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: 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.

Date published: April 18, 2018
Status: Active

Effect of Elodea spp. on Fish Performance Mediated Through Food Web Interactions

The potential for invasive species introductions in Arctic and Subarctic ecosystems is growing as climate change manifests and human activity increases in high latitudes.

Contacts: Michael P Carey, Ph.D., Suresh Andrew Sethi, Ph.D., Christian E Zimmerman, Ph.D., Dan Young, Gordon Reeves, Theresa Tanner
Date published: April 17, 2018
Status: Active

Sockeye Salmon Migrating at the Northern Edge of Their Distribution

The physiological challenge for anadromous fish to migrate upriver to spawn and complete their life cycle is influenced by river temperature.

Contacts: Michael P Carey, Ph.D., Stephen D McCormick, Amy Regish, Christian E Zimmerman, Ph.D., Kevin D. Keith, Merlyn Schelske, Charlie Lean
Date published: April 16, 2018
Status: Active

Nearshore Fish Surveys in the Beaufort Sea

Nearshore systems provide habitat to a unique community of marine and diadromous (lives in both fresh and saltwater) fish and support high fish abundance.

Date published: April 11, 2018
Status: Completed

Development and Validation of Hyperspectral Imager for Field and Lab Scanning

The Mineral Resources Program has advanced methods of imaging spectroscopy (hyperspectral remote sensing) that are now used routinely by the earth science and remote sensing communities for mineral mapping, soil quality mapping, hazard mitigation, and other terrestrial and planetary applications. The USGS is highly qualified to advance this technology based on its world class expertise in...

Contacts: Raymond Kokaly

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: 2,578
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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

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Year Published: 2020

Prioritizing habitats based on abundance and distribution of molting waterfowl in the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area of the National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska

The National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A) encompasses more than 9.5 million hectares of federally managed land on the Arctic Coastal Plain of northern Alaska, where it supports a diversity of wildlife, including millions of migratory birds. Within the NPR-A, Teshekpuk Lake and the surrounding area provide important habitat for migratory...

Flint, Paul L.; Patil, Vijay; Shults, Bradley; Thompson, Sarah J.
Flint, P.L., Patil, V., Shults, B., and Thompson, S.J., 2020, Prioritizing habitats based on abundance and distribution of molting waterfowl in the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area of the National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020-1034, 16 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201034.

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Year Published: 2020

Ringed seal (Pusa hispida) seasonal movements, diving, and haul-out behavior in the Beaufort, Chukchi, and Bering Seas (2011–2017)

Continued Arctic warming and sea-ice loss will have important implications for the conservation of ringed seals, a highly ice-dependent species. A better understanding of their spatial ecology will help characterize emerging ecological trends and inform management decisions. We deployed satellite transmitters on ringed seals in the summers of 2011...

Von Duyke, Andrew L.; Douglas, David C.; Herreman, Jason K; Crawford, Justin A.

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Year Published: 2020

Individual and population fitness consequences associated with large carnivore use of residential development

Large carnivores are negotiating increasingly developed landscapes, but little is known about how such behavioral plasticity influences their demographic rates and population trends. Some investigators have suggested that the ability of carnivores to behaviorally adapt to human development will enable their persistence, and yet, others have...

Johnson, Heather E.; Lewis, David Bruce; Breck, Stewart

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Year Published: 2020

Novel insights into serodiagnosis and epidemiology of Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, a newly recognized pathogen in muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus)

Muskoxen are a key species of Arctic ecosystems and are important for food security and socio-economic well-being of many Indigenous communities in the Arctic and Subarctic. Between 2009 and 2014, the bacterium Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae was isolated for the first time in this species in association with multiple mortality events in Canada and...

Mavrot, F.; Orsel, K.; Hutchins, W.; Adams, Layne G.; Beckmen, K.; Blake, J.; Checkley, S.; Davison, T.; Di Francesco, J.; Elkin, B.; Leclerc, L.; Schneider, A.; Tomaselli, M.; Kutz, S.

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: 983
house next to landslide with snowcovered ground
December 31, 2018

Landslide near Potter Hill, Anchorage, Alaska

Landslide near Potter Hill, Anchorage, Alaska, after 2018 Anchorage earthquake.

USGS researcher Erich Peitzsch holds a tree cross section to look for irregular rings.
December 31, 2018

Tree ring research in Alaska

USGS researcher Erich Peitzsch holds a tree cross section to look for irregular rings.

UAS undergraduate student Mckenzie Wilson examines a cross section.
December 31, 2018

Tree ring research in Alaska

UAS undergraduate student Mckenzie Wilson examines a cross section.

December 20, 2018

Image of the Week - Letters to the North Pole

Unlike the South Pole, the geographic North Pole does not lie on a land mass. The Earth’s northern axis of rotation is in the Arctic Ocean, covered by shifting sea ice.

Landsat does not image the North Pole, which makes it an imperfect investigative tool for the detection of Santa’s workshop. 

It does, however, collect imagery over North Pole, Alaska, a small

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

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.

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

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

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 253
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.

Illustration showing migratory bird paths across the Pacific
March 31, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — In a new study published today, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service harnessed a new type of DNA technology to investigate avian influenza viruses in Alaska.

USGS
March 18, 2015

Frozen bodies of ice cover nearly 10 percent of the state of Alaska, but the influence of glaciers on the environment, tourism, fisheries, hydropower, and other important Alaska resources is rarely discussed.

USGS
February 24, 2015

Kristin Timm, a designer with the Interior Department's Alaska Climate Science Center and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning, is among 10 designers who were recently recognized internationally for excellence in science communication.

Estimated potential for rare earth element (REE) deposits in watersheds across northern Alaska
February 23, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska. — New maps highlighting areas with potential for placer gold and five other critical mineral deposit types in the Bureau of Land Management’s Central Yukon Planning Area in central and northern Alaska are being released today. 

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.