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: 172
Date published: October 22, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska Science Center Seminar Series

The USGS Alaska Science Center has a monthly seminar series that runs from October through May.  This series highlights the multiple research programs that are taking place across all disciplines at the center.

Contacts: Yvette Gillies
Date published: October 18, 2018
Status: Active

Genomic Mechanisms that Underlie Lack of Recovery of Prince William Sound Herring Following the 1990s Collapse

In the decades following the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (EVOS), it has become increasingly apparent that oil can be toxic at extremely low concentrations to developing fish embryos including herring, where some toxic phenotypes may be apparent during embryogenesis, but some are delayed until later in life. Therefore, acute and lingering oil may act as an insidious selective force within...

Contacts: Paul Hershberger, Ph.D., Jacob Gregg, Ashley MacKenzie, William Richards, Andrew Whitehead, John Incardona, Nat Scholtz
Date published: October 18, 2018
Status: Active

Herring Disease Program

Using an approach that involves a combination of field- and laboratory-based studies, we are investigating fish health factors that may be contributing to the failed recovery of Pacific herring populations in Prince William Sound, AK.  Field studies are providing infection and disease prevalence data to inform the population models, serological data that indicate the prior exposure history and...

Date published: October 9, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska Seismic Hazard Map

The National Seismic Hazard Maps developed by the USGS show the spatial probability of peak earthquake-driven ground motion levels. Since the last revisions to the map for Alaska in 2007, scientists have made significant advances in understanding active faulting, fault slip rates, and fault behavior.

Date published: October 9, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska-Aleutian Subduction Zone Studies

Our research team is exploring seismic and aseismic slip along the Alaska-Aleutian arc and studying the prehistoric record of megathrust earthquakes and tsunamis along the Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone

Seismic and Aseismic Slip: Tectonic tremor and associated slow slip events represent a newly discovered part of the earthquake cycle. This research aims to...

Date published: October 9, 2018
Status: Active

Characterizing the Active Queen Charlotte-Fairweather Fault System

This research aims to better characterize the earthquake potential of the southern Fairweather Fault in order to provide more accurate fault source data for the USGS National Seismic Hazard Map. Our approach interrogates lidar data and satellite imagery, applies paleoseismological methods to examine earthquake history, and leverages partnerships with USGS scientists from Colorado and...

Date published: September 22, 2018
Status: Active

Monitoring and Research Boreal Partners in Flight Projects

Boreal Partners in Flight has five major regional projects designed to monitor broad-scale trends in populations of landbirds. There are also many projects throughout Alaska that address specific research questions or local monitoring needs.

Date published: September 21, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska Landbird Monitoring Survey

Alaska provides breeding habitats for 142 species of landbirds, half of which breed predominantly north of the U.S.-Canada border. The road-based North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) provides some data on population trends in Alaska but most northern species are inadequately monitored because of a paucity of roads. Boreal Partners in Flight thus developed the Alaska Landbird Monitoring...

Date published: September 18, 2018
Status: Active

Festivals Celebrating Birds in Alaska

Here are a few festivals celebrating birds around the state of Alaska.

Date published: September 17, 2018
Status: Active

Meeting and Project Summaries for Boreal Partners in Flight

Information on topics discussed by Boreal Partners in Flight (BPIF) working groups organized by year.

Date published: August 21, 2018
Status: Active

Background of Beak Deformity Research

Large numbers of Black-capped Chickadees with abnormal beaks were reported in south-central Alaska in the late 1990s.  More recently, similar beak deformities have appeared in other species throughout the state. At least 30 Alaskan bird species are affected and the geographic extent of the problem appears to be growing.  In addition to Alaskan observations, we have received increasing numbers...

Date published: August 21, 2018
Status: Active

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria in Migratory Birds

Migratory birds, and particularly those using habitats close to human settlements, may be infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria.  The USGS is working with public health professionals to understand the role of birds in the maintenance and dispersal of antibiotic resistant bacteria.  Additionally, the USGS is investigating how antibiotic resistant bacteria in birds may relate to public and...

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: 2,487
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Year Published: 2020

Source model for Sabancaya volcano constrained by DInSAR and GNSS surface deformation observation

Sabancaya is the most active volcano of the Ampato-Sabancaya Volcanic Complex (ASVC) in southern Perú and has been erupting since 2016. The analysis of ascending and descending Sentinel-1 orbits (DInSAR) and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) datasets from 2014 to 2019 imaged a radially symmetric inflating area, uplifting at a rate of 35 to...

Boixart, Gregorio; Cruz, Luis; Miranda, Rafael; Euillades, Pablo; Euillades, Leonardo; Battaglia, Maurizio

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Year Published: 2020

U-Pb Zircon ages from bedrock samples collected in the Tanacross D-1, and parts of the D-2, C-1, and C-2 quadrangles, Alaska

This Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys (DGGS) Preliminary Interpretive Report presents U-Pb ages of zircons from 14 sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous samples collected during 2017 and 2018 field investigations in the northeastern Tanacross Quadrangle, Alaska. The DGGS Northeast Tanacross project is a part of multi-year...

Wypych, Alicja; Jones, James V.; O'Sullivan, Paul B.

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Year Published: 2020

Erratum: Seismic survey design and effects on maternal polar bear dens

Since the publication of this manuscript, readers have noted two errors in our analysis. The first is that we inadvertently stated that the forward looking infrared (FLIR) survey simulations only represented a single FLIR survey. In reality, the analysis assumed two independent FLIR surveys occurred prior to simulated seismic activity occurring...

Wilson, Ryan R.; Durner, George M.

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Year Published: 2020

Deglacierization of a marginal basin and implications for outburst floods, Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

Suicide Basin is a partly glacierized marginal basin of Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska, that has released glacier lake outburst floods (GLOFs) annually since 2011. The floods cause inundation and erosion in the Mendenhall Valley, impacting homes and other infrastructure. Here, we utilize in-situ and remote sensing data to assess the recent...

Kienholz, Christian; Pierce, Jamie; Hood, Eran; Amundson, Jason M.; Wolken, Gabriel; Jacobs, Aaron; Hart, Skye; Wikstrom-Jones, Katreen; Abdel-Fattah, Dina; Johnson, Crane; Conaway, Jeffrey S.

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Year Published: 2020

Evaluation of the analytical methods used to determine the elemental concentrations found in the stream geochemical dataset compiled for Alaska

A recent U.S. Geological Survey data compilation of stream-sediment geochemistry for Alaska contains decades of analyses collected under numerous Federal and State programs. The compiled data were determined by various analytical methods. Some samples were reanalyzed by a different analytical method than the original, resulting in some elements...

Wang, Bronwen; Ellefsen, Karl J.; Granitto, Matthew; Kelley, Karen D.; Karl, Susan M.; Case, George N.D.; Kreiner, Douglas C.; Amundson, Courtney L.
Wang, B, Ellefsen, K.J., Granitto, M., Kelley, K.D., Karl, S.M., Case, G.N.D., Kreiner, D.C., and Amundson, C.L., 2020, Evaluation of the analytical methods used to determine the elemental concentrations found in the stream geochemical dataset compiled for Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020-1038, 66 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201038.

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Year Published: 2020

At the end of the road: Lessons learned from comparing model- and design-based approaches to estimate population sizes of boreal birds in Alberta, Canada

Estimating population abundance is a challenging task complicated by the amount, type, and quality of available data. Conservationists have relied on design-based estimates from Partners in Flight (PIF), which primarily uses roadside data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) to estimate populations sizes. However, the BBS was not...

Solymos, Peter; Toms, Judith D; Matsuoka, Steven M.; Cumming, Steven G.; Barker, Nicole K. S.; Thogmartin, Wayne E.; Stralberg, Diana; Crosby, Andrew D.; Denes, Francisco V; Hache, Samuel; Mahon, C Lisa; Schmiegelow, Fiona K A; Bayne, Erin M.

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Year Published: 2020

A red knot as a black swan: How a single bird shows navigational abilities during repeat crossings of the Greenland Icecap

Despite the wealth of studies on seasonal movements of birds between southern nonbreeding locations and High Arctic breeding locations, the key mechanisms of navigation during these migrations remain elusive. A flight along the shortest possible route between pairs of points on a sphere (‘orthodrome’) requires a bird to be able to assess its...

Kok, Eva; Tibbitts, Lee; Douglas, David C.; Howey, Paul; Dekinga, Anne; Gnep, Benjamin; Piersma, Theunis

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Year Published: 2020

U.S. Geological Survey 2018 Kīlauea Volcano eruption response in Hawai'i—After-action review

The 2018 Kīlauea Volcano eruption lasted 107 days, and now ranks as the most destructive event at Kilauea since 1790, and as one of the most costly volcanic disasters in U.S. history. Multiple simultaneous hazard events unfolded, including sustained seismic activity leading to collapse at the summit of Halema'uma'u crater and severe damage to the...

Williams, Dee M.; Avery, Vic F.; Coombs, Michelle L.; Cox, Dale A.; Horwitz, Lief R.; McBride, Sara K.; McClymont, Ryan J.; Moran, Seth C.
Attribution: Region 11: Alaska
Williams, D.M., Avery, V.F., Coombs, M.L., Cox, D.A., Horwitz, L.R., McBride, S.K., McClymont, R.J., and Moran, S.C., 2020, U.S. Geological Survey 2018 Kīlauea Volcano eruption response in Hawai'i—After-action review: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020-1041, 56 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201041.

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Year Published: 2020

Ground failure triggered by shaking during the November 30, 2018, magnitude 7.1 Anchorage, Alaska, earthquake

We developed an initial inventory of ground failure features from the November 30, 2018, magnitude 7.1 Anchorage earthquake. This inventory of 153 features is from ground-based observations soon after the earthquake (December 5–10) that include the presence or absence of liquefaction, landslides, and individual crack traces of lateral spreads and...

Grant, Alex R. R. ; Jibson, Randall W.; Witter, Robert C.; Allstadt, Kate E.; Thompson, Eric M.; Bender, Adrian M.
Grant, A.R.R., Jibson, R.W., Witter, R.C., Allstadt, K.E., Thompson, E.M., and Bender, A.M., 2020, Ground failure triggered by shaking during the November 30, 2018, magnitude 7.1 Anchorage, Alaska, earthquake: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020–1043, 21 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201043.

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Year Published: 2020

Further information on the avifauna of St. Matthew and Hall Islands, Bering Sea, Alaska

In June and July 2018 and July 2019 we surveyed birds on St. Matthew and Hall islands, isolated in the central Bering Sea. Our surveys were focused on the McKay’s Bunting (Plectrophenax hyperboreus), Rock Sandpiper (Calidris ptilocnemis ptilocnemis), and Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus) but encompassed all birds and yielded 13 species...

Robinson, Bryce W.; Withrow, Jack J.; Richardson, Rachel M.; Matsuoka, Steven M.; Gill, Robert E.; Johnson, Andrew S.; Lovette, Irby J.; Johnson, James A.; DeGange, Anthony R.; Romano, Marc D.

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Year Published: 2020

Geometric and material variability influences stress states relevant to coastal permafrost bluff failure

Scientific knowledge and engineering tools for predicting coastal erosion are largely confined to temperate climate zones that are dominated by non-cohesive sediments. The pattern of erosion exhibited by the ice-bonded permafrost bluffs in Arctic Alaska, however, is not well explained by these tools. Investigation of the oceanographic, thermal,...

Thomas, Matthew A.; Mota, Alejandro; Jones, Benjamin M.; Choens, R. Charles; Frederick, Jennifer M.; Bull, Diana L.

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Year Published: 2020

Does habitat partitioning by sympatric plovers affect nest survival?

The vertical structure and composition of vegetation can influence the quantity and quality of potential nesting sites for birds. Interspecific competition for high-quality nesting habitat may force some individuals into suboptimal habitat and lead to reduced reproductive success, eventually leading to changes in distribution or abundance. Large...

Overduijn, Kelly S; Handel, Colleen M.; Powell, Abby

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
Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass near beach shoreline in Bristol Bay

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019.

Short-tailed Shearwater carcass on beach in Bristol Bay, Alaska
August 6, 2019

Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcass and debris on beach, Alaska

Short-tailed Shearwater die-off in the Bering Sea. Emaciated Short-tailed Shearwater carcasses littered the beaches of Bristol Bay during the summer of 2019.

ANSEP student Tatiana Korthuis recording data
July 29, 2019

ANSEP student Tatiana Korthuis recording data on USGS research vessel

Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) student Tatiana Korthuis recording fish catch data on board the USGS research vessel Alaskan Gyre in Herring Bay, Alaska. This was part of a USGS study to monitor forage fish and seabirds in Prince William Sound, Alaska.

Canada goose (Branta canadensis), Anchorage, AK
July 27, 2019

Canada goose (Branta canadensis), Anchorage, AK

Canada goose (Branta canadensis), Anchorage, AK

Common Murre on the water in Kachemak Bay, Alaska
July 25, 2019

A Common Murre on the water near its colony in Kachemak Bay, Alaska

Northern Fulmars, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and Common Murres have all been tested for and contained harmful algal bloom (HAB) toxins in Alaska. 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 ecosystems. For more

...
ANSEP student holds a red-throated loon
July 13, 2019

ANSEP student Jakob Sipary holds a red-throated loon, Alaska

Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) student Jakob Sipary holds a red-throated loon on the Canning River Delta, Alaska, July 2019 as part of a USGS study on loon marine habitat use areas. Jakob was an intern for the summer with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Taku Glacier, Alaska retreat
July 9, 2019

Taku Glacier, Alaska retreat

2019 Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP) students during a four day and 83 kilometers ski traverse across Taku Glacier, carrying all their food, water, clothing, tents, and science gear as they help measure the mass balance along the way.

Kasilof River sonar on a bridge
June 28, 2019

Kasilof River sonar on a bridge

Kasilof River sonar on a bridge

Tazlina River bridge
June 28, 2019

Tazlina River bridge

Tazlina River bridge

A Common Murre holds a Pacific sand lance near Gull Island, Alaska
June 19, 2019

A Common Murre holds a Pacific sand lance near Gull Island in Alaska

Northern Fulmars, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and Common Murres have all been tested for and contained harmful algal bloom (HAB) toxins. 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 ecosystems.

Beaver lodge and drained impoundment in tributary of the Noatak River, Noatak National Preserve
June 12, 2019

Beaver lodge and drained impoundment in tributary of the Noatak River

Beaver lodge and drained impoundment in tributary of the Noatak River, Noatak National Preserve

Impounded water above beaver dam on the Wrench Creek, Noatak National Preserve
June 12, 2019

Impounded water above beaver dam on the Wrench Creek

Impounded water above beaver dam on the Wrench Creek, Noatak National Preserve

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 252
A small bird with distinctive orange-brown feathers around its neck and blue feathers on head, sitting on a small shrub
March 2, 2017

Scientists can now predict which avian species are most sensitive to the increasingly dominant shrub habitat spreading across Alaska, a capability that will be useful for natural resource agencies in Alaska charged with managing these resources.

USGS
February 16, 2017

A new study shows that harlequin ducks in coastal areas of Alaska’s Kodiak and Unalaska islands are exposed to environmental sources of mercury and that mercury concentrations in their blood are associated with their local food source, mainly blue mussels.

Image shows an undersea gas hydrate formation with shellfish on it.
February 9, 2017

A recent interpretive review of scientific literature performed by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Rochester sheds light on the interactions of gas hydrates and climate.

Dr. Christian Zimmerman, USGS Alaska Science Center Director
February 1, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Christian Zimmerman as the new director of their Alaska Science Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Zimmerman succeeds Dr. Mark Shasby who held the position for the past six years.

USGS
January 12, 2017

Water users around the country can now view the past and simulated future of hydrologic processes. 

USGS scientist placing a tracking collar on a caribou.
December 19, 2016

Caribou, North America’s wild reindeer, have lives apart from their famous role on Christmas Eve. Reindeer and caribou are large, cold-adapted, herding herbivores related to deer, elk and moose.

To learn more about how these arctic antler-bearers spend the other 364 days of the year, we talked to USGS caribou expert Dr. Layne Adams, who has studied these animals for more than 30 years.

Repeat oblique photographs of Gulkana glaciers in Alaska.
September 28, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the longest continuous glacier research efforts in North America.

Scientists setting a trap for gulls at the landfill
September 26, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Some gulls in southcentral Alaska are carriers of antibiotic resistant strains of E. coli, according to a new study co-authored by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Ariel photo of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
September 20, 2016

New research from the U.S. Geological Survey and partners illustrates how climate change is perceived among different generations of indigenous residents in subarctic Alaska. While all subjects agreed climate change is occurring, the older participants observed more overall changes than the younger demographic.

Glacier National Park
September 7, 2016

A team of USGS scientists spent 10 days in the wilderness, exploring one of the fastest-moving faults in America

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