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: 170
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 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: July 31, 2019
Status: Active

USGS Alaska Science Center Wildlife Tracking Data Collection

Understanding the short- and long-distance movements of wildlife is critical for a wide variety of ecological research questions and management decisions. Since the mid-1980s, the USGS Alaska Science Center has used information from telemetry devices on wildlife species to determine locations of animals throughout their annual cycles, understand patterns of habitat use, quantify time spent on...

Date published: July 22, 2019
Status: Active

Tracking Data for Marbled Godwits (Limosa fedoa)

Available here are tracking data of Marbled Godwits, a large-bodied shorebird that, in Alaska, nests in the southwestern portion of the state. These data were collected to better understand the timing and patterns of migratory movements and seasonal use of different coastal areas in the Pacific region.

Date published: July 11, 2019
Status: Active

Harmful Algal Bloom Toxins in Alaska Seabirds

Elevated ocean temperatures are linked to the development of harmful algal blooms (HABs). Toxins from these blooms may pose health threats to marine organisms, including seabirds. Since 2015, the USGS has worked with a variety of stakeholders to develop testing methods and research projects to better understand the geographic extent, timing and impacts of algal toxins in Alaska marine...

Date published: June 28, 2019
Status: Active

Seismic Seiches

Definition of seismic seiches and examples dating back to their first public mention in 1755.

Date published: June 26, 2019
Status: Active

Information by Region-Alaska


Date published: June 19, 2019
Status: Active

Spatial and Temporal Maps of Population Change of Waterbirds on Alaska's North Slope

A main objective of the USGS Changing Arctic Research Initiative is to quantify and provide projections of the responses of wildlife species and their habitats to ecosystem change in the Arctic.  The following project provides information for Department of Interior agencies, industry, and other stakeholders related to this objective.

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: 2,528
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Year Published: 2020

Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)

This chapter comprises the following sections: names, taxonomy, subspecies and distribution, descriptive notes, habitat, movements and home range, activity patterns, feeding ecology, reproduction and growth, behavior, parasites and diseases, status in the wild, and status in captivity.

Rode, Karyn D.; Obbard, Martyn E.; Belikov, Stanislav; Derocher, Andrew E.; Durner, George M.; Thiemann, Gregory; Tryland, Morten; Letcher, Robert J.; Meyersen, Randi; Sonne, Christian; Jenssen, Bjorn; Dietz, Rune; Vongraven, Dag

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Year Published: 2020

How Is climate change affecting polar bears and giant pandas?

Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are the primary cause of climate change and an estimated increase of 3.7 to 4.8 °C is predicted by the year 2100 if emissions continue at current levels. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) provide an interesting comparison study of the impact of climate change on bear...

Songer, Melissa; Atwood, Todd C.; Douglas, David C.; Huang, Qiongyu; Li, Renqiang; Pilfold, Nicholas; Xu, Ming; Durner, George M.

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Year Published: 2020

Shorebird reproductive response to exceptionally early and late springs varies across sites in Arctic Alaska

While increases in overall temperatures are widely reported in the Arctic, large inter-annual variation in spring weather, with extreme early and late conditions, is also occurring. Using data collected from three sites in Arctic Alaska, we explored how shorebird breeding density, nest initiation, nest synchrony, nest survival, and phenological...

McGuire, Rebecca L; Lanctot, Richard B.; Saalfeld, Sarah T.; Ruthrauff, Daniel R.; Liebezeit, Joe

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Year Published: 2020

Bedrock geologic map of the 15' Sleetmute A-2 quadrangle, southwestern Alaska

Twelve unnamed, bedrock stratigraphic units are recognized within the Sleetmute A-2 1:63,360-scale quadrangle of southwestern Alaska. These units range in age from late(?) Proterozoic through Devonian and can be divided into two distinct facies belts: (1) a southern facies of dominantly shallow-water platform carbonate and minor siliciclastic...

Blodgett, Robert; Wilson, Frederic H.; Shew, Nora B.; Clough, James G.
Blodgett, R.B., Wilson, F.H., Shew, N.B., and Clough, J.G., 2020, Bedrock geologic map of the 15' Sleetmute A-2 quadrangle, southwestern Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3450, 18 p., 1 map sheet, scale 1:63,360, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3450.

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Year Published: 2020

Shorebird research at the U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Science Center

Shorebirds—which include sandpipers, plovers, and oystercatchers—are perhaps best known by their presence on sandy beaches, running along the water’s edge while they probe for food. But they are probably less recognized for their impressive long-distance migrations. Millions of individuals travel from across the globe to breed throughout Alaska...

Ruthrauff, Dan; Tibbitts, Lee; Pearce, John
Ruthrauff, D.R., Tibbitts, T.L., and Pearce, J.M., 2020, Shorebird research at the U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Science Center: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2020-3056, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20203056.

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Year Published: 2020

Using hair cortisol to assess physiological stress in Alaska polar bears

The concentration of cortisol in hair (HCC) of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) may provide a retrospective view of physiological stress they experience and a link to their response to environmental change. To understand this relationship, we assayed HCC from polar bears captured in the Alaska Beaufort, Bering and Chukchi seas during 1983–1989 and...

Durner, George M.

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Year Published: 2020

Detection and assessment of a large and potentially‐tsunamigenic periglacial landslide in Barry Arm, Alaska

The retreat of glaciers in response to global warming has the potential to trigger landslides in glaciated regions around the globe. Landslides that enter fjords or lakes can cause tsunamis, which endanger people and infrastructure far from the landslide itself. Here we document the ongoing movement of an unstable slope (total volume of 455...

Dai, Chunli; Higman, Bretwood; Lynett, Patrick J.; Jacquemart, Mylène; Howat, Ian; Liljedahl, Anna K.; Dufresne, Anja; Freymueller, Jeffery T.; Geertsema, Marten; Jones, Melissa Ward; Haeussler, Peter

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Year Published: 2020

Isolation and characterization of microsatellite loci in merlins (Falco columbarius) and cross-species amplification in gyrfalcons (F. rusticolus) and peregrine falcons (F. peregrinus)

I. Background: Merlins, Falco columbarius, breed throughout temperate and high latitude habitats in Asia, Europe, and North America. Like peregrine falcons, F. peregrinus, merlins underwent population declines during the mid-to-late 20th century, due to organochlorine-based contamination, and have subsequently recovered, at least in North...

Hull, Joshua M.; Sage, George K.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Gravley, Megan C.; Martinico, Breanna L.; Booms, Travis L.; Swem, Ted; Talbot, Sandra L.

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Year Published: 2020

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: 2020

Interaction between watershed features and climate forcing affects habitat profitability for juvenile salmon

Opportunities for growth and survival of aquatic organisms are spatially and temporally variable as habitat conditions across watersheds respond to interacting climatic, geomorphic, and hydrologic conditions. As conservation efforts often focus on identifying and protecting critical habitats, it is important to understand how this spatial and...

Walsworth, Timothy E.; Baldock, Jeffrey R; Zimmerman, Christian E.; Schindler, Daniel E.

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Year Published: 2020

QCam: sUAS-based doppler radar for measuring river discharge

The U.S. Geological Survey is actively investigating remote sensing of surface velocity and river discharge (discharge) from satellite-, high altitude-, small, unmanned aircraft systems- (sUAS or drone), and permanent (fixed) deployments. This initiative is important in ungaged basins and river reaches that lack the infrastructure to deploy...

Fulton, John W.; Anderson, Isaac E.; Chiu, C.-L.; Sommer, Wolfram; Adams, Josip; Moramarco, Tommaso; Bjerklie, David M.; Fulford, Janice M.; Sloan, Jeff L.; Best, Heather; Conaway, Jeffrey S.; Kang, Michelle J.; Kohn, Michael S.; Nicotra, Matthew J.; Pulli, Jeremy J.

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Year Published: 2020

Drivers of wildfire carbon emissions

Increasing fire frequency and severity may shift boreal forests from carbon sinks to carbon sources and amplify climate warming. Analysis indicates that that fuel characteristics are important drivers of wildfire carbon emissions across a broad range of North America’s boreal forest.

Loehman, Rachel 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: 988
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.

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 252
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.

Image shows a river winding through a green landscape
December 22, 2017

Less than 80 miles from Prudhoe Bay, home to the giant oil fields that feed the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, lies the site of USGS’ latest oil and gas assessment: the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and adjacent areas. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the NPR-A covers 22.8 million acres, more than the entire state of South Carolina.

Drill Rig at the Mt. Elbert Test Site
October 20, 2017

In the past decade, the development of the Barnett, Eagle Ford, Marcellus, and other shales has dominated the national consciousness regarding natural gas. But in Alaska, another form of natural gas has been the focus of research for decades—methane hydrate.

3 men leaning over big yellow metal grab bucket on the deck of a ship. Dark sediment is visible inside bucket
October 19, 2017

An international team of scientists just finished probing the depths of the Pacific Ocean offshore of Alaska and British Columbia, to better understand the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather Fault. During the past century, the 700-mile-long fault has generated at least half a dozen major earthquakes, and future shocks threaten coastal communities in both the United States and Canada.

Dr. Barry Grand, USGS Cooperative Research Unit Supervisor
September 27, 2017

USGS scientist James “Barry” Grand, Ph.D., has been named a 2016 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Champion (Region 7) for his exemplary long-term research on two formerly threatened species, the spectacled eider and Alaska-breeding Steller’s eiders.

Alaska mapping status map showing 84% statewide IfSAR coverage available
July 24, 2017

The USGS continues to collect high resolution elevation data, contributing to greatly improved Alaska map data

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:

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