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

Regions L2 Landing Page Tabs

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: 2,642
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Year Published: 2014

The global age distribution of granitic pegmatites

An updated global compilation of 377 new and previously published ages indicates that granitic pegmatites range in age from Mesoarchean to Neogene and have a semi-periodic age distribution. Undivided granitic pegmatites show twelve age maxima: 2913, 2687, 2501, 1853, 1379, 1174, 988, 525, 483, 391, 319, and 72 Ma. These peaks correspond broadly...

McCauley, Andrew; Bradley, Dwight C.
The global age distribution of granitic pegmatites; 2014; Article; Journal; The Canadian Mineralogist; McCauley, Andrew; Bradley, Dwight C.

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Year Published: 2014

Spatial variation and low diversity in the major histocompatibility complex in walrus (Odobenus rosmarus)

Increased global temperature and associated changes to Arctic habitats will likely result in the northward advance of species, including an influx of pathogens novel to the Arctic. How species respond to these immunological challenges will depend in part on the adaptive potential of their immune response system. We compared levels of genetic...

Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Fales, Krystal R.; Jay, Chadwick V.; Sage, George K.; Talbot, Sandra L.

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Year Published: 2014

Why the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake matters 50 years later

Spring was returning to Alaska on Friday 27 March 1964. A two‐week cold snap had just ended, and people were getting ready for the Easter weekend. At 5:36 p.m., an earthquake initiated 12 km beneath Prince William Sound, near the eastern end of what is now recognized as the Alaska‐Aleutian subduction zone. No one was expecting this...

West, Michael E.; Haeussler, Peter J.; Ruppert, Natalia A.; Freymueller, Jeffrey T.
West, M. E., P. J. Haeussler, N. A. Ruppert, J. T. Freymueller, and Alaska Seismic Hazards Safety Commission. 2014. Why the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake matters 50 years later. Seismological Research Letters 85(2):245-251. doi:10.1785/0220140020

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Year Published: 2014

Little late Holocene strain accumulation and release on the Aleutian megathrust below the Shumagin Islands, Alaska

Can a predominantly creeping segment of a subduction zone generate a great (M > 8) earthquake? Despite Russian accounts of strong shaking and high tsunamis in 1788, geodetic observations above the Aleutian megathrust indicate creeping subduction across the Shumagin Islands segment, a well-known seismic gap. Seeking evidence for...

Witter, Robert C.; Briggs, Richard W.; Engelhart, Simon E.; Gelfenbaum, Guy R.; Koehler, Richard D.; Barnhart, William D.
Witter, R. C., R. W. Briggs, S. E. Engelhart, G. Gelfenbaum, R. D. Koehler, and W. D. Barnhart. 2014. Little late Holocene strain accumulation and release on the Aleutian megathrust below the Shumagin Islands, Alaska. Geophysical Research Letters 41(7):2359-2367. doi:10.1002/2014GL059393

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Year Published: 2014

Recolonization of the intertidal and shallow subtidal community following the 2008 eruption of Alaska’s Kasatochi Volcano

The intertidal and nearshore benthic communities of Kasatochi Island are described following a catastrophic volcanic eruption in 2008. Prior to the eruption, the island was surrounded by a dense bed of canopy-forming dragon kelp Eualaria fistulosa which supported a productive nearshore community. The eruption extended the coastline of the island...

Jewett, S.C.; Drew, Gary S.
Recolonization of the intertidal and shallow subtidal community following the 2008 eruption of Alaska’s Kasatochi Volcano; 2014; Article; Journal; Biogeosciences Discuss; Jewett, S.C.; Drew, Gary S.

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Year Published: 2014

Comparative population structure of cavity-nesting sea ducks

A growing collection of mtDNA genetic information from waterfowl species across North America suggests that larger-bodied cavity-nesting species exhibit greater levels of population differentiation than smaller-bodied congeners. Although little is known about nest-cavity availability for these species, one hypothesis to explain differences in...

Pearce, John M.; Eadie, John M.; Savard, Jean-Pierre L.; Christensen, Thomas K.; Berdeen, James; Taylor, Eric J.; Boyd, Sean; Einarsson, Árni
Pearce, J. M., J. M. Eadie, J-P. L. Savard, T. K. Christensen, J. Berdeen, E. J. Taylor, S. Boyd, A. Einarsson, and S. L. Talbot. 2014. Comparative population structure of cavity-nesting sea ducks. The Auk 131(2):195-207. doi:10.1642/AUK-13-071.1

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Year Published: 2014

Geochronology of plutonic rocks and their tectonic terranes in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, southeast Alaska: Chapter E in Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska, 2008-2009

We have identified six major belts and two nonbelt occurrences of plutonic rocks in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve and characterized them on the basis of geologic mapping, igneous petrology, geochemistry, and isotopic dating. The six plutonic belts and two other occurrences are, from oldest to youngest: (1) Jurassic (201.6–145.5 Ma)...

Brew, David A.; Tellier, Kathleen E.; Lanphere, Marvin A.; Nielsen, Diane C.; Smith, James G.; Sonnevil, Ronald A.
Geochronology of plutonic rocks and their tectonic terranes in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, southeast Alaska: Chapter E in Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska, 2008-2009; 2014; PP; 1776-E; Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska, 2008-2009 (Professional Paper 1776); Brew, David A.; Tellier, Kathleen E.; Lanphere, Marvin A.; Nielsen, Diane C.; Smith, James G.; Sonnevil, Ronald A.

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Year Published: 2014

2013 update on sea otter studies to assess recovery from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, Prince William Sound, Alaska

On March 24, 1989, the tanker vessel Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling an estimated 42 million liters of Prudhoe Bay crude oil. Oil spread in a southwesterly direction and was deposited on shores and waters in western Prince William Sound (WPWS). The sea otter (Enhydra lutris) was one of more than 20 nearshore...

Ballachey, Brenda E.; Monson, Daniel H.; Esslinger, George G.; Kloecker, Kimberly A.; Bodkin, James L.; Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A. Keith
2013 update on sea otter studies to assess recovery from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, Prince William Sound, Alaska; 2014; OFR; 2014-1030; Ballachey, Brenda E.; Monson, Daniel H.; Esslinger, George G.; Kloecker, Kimberly; Bodkin, James; Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A. Keith

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Year Published: 2014

Isotopic nitrogen in fecal fiber as an indicator of winter diet in caribou and muskoxen

RATIONALE: The ratios of stable nitrogen isotopes (δ15N values) in excreta have been used to examine aspects of trophic and nutritional ecology across taxa. Nitrogen fractions in feces of herbivores include endogenous (e.g., sloughed intestinal cells, unresorbed digestive secretions, and microbial debris) and dietary sources. For animals such as...

Gustine, David D.; Barboza, Perry S.; Addison, Jennifer; Shively, Rachel; Oliver, Lola
Isotopic nitrogen in fecal fiber as an indicator of winter diet in caribou and muskoxen; 2014; Article; Journal; Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry; Gustine, David D.; Barboza, Perry S.; Addison, Jennifer; Shively, Rachel; Oliver, Lola

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Year Published: 2014

Polar bears exhibit genome-wide signatures of bioenergetic adaptation to life in the Arctic environment

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) face extremely cold temperatures and periods of fasting, which might result in more severe energetic challenges than those experienced by their sister species, the brown bear (U. arctos). We have examined the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes of polar and brown bears to investigate if polar bears demonstrate lineage-...

Welch, Andreanna J.; Bedoya-Reina, Oscar C.; Carretero-Paulet, Lorenzo; Miller, Webb; Rode, Karyn D.; Lindqvist, Charlotte
Welch, A. J., O. C. Bedoya-Reina, L. Carretro-Paulet, W. Miller, K. D. Rode, and C. Lindqvist. 2014. Polar bears exhibit genome-wide signatures of bioenergetic adaptation to life in the Arctic environment. Genome Biology and Evolution 6(2):433-450. doi:10.1093/gbe/evu025

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Year Published: 2014

Reconstruction of historic sea ice conditions in a sub-Arctic lagoon

Historical sea ice conditions were reconstructed for Izembek Lagoon, Bering Sea, Alaska. This lagoon is a crucial staging area during migration for numerous species of avian migrants and a major eelgrass (Zostera marina) area important to a variety of marine and terrestrial organisms, especially Pacific Flyway black brant geese (Branta bernicla...

Petrich, Chris; Tivy, Adrienne C.; Ward, David H.

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Year Published: 2014

Synthesis of nearshore recovery following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill: sea otter liver pathology and survival in Western Prince William Sound, 2001 – 2008

We examined livers and liver biopsies collected from captured sea otters in WPWS, 2001–2008, to determine whether indicators of liver health correlated with history of oil contamination from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Sea otters captured in oiled areas had a significantly higher proportion of livers with gross pathological change,...

Ballachey, Brenda E.; Monson, Daniel H.; Kloecker, Kimberly A.; Esslinger, George G.; Mohr, F.C.; Lipscomb, T.P.; Murray, M.J.; Howlin, S.
Ballachey, B.E., D.H. Monson, K.A. Kloecker, G.G. Esslinger, F.C. Mohr, T.P. Lipscomb, M.J. Murray, and S. Howlin. 2014. Synthesis of nearshore recovery following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill: Sea otter liver pathology and survival in Western Prince William Sound, 2001 – 2008, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Restoration Project Final Report (Restoration Projects 070808 and 070808A), U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, Alaska.

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: 984
George Durner collecting data on an anesthetized polar bear
April 1, 2005

George Durner collecting data on an anesthetized polar bear

George Durner collecting data on an anesthetized polar bear

Sheridan River scour hole
January 26, 2005

Sheridan River scour hole

Sheridan River scour hole

Muir and Riggs glaciers flowing into a lake in Alaska
December 31, 2004

Muir and Riggs Glaciers, Muir Inlet, Alaska

Glaciers

As this picture of Muir and Riggs Glaceris in Alaska shows, glaciers are really rivers, but rivers of solid ice instead of liquid water. Just because they are solid does not mean they don't move, though. Glaciers do flow downhill, just very, very slowly.

Glaciers begin life as snowflakes. When the snowfall in an area far exceeds the

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Attribution: Region 11: Alaska
October 30, 2004

PubTalk 10/2004 — Hot Oil, Frozen Ground, and Earthquakes

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline story-- so far, so good!

by George Gryc, Arthur Lachenbruch, and Robert Page, Scientists Emeriti

  • The 1968 discovery of North America.s largest oil fi eld on the Arctic coast posed the challenge of an 800-mile pipeline to carry hot oil across mountains, rivers, and the giant Denali Fault
  • The oil
Attribution: Region 11: Alaska
Black Scoter in Dutch Harbor, Alaska
September 1, 2004

Black Scoter in Dutch Harbor, Alaska

Black Scoter: Dutch Harbor, Alaska

Steller's Eider in Dutch Harbor, Alaska
September 1, 2004

Steller's Eider in Dutch Harbor, Alaska

Steller's Eider in Dutch Harbor, Alaska

Image: Muir and Riggs Glaciers, Muir Inlet, Alaska - 2004
August 31, 2004

Muir and Riggs Glaciers, Muir Inlet, Alaska - 2004

The second repeat photograph documents significant changes that have occurred during the 63 years between photographs A and C, and during the 54 years between photographs B and C. Muir Glacier has retreated out of the field of view and is now more than 7 kilometers northwest. Riggs Glacier has retreated as much as 600 meters and thinned more than 250 meters. Note the dense

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Pacific sand lance in Prince William Sound next to a ruler
July 8, 2004

Pacific sand lance in Prince William Sound next to a ruler

Pacific sand lance in Prince William Sound next to a ruler

A Pacific sand lance, Pacific herrring and a capelin in Prince William Sound, Alaska
June 30, 2004

A Pacific sand lance, Pacific herrring and a capelin

A Pacific sand lance, Pacific herrring and a capelin in Prince William Sound, Alaska

A catch of Pacific sandlance, capelin and other forage fish
June 24, 2004

A catch of Pacific sandlance, capelin and other forage fish

A catch of Pacific sandlance, capelin and other forage fish

Emperor geese standing at the ocean shoreline
February 10, 2004

Emperor geese standing at the shoreline near Kodiak

Emperor geese standing at the shoreline near Kodiak.

Three-dimensional cartoon showing features of an area of the seafloor in relief, near a coastline.
December 31, 2003

Resurrection Bay multibeam imagery

Sonar-generated image showing underwater topography and the potential for landslides near the head of Resurrection Bay, Alaska. The terrain looks three times as steep as it occurs naturally. The arrow points to underwater landslide debris from the collapse of a fan-delta following the great Alaskan earthquake of 1964. The town of Seward, which suffered much damage and lost

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