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: 171
Date published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

Long-Term Coastal Change

Goals of this task include developing and improving coastal-change assessments and supporting long-term planning and decision making to ensure sustainable coastal economies, infrastructure, and ecosystems.

Date published: January 10, 2018
Status: Active

USGS Research Vessel Alaskan Gyre

The R/V Alaskan Gyre is a 50-foot fiberglass seiner that has been converted into a versatile research vessel to provide USGS scientists and collaborators with access to remote marine areas of Alaska and serve as a mobile laboratory.  The vessel was built by Ledford Marine of Marysville, Washington in 1989 and is named after the Alaskan Gyre, a series of wind driven currents that...

Date published: December 18, 2017
Status: Active

Polar Bear Maternal Denning

Pregnant polar bears enter maternity dens in October/November, give birth to cubs in December/January, and exit dens in March/April. Historically, most polar bears from the Southern Beaufort Sea (SBS) population constructed maternity dens on the sea ice.  Over the last three decades, as sea ice has become thinner and prone to fragmentation, there has been a landward shift in the distribution...

Date published: December 15, 2017
Status: Active

Distribution and Movements of Polar Bears

Polar bears are tied to the sea ice for nearly all of their life cycle functions. Most important of these is foraging, or access to food. Polar bears almost exclusively eat seals, and they are equally as dependent upon the sea for their nutrition as are seals, whales, and other aquatic mammals. Polar bears are not aquatic, however, and their only access to the seals is from the surface of the...

Date published: December 15, 2017
Status: Active

Polar Bear Population Dynamics

Information on the status and trends of polar bear populations are needed to inform management of polar bears under US laws and international agreements. The USGS maintains a long-term research program focused on the population dynamics of the southern Beaufort Sea polar bear population.  In addition, the USGS collaborates with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in population studies in the...

Date published: December 15, 2017
Status: Active

Health and Energetics of Polar Bears

Research in this focal area is centered on (i) collecting data on a variety of systems that help determine and mediate polar bear health and energetics, and (ii) developing monitoring and surveillance programs for detecting changes in population health over time. Additionally, this work will allow us to develop an understanding of how polar bear populations will respond to a variety of...

Date published: December 7, 2017
Status: Active

Chilkat River

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

Contacts: Jeff Conaway
Date published: December 7, 2017
Status: Active

Alsek River

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

Contacts: Jeff Conaway
Date published: December 7, 2017
Status: Active

Unuk River Super Gage

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

Contacts: Jeff Conaway
Date published: December 7, 2017
Status: Active

Stikine River

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

Contacts: Jeff Conaway
Date published: December 7, 2017
Status: Active

Taku River

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

Contacts: Jeff Conaway

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report
Filter Total Items: 2,445
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Year Published: 2019

Effects of ocean climate on the length and condition of forage fish in the Gulf of Alaska

Climatic drivers of the size and body condition of forage fish in the North Pacific are poorly known. We hypothesized that length and condition of forage fish in the Gulf of Alaska (GoA) should vary in relation to ocean temperature on multiple scales. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed morphometric data for capelin (Mallotus catervarius) and...

Sarah Ann Thompson; Marisol Garcia-Reyes; William Sydeman; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Scott Hatch; Piatt, John F.

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Year Published: 2019

Circumpolar patterns of Arctic freshwater fish biodiversity: A baseline for monitoring

1. Climate change, biological invasions, and anthropogenic disturbance pose a threat to the biodiversity and function of Arctic freshwater ecosystems. Understanding potential changes in fish species distribution and richness is necessary, given the great importance of fish to the function of freshwater ecosystems and as a resource to humans....

Laske, Sarah M.; Amundsen, Per-Arne; Christoffersen, Kirsten; Erkinaro, Jaakko; Guðbergsson, Guðni; Hayden, Brian; Heino, Jani; Holmgren, Kerstin; Kahilainen, Kimmo K.; Lento, Jennifer; Orell, Panu; Östergren, Johan; Power, Michael; Rafikov, Ruslan; Romakkaniemi, Atso; Svenning, Martin-A.; Swanson, Heidi K.; Whitman, Matthew; Zimmerman, Christian E.

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Year Published: 2019

Reanalysis of the U.S. Geological Survey Benchmark Glaciers: Long-term insight into climate forcing of glacier mass balance

Mountain glaciers integrate climate processes to provide an unmatched signal of regional climate forcing. However, extracting the climate signal via intercomparison of regional glacier mass balance records can be problematic when methods for extrapolating and calibrating direct glaciological measurements are mixed or inconsistent. To address this...

O'Neel, Shad; McNeil, Christopher J.; Sass, Louis C.; Florentine, Caitlyn; Baker, Emily; Peitzsch, Erich; McGrath, Daniel J; Fountain, Andrew G.; Fagre, Daniel B.

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Year Published: 2019

DNA Sequencing confirms Tundra Bean Goose (Anser serrirostris serrirostris) occurrence in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley in Arkansas, USA

—First sighting records of rare occurrences may become increasingly important for recognizing changes in distribution, changes in migratory strategies, or increases in hybridization. We focumented the first record of a Tundra Bean Goose in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, the outlet and historic floodplain for much of North America and one of the...

Osborne, Douglas C.; Wilson, Robert E.; Carlson, Lindsay; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Talbot, Sandra L.

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Year Published: 2019

Links between tectonics, magmatism, and mineralization in the formation of Late Cretaceous porphyry systems in the Yukon-Tanana upland, eastern Alaska, USA

Cretaceous-Paleocene porphyry Cu(±Mo±Au) occurrences are scattered throughout the Yukon-Tanana upland in eastern Alaska. Known occurrences in eastern Alaska are poorly characterized, despite a resurgence in exploration. Porphyry deposits in the upland are emplaced into structurally complex metamorphic rocks representing a variety of tectonic...

Kreiner, Douglas C.; Jones, James V.; Todd, Erin; Holm-Denoma, Christopher; Caine, Jonathan; Benowitz, Jeff

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Year Published: 2019

Factors promoting the recolonization of Oahu, Hawaii, by Bristle-thighed Curlews

Suitable habitat for Arctic-breeding migratory shorebirds is decreasing at their traditional wintering islands and atolls in the Central Pacific Flyway (i.e., Oceania) due to habitat degradation, reclamation, and sea-level rise. To maintain the size and resiliency of their populations, migratory shorebirds will need to expand their winter ranges...

Tibbitts, Lee; Ruthrauff, Daniel R.; Underwood, Jared G.; Patil, Vijay P.

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Year Published: 2019

Reference intervals for blood-based biochemical analytes of southern Beaufort Sea polar bears

Accurate reference intervals (RI) for commonly measured blood-based analytes are essential for health monitoring programs. Baseline values for a panel of analytes can be used to monitor physiologic and pathophysiologic processes such as organ function, electrolyte balance, and protein catabolism. Our reference population includes 651 serum...

Fry, Tricia; Friedrichs, Kristen R.; Atwood, Todd C.; Duncan, Colleen G.; Simac, Kristin S.; Goldberg, Tony

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Year Published: 2019

Evaluation of maternal penning to improve calf survival in the Chisana Caribou Herd

Predation is a major limiting factor for most small sedentary caribou (Rangifer tarandus) populations, particularly those that are threatened or endangered across the southern extent of the species’ range. Thus, reducing predation impacts is often a management goal for improving the status of small caribou populations, and lethal predator removal...

Adams, Layne G.; Farnell, Richard G.; Oakley, Michelle P.; Jung, Thomas; Larocque, Lorne; Lortie, Grant; McLelland, Jamie; Reid, Mason; Roffler, Gretchen H.; Russell, Don

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Year Published: 2019

Alaska Geochemical Database Version 3.0 (AGDB3)—Including “Best Value” Data Compilations for Rock, Sediment, Soil, Mineral, and Concentrate Sample Media

The Alaska Geochemical Database Version 3.0 (AGDB3) contains new geochemical data compilations in which each geologic material sample has one “best value” determination for each analyzed species, greatly improving speed and efficiency of use. Like the Alaska Geochemical Database Version 2.0 before it, the AGDB3 was created and designed to compile...

Granitto, Matthew; Wang, Bronwen; Shew, Nora B.; Karl, Susan M.; Labay, Keith A.; Werdon, Melanie B.; Seitz, Susan S.; Hoppe, John E.
Granitto, M., Wang, B., Shew, N.B., Karl, S.M., Labay, K.A., Werdon, M.B., Seitz, S.S., and Hoppe, J.E., 2019, Alaska Geochemical Database Version 3.0 (AGDB3)—Including “best value” data compilations for rock, sediment, soil, mineral, and concentrate sample media: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1117, 33 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ds1117.

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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.

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: 974
A man stands smiling on a high coastal bluff near solar panels and a pole supported by guy wires, with a camera mounted on top.
July 8, 2018

Video camera installation, Barter Island

USGS oceanographer Shawn Harrison poses in front of the USGS video camera installation atop the coastal bluff of Barter Island in northern Alaska.

Men and women sitting in a room with tables and chairs listening to a woman talk, she's pointing at a screen on the wall.
July 7, 2018

USGS hosts community outreach event on Barter Island

USGS oceanographer Li Erikson speaks at a community outreach event on Barter Island, Alaska, to present results from earlier USGS studies and to discuss ongoing USGS research.

A coastal cliff is covered in grasses and some snow, and chunks of the cliff are beginning to crack and fall into the ocean.
July 7, 2018

Camera set-up on Barter Island coastal bluffs

For a short study period, two video cameras overlooked the coast from atop the coastal bluff of Barter Island in northern Alaska. The purpose was to observe and quantify coastal processes such as wave run-up, development of rip channels, bluff erosion, and movement of sandbars and ice floes. The cameras and the pole they're mounted to can be seen atop the bluff.

USGS ecologists map and monitor vegetation and landscape characteristics at long-term ecological monitoring sites on the YKD
July 7, 2018

USGS ecologists map monitor vegetation and landscape characteristics

USGS ecologists map and monitor vegetation and landscape characteristics at long-term ecological monitoring sites on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, AK

A man wearing cold-weather gear and standing on a high coastal bluff points to an instrument that is mounted on short a pole.
July 5, 2018

Installing ground-shaking detection instrument

USGS scientist Cordell Johnson points to the Raspberry Shake, a sensitive instrument used to detect ground shaking. Johnson mounted the Raspberry Shake to an aluminum pole which he will then drive into the ground to bury the instrument beneath the tundra. This process will help isolate it from the wind.

A small instrument with a USGS logo sticker with wires coming out of it is in a hole in the ground.
July 5, 2018

Sensitive instrument used to detect ground shaking

This device, called a Raspberry Shake, is a sensitive instrument used to detect ground shaking. It is being carefully buried in this shallow hole in the tundra, to isolate it from wind.

View of muddy, eroding coastal bluffs with a visible permafrost layer and a tumbling tundra layer on top.
July 3, 2018

Eroding bluffs in Kaktovik

View looking east of the actively eroding coastal permafrost bluff on Barter Island, which is located on the northern coast of Alaska.

View of muddy, eroding coastal bluffs with a visible permafrost layer and tumbling tundra on top.
July 3, 2018

Actively eroding coastal permafrost bluff on Barter Island

Photograph of the actively eroding coastal permafrost bluff on Barter Island, located on the northern coast of Alaska.

Two people stand atop a coastal cliff where the grassy edges are beginning to fall off onto the beach below.
July 3, 2018

Barter Island coastal bluff studies

Scientists Cordell Johnson, left, and Li Erikson stand atop the coastal bluff of Barter Island in northern Alaska, a coastal area that is experiencing very high rates of erosion.

Two birds grabbing fish out of the ocean
June 28, 2018

Black-legged Kittiwakes forage on Pacific sand lance and capelin

Black-legged Kittiwakes forage on Pacific sand lance and capelin near their colony on Gull Island, Cook Inlet on June 28, 2018. 

A female McKay's Bunting songbird standing on the ground
June 17, 2018

Female McKay's Bunting on St. Matthew Island

Female McKay's Bunting on St. Matthew Island.

A male McKay's Bunting songbird sitting on a rock
June 14, 2018

Male McKay's Bunting on St. Matthew Island

Male McKay's Bunting on St. Matthew Island

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 252
USGS
July 9, 2014

Monitoring wildlife in the Arctic is difficult. Study areas are cold, barren and often inaccessible. For decades scientists have struggled to study animals, like polar bears, which live in these remote areas. Now researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey have begun testing a new, yet counterintuitive solution – rather then get close to the animals, monitor them from afar. 

USGS science for a changing world logo
July 3, 2014

As part of a continuing earthquake hazard study in the Seattle urban area, the U. S. Geological Survey will be conducting a series of seismic-reflection surveys starting July 10 on Mercer Island and the city of Seattle, Washington. The studies will conclude on or around July 19.

USGS science for a changing world logo
July 3, 2014

Starting on July 5 (weather permitting), U.S. Geological Survey scientists will conduct a high-resolution airborne survey over the next 30 days to study the distribution of minerals exposed at the surface in various parts of Alaska.

USGS science for a changing world logo
July 3, 2014

Starting on July 5 (weather permitting), U.S. Geological Survey scientists will conduct a high-resolution airborne survey over the next 30 days to study the distribution of minerals exposed at the surface in various parts of Alaska.

USGS
June 6, 2014

The first "point of view" video from a polar bear on Arctic sea ice has just become available courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey. 

USGS science for a changing world logo
May 28, 2014

The U.S. Geological Survey is reducing its footprint on the Alaska Pacific University campus by closing the Map Store @ USGS to lower rent costs. The store will remain open through Oct. 31, 2014.

2014 US Topo map of the Keedysville, Maryland area.
May 22, 2014

US Topo maps now have a crisper, cleaner design - enhancing readability of maps for online and printed use. Map symbols are easier to read over the digital aerial photograph layer whether the imagery is turned on or off.

Lidar image showing the upper parts of the landslide that occurred in northwest Washington on March 22, 2014.
May 14, 2014

Want to know how elevation will benefit your state? The USGS National Geospatial Program is advancing the 3D Elevation Program, known as 3DEP, in response to the growing need for high-quality three-dimensional representations of the Nation’s natural and constructed features.

USGS science for a changing world logo
April 30, 2014

The coastal geology of Simeonof Island, the southeastern-most island in the Shumagin archipelago of the Aleutian Islands, suggests the region has not experienced a great megathrust earthquake in at least the past 3,400 years.

US Topo map of the Cass, West Virginia quadrangle, March 2014.
April 24, 2014

US Topo maps now have a crisper, cleaner design - enhancing readability of maps for online and printed use. Map symbols are easier to read over the digital aerial photograph layer whether the imagery is turned on or off. Improvements to symbol definitions (color, line thickness, line symbols, area fills), layer order, and annotation fonts are additional features of this supplemental release.

USGS
March 27, 2014

Ever since the great magnitude 9.2 earthquake shook Alaska 50 years ago today, scientists have suspected that the quake's rupture halted at the southwestern tip of Kodiak Island due to a natural barrier.

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.