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: June 18, 2018
Status: Active

Glaciers and Climate Project

Scientists with the Glaciers and Climate Project study many of the pertinent impacts that glaciers present to society, such as altering hydrologic cycles, contributing to sea-level rise, and creating environmental hazards. 

Contacts: Louis Sass, III
Date published: June 18, 2018
Status: Completed

Mountain Permafrost, Climate Change, and Rock Avalanches in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

Release Date: JUNE 18, 2018

We usually hear about landslides and avalanches that are caused by large amounts of rainfall, the shaking from earthquakes, or a volcanic eruption, but we may be hearing more about avalanches caused by the (seemingly innocuous) melting of ice in the coming years.

Date published: June 18, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska Resource Data File

The Alaska Resource Data File (ARDF) site provides descriptions of mines, prospects, and mineral occurrences for individual U.S. Geological Survey 1:250,000-scale quadrangles in Alaska.

Date published: June 11, 2018
Status: Active

Alaska Databases and Information Analysis

We provide GIS and database support for Alaska-based research projects, including database design, data capture, and maintenance, GIS analysis and display, and production of datasets and metadata for publication and data releases.

Contacts: Nora B Shew
Date published: May 22, 2018
Status: Active

Tectonic and Metallogenic Evolution of the Yukon-Tanana Upland, Alaska

The Yukon-Tanana upland in eastern interior Alaska is a geologically complex block containing deposits of base-metal, platinum-group-element, and gold-silver-copper mineralization. It also hosts numerous mineral systems that are known or suspected to contain critical minerals.

Date published: May 22, 2018
Status: Active

Petrology, Tectonic Setting, and Potential for Concentration of Rare Earth Elements (REE) and High Field Strength Elements (HFSE) in the High-K Darby and Kachauik Plutons, Seward Peninsula, Alaska

One of the geologic environments that host rare earth and other critical and strategic element deposits are alkaline intrusive rocks.

Date published: May 22, 2018
Status: Completed

Metallogeny and Tectonics of the Lake Clark and Neacola Mountains Region, South-central Alaska

Alaska hosts a well-documented belt of ore deposits that lies roughly parallel to the Alaska Range, beginning at the Alaska Peninsula in the southwest, continuing up through the Fairbanks Mining District in the north, and curving back into the Tintina Gold Belt on its eastern end. Known mineral prospects and occurrences include porphyry copper, intrusion-related gold, volcanogenic massive...

Date published: May 22, 2018
Status: Active

GIS Prospectivity Analysis for Critical Minerals in Ore-Forming Systems in Alaska

Alaska is dominated by a history of tectonic events that foster mobilization and concentration of a wide variety of mineral commodities that are critical to the US economy and are vital to national defense, renewable-energy, and emerging electronics technologies.

Date published: May 18, 2018
Status: Active

High Priority Species for Avian Influenza in Alaska

In early 2006, an Alaska Interagency Avian Influenza Working Group was formed to develop a ranking matrix for selecting priority species to be sampled within Alaska. Most wild bird species with populations that utilize areas of both Alaska and Asia were identified and considered in the ranking exercise. Based on scoring criteria, 28 target species were chosen for sampling. Alaska is a...

Date published: May 18, 2018
Status: Active

Bird Migration and Influenza

The movement and transmission of avian influenza viruses in wild birds may differ by the migratory nature of each host species.

Date published: May 18, 2018
Status: Active

Flood Frequency Studies in Alaska

 

Flood frequency statistics for streamgages and methods for estimating flood frequency statistics at ungaged sites in Alaska and conterminous basins in Canada are presented in U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5024. This report revised methods for obtaining basin characteristics and...

Contacts: Janet H Curran
Date published: May 18, 2018
Status: Active

Flow Duration and Low-Flow Frequency Studies in Alaska

Flow duration and low-flow frequency statistics for streamgages and methods for estimating flow-duration and low-flow frequency statistics at ungaged sites in Alaska and conterminous basins in Canada are presented in U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Investigations Report 2003-4114.

Contacts: Janet H Curran
Filter Total Items: 2,416
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Year Published: 2019

Temporal variation in genetic structure within the threatened spectacled eider

We examined the genetic structure of the threatened spectacled eider 14–18 years after the initial assessment to evaluate the influence of population recovery on diversity. Concordant with the initial assessment, spectacled eiders were highly structured at mitochondrial (mt) DNA and lacked differentiation at microsatellite loci. The degree and...

Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Haughey, Christy; Sexson, Matthew G.; Solovyeva, Diana V; Petersen, Margaret R.; Powell, Abby

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Year Published: 2019

Overhauling ocean spatial planning to improve marine megafauna conservation

Tracking data have led to evidence-based conservation of marine megafauna, but a disconnect remains between the many thousands of individual animals that have been tracked and the use of these data in conservation and management actions. Furthermore, the focus of most conservation efforts is within Exclusive Economic Zones despite the ability of...

Sequeira, Ana M. M.; Hays, Graeme C.; Sims, David W.; Eguíluz, Victor M.; Rodríguez, Jorge P.; Heupel, Michelle R.; Harcourt, Robert G.; Calich, Hannah J.; Queiroz, Nuno; Costa, Daniel P.; Fernández-Gracia, Juan; Ferreira, Luciana C.; Goldsworthy, Simon D.; Hindell, Mark; Lea, Mary-Anne; Meekan, Mark G.; Pagano, Anthony M.; Shaffer, Scott A.; Reisser, Julia; Thums, Michele; Weise, Michael J; Duarte, Carlos M.

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Year Published: 2019

1200 years of Upper Missouri River streamflow reconstructed from tree rings

Paleohydrologic records can provide unique, long-term perspectives on streamflow variability and hydroclimate for use in water resource planning. Such long-term records can also play a key role in placing both present day events and projected future conditions into a broader context than that offered by instrumental observations. However,...

Martin, Justin; Pederson, Gregory T.; Woodhouse, Connie A.; Cook, Edward R; McCabe, Gregory J.; Wise, Erika K.; Erger, Patrick; Dolan, Larry; McGuire, Marketa; Gangopadhyay, Subhrendu; Chase, Katherine J.; Littell, Jeremy S.; Gray, Stephen; St. George, Scott; Friedman, Jonathan M.; Sauchyn, David J.; St. Jacques, Jannine; King, John W.

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Year Published: 2019

Surface water connectivity controls fish food web structure and complexity across local- and meta-food webs in Arctic Coastal Plain lakes

The need for theories that address food web assembly and complexity over multiple spatial scales are critical to understanding their stability and persistence. In a meta-food web – an integrated network of local food webs – spatial heterogeneity in physical processes may have profound effects on food web function and energy flow. In the Arctic,...

Laske, Sarah M.; Rosenberger, Amanda E.; Wipfli, Mark S.; Zimmerman, Christian E.

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Year Published: 2019

A ship's ballasting history as an indicator of foraminiferal invasion potential--An example from Prince William Sound, Alaska, USA

We investigated the potential role of ballast sediment from coastal and transoceanic oil tankers arriving and de-ballasting in Port Valdez as a vector for the introduction of invasive benthic foraminifera in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Forty-one ballast sediment samples were obtained in 1998-1999 from 11 oil tankers that routinely discharged...

McGann, Mary; Ruiz, Gregory M.; Hines, Anson H.; Smith, George D.

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Year Published: 2019

User guide to the FireCLIME Vulnerability Assessment (VA) Tool: A rapid and flexible system for assessing ecosystem vulnerability to climate-fire interactions

Decisionmakers need better methods for identifying critical ecosystem vulnerabilities to changing climate and fire regimes. Climate-wildfire-vegetation interactions are complex and hinder classification and projection necessary for development of management strategies. One such vulnerability assessment (VA) is FireCLIME VA, which allows users to...

Friggens, Megan; Loehman, Rachel A.; Thode, Andi; Flatley, William T.; Evans, Alexander; Bunn, Windy; Wilcox, Craig; Mueller, Stephanie; Yocum, Larissa; Falk, Donald A.
Friggens, M.; Loehman, R.; Thode, A.; Flatley, W.; Evans, A.; Bunn, W.; Wilcox, C.; Mueller, S.; Yocom, L.; Falk, D. 2019. User guide to the FireCLIME Vulnerability Assessment (VA) tool: A rapid and flexible system for assessing ecosystem vulnerability to climate-fire interactions. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-395. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 42 p.

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Year Published: 2019

Annual winter site fidelity of Barrow's goldeneyes in the Pacific

Coastal regions on the Pacific north coast of North America provide important wintering habitat for many species of sea ducks. Although winter range and habitat preferences are well described for most species, fidelity to coastal wintering sites is generally undocumented. Fidelity is an important factor necessary for understanding interactions...

Willie, Megan; Esler, Daniel N.; Boyd, W. Sean; Bowman, Timothy D.; Schamber, Jason; Thompson, Jonathan

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Year Published: 2019

The 30 November 2018 Mw7.1 Anchorage Earthquake

The Mw">Mw 7.1 47 km deep earthquake that occurred on 30 November 2018 had deep societal impacts across southcentral Alaska and exhibited phenomena of broad scientific interest. We document observations that point to future directions of research and hazard mitigation. The rupture mechanism, aftershocks, and deformation of the...

West, Michael E.; Bender, Adrian; Gardine, Matthew; Gardine, Lea; Gately, Kara; Haeussler, Peter; Hassan, Wael; Meyer, Franz; Richards, Cole; Ruppert, Natalia; Tape, Carl; Thornley, John; Witter, Robert

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Year Published: 2019

Detrital zircon geochronology along a structural transect across the Kahiltna assemblage in the western Alaska Range: Implications for emplacement of the Alexander-Wrangellia-Peninsular terrane against North America

The Kahiltna assemblage in the western Alaska Range consists of deformed Upper Jurassic and Cretaceous clastic strata that lie between the Alexander-Wrangellia-Peninsular (AWP) terrane to the south, and the Farewell and other peri-cratonic terranes to the north. Differences in detrital zircon populations and sandstone petrography allow geographic...

Box, Stephen E.; Karl, Susan M.; Jones, James V.; Bradley, Dwight C.; Haeussler, Peter; O'Sullivan, Paul B.

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Year Published: 2019

Physiological and gene transcription assays to assess responses of mussels to environmental changes

Coastal regions worldwide face increasing management concerns due to natural and anthropogenic forces that have the potential to significantly degrade nearshore marine resources. The goal of our study was to develop and test a monitoring strategy for nearshore marine ecosystems in remote areas that are not readily accessible for sampling. Mussel...

Counihan, Katrina; Bowen, Lizabeth; Ballachey, Brenda; Coletti, Heather A.; Hollman, Tuula; Pister, Benjamin; Wilson, Tammy L

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Year Published: 2019

Effects of ocean climate on the length and condition of forage fish in the Gulf of Alaska

Climatic drivers of the size and body condition of forage fish in the North Pacific are poorly known. We hypothesized that length and condition of forage fish in the Gulf of Alaska (GoA) should vary in relation to ocean temperature on multiple scales. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed morphometric data for capelin (Mallotus catervarius) and...

Sarah Ann Thompson; Marisol Garcia-Reyes; William Sydeman; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Scott Hatch; Piatt, John F.

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Year Published: 2019

Circumpolar patterns of Arctic freshwater fish biodiversity: A baseline for monitoring

1. Climate change, biological invasions, and anthropogenic disturbance pose a threat to the biodiversity and function of Arctic freshwater ecosystems. Understanding potential changes in fish species distribution and richness is necessary, given the great importance of fish to the function of freshwater ecosystems and as a resource to humans....

Laske, Sarah M.; Amundsen, Per-Arne; Christoffersen, Kirsten; Erkinaro, Jaakko; Guðbergsson, Guðni; Hayden, Brian; Heino, Jani; Holmgren, Kerstin; Kahilainen, Kimmo K.; Lento, Jennifer; Orell, Panu; Östergren, Johan; Power, Michael; Rafikov, Ruslan; Romakkaniemi, Atso; Svenning, Martin-A.; Swanson, Heidi K.; Whitman, Matthew; Zimmerman, Christian E.

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: 988
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.

Map of AK showing probability of change occurrence
December 31, 2018

Map of AK showing probability of change occurrence

Map of Alaska showing probability (%) of change occurrence. Insets show fire boundaries from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Large Fire Database and Landsat 8 imagery (bottom right; 2016) north of Fairbanks, Alaska.

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.

Thawing permafrost on various peatlands in Alaska.
December 31, 2018

Thawing Permafrost, Alaska

Thawing permafrost on various peatlands in Alaska. Permafrost thaw results in ground subsidence and inundation that kills black spruce and other understory plants living on the permafrost plateau. The black spruce forests found on permafrost plateaus are replaced with sedge- and moss-dominated bogs and fens, altering the ecosystem structure and function.

AK CASC and USGS researchers select a field site.
December 31, 2018

Tree ring research in Alaska

AK CASC and USGS researchers select a field site.

Scientist extract a sediment core from the permafrost plateaus in Alaska
December 31, 2018

Collecting Cores in Thawing Permafrost, Alaska

Cores were collected from various areas of thawing permafrost-peatlands in Alaska. Permafrost thaw results in ground subsidence and inundation that kills black spruce and other understory plants living on the permafrost plateau. 

Researchers examine tree rings for anomalies.
December 31, 2018

Tree ring research in Alaska

Researchers examine tree rings for anomalies.

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

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 248
USGS science for a changing world logo
September 10, 2015

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Some of the inner workings of Earth’s subduction zones and their “megathrust” faults are revealed in a paper published today in the journal “Science.” U.S. Geological Survey scientist Jeanne Hardebeck calculated the frictional strength of subduction zone faults worldwide, and the stresses they are under.

Image: Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, Alaska
September 3, 2015

Two community events about monitoring old volcanic ash resuspended by high winds are scheduled next week in the City of Kodiak and in Larsen Bay, Alaska.

Probing the snow pack at the highest point in North America
September 2, 2015

A new, official height for Denali has been measured at 20,310 feet, just 10 feet less than the previous elevation of 20,320 feet which was established using 1950’s era technology.

collage of scientists conducting science related to each mission are
August 10, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — In the 20th century, Baranof Island in Southeastern Alaska has drawn attention for its gold, chrome and nickel deposits, timber industry, potential activity of the dormant Mount Edgecumbe volcano, and for numerous commercially developed hot springs.

On top of North America!
July 23, 2015

A team of four climbers has recently returned from the highest point in North America with new survey data to determine a more precise summit height of Mount McKinley. It is anticipated the new elevation finding will be announced in late August.

Image: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Vessel Seen Through Bird Flock
July 16, 2015

The U.S. Geological Survey today released the North Pacific Pelagic Seabird Database — a massive online resource compiling the results of 40 years of surveys by biologists from the United States, Canada, Japan and Russia. The database documents the abundance and distribution of 160 seabird and 41 marine mammal species over a 10 million-square-mile region of the North Pacific.

Image: Long-Range Radar Station and Landfill
July 1, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — In a new study published today, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey found that the remote northern Alaska coast has some of the highest shoreline erosion rates in the world. Analyzing over half a century of shoreline change data, scientists found the pattern is extremely variable with most of the coast retreating at rates of more than 1 meter a year.

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.

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.