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: 174
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...

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.

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
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
Date published: April 27, 2018
Status: Active

Terrestrial Ecosystems

The USGS conducts research on trust Department of Interior migratory bird and mammal species and their habitats to inform agencies such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service in their natural resource management decisions.

Date published: April 26, 2018
Status: Active

Marine Ecosystems

The USGS conducts research on marine wildlife, habitats, and processes to provide science to inform our partners as they make decisions relative to species status, resource use, and human activities.

Date published: April 26, 2018
Status: Active

Hazards in Alaska

A major goal of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is to reduce the vulnerability of the people and areas most at risk from natural hazards. Working with partners throughout all sectors of society, the USGS provides information, products, and knowledge to help build more resilient communities. This site provides important links to a number of hazard related internet sites that provide important...

Date published: April 25, 2018
Status: Active

Arctic Lake Food Webs

From 2011 to 2013 we investigated freshwater food webs of Arctic Coastal Plain lakes in Alaska to improve our understanding how Arctic freshwater food webs may respond to landscape change the warmer, drier future.

Date published: April 24, 2018
Status: Active

Ecosystem Shifts in Arctic Seas

In addition to the direct effects of sea ice loss on walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) and polar bears (Ursus maritimus) that use ice as a platform, the decline of Arctic sea ice is predicted to promote a fundamental ecosystem shift from benthic animals that forage on the sea floor to pelagic animals that forage near the sea surface. 

Date published: April 24, 2018
Status: Active

Lake Trout Biochronologies as Long-term Climate and Productivity Indicators in Alaska Lake Ecosystems

High latitude ecosystems are among the most vulnerable to long-term climate change, yet continuous, multidecadal indicators by which to gauge effects on biology are scarce, especially in freshwater environments.

Contacts: Vanessa von Biela, Ph.D., Christian E Zimmerman, Ph.D., Bryan Black, Randy J. Brown, Dan Young
Date published: April 19, 2018
Status: Active

Primary Production Sources and Bottom-up Limitations in Nearshore Ecosystems

Kelp forests are among the world’s most productive habitats, but recent evidence suggests that production is highly variable.

Contacts: James L Bodkin, Christian E Zimmerman, Ph.D., David Douglas, Gordon Kruse, Franz Mueter
Date published: April 18, 2018
Status: Active

Hydro-Ecology of Arctic Thawing (HEAT): Ecology

Permafrost thaw is leading to a myriad of changes in physical and chemical conditions throughout the Arctic.

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: 2,679
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Year Published: 2021

Freezing in a warming climate: Marked declines of a subnivean hibernator after a snow drought

Recent snow droughts associated with unusually warm winters are predicted to increase in frequency and affect species dependent upon snowpack for winter survival. Changes in populations of some cold‐adapted species have been attributed to heat stress or indirect effects on habitat from unusually warm summers, but little is known about the...

Johnston, Aaron; Christophersen, Roger G; Beever, Erik A.; Ransom, Jason I.

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Year Published: 2021

Evidence for continental-scale dispersal of antimicrobial resistant bacteria by landfill-foraging gulls

Anthropogenic inputs into the environment may serve as sources of antimicrobial resistant bacteria and alter the ecology and population dynamics of synanthropic wild animals by providing supplemental forage. In this study, we used a combination of phenotypic and genomic approaches to characterize antimicrobial resistant indicator bacteria, animal...

Ahlstrom, Christina; van Toor, Mariëlle L.; Woksepp, Hanna; Chandler, Jeffrey C; Reed, John; Reeves, Andrew B.; Waldenström, Jonas; Franklin, Alan B.; Douglas, David C.; Bonnedahl, Jonas; Ramey, Andrew M.

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Year Published: 2021

Identification of seasonal streamflow regimes and streamflow drivers for daily and peak flows in Alaska

Alaska is among northern high‐latitude regions where accelerated climate change is expected to impact streamflow properties, including seasonality and primary flow drivers. Evaluating changes to streamflow, including flood characteristics, across this large and diverse environment can be improved by identifying the distribution and influence of...

Curran, Janet H.; Frances E. Biles

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Year Published: 2021

The Alaska convergent margin backstop splay fault zone, a potential large tsunami generator between the frontal prism and continental framework

The giant tsunami that swept the Pacific from Alaska to Antarctica in 1946 was generated along one of three Alaska Trench instrumentally recorded aftershock areas following great and giant earthquakes. Aftershock areas were investigated during the past decade with multibeam bathymetry, ocean bottom seismograph wide‐angle seismic, reprocessed...

von Huene, Roland; Miller, John J.; Krabbenhoeft, Anne

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Year Published: 2021

Permafrost promotes shallow groundwater flow and warmer headwater streams

The presence of permafrost influences the flow paths of water through Arctic landscapes and thereby has the potential to impact stream discharge and thermal regimes. Observations from eleven headwater streams in Alaska showed that July water temperatures were higher in catchments with more near‐surface permafrost. We apply a fully coupled...

Sjoberg, Ylva; Janke, Adam K.; Painter, S; Coonradt, E.; Carey, Michael P.; O'Donnell, Jonathan A.; Koch, Joshua C.

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Year Published: 2021

Shifts in the wintering distribution and abundance of Emperor Geese in Alaska

For wildlife species that winter at northern latitudes, harsh overwinter conditions can play an important role in population dynamics. Recent changes in global temperatures have resulted in distributional shifts of wildlife species, as well as amelioration of winter climates in northern landscapes. The emperor goose (Anser canagicus), an endemic...

Uher-Koch, Brian D.; Buccheit, Raymond M.; Eldermire, Charles R.; Wilson, Heather M.; Schmutz, Joel A.

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Year Published: 2021

Record fledging count from a seven-egg clutch in the Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)

Cooper's Hawks (Accipiter cooperii) typically lay 3–5 eggs per clutch, rarely 6 eggs, and there are 2 accounts of 7-egg clutches and 1 record of a maximum 8-egg clutch for the species. Brood sizes of 3–5 young are common and the previous maximum brood count is 6 young. However, in 2019, we found an urban nest in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, with 7...

Rosenfield, Robert N.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Riddle-Berntsen, Ann Elizabeth; Kuhel, Evan

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Year Published: 2021

Generation of calc-alkaline magmas during crystallization at high oxygen fugacity: An experimental and petrologic study of tephras from Buldir Volcano, western Aleutian Arc, Alaska, USA

Despite agreement that calc-alkaline volcanism occurs at subduction zones and is responsible for the genesis of continental landmasses, there is no consensus on the source of the Fe-depleted signature hallmark to calc-alkaline volcanism. In this study, we utilize mafic tephras collected from Buldir Volcano to address the genesis of strongly calc-...

Waters, Laura; Cottrell, Elizabeth; Coombs, Michelle L.; Kelley, Katherine A.

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Year Published: 2021

Multiple physical properties of gas hydrate-bearing sediments recovered from Alaska North Slope 2018 Hydrate-01 Stratigraphic Test Well

Knowledge of the petrophysical and geomechanical properties of gas hydrate-bearing sediments is essential for predicting reservoir responses to gas production from gas hydrate reservoirs. In December 2018, Stratigraphic Test Well Hydrate-01 was drilled in the western part of the Prudhoe Bay Unit, Alaska North Slope, as part of the technical...

Yoneda, Jun; Jin, Yusuke; Muraoka, Michihiro; Oshima, Motoi; Suzuki, Kiyofumi; Walker, Mike; Donald Westacott; Otsuki, Satoshi; Kumagai, Kenichi; Collett, Timothy; Boswell, Ray; Okinaka, Norihiro

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Year Published: 2021

Seabird‐induced natural mortality of forage fish varies with fish abundance: Evidence from five ecosystems

Forage fish populations often undergo large and rapid fluctuations in abundance. However, most of their predators are buffered against such fluctuations owing to their slower pace of life, which allows them to maintain more stable populations, at least during short periods of food scarcity. In this study, we investigated top‐down processes exerted...

Saraux, Claire; Sydeman, William J.; Piatt, John F.; Anker-Nilssen, Tycho; Hentati-Sundberg, Jonas; Bertrand, Sophie; Cury, Philippe M.; Furness, Robert W.; Miller, James A.; Österblom, Henrik; Passuni, Giannina; Roux, Jean-Paul; Shannon, Lynne; Crawford, Robert J.M.

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Year Published: 2021

Diversity of diatoms, benthic macroinvertebrates, and fish varies in response to different environmental correlates in Arctic rivers across North America

Climate change poses a significant threat to Arctic freshwater biodiversity, but impacts depend upon the strength of organism response to climate‐related drivers. Currently, there is insufficient knowledge about Arctic freshwater biodiversity patterns to guide assessment, prediction, and management of biodiversity change.As part of the Circumpolar...

Lento, Jennifer; Laske, Sarah M.; Lavoie, Isabelle; Bogan, Daniel; Brua, Bob; Campeau, Stéphane; Chin, Krista; Culp, Joseph M.; Levenstein, Brianna; Power, Michael; Saulnier-Talbot, Émilie; Shaftel, Rebecca; Swanson, Heidi K.; Whitman, Matthew; Zimmerman, Christian E.

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Year Published: 2021

Lake trout growth is sensitive to spring temperature in southwest Alaska lakes

In high‐latitude lakes, air temperature is an important driver of ice cover thickness and duration, which in turn influence water temperature and primary production supporting lake consumers and predators. In lieu of multidecadal observational records necessary to assess the response of lakes to long‐term warming, we used otolith‐based growth...

von Biela, Vanessa R.; Black, Bryan A.; Young, Daniel B.; van der Sleen, Peter; Bartz, Krista K.; Zimmerman, Christian E.

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
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 BP Exploration Building, M7 Nov. 30, 2018, Anchorage Quake

This video presents a visualization of how the BP Exploration 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 (USGS) to obtain data to study its behavior and performance during strong shaking. Such data are useful in making decisions about

November 30, 2018

Shaking of Atwood Building, Mw 7.0 November 30, 2018, Anchorage quake

This video presents a visualization of how the Atwood Building in Anchorage, Alaska, shook during the Mw 7.0 November 30, 2018, Anchorage, Alaska, earthquake. The building was instrumented by the 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 performance of the

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

View from the sky of a very small, flat island that is completely man-made with a petroleum processing plant on it.
October 31, 2018

Endicott Island, Alaska

Endicott Island, and artificial island built in 1987 by Alaska Interstate Construction and is used by BP and Hilcorp Alaska for petroleum production.

Tanana River at Big Delta sonar and debris on a bridge
October 3, 2018

Tanana River at Big Delta sonar and debris on a bridge

Tanana River at Big Delta sonar and debris on a bridge

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

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 255
collage of scientists conducting science related to each mission are
August 10, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — In the 20th century, Baranof Island in Southeastern Alaska has drawn attention for its gold, chrome and nickel deposits, timber industry, potential activity of the dormant Mount Edgecumbe volcano, and for numerous commercially developed hot springs.

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.

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.