Jan M; Dickson, D.M.S.

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Year Published: 2019

Implications of introgression for wildlife translocations: the case of North American martens

The evolutionary consequences of natural introgression provide a rare opportunity to retrospectively evaluate how the introduction of exotics or genetic rescue efforts may impact endemic faunas. Phylogeographic structure among mainland, endemic insular, and introduced North American marten (Martes americana and M. caurina) populations...

Colella, Jocelyn P.; Wilson, Robert E.; Talbot, Sandra L.; Cook, Joseph A.

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Year Published: 2019

Survival of Bristle-thighed Curlews equipped with externally mounted transmitters

Telemetry devices are widely used in avian research, but the degree to which the deployment of such devices affects the survival of study subjects is often not addressed. It is generally assumed that such effects are less pronounced in large-bodied species that conduct relatively short migrations and carry relatively light telemetry devices. We...

Ruthrauff, Daniel R.; Tibbitts, Lee; Patil, Vijay P.

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Year Published: 2019

Global sea-level contribution from Arctic land ice: 1971 to 2017

The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) (AMAP, 2017) identifies the Arctic as the largest regional source of land ice to global sea-level rise in the 2003 to 2014 period. Yet, this contextualization ignores the longer perspective from in-situ records of glacier mass balance. Here, using 18 (> 55 °N latitude) glacier and ice cap mass...

Box, Jason E.; Colgan, William T.; Wouters, Bert; Burgess, David O; O'Neel, Shad; Thomson, Laura; Mernild, Sebastian H

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Year Published: 2019

Interannual snow accumulation variability on glaciers derived from repeat spatially extensive ground-penetrating radar surveys

There is significant uncertainty regarding the spatiotemporal distribution of seasonal snow on glaciers, despite being a fundamental component of glacier mass balance. To address this knowledge gap, we collected repeat, spatially extensive high-frequency ground-penetrating radar (GPR) observations on two glaciers in Alaska for five consecutive...

McGrath, Daniel J; Sass, Louis; O'Neel, Shad; McNeil, Christopher J.; Candela, Salvatore G; Baker, Emily; Marshall, Hans P.

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Year Published: 2019

Density‐dependent and phenological mismatch effects on growth and survival in lesser snow and Ross's goslings

Strong seasonality of high‐latitude environments imposes temporal constraints on forage availability and quality for keystone herbivores in terrestrial arctic ecosystems, including hyper‐abundant colonial geese. Changes in food quality due to intraspecific competition, or food availability relative to the breeding phenology of birds, may have...

Megan V. Ross; Ray T. Alisauskas; Douglas, David C.; Dana K. Kellett; Kiel L. Drake
Ross, M. V., R. T. Alisauskas, D. C. Douglas, D. K. Kellett, and K. L. Drake. Density-dependent and phenological mismatch effects on growth and survival in lesser snow and Ross’s goslings. J. Avian Biology. https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jav.01748

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Year Published: 2019

Delayed herbivory by migratory geese increases summer‐long CO2 uptake in coastal western Alaska

The advancement of spring and the differential ability of organisms to respond to changes in plant phenology may lead to ‘phenological mismatches’ as a result of climate change. One potential for considerable mismatch is between migratory birds and food availability in northern breeding ranges and these mismatches may have consequences for...

Leffler, A. Joshua; Beard, Karen H.; Kelsey, Katharine C.; Choi, Ryan T.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Welker, Jeffery M.

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Year Published: 2019

Changing station coverage impacts temperature trends in the Upper Colorado River Basin

Over the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB), temperatures in widely used gridded data products do not warm as much as mean temperatures from a stable set of U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) stations, located at generally lower elevations, in most months of the year. This is contrary to expectations of elevation-dependent warming, which...

McAfee, Stephanie A.; McCabe, Gregory J.; Gray, Stephen; Pederson, Gregory T.

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Year Published: 2019

Development of on-shore behavior among polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the southern Beaufort Sea: Inherited or learned?

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are experiencing rapid and substantial changes to their environment due to global climate change. Polar bears of the southern Beaufort Sea (SB) have historically spent most of the year on the sea ice. However, recent reports from Alaska indicate that the proportion of the SB subpopulation observed on-shore during late...

Lillie, K. M.; Gese, E. M.; Atwood, Todd C.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.

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: 987
Scientist extract a sediment core from the permafrost plateaus in Alaska
December 31, 2018

Collecting Cores in Thawing Permafrost, 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. 

USGS researcher Erich Peitzsch holds a tree cross section to look for irregular rings.
December 31, 2018

Tree ring research in Alaska

USGS researcher Erich Peitzsch holds a tree cross section to look for irregular rings.

December 31, 2018

Polar Bears Film Their Own Sea Ice World

This video showcases the latest polar bear point-of-view footage to date along with an interview of the research scientist who is responsible for the project. Released in conjunction with a new scientific study led by the USGS. 
 

December 20, 2018

Image of the Week - Letters to the North Pole

Unlike the South Pole, the geographic North Pole does not lie on a land mass. The Earth’s northern axis of rotation is in the Arctic Ocean, covered by shifting sea ice.

Landsat does not image the North Pole, which makes it an imperfect investigative tool for the detection of Santa’s workshop. 

It does, however, collect imagery over North Pole, Alaska, a small

...
December 13, 2018

Aquatic Ecosystem Vulnerability to Fire and Climate Change

Fire is the dominant ecological disturbance process in boreal forests (coniferous forests consisting mostly of pines, spruces, and larches) and fire frequency, size and severity are increasing in Alaska owing to climate warming. However, interactions among fire, climate, permafrost, vegetation and hydrologic and watershed processes are poorly understood, yet critical for

...
2018 Potter Hill landslide 2, Anchorage, AK
December 7, 2018

2018 Potter Hill landslide 2, Anchorage, AK

Landslide from bluff below rail grade north of Rabbit Creek. Main scarp of slump/flow slide at Potter Hill. Railroad grade is to the left, tidal flat to the right. Note ponded drainage and disrupted slide material.

2018 Anchorage Earthquake

Chugiak extensional cracks, Chugiak, AK
December 5, 2018

Chugiak extensional cracks, Chugiak, AK

Extensional cracking and settling around private residence in Chugiak.

2018 Anchorage Earthquake

Ground crack at Sunset Park, Anchorage, AK
December 4, 2018

Ground crack at Sunset Park, Anchorage, AK

Crack observed in 2018 along headscarp of 1964 Government Hill landslide.

2018 Anchorage Earthquake

2018 Potter Hill landslide 1, Anchorage, AK
December 1, 2018

2018 Potter Hill landslide 1, Anchorage, AK

Slumping along the Alaska Railroad right-of-way evolved into long-runout landslides. The same area failed in earthquakes in 1954 and 1964.

2018 Anchorage Earthquake

Eagle River landslides, Eagle River, AK
December 1, 2018

Eagle River landslides, Eagle River, AK

Superficial slides along Eagle River east of Eagle River Loop Road. 

2018 Anchorage Earthquake

Eklutna Dam after 2018 Anchorage earthquake
December 1, 2018

Eklutna Dam after 2018 Anchorage earthquake

Eklutna Lake dam appeared to be undamaged the day after the earthquake; overflights of the lake showed no landslides impacted the lake shoreline.

November 30, 2018

Shaking of Frontier Building, M7.0 November 30, 2018, Anchorage Quake

This video presents a visualization of how the Frontier Building in Anchorage, Alaska, shook during the moment magnitude (Mw) 7.0 November 30, 2018, Anchorage, Alaska, earthquake. The building was instrumented by U.S. Geological Survey to obtain data to study its behavior and performance during strong shaking. Such data are useful in making decisions about improving the

...

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 244
On top of North America!
July 23, 2015

A team of four climbers has recently returned from the highest point in North America with new survey data to determine a more precise summit height of Mount McKinley. It is anticipated the new elevation finding will be announced in late August.

Image: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Vessel Seen Through Bird Flock
July 16, 2015

The U.S. Geological Survey today released the North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database — a massive online resource compiling the results of 40 years of surveys by biologists from the United States, Canada, Japan and Russia. The database documents the abundance and distribution of 160 seabird and 41 marine mammal species over a 10 million-square-mile region of the North Pacific.

Image: Long-Range Radar Station and Landfill
July 1, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — In a new study published today, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey found that the remote northern Alaska coast has some of the highest shoreline erosion rates in the world. Analyzing over half a century of shoreline change data, scientists found the pattern is extremely variable with most of the coast retreating at rates of more than 1 meter a year.

Polar Bear Ecoregions: In the Seasonal Ice Ecoregion
June 30, 2015

Greenhouse gas emissions remain the primary threat to the preservation of polar bear populations worldwide. This conclusion holds true under both a reduced greenhouse gas emission scenario that stabilizes climate warming and another scenario where emissions and warming continue at the current pace, according to updated U.S. Geological Survey research models.

Mount McKinley landscape
June 15, 2015

A new GPS survey of Mount McKinley, the highest point in North America, will update the commonly accepted elevation of McKinley’s peak, 20,320 ft. The last survey was completed in 1953.

USGS science for a changing world logo
June 8, 2015

North America may have once been attached to Australia, according to research just published in Lithosphere and spearheaded by U.S. Geological Survey geologist James Jones and his colleagues at Bucknell University and Colorado School of Mines.

Map of basement domains
April 23, 2015

A map showing the many different pieces of Earth’s crust that comprise the nation’s geologic basement is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS
April 8, 2015

A new scientific synthesis suggests a gradual, prolonged release of greenhouse gases from permafrost soils in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, which may afford society more time to adapt to environmental changes, say scientists in a paper published in Nature today. 

Image: Polar Bear at Rest
April 1, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A team of scientists led by the U.S. Geological Survey found that polar bears, increasingly forced on shore due to sea ice loss, may be eating terrestrial foods including berries, birds and eggs, but any nutritional gains are limited to a few individuals and likely cannot compensate for lost opportunities to consume their traditional, lipid-rich prey—ice seals.

Illustration showing migratory bird paths across the Pacific
March 31, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — In a new study published today, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service harnessed a new type of DNA technology to investigate avian influenza viruses in Alaska.

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.