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: 175
Date published: November 1, 2019
Status: Active

Swan Research

USGS research on swans in Alaska has focused on pathogens, contaminants, and demographic rates in each of the different breeding areas of Alaska. The vastly different migration patterns of swans in Alaska means that there are multiple factors on the wintering grounds and during migration that may influence population size and trends.

Date published: October 27, 2019
Status: Active

Sitka, AK

On August 18, 2015, heavy rainfall triggered around 60 landslides in and around the city of Sitka, AK. The landslides moved downslope rapidly; several were damaging and one of these demolished a home on South Kramer Avenue killing three people.

Contacts: Ben Mirus, Rex Baum
Date published: October 23, 2019
Status: Active


Probabilistic seismic hazard maps have been prepared for Alaska portraying ground motion values (peak ground acceleration and spectral amplitude at periods of 0.2, 0.3 and 1.0 seconds) at probabilities of exceedance of 2% and 10% in 50 years. Preparation of these maps followed the same general strategy as that followed for the U.S.G.S. seismic hazard maps of the contiguous United States,...

Date published: October 16, 2019
Status: Active

Beavers Impacting Tundra Ecosystems (BITE)

The range expansion of the North American beaver (Castor canadensis) has implications for water quality, aquatic ecosystems, and fisheries in Arctic streams.

Contacts: Michael P Carey, Ph.D., Joshua C Koch, Ph.D., Brett A Poulin, PhD, Jonathan O’Donnell, PhD, Ken Tape, PhD
Date published: October 7, 2019
Status: Active

Community Outreach and Engagement

It is critically important that Indigenous peoples, rural communities, and Alaska co-management councils are kept informed of USGS research activities and findings. Involvement of and collaboration with students also provides valuable perspectives to USGS science. This page offers information on how USGS communicates its activities and seeks opportunities to gain important perspectives from...

Date published: September 25, 2019
Status: Active

Alaska Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI)

Our objective is to provide a strategic framework for planning, coordination, and execution of the USGS Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI) in Alaska. Earth MRI aims to improve knowledge of the U.S. geologic framework through new geological and geophysical mapping and to identify areas that have the potential to contain undiscovered critical mineral resources.

Date published: September 11, 2019
Status: Active

Seabird Die-offs in Alaska

Beginning in 2015, large numbers of dead seabirds have been appearing on beaches in most marine areas of Alaska. Although seabird die-offs are known to occur sporadically (e.g. 1970, 1989, 1993, 1997/1998, and 2004) in Alaska, these recent die-offs have been distinguished from past events by their increased frequency, duration, geographic extent, and number of different species involved. 

Date published: September 9, 2019
Status: Active

Tracking Data for Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors)

Available here are tracking data of Blue-winged Teal, a duck species that breeds throughout much of North America and whose wintering range includes neotropical areas of the Caribbean and Central and South America, thus providing a migratory link between the continents of North and South America. These data were collected to better understand the timing and patterns of migratory movement of...

Date published: September 5, 2019
Status: Active

Tracking Data for Northern Pintails (Anas acuta)

Available here are tracking data of Northern Pintails, a duck species that, in Alaska, nests throughout the state and in adjacent regions of Russia and Canada. These data were collected to better understand the timing and patterns of migratory movements of Northern Pintails from wintering grounds in Japan as part of a project on the possible spread of Eurasian forms of avian influenza to North...

Date published: August 25, 2019
Status: Active

Condition of Forage Fish in Prince William Sound During the Marine Heatwave

Changes in the body condition of a key forage fish species, Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes personatus), are examined to understand how energy transfer to predators may have been disrupted during the recent marine heatwave in the North Pacific (late 2013 to mid 2016).

Date published: August 21, 2019
Status: Completed

Potential Landslide Paths and Implications for Tsunami Hazards in Glacier Bay, Alaska – An Initial Investigation

Glacier Bay and its inlets are a popular destination for cruise ships and passenger boats; about 540,000 people visited Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve (GBNPP) in 2017. A typical tour of the Bay traverses the entire length up to the glacier calving viewpoints in the Johns Hopkins and Tarr Inlets.  A 2018 article “Landslides and Giant Waves” by the National Park Service (NPS) states, “...

Date published: August 2, 2019
Status: Active

Cook Inlet Seabird and Forage Fish Study

A massive die-off of Common Murres was documented in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) during the fall and winter of 2015-2016 in association with a record-breaking marine heat wave in the GOA.

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: 2,691
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Year Published: 2021

Growth of greater white-fronted goose goslings relates to population dynamics at multiple scales

The abundance of greater white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons frontalis) on the Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) of northern Alaska, USA, has more than tripled since the late 1990s; however, recent rate of annual population growth has declined as population size increased, which may indicate white-fronted geese on the ACP are approaching carrying...

Fondell, Thomas F; Meixell, Brandt W.; Flint, Paul L.

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Year Published: 2021

Negligible evidence for detrimental effects of Leucocytozoon infections among Emperor Geese (Anser canagicus) breeding on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska

Emperor Geese (Anser canagicus) are iconic waterfowl endemic to Alaska and adjacent areas of northeastern Russia that are considered to be near threatened by the International Union for Conservation. This species has been identified as harboring diverse viruses and parasites which have, at times, been associated with disease in other...

Ramey, Andrew M.; Bucheit, Raymond; Uher-Koch, Brian D.; Reed, John; Pacheco, M. Andreina; Escalante, Ananias; Schmutz, Joel

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Year Published: 2021

Assessment of barrier island morphological change in northern Alaska

Arctic barriers islands are highly dynamic features influenced by a variety of oceanographic, geologic, and environmental factors. Many Alaskan barrier islands and spits serve as habitat and protection for native species, as well as shelter the coast from waves and storms that cause flooding and degradation of coastal villages. This study...

Hamilton, Anna I.; Gibbs, Ann E.; Erikson, Li H.; Engelstad, Anita C.
Hamilton, A.I., Gibbs, A.E., Erikson, L.H., and Engelstad, A.C., 2021, Assessment of barrier island morphological change in northern Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1074, 28 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20211074.

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Year Published: 2021

Dynamic selection for forage quality and quantity in response to phenology and insects in an Arctic ungulate

Spatiotemporal variation in forage is a primary driver of ungulate behavior, yet little is known about the nutritional components they select, and how selection varies across the growing season with changes in forage quality and quantity. We addressed these uncertainties in barren-ground caribou (Rangifer tarandus), which experience their most...

Johnson, Heather E.; Golden, Trevor; Adams, Layne G.; Gustine, David; Lenart, Elizabeth A.; Barboza, Perry

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Year Published: 2021

Storm-scale and seasonal dynamics of carbon export from a nested subarctic watershed underlain by permafrost

Subarctic catchments underlain by permafrost sequester a major stock of frozen organic carbon (C), which may be mobilized as the Arctic warms. Warming can impact C export from thawing soils by altering the depth and timing of runoff related to changing storm and fire regimes and altered soil thaw depths. We investigated C export in a first order...

Koch, Joshua C.; Dornblaser, Mark; Striegl, Rob

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Year Published: 2021

Energetic and health effects of protein overconsumption constrain dietary adaptation in an apex predator

Studies of predator feeding ecology commonly focus on energy intake. However, captive predators have been documented to selectively feed to optimize macronutrient intake. As many apex predators experience environmental changes that affect prey availability, limitations on selective feeding can affect energetics and health. We estimated the protein...

Rode, Karyn D.; Robbins, Charles T.; Stricker, Craig A.; Taras, Brian D.; Tollefson, Troy N

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Year Published: 2021

The spatial-temporal relationship of blue-winged teal to domestic poultry: Movement state modeling of a highly mobile avian influenza host

1. Migratory waterfowl facilitate long distance dispersal of zoonotic pathogens and are increasingly recognized as contributing to the geographic spread of avian influenza viruses (AIV). AIV are globally distributed and have the potential to produce highly contagious poultry disease, economically impact both large-scale and backyard poultry...

Humphreys, John M.; Douglas, David C.; Ramey, Andrew M.; Mullinax, Jennifer M.; Soos, Catherine; Link, Paul T.; Walther, Patrick; Prosser, Diann

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Year Published: 2021

Late Quaternary deglaciation of Prince William Sound, Alaska

To understand the timing of deglaciation of the northernmost marine-terminating glaciers of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet (CIS), we obtained 26 10Be surface-exposure ages from glacially scoured bedrock surfaces in Prince William Sound (PWS), Alaska. We sampled six elevation transects between sea level and 620 m and spanning a distance of 14 to 70...

Haeussler, Peter; Matmon, Ari; Arnold, Maurice; Aumaitre, Georges; Bourles, Didier; Keddadouche, Karim

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Year Published: 2021

Is the grass always greener? Land surface phenology reveals differences in peak and season-long vegetation productivity responses to climate and management

Vegetation phenology—the seasonal timing and duration of vegetative phases—is controlled by spatiotemporally variable contributions of climatic and environmental factors plus additional potential influence from human management. We used land surface phenology derived from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer and climate data to examine...

Wood, David J. A.; Powell, Scott; Stoy, Paul C.; Thurman, Lindsey Leigh; Beever, Erik A.

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Year Published: 2021

Response of forage plants to alteration of temperature and spring thaw date: Implications for geese in a warming Arctic

Changes in summer temperatures in Arctic Alaska have led to longer and warmer growing seasons over the last three decades. Corresponding with these changes in climate, the abundance and distributions of geese have increased and expanded over the same period. We used an experimental approach to assess the response of goose forage plants to...

Flint, Paul L.; Meixell, Brandt W.

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Year Published: 2021

Global-scale changes to extreme ocean wave events due to anthropogenic warming

Extreme surface ocean waves are often primary drivers of coastal flooding and erosion over various time scales. Hence, understanding future changes in extreme wave events owing to global warming is of socio-economic and environmental significance. However, our current knowledge of potential changes in high-frequency (defined here as having return...

Morim, Joao; Vitousek, Sean; Hemer, Mark; Reguero, Borja; Erikson, Li H.; Casas-Prat, Merce; Wang, Xiaolan L.; Semedo, Alvaro; Mori, Nobuhito; Shimura, Tomoya; Mentaschi, Lorenzo; Timmerman, Ben

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Year Published: 2021

Managing for RADical ecosystem change: Applying the Resist-Accept-Direct (RAD) framework

Ecosystem transformation involves the emergence of persistent ecological or social–ecological systems that diverge, dramatically and irreversibly, from prior ecosystem structure and function. Such transformations are occurring at increasing rates across the planet in response to changes in climate, land use, and other factors. Consequently, a...

Lynch, Abigail; Thompson, Laura; Beever, Erik A.; Engman, Augustin C.; Hawkins Hoffman, Cat; Jackson, Stephen T.; Krabbenhoft, Trevor J. ; Lawrence, David J; Limpinsel, Douglas; Magill, Robert T.; Melvin, Tracy; Morton, John M.; Newman, Robert; Peterson, Jay; Porath, Mark T.; Rahel, Frank J.; Schuurman, Gregor; Sethi, Suresh; Wilkening, Jennifer L.

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: 975
Geologist at Yukon Tanana Uplands Alaska
December 31, 2019

Geologist at Yukon Tanana Uplands Alaska

Geologist at Yukon Tanana Uplands Alaska.  This is part of the Earth MRI project.

Keychain in Inupiaq for USGS outreach activities about bird banding and reporting
December 3, 2019

Keychain in Inupiaq for USGS outreach activities about bird banding

Keychain developed for USGS outreach activities about bird banding and reporting in Inupiaq and English. Inupiaq translation provided by Qaiyaan and Jana Harcharek.

Tundra swan on the Colville River Delta
October 31, 2019

Tundra swan on the Colville River Delta, Alaska

Tundra swan on the Colville River Delta, Alaska 2013.

October 31, 2019

Animation depicting seasonal cycles on Alaska's Arctic bluffs

In the spring, winter sea ice thaws and moves offshore leaving the coast exposed to increased wave action and relatively warm water temperatures that, when in contact with the bluff, erodes the toe of the bluff. Additionally, warm air temperatures during the spring and summer months thaw the upper layers of permafrost causing erosion or sloughing of the bluff face above

October 24, 2019

Climate Adaptation Planning with Alaska-Based Adaptation Tools

The dynamic landscape and climate of Alaska presents many challenges to the over 200 communities that live in rural areas of the state and have a wide variety of resource needs. Coastal and riverine erosion, flooding, wildfire, permafrost dynamics and increasing temperatures act as drivers for many of these landscape changes. Both the Alaska Climate Adaptation Science

Beaver dam and lodge on the Wrench Creek, Noatak National Preserve
October 16, 2019

Beaver dam and lodge on the Wrench Creek, Noatak National Preserve

Beaver dam and lodge on the Wrench Creek, Noatak National Preserve

Beaver dam complex and lodge at the confluence of Wrench Creek and Kelly River, Noatak National Preserve
October 16, 2019

Beaver dam complex and lodge at the confluence

Beaver dam complex and lodge at the confluence of Wrench Creek and Kelly River, Noatak National Preserve

Adult Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) caught in impounded water above beaver dam. >2 5rKM from coast
October 9, 2019

Adult Pacific salmon caught in impounded water above beaver dam

Adult Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) caught in impounded water above beaver dam. >25 rKM (river KM) from coast.

Keychain for USGS outreach activities about bird banding and reporting
September 17, 2019

Keychain for USGS outreach activities about bird banding and reporting

Keychain developed for USGS outreach activities about bird banding and reporting in Yup'ik and English. Yup'ik translation provided by Jakob Sipary, Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP).

Please see description for full content of infographic
September 10, 2019

Gas Hydrates in Alaska 2019

The Alaska North Slope is rich in gas hydrate-bearing formations which contain significant natural gas resources. The USGS has released a geologically based assessment for how much of these resources is technically recoverable.

53.8 trillion cubic feet
Estimate of the undiscovered technically recoverable amount of natural gas that is stored in

Water chemistry measurements on the Alaska Peninsula
September 6, 2019

Hydrologist takes water chemistry measures on the Alaska Peninsula

Laura Hubbard of the USGS Upper Midwest Water Science Center takes water chemistry measures on the Alaska Peninsula as part of research to understand how long influenza viruses remain viable in the environment.  

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

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 255
Image shows a drill rig on the snow against a twilight sky
April 26, 2019

In the far north of Alaska, near the giant Prudhoe Bay oil field, an international research consortium has been studying the potential of an altogether different energy source.  In late December of 2018, drilling operations confirmed the existence of two high-quality reservoirs that were fully saturated with a potential alternative fuel source: gas hydrate.

A man standing on a log in the grass near a bay
March 5, 2019

Recent geological studies of a key section of the Aleutian Island chain of Alaska suggest Aleutian tsunamis may occur more frequently than previously understood.

Map of earthquake in Anchorage, Alaska, November 30, 2018
November 30, 2018

A magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck north of Anchorage, Alaska, on November 30, 2018, at 8:29 a.m. local time (17:29:28 UTC).  For the most up-to-date information, please visit the USGS event page, and for estimates of casualties and damage, visit the USGS Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response (PAGER) website.

man standing on dock next to large white ship
August 6, 2018

Researchers from NOAA, U.S. Geological Survey and their partners have completed the first high-resolution, comprehensive mapping of one of the fastest moving underwater tectonic faults in the world, located in southeastern Alaska. This information will help communities in coastal Alaska and Canada better understand and prepare for the risks from earthquakes and tsunamis that can occur when faults suddenly move.

Animated GIF of polar bears interacting on the ice
February 1, 2018

In June of 2014, the USGS released the first-ever polar bear point-of-view footage, offering a never-seen-before perspective from the top Arctic predator.

Map showing part of southern Alaska and Gulf of Alaska, with orange star in Gulf & white dots strung out along Aleutian Islands
January 30, 2018

One week ago, on January 23rd at 12:31 a.m. local time, Alaskans were rocked by a magnitude 7.9 earthquake, with an epicenter in the Gulf of Alaska, about 350 miles southwest of Anchorage, and about 175 miles southeast of Kodiak Island.

Image shows a map of Florida with USGS groundwater monitoring stations
January 24, 2018

At 12:32 am Alaska time on January 23, 2018, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake shook Alaska residents out of their beds and set off fears of a tsunami all down the West Coast. Fortunately, the tsunami was only a few inches in height, but within an hour of the earthquake in Alaska, waves of a different sort were hitting far away in Florida. 

Regional map showing the Gulf of Alaska and epicenter of M7.9 earthquake
January 23, 2018

The USGS has up-to-date details on the January 23, 2018 event.

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.

The Regional Office provides active input to a variety of external collaborations by:

Filter Total Items: 55