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USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program

Research Themes: Geologic Hazards and Catastrophic Events

Devastation of the coastal city of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Devastation of the coastal city of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. [larger version]

Ocean hazard events like tsunamis, triggered by earthquakes and landslides, storm surges associated with hurricanes and extreme storms, oil and gas spills, floods and associated watershed contaminants, affect the health and safety of our Nation's ocean and coastal communities and ecosystems. USGS scientists study the causes, distribution and hazard potential of coastal and submarine hazard events including earthquakes and submarine landslides, as well as associated tsunami potential; coastal inundation associated with hurricanes, extreme storms, and sea-level rise; oil and gas spills; along with model development to help evaluate and forecast coastal hazard probability and occurrence.

Use the tabs below to see current research related to Geologic Hazards and Catastrophic Events or see all Research Themes.

  • National Studies
  • Regional Studies
  • Applied Science
Hurricane and Extreme Storm Impact StudiesHurricane and Extreme Storm Impact Studies
Understanding the ability of extreme storms to reshape our nation's coastline and developing real-time predictions of storm impacts to support management of coastal infrastructure, resources, and community safety.
Probabilistic Forecasting of Earthquakes and Earthquake EffectsProbabilistic Forecasting of Earthquakes and Earthquake Effects
Providing leadership in tsunami and earthquake modeling, forecasting, and supporting the emergency management community.
Caribbean Tsunami and Earthquake Hazards StudiesCaribbean Tsunami and Earthquake Hazards Studies
Reducing risk from large earthquakes and devastating tsunamis by studying and monitoring tectonic structure and activity in the active Caribbean region.
National Assessment of Coastal Change HazardsNational Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards
Assessing vulnerability of the Nation's coasts to storms, sea-level rise, and sediment transport processes by understanding and predicting the ways our coasts have changed and continue to change.
Tsunami Hazards Modeling, and the Sedimentary RecordTsunami Hazards Modeling, and the Sedimentary Record
Developing and interpreting the geologic record of ancient tsunamis to reduce tsunami risk in the United States.
National Assessment of Shoreline ChangeNational Assessment of Shoreline Change
Creating a comprehensive, regionally-consistent analysis of shoreline movement over the short and long term, including historical and modern shorelines.
Sea-Level Rise Hazards and Decision SupportSea-Level Rise Hazards and Decision Support
Using combined scientific expertise in geology, hydrology, geography, biology, and ecology to understand and address the effects of sea-level rise on the Nation's coasts.
Hurricane Sandy Response - Storm Impacts and Vulnerability of Coastal BeachesHurricane Sandy Response - Storm Impacts and Vulnerability of Coastal Beaches
Post-Sandy lidar elevation data are being used to update assessments of storm-induced coastal erosion hazards for Northeast beaches and revise forecasts of coastal change that identify areas vulnerable to extreme erosion during future storms
Coastal and Marine Earthquake, Tsunami, and Landslide Active Margin Field StudiesCoastal and Marine Earthquake, Tsunami, and Landslide Active Margin Field Studies
Assessing the earthquake, landslide, and tsunami hazards posed to coastal nuclear power plants located along active strike-slip fault zones in California and the eastern Aleutian-Alaska subduction zone.
Climate Change Impacts to the U.S. Pacific and Arctic CoastsClimate Change Impacts to the U.S. Pacific and Arctic Coasts
Understanding local and regional coastal response to forecasted changes.
Coastal Change Hazards PortalCoastal Change Hazards Portal
Visualization tool for exploring coastal hazard risks at varied scales, from local areas of interest to national scope in a geospatial format. Information includes historic shorelines, coastal change rates, sea-level rise, the Coastal Vulnerability Index and more.
Probabilistic Forecasting of Earthquakes and Earthquake EffectsProbabilistic Forecasting of Earthquakes and Earthquake Effects
Providing leadership in tsunami and earthquake modeling, forecasting, and supporting the emergency management community.
Sea-Level Rise Hazards and Decision SupportSea-Level Rise Hazards and Decision Support
Using combined scientific expertise in geology, hydrology, geography, biology, and ecology to understand and address the effects of sea-level rise on the Nation's coasts.
National Assessment of Shoreline ChangeNational Assessment of Shoreline Change
Creating a comprehensive, regionally-consistent analysis of shoreline movement over the short and long term, including historical and modern shorelines.
Climate Change Impacts to the U.S. Pacific and Arctic CoastsClimate Change Impacts to the U.S. Pacific and Arctic Coasts
Understanding local and regional coastal response to forecasted changes.

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