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 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: 2,613
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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.

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Year Published: 2014

Assessing streamflow sensitivity to variations in glacier mass balance

The mountains ringing the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) receive upwards of 4–8 m yr−1 of precipitation (Simpson et al.2005; Weingartner et al. 2005; O’Neel 2012), much of which runs off into productive coastal waters. The alpine landscape is heavily glacierized, and storage and turnover of water by glaciers substantially influences the regional surface...

O'Neel, Shad; Hood, Eran; Arendt, Anthony; Sass, Louis C.
Assessing streamflow sensitivity to variations in glacier mass balance; 2014; Article; Journal; Climatic Change; O'Neel, Shad; Hood, Eran; Arendt, Anthony; Sass, Louis

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Year Published: 2014

Validation of adipose lipid content as a body condition index for polar bears

Body condition is a key indicator of individual and population health. Yet, there is little consensus as to the most appropriate condition index (CI), and most of the currently used CIs have not been thoroughly validated and are logistically challenging. Adipose samples from large datasets of capture biopsied, remote biopsied, and harvested polar...

McKinney, Melissa A.; Atwood, Todd C.; Dietz, Rune; Sonne, Christian; Iverson, Sara J.; Peacock, Elizabeth L.
Validation of adipose lipid content as a body condition index for polar bears; 2014; Article; Journal; Ecology and Evolution; McKinney, Melissa A.; Atwood, Todd; Dietz, Rune; Sonne, Christian; Iverson, Sara J.; Peacock, Elizabeth

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
Image: Eroding Shoreline Along Alaska's Coast
August 8, 2006

Eroding Shoreline Along Alaska's Coast

This photograph shows ice-wedge polygons and an eroding shoreline at Cape Halkett on the Beaufort Sea coast of Alaska. Coastal erosion along the Arctic coast is chronic, widespread and potentially accelerating, posing threats to infrastructure important for defense and energy purposes, natural shoreline habitats and nearby Native communities. To help address these concerns

...
Image: Polar Bear Along Alaska's Coast
August 7, 2006

Polar Bear Along Alaska's Coast

A polar bear stands on a low-lying barrier shoal near the Huluhula River on the Beaufort Sea coast of Alaska. Coastal erosion along the Arctic coast is chronic, widespread and potentially accelerating, posing threats to infrastructure important for defense and energy purposes, natural shoreline habitats and nearby Native communities. To help address these concerns,

...
Unuk River
June 30, 2006

Unuk River in Southeast Alaska

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

A lot of sand lance in a bucket from a beach seine in the Aleutian Islands
June 14, 2006

Sand lance catch from a beach seine in the Aleutian Islands

Pacific sand lance catch from a beach seine in the Aleutian Islands.

Taku River
June 13, 2006

Taku River in Southeast Alaska

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

Eric Reghr and Kristin Simac working on an anesthetized polar bear
April 3, 2006

Eric Reghr and Kristin Simac working on an anesthetized polar bear

Eric Reghr and Kristin Simac working on an anesthetized polar bear

A gas plume arising from Augustine Volcano during it's eruptive phase 2005-06.
January 24, 2006

A gas plume arising from Augustine Volcano during it's eruptive phase 2005-06.

A gas plume arising from Augustine Volcano during it's eruptive phase 2005-06. This photo was taken during  a FLIR/maintenance flight on January 24, 2006.

A small bird on a deck bird feeder
November 5, 2005

Deformed beak Black-capped Chickadee next to peanut butter on a feeder

Deformed beak Black-capped Chickadee next to peanut butter on a feeder

A large flock of Bar-tailed Godwits flying near Egegik, Alaska
September 14, 2005

Bar-tailed Godwits in flight near Egegik, Alaska

A large flock of Bar-tailed Godwits flying near Egegik, Alaska

A weir on the Snake River to count chum and coho salmon, near Nome, Alaska
September 7, 2005

Fish weir on the Snake River, near Nome, Alaska

A weir on the Snake River, near Nome, Alaska.  This weir was used to count chum and coho salmon adults.

Spawning sockeye salmon in the Grand Central River, near Nome, Alaska
September 7, 2005

Spawning sockeye salmon in the Grand Central River, near Nome, Alaska

Spawning sockeye salmon in the Grand Central River, near Nome, Alaska

Sockeye salmon spawning in Grand Central River on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska
September 7, 2005

Sockeye salmon spawning in the Grand Central River, Alaska

Sockeye salmon spawning in the Grand Central River, on the Seward Peninsula near Salmon Lake, Alaska.

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.