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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Hazard Research

Hazard Research

USGS scientists conduct research to understand earth processes and the natural hazards they can pose to society in order to increase public safety and reduce risk and economic loss.

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Date published: May 8, 2019

USGS Scientific Team Selected as a Finalist for the “Oscars” of Government Service

The team at the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is one of several finalists nominated for the 2019?Service to America Medals.

Date published: May 3, 2019

New evidence for a roughly 600-year-old tsunami impacting the Hawaiian Islands

In a comprehensive survey of Hawaiian tsunami deposits, USGS scientists from the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center and?collaborators found evidence for a?widespread tsunami striking the islands between?1250 and 1450 CE.

Date published: May 2, 2019

Coral-reef research featured in Science Magazine news article

A news feature published last week in Science Magazine highlights research by SPCMSC scientists into the problem of reef erosion in the Florida Keys.


Year Published: 2019

Evaluation of ground motion models for USGS seismic hazard forecasts: Induced and tectonic earthquakes in the Central and Eastern U.S.

Ground motion model (GMM) selection and weighting introduces a significant source of uncertainty in United States Geological Survey (USGS) seismic hazard models. The increase in moderate moment magnitude induced earthquakes (Mw 4 to 5.8) in Oklahoma and Kansas since 2009, due to increased wastewater injection related to oil and gas production (...

McNamara, Daniel E.; Petersen, Mark D.; Thompson, Eric M.; Powers, Peter M.; Shumway, Allison; Hoover, Susan M.; Moschetti, Morgan P.; Wolin, Emily

Year Published: 2019

Rigorously valuing the role of U.S. coral reefs in coastal hazard risk reduction

The degradation of coastal habitats, particularly coral reefs, raises risks by increasing the exposure of coastal communities to flooding hazards. The protective services of these natural defenses are not assessed in the same rigorous economic terms as artificial defenses, such as seawalls, and therefore often are not considered in decision making...

Storlazzi, Curt D.; Reguero, Borja G.; Cole, Aaron D.; Lowe, Erik; Shope, James B.; Gibbs, Ann E.; Nickel, Barry A.; McCall, Robert T.; van Dongeren, Ap R.; Beck, Michael W.
Storlazzi, C.D., Reguero, B.G., Cole, A.D., Lowe, E., Shope, J.B., Gibbs, A.E., Nickel, B.A., McCall, R.T., van Dongeren, A.R., and Beck, M.W., 2019, Rigorously valuing the role of U.S. coral reefs in coastal hazard risk reduction: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019–1027, 42 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191027.

Year Published: 2019

Formation of pedestalled, relict lakes on the McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica

Surface debris covers much of the western portion of the McMurdo Ice Shelf and has a strong influence on the local surface albedo and energy balance. Differential ablation between debris-covered and debris-free areas creates an unusual heterogeneous surface of topographically low, high-ablation, and topographically raised (‘pedestalled’), low-...

MacDonald, Grant J; Banwell, Alison F; Willis, Ian C; Mayer, David; Goodsell, Becky; MacAyeal, Douglas R