Mission Areas

Natural Hazards

Every year in the United States, natural hazards threaten lives and livelihoods and result in billions of dollars in damage. We work with many partners to monitor, assess, and conduct targeted research on a wide range of natural hazards so that policymakers and the public have the understanding they need to enhance preparedness, response, and resilience.

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Reducing Risk

Reducing Risk

USGS scientists develop new products to make science available to the public, emergency managers, and decision-makers. These efforts increase public safety and reduce risk and economic losses caused by natural hazards.

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Subduction Zone Science

Subduction Zone Science

The most powerful earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and volcanic eruptions occur in subduction zones, where two plates collide and one is thrust beneath another.

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News

Date published: January 25, 2021

A Geophysicist's Perspective on Mount Hood Monitoring Stations and the Recent Earthquake Swarm

A CVO geophysicist discusses how the monitoring stations installed at Mount Hood in 2020 provide insight into the recent Mount Hood earthquake swarm.

Date published: January 14, 2021

Federal Agencies Partner to Strengthen ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning Capacity Along the West Coast

A lone solar panel in the middle of California’s largest national forest is powering a seismometer able to detect Earth’s vibrations, a piece of the puzzle necessary to help protect life and property by providing critical seconds of warning that an earthquake is occurring and shaking is imminent.  

Date published: January 14, 2021

New Scientist-in-Charge at USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory

The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Jon Major to serve as the new Scientist-in-Charge of the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory.

Publications

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Year Published: 2021

USGS permafrost research determines the risks of permafrost thaw to biologic and hydrologic resources

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in collaboration with university, Federal, Tribal, and independent partners, conducts fundamental research on the distribution, vulnerability, and importance of permafrost in arctic and boreal ecosystems. Scientists, land managers, and policy makers use USGS data to help make decisions for development, wildlife...

Waldrop, Mark P.; Anderson, Lesleigh; Dornblaser, Mark; Erikson, Li H.; Gibbs, Ann E.; Herman-Mercer, Nicole M.; James, Stephanie R.; Jones, Miriam C.; Koch, Joshua C.; Leewis, Mary-Cathrine; Manies, Kristen L.; Minsley, Burke J.; Pastick, Neal J.; Patil, Vijay; Urban, Frank; Walvoord, Michelle A.; Wickland, Kimberly P.; Zimmerman, Christian
Waldrop, M.P., Anderson, L., Dornblaser, M., Erikson, L.H., Gibbs, A.E., Herman-Mercer, N.M., James, S.R., Jones, M.C., Koch, J.C., Leewis, M.-C., Manies, K.L., Minsley, B.J., Pastick, N.J., Patil, V., Urban, F., Walvoord, M.A., Wickland, K.P., and Zimmerman, C., 2021, USGS permafrost research determines the risks of permafrost thaw to biologic and hydrologic resources: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2020-3058, 6 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20203058.

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Year Published: 2021

Modeling hydrologic processes associated with soil saturation and debris flow initiation during the September 2013 storm, Colorado Front Range

Seven days of extreme rainfall during September 2013 produced more than 1100 debris flows in the Colorado Front Range, about 78% of which occurred on south-facing slopes (SFS). Previously published soil moisture (volumetric water content) observations suggest that SFS were wetter than north-facing slopes (NFS) during the event, which contrasts...

Timilsina, Sujana; Niemann, Jeffrey D.; Rathburn, Sara L.; Rengers, Francis K.; Nelson, Peter A.

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Year Published: 2021

Toward physics-based nonergodic PSHA: A prototype fully-deterministic seismic hazard model for southern California

We present a nonergodic framework for probabilistic seismic‐hazard analysis (PSHA) that is constructed entirely of deterministic, physical models. The use of deterministic ground‐motion simulations in PSHA calculations is not new (e.g., CyberShake), but prior studies relied on kinematic rupture generators to extend empirical earthquake rupture...

Milner, Kevin R.; Shaw, Bruce E.; Goulet, Christine A.; Richards-Dinger, Keith B.; Callaghan, Scott; Jordan, Thomas H.; Dieterich, James H.; Field, Edward H.