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: 169
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 25, 2019
Status: Active

Condition of Forage Fish in Prince William Sound During the Marine Heatwave

Changes in the body condition of a key forage fish species, Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes personatus), are examined to understand how energy transfer to predators may have been disrupted during the recent marine heatwave in the North Pacific (late 2013 to mid 2016).

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: August 2, 2019
Status: Active

Cook Inlet Seabird and Forage Fish Study

A massive die-off of Common Murres was documented in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) during the fall and winter of 2015-2016 in association with a record-breaking marine heat wave in the GOA.

Date published: August 1, 2019
Status: Active

North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database

The North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database (NPPSD) includes more than 460,000 survey transects that were designed and conducted by numerous partners primarily to census seabirds at sea.

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.

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: 2,604
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Year Published: 2021

Extreme Quaternary plate boundary exhumation and strike slip localized along the southern Fairweather fault, Alaska, USA

The Fairweather fault (southeastern Alaska, USA) is Earth’s fastest-slipping intracontinental strike-slip fault, but its long-term role in localizing Yakutat–(Pacific–)North America plate motion is poorly constrained. This plate boundary fault transitions northward from pure strike slip to transpression where it comes onshore and undergoes a <...

Lease, Richard O.; Haeussler, Peter; Witter, Robert C.; Stockli, Daniel F.; Bender, Adrian; Kelsey, Harvey; O'Sullivan, Paul

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Year Published: 2021

The imminent calving retreat of Taku Glacier

Along the rugged Southeast Alaska coast, 30 kilometers northeast of the state capital Juneau, a tidewater glacier has largely defied global trends by steadily advancing for most of the past century while most glaciers on Earth retreated. This 55-kilometer-long and nearly 1,500-meter-thick tidewater glacier, named Taku Glacier, or T'aaḵú...

McNeil, Christopher J.; Amundson, Jason; O'Neel, Shad; Motyka, Roman; Sass, Louis C.; Truffer, Martin; Ziemann, Jenna; Campbell, Seth

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Year Published: 2021

Changes in rocky intertidal community structure during a marine heatwave in the northern Gulf of Alaska

Marine heatwaves are global phenomena that can have major impacts on the structure and function of coastal ecosystems. By mid-2014, the Pacific Marine Heatwave (PMH) was evident in intertidal waters of the northern Gulf of Alaska and persisted for multiple years. While offshore marine ecosystems are known to respond to these warmer waters, the...

Weitzman, Ben; Konar, Brenda; Iken, Katrin; Coletti, Heather; Monson, Daniel; Suryan, Robert M.; Dean, Thomas; Hondolero, D.; Lindeberg, Mandy

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Year Published: 2021

Heatwave-induced synchrony within forage fish portfolio disrupts energy flow to top pelagic predators

During the Pacific marine heatwave of 2014–2016, abundance and quality of several key forage fish species in the Gulf of Alaska were simultaneously reduced throughout the system. Capelin (Mallotus catervarius), sand lance (Ammodytes personatus), and herring (Clupea pallasii) populations were at historically low levels, and within this community...

Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Piatt, John F.; Hatch, Scott; Suryan, Robert M.; Batten, Sonia; Bishop, Mary Anne; Campbell, Rob W.; Coletti, Heather; Cushing, Dan; Gorman, Kristen; Hopcroft, Russell R.; Kuletz, Kathy J.; Marsteller, Caitlin Elizabeth; McKinstry, Caitlin; McGowan, David; Moran, John; Pegau, W. Scott; Schaefer, Anne; Schoen, Sarah K.; Straley, Jan; von Biela, Vanessa R.

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Year Published: 2021

Airborne geophysical imaging of weak zones on Iliamna Volcano, Alaska: Implications for slope stability

Water‐saturated, hydrothermally altered rocks reduce the strength of volcanic edifices and increase the potential for sector collapses and far‐traveled mass flows of unconsolidated debris. Iliamna Volcano is an andesitic stratovolcano located on the western side of the Cook Inlet, ∼225 km southwest of Anchorage and is a source of repeated...

Peterson, Dana Elise; Finn, Carol A.; Bedrosian, Paul A.

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Year Published: 2021

Assessment of undiscovered gas resources in Upper Devonian to Lower Cretaceous strata of the western North Slope, Alaska, 2021

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated a mean of 1,407 billion (1.4 trillion) cubic feet of gas in conventional accumulations in Upper Devonian to Lower Cretaceous strata of the western North Slope, Alaska.

Houseknecht, David W.; Mercier, Tracey J.; Schenk, Christopher J.; Moore, Thomas E.; Rouse, William A.; Dumoulin, Julie A.; Craddock, William H.; Lease, Richard O.; Botterell, Palma J.; Sanders, Margaret M.; Smith, Rebecca A.; Connors, Christopher D.; Garrity, Christopher P.; Whidden, Katherine J.; Gooley, Jared T.; Counts, John W.; Long, Joshua H.; DeVera, Christina A.
Houseknecht, D.W., Mercier, T.J., Schenk, C.J., Moore, T.E., Rouse, W.A., Dumoulin, J.A., Craddock, W.H., Lease, R.O., Botterell, P.J., Sanders, M.M., Smith, R.A., Connors, C.D., Garrity, C.P., Whidden, K.J., Gooley, J.T., Counts, J.W., Long, J.H., and DeVera, C.A., 2021, Assessment of undiscovered gas resources in Upper Devonian to Lower Cretaceous strata of the western North Slope, Alaska, 2021: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2021-3003, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20213003.

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Year Published: 2021

Ground‐penetrating radar, electromagnetic induction, terrain, and vegetation observations coupled with machine learning to map permafrost distribution at Twelvemile Lake, Alaska

We collected ground‐penetrating radar (GPR) and frequency‐domain electromagnetic induction (FDEM) profiles in 2011 and 2012 to identify the extent of permafrost relative to surface biomass and solar insolation around Twelvemile Lake near Fort Yukon, Alaska. We compared a Landsat‐derived biomass estimate and modeled solar insolation from a digital...

Campbell, S.; Briggs, Martin A.; Roy, S.P.; Douglas, T. A.; Saari, S.

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Year Published: 2021

Extrinsically reinforced hybrid speciation within Holarctic ermine (Mustela spp.) produces an insular endemic

AimRefugial isolation during glaciation is an established driver of speciation; however, the opposing role of interglacial population expansion, secondary contact, and gene flow on the diversification process remains less understood. The consequences of glacial cycling on diversity are complex and especially so for archipelago species, which...

Colella, Jocelyn P.; Frederick, Lindsey; Talbot, Sandra L.; Cook, Joe

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Year Published: 2021

Tectonic and magmatic controls on the metallogenesis of porphyry deposits in Alaska

Porphyry Cu and Mo deposits and occurrences are found throughout Alaska; they formed episodically during repeated subduction and arc-continent collisions spanning the Silurian to Quaternary. Porphyry systems occur in continental-margin and island arcs, which are broadly grouped into pre-accretionary or post-accretionary arcs. Pre-Mesozoic...

Kreiner, Douglas C.; Jones, James V.; Kelley, Karen D.; Graham, Garth E.

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Year Published: 2021

Sr, Nd, Hf and Pb isotope geochemistry of Early Miocene shoshonitic lavas from the South Fiji Basin: Note

We present new Sr, Nd, Hf and Pb isotope data for Early Miocene shoshonitic and high-K lavas dredged from seamounts in the South Fiji Basin, southwest Pacific Ocean. Our analyses provide a useful reference dataset for this distinctive compositional suite. The shoshonitic lavas formed in an intra-oceanic back-arc basin setting and are broadly...

Mortimer, Nick; Bosch, Delphine; Laporte-Magoni, Christine; Todd, Erin; Gill, James B

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Year Published: 2021

Forecasting community reassembly using climate-linked spatio-temporal ecosystem models

Ecosystems are increasingly impacted by human activities, altering linkages among physical and biological components. Spatial community reassembly occurs when these human impacts modify the spatial overlap between system components, and there is need for practical tools to forecast spatial community reassembly at landscape scales using monitoring...

Thorson, James; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Barnett, Lewis; Cheng, Wei; Eisner, Lisa; Haynie, Alan; Hermann, Albert; Holsman, Kirsten; Kimmel, David; Lomas, Michael; Richar, Jon; Siddon, Elizabeth

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Year Published: 2021

Variability of lipids and fatty acids in Pacific walrus blubber

The variability of lipid content and fatty acid (FA) composition across blubber depth and body sites are important considerations for condition and diet studies of marine mammals. We investigated lipid and FA variability among inner and outer blubber layers, three body sites, four study years, and lactation status of adult female Pacific walruses...

Jay, Chadwick V.; Iverson, Sara J.; Fischbach, Anthony 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
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.

2020 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 251
Map of earthquake in Anchorage, Alaska, November 30, 2018
November 30, 2018

A magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck north of Anchorage, Alaska, on November 30, 2018, at 8:29 a.m. local time (17:29:28 UTC).  For the most up-to-date information, please visit the USGS event page, and for estimates of casualties and damage, visit the USGS Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response (PAGER) website.

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.

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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