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: 174
Date published: January 19, 2018
Status: Active

Research Conducted in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPRA)

Selected Bibliography of Research Involving USGS and Conducted in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A)

Compiled as of 12/17/2018

Date published: January 19, 2018
Status: Active

Broad-scale Research Conducted Across the 1002 Area and the NPR-A of Alaska

Selected Bibliography of Broad-scale Research Involving USGS and Conducted Across the 1002 Area and the NPR-A of Alaska

Compiled as of 12/17/2018

Date published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

National Assessment of Coastal Vulnerability to Sea Level Rise

The original national coastal vulnerability index (CVI) assessment was motivated by expected accelerated sea-level rise (SLR) and the uncertainty in the response of the coastline to SLR. This research was conducted between 1999 and 2001, and is currently being updated using new data sources and methodology. This original study was part of the ...

Date published: January 18, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska Science Center Previous Seminars

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.

Listed below are previous seminars given.

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

Long-Term Coastal Change

Goals of this task include developing and improving coastal-change assessments and supporting long-term planning and decision making to ensure sustainable coastal economies, infrastructure, and ecosystems.

Date published: January 10, 2018
Status: Active

USGS Research Vessel Alaskan Gyre

The R/V Alaskan Gyre is a 50-foot fiberglass seiner that has been converted into a versatile research vessel to provide USGS scientists and collaborators with access to remote marine areas of Alaska and serve as a mobile laboratory.  The vessel was built by Ledford Marine of Marysville, Washington in 1989 and is named after the Alaskan Gyre, a series of wind driven currents that...

Date published: December 18, 2017
Status: Active

Polar Bear Maternal Denning

Pregnant polar bears enter maternity dens in October/November, give birth to cubs in December/January, and exit dens in March/April. Historically, most polar bears from the Southern Beaufort Sea (SBS) population constructed maternity dens on the sea ice.  Over the last three decades, as sea ice has become thinner and prone to fragmentation, there has been a landward shift in the distribution...

Date published: December 15, 2017
Status: Active

Distribution and Movements of Polar Bears

Polar bears are tied to the sea ice for nearly all of their life cycle functions. Most important of these is foraging, or access to food. Polar bears almost exclusively eat seals, and they are equally as dependent upon the sea for their nutrition as are seals, whales, and other aquatic mammals. Polar bears are not aquatic, however, and their only access to the seals is from the surface of the...

Date published: December 15, 2017
Status: Active

Polar Bear Population Dynamics

Information on the status and trends of polar bear populations are needed to inform management of polar bears under US laws and international agreements. The USGS maintains a long-term research program focused on the population dynamics of the southern Beaufort Sea polar bear population.  In addition, the USGS collaborates with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in population studies in the...

Date published: December 15, 2017
Status: Active

Health and Energetics of Polar Bears

Research in this focal area is centered on (i) collecting data on a variety of systems that help determine and mediate polar bear health and energetics, and (ii) developing monitoring and surveillance programs for detecting changes in population health over time. Additionally, this work will allow us to develop an understanding of how polar bear populations will respond to a variety of...

Date published: December 7, 2017
Status: Active

Chilkat River

Chilkat River is one of the transboundary watersheds of Southeast Alaska.

Contacts: Jeff Conaway

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: 2,679
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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, T. 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

Focused fluid flow and methane venting along the Queen Charlotte fault, offshore Alaska (USA) and British Columbia (Canada)

Fluid seepage along obliquely deforming plate boundaries can be an important indicator of crustal permeability and influence on fault-zone mechanics and hydrocarbon migration. The ~850-km-long Queen Charlotte fault (QCF) is the dominant structure along the right-lateral transform boundary that separates the Pacific and North American tectonic...

Prouty, Nancy G.; Brothers, Daniel; Kluesner, Jared; Barrie, J. Vaughn; Andrews, Brian D.; Lauer, Rachel; Greene, Gary; Conrad, James E.; Lorenson, Thomas; Law, Michael D.; Sahy, Diana; Conway, Kim; McGann, Mary; Dartnell, Peter

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Year Published: 2020

Migration routes and population status of the Brent Goose Branta bernicla nigricans wintering in East Asia

Of the world’s Brent Goose Branta bernicla populations, the migration routes and winter distribution of the East Asian population of Brent Geese B. b. nigricans are the least well known. We therefore marked Brent Geese at their primary pre-migratory staging area in Notsuke Bay, Hokkaido, Japan to describe their migration between breeding and...

Sawa, Yusuke; Tamura, Chieko; Ikeuchi, Toshio; Fujii, Kaoru; Ishioroshi, Aisa; Shimada, T.; Tatsuzawa, Shiro; Deng, Xueqin; Cao, Lei; Kim, Hwajung; Ward, David H.

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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

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.

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Year Published: 2020

Imaging the tectonic grain of the Northern Cordillera orogen using Transportable Array receiver functions

Azimuthal variations in receiver function conversions can image lithospheric structural contrasts and anisotropic fabrics that together compose tectonic grain. We apply this method to data from EarthScope Transportable Array in Alaska and additional stations across the northern Cordillera. The best‐resolved quantities are the strike and depth of...

Schulte-Pelkum, Vera; Caine, Jonathan; Jones, James V.; Becker, Thorsten W

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: 976
Before and after views of Kasatochi Volcano's eruption of 2008
July 30, 2018

Before and after views of Kasatochi Volcano's eruption of 2008

Before and after views of Kasatochi Volcano's eruption of 2008

A Northern Fulmar flying in Lower Cook Inlet, Alaska
July 19, 2018

A Northern Fulmar flying in Lower Cook Inlet, 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.

A Northern Fulmar on the water in Lower Cook Inlet
July 18, 2018

A Northern Fulmar on the water in Lower Cook Inlet

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.

A bird swimming on top of the ocean
July 18, 2018

A Northern Fulmar on the water offshore of Anchor Point, Cook Inlet

A Northern Fulmar on the water offshore of Anchor Point, Cook Inlet on July 18, 2018.

A man stands smiling on a high coastal bluff near solar panels and a pole supported by guy wires, with a camera mounted on top.
July 8, 2018

Video camera installation, Barter Island

USGS oceanographer Shawn Harrison poses in front of the USGS video camera installation atop the coastal bluff of Barter Island in northern Alaska.

Satellite differences in imagery.
July 8, 2018

The Progress of Landsat Sensor Technology

Landsat sensor technology has come a long way since the days of the Return Beam Vidicon cameras on the first three Landsat satellites. Known as the RBV, it was originally intended to be the satellites’ primary sensor. But the Multispectral Scanner, or MSS, became the more stable and superior instrument.

USGS ecologists map and monitor vegetation and landscape characteristics at long-term ecological monitoring sites on the YKD
July 7, 2018

USGS ecologists map monitor vegetation and landscape characteristics

USGS ecologists map and monitor vegetation and landscape characteristics at long-term ecological monitoring sites on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, AK

A coastal cliff is covered in grasses and some snow, and chunks of the cliff are beginning to crack and fall into the ocean.
July 7, 2018

Camera set-up on Barter Island coastal bluffs

For a short study period, two video cameras overlooked the coast from atop the coastal bluff of Barter Island in northern Alaska. The purpose was to observe and quantify coastal processes such as wave run-up, development of rip channels, bluff erosion, and movement of sandbars and ice floes. The cameras and the pole they're mounted to can be seen atop the bluff.

Men and women sitting in a room with tables and chairs listening to a woman talk, she's pointing at a screen on the wall.
July 7, 2018

USGS hosts community outreach event on Barter Island

USGS oceanographer Li Erikson speaks at a community outreach event on Barter Island, Alaska, to present results from earlier USGS studies and to discuss ongoing USGS research.

A man wearing cold-weather gear and standing on a high coastal bluff points to an instrument that is mounted on short a pole.
July 5, 2018

Installing ground-shaking detection instrument

USGS scientist Cordell Johnson points to the Raspberry Shake, a sensitive instrument used to detect ground shaking. Johnson mounted the Raspberry Shake to an aluminum pole which he will then drive into the ground to bury the instrument beneath the tundra. This process will help isolate it from the wind.

A small instrument with a USGS logo sticker with wires coming out of it is in a hole in the ground.
July 5, 2018

Sensitive instrument used to detect ground shaking

This device, called a Raspberry Shake, is a sensitive instrument used to detect ground shaking. It is being carefully buried in this shallow hole in the tundra, to isolate it from wind.

View of muddy, eroding coastal bluffs with a visible permafrost layer and tumbling tundra on top.
July 3, 2018

Actively eroding coastal permafrost bluff on Barter Island

Photograph of the actively eroding coastal permafrost bluff on Barter Island, located on the northern coast of Alaska.

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

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 255
Location of study site in western Alaska and Radarsat-1 satellite images of the Hazen Bay coast during low water
September 23, 2014

Scientists examined storm flooding events in the Bering Sea region of western Alaska from 1913 to 2011 and found that the largest events occurred in autumn and were associated with high tides and strong southwest winds.

Landcover map (left) and pedestrian evacuation time estimate map (right) Ocean Shores, Washington.
September 16, 2014

Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey have developed a new mapping tool, the Pedestrian Evacuation Analyst, for use by researchers and emergency managers to estimate how long it would take for someone to travel on foot out of a tsunami-hazard zone.

collage of scientists conducting science related to each mission are
September 8, 2014

The Pacific walrus population roughly halved between 1981 and 1999, the last year for which demographic data are available. A recent study by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey quantifies this historic population decline.

USGS
August 19, 2014

As of Wednesday afternoon, August 13, all power issues were resolved and the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory resumed monitoring volcanoes and earthquakes.

USGS
July 24, 2014

Alaska — Due to climate change, some communities in rural Alaska and the Yukon Territory of Canada may face a future with fewer caribou according to new research published by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in the recent issue of PLoS ONE.

USGS
July 9, 2014

Monitoring wildlife in the Arctic is difficult. Study areas are cold, barren and often inaccessible. For decades scientists have struggled to study animals, like polar bears, which live in these remote areas. Now researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey have begun testing a new, yet counterintuitive solution – rather then get close to the animals, monitor them from afar. 

USGS science for a changing world logo
July 3, 2014

As part of a continuing earthquake hazard study in the Seattle urban area, the U. S. Geological Survey will be conducting a series of seismic-reflection surveys starting July 10 on Mercer Island and the city of Seattle, Washington. The studies will conclude on or around July 19.

USGS science for a changing world logo
July 3, 2014

Starting on July 5 (weather permitting), U.S. Geological Survey scientists will conduct a high-resolution airborne survey over the next 30 days to study the distribution of minerals exposed at the surface in various parts of Alaska.

USGS science for a changing world logo
July 3, 2014

Starting on July 5 (weather permitting), U.S. Geological Survey scientists will conduct a high-resolution airborne survey over the next 30 days to study the distribution of minerals exposed at the surface in various parts of Alaska.

USGS
June 6, 2014

The first "point of view" video from a polar bear on Arctic sea ice has just become available courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey. 

USGS science for a changing world logo
May 28, 2014

The U.S. Geological Survey is reducing its footprint on the Alaska Pacific University campus by closing the Map Store @ USGS to lower rent costs. The store will remain open through Oct. 31, 2014.

2014 US Topo map of the Keedysville, Maryland area.
May 22, 2014

US Topo maps now have a crisper, cleaner design - enhancing readability of maps for online and printed use. Map symbols are easier to read over the digital aerial photograph layer whether the imagery is turned on or off.

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.