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

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
Date published: December 7, 2017
Status: Active

Alsek River

Alsek 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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report
Filter Total Items: 2,433
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Year Published: 2019

Soil mineralogy and geochemistry along a north-south transect in Alaska and the relation to source-rock terrane

Soils collected along a predominately north-south transect in Alaska were used to evaluate regional differences in the soil mineralogy and geochemistry in the context of a geotectonic framework for Alaska. The approximately 1,395-kilometer-long transect followed the Dalton, Elliott, and Richardson Highways from near Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. Sites...

Wang, Bronwen; Hults, Chad P.; Eberl, Dennis D.; Woodruff, Laurel G.; Cannon, William F.; Gough, Larry P.
Wang, B., Hults, C., Eberl, D., Woodruff, L., Cannon, W., and Gough, L., 2019, Soil mineralogy and geochemistry along a north-south transect in Alaska and the relation to source-rock terrane in Dumoulin, J.A., ed., Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska, vol. 15: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1814–E, 27 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/pp1814E.

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Year Published: 2019

Confronting models with data: The challenges of estimating disease spillover

For pathogens known to transmit across host species, strategic investment in disease control requires knowledge about where and when spillover transmission is likely. One approach to estimating spillover is to directly correlate observed spillover events with covariates. An alternative is to mechanistically combine information on host density,...

Cross, Paul C.; Prosser, Diann; Ramey, Andrew M.; Hanks, Ephraim M.; Pepin, Kim M.

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Year Published: 2019

An initial assessment of areas where landslides could enter the West Arm of Glacier Bay, Alaska and implications for tsunami hazards

Tsunamis generated by landslides in Glacier Bay are uncommon, but have potential to be extraordinarily destructive when they occur. This article identifies areas that are susceptible to landslides that could generate tsunamis and discusses approaches to characterize hazard and risk from these events.

Coe, Jeffrey A.; Schmitt, Robert G.; Bessette-Kirton, Erin

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Year Published: 2019

Giving ecological meaning to satellite-derived fire severity metrics across North American forests

Satellite-derived spectral indices such as the relativized burn ratio (RBR) allow fire severity maps to be produced in a relatively straightforward manner across multiple fires and broad spatial extents. These indices often have strong relationships with field-based measurements of fire severity, thereby justifying their widespread use in...

Parks, Sean; Holsinger, Lisa M.; Koontz, Michael J.; Collins, Luke S.; Whitman, Ellen; Parisien, Marc-André; Loehman, Rachel A.; Barnes, Jennifer L.; Bourdon, Jean-François; Boucher, Jonathan; Boucher, Yan; Caprio, Anthony C.; Collingwood, Adam; Hall, Ron; Park, Jane; Saperstein, Lisa; Smetanka, Charlotte; Smith, Rebecca; Soverel, Nick

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Year Published: 2019

The Aleutian Low – Beaufort Sea Anticyclone: A climate index for predicting the timing of springtime melt in the Pacific Arctic cryosphere

Early and late extremes in the timing of snowmelt have recently been observed in the Pacific Arctic. Subseasonal-to-seasonal forecasts of this timing are important for industry, environmental management and Arctic communities. In northern Alaska, the timing is influenced by the advection of marine air from the north Pacific by the Aleutian Low,...

Cox, Christopher J.; Stone, Robert S.; Douglas, David C.; Stanitski, Diane; Gallagher, Michael
Cox, C. J., Stone, R. S., Douglas, D. C., Stanitski, D. M., & Gallagher, M. R. (2019). The Aleutian Low‐Beaufort Sea Anticyclone: A climate index correlated with the timing of springtime melt in the Pacific Arctic cryosphere. Geophysical Research Letters, 46, 7464–7473. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL083306

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Year Published: 2019

Filling knowledge gaps in a threatened shorebird flyway through satellite tracking

Satellite‐based technologies that track individual animal movements enable the mapping of their spatial and temporal patterns of occurrence. This is particularly useful in poorly studied or remote regions where there is a need for the rapid gathering of relevant ecological knowledge to inform management actions. One such region is East Asia, where...

Yin-Chi Chan; Tibbitts, Lee; Tamar Lok; Chris Hassell; He-Bo Peng; Zhijun Ma; Zhengwang Zhang; Theunis Piersma

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Year Published: 2019

Improving population estimates of threatened spectacled eiders: Correcting aerial counts for visibility bias

Listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1993, the Spectacled Eider (Somateria fischeri) population in western Alaska has since rebounded, prompting an assessment of their suitability for delisting. This assessment, however, is limited by aerial-based population estimates that are incompletely corrected for unobserved eiders....

Lewis, Tyler; Michael Swaim; Schmutz, Joel A.; Julian Fischer
Lewis TL, Swaim MA, Schmutz JA, Fischer JB (2019) Improving population estimates of threatened spectacled eiders: correcting aerial counts for visibility bias. Endang Species Res 39:191-206. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00959

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Year Published: 2019

Are polar bear habitat resource selection functions developed from 1985-1996 data still useful?

1. Greenhouse gas-induced warming in the Arctic has caused declines in sea ice extent and changed its composition, raising concerns by all circumpolar nations for polar bear conservation. 2. Negative impacts have been observed in three well-studied polar bear subpopulations. Most subpopulations, however, receive little or no direct monitoring,...

Durner, George M.; Douglas, David C.; Atwood, Todd C.

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Year Published: 2019

Late Miocene to Pleistocene source to sink record of exhumation and sediment routing in the Gulf of Alaska from detrital zircon fission-track and U-Pb double dating

We investigate the late Miocene‐Pleistocene offshore sedimentary record of the Yakutat microplate to evaluate the spatial and temporal variations in rock exhumation and sediment routing patterns at the heavily glaciated and actively converging plate boundary in southeast Alaska. We present 1,456 new fission track ages and 1,372 new U‐Pb ages from...

Bootes, Nathaniel; Enkelmann, Eva; Lease, Richard O.

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Year Published: 2019

Near-field remote sensing of Alaskan Rivers

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Geomorphology and Sediment Transport Laboratory (GSTL), in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL), acquired remotely sensed data from several Alaskan rivers in 2017 and 2018 with the goal of developing a methodology for measuring streamflow from...

Kinzel, Paul J.; Legleiter, Carl J.; Nelson, Jonathan M.; Conaway, Jeff; LeWinter, Adam; Gadomski, Peter; Filiano, Dominic

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Year Published: 2019

Trends and carrying capacity of sea otters in Southeast Alaska

Sea otter populations in Southeast Alaska (SEAK) have increased dramatically from fewer than 500 translocated animals in the late 1960s. The recovery of sea otters to ecosystems from which they had been absent has affected coastal food webs, including commercially important fisheries, and thus information on expected growth and equilibrium...

Tinker, M. Tim ; Gill, Verena A.; Esslinger, George G.; Bodkin, James L.; Monk, Melissa; Mangel, Marc; Monson, Daniel; Raymond, Wendel W.; Kissling, Michelle

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: 974
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.

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 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.

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 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 a tumbling tundra layer on top.
July 3, 2018

Eroding bluffs in Kaktovik

View looking east of the actively eroding coastal permafrost bluff on Barter Island, which is located on the northern coast of Alaska.

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.

Two people stand atop a coastal cliff where the grassy edges are beginning to fall off onto the beach below.
July 3, 2018

Barter Island coastal bluff studies

Scientists Cordell Johnson, left, and Li Erikson stand atop the coastal bluff of Barter Island in northern Alaska, a coastal area that is experiencing very high rates of erosion.

Two birds grabbing fish out of the ocean
June 28, 2018

Black-legged Kittiwakes forage on Pacific sand lance and capelin

Black-legged Kittiwakes forage on Pacific sand lance and capelin near their colony on Gull Island, Cook Inlet on June 28, 2018. 

A female McKay's Bunting songbird standing on the ground
June 17, 2018

Female McKay's Bunting on St. Matthew Island

Female McKay's Bunting on St. Matthew Island.

A male McKay's Bunting songbird sitting on a rock
June 14, 2018

Male McKay's Bunting on St. Matthew Island

Male McKay's Bunting on St. Matthew Island

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

2019 USGS Alaska Annual Science Report

Filter Total Items: 249
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.

Lidar image showing the upper parts of the landslide that occurred in northwest Washington on March 22, 2014.
May 14, 2014

Want to know how elevation will benefit your state? The USGS National Geospatial Program is advancing the 3D Elevation Program, known as 3DEP, in response to the growing need for high-quality three-dimensional representations of the Nation’s natural and constructed features.

USGS science for a changing world logo
April 30, 2014

The coastal geology of Simeonof Island, the southeastern-most island in the Shumagin archipelago of the Aleutian Islands, suggests the region has not experienced a great megathrust earthquake in at least the past 3,400 years.

US Topo map of the Cass, West Virginia quadrangle, March 2014.
April 24, 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. Improvements to symbol definitions (color, line thickness, line symbols, area fills), layer order, and annotation fonts are additional features of this supplemental release.

USGS
March 27, 2014

Ever since the great magnitude 9.2 earthquake shook Alaska 50 years ago today, scientists have suspected that the quake's rupture halted at the southwestern tip of Kodiak Island due to a natural barrier.

USGS science for a changing world logo
March 20, 2014

Why does the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake Matter 50 Years Later? Scientific experts will talk about a half-century of scientific and monitoring advances triggered by the 1964 events.

Houses damaged in the 1964 earthquake
March 19, 2014

The U.S. Geological Survey has released two new videos about the Great Alaska Earthquake of March 27, 1964 to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the largest earthquake ever recorded in the United States. The videos include rare vintage film footage and photos of the earthquake damage, combined with modern interviews with some of the same scientists who first investig

Uplifted sea floor at Cape Cleare on Montague Island in Prince William Sound.
March 18, 2014

To commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the largest earthquake ever recorded in the United States, the U.S. Geological Survey has reissued a series of landmark reports covering the results of investigations of the Great Alaska Earthquake of March 27, 1964.

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.