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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.
Research Theme(s): Geologic Hazards and Catastrophic Events (National Study)
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.
Research Theme(s): Geologic Hazards and Catastrophic Events (National Study, Applied Science)
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.
Research Theme(s): Understanding Coastal Change (National Study), Geologic Hazards and Catastrophic Events (National Study)
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.
Research Theme(s): Geologic Hazards and Catastrophic Events (National Study)
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.
Research Theme(s): Geologic Hazards and Catastrophic Events (National Study)
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.
Research Theme(s): Understanding Coastal Change (National Study), Geologic Hazards and Catastrophic Events (National Study, Applied Science), Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Science (National Study)
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.
Research Theme(s): Understanding Coastal Change (National Study, Applied Science), Geologic Hazards and Catastrophic Events (National Study, Applied Science), Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Science (National Study)
Hurricane Sandy Response - Storm Impacts and Vulnerability of Coastal BeachesHurricane Sandy Response - Storm Impacts and Vulnerability of Coastal Beaches
Using post-Sandy lidar elevation data to update assessments of storm-induced coastal erosion hazards for Northeast beaches and to revise forecasts of coastal change that identify areas vulnerable to extreme erosion during future storms.
Research Theme(s): Understanding Coastal Change (Applied Science), Geologic Hazards and Catastrophic Events (Regional Study)
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.
Research Theme(s): Geologic Hazards and Catastrophic Events (Regional Study)
The Impact of Sea-Level Rise and Climate Change on Pacific Ocean Atolls that House Department of Defense InstallationsThe Impact of Sea-Level Rise and Climate Change on Pacific Ocean Atolls that House Department of Defense Installations
Assessing the impacts of sea-level rise and storm-wave-induced overwash and inundation on Pacific atoll islets and their freshwater resources under various sea-level rise and climatic scenarios
Research Theme(s): Understanding Coastal Change (Regional Study, Applied Science), Geologic Hazards and Catastrophic Events (Regional Study, Applied Science)
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.
Research Theme(s): Understanding Coastal Change (Regional Study), Geologic Hazards and Catastrophic Events (Regional Study, Applied Science), Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Science (Regional Study)
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.
Research Theme(s): Understanding Coastal Change (Applied Science), Geologic Hazards and Catastrophic Events (Applied Science)
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.
Research Theme(s): Geologic Hazards and Catastrophic Events (National Study, Applied Science)
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.
Research Theme(s): Understanding Coastal Change (National Study, Applied Science), Geologic Hazards and Catastrophic Events (National Study, Applied Science), Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Science (National Study)
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.
Research Theme(s): Understanding Coastal Change (National Study), Geologic Hazards and Catastrophic Events (National Study, Applied Science), Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Science (National Study)
The Impact of Sea-Level Rise and Climate Change on Pacific Ocean Atolls that House Department of Defense InstallationsThe Impact of Sea-Level Rise and Climate Change on Pacific Ocean Atolls that House Department of Defense Installations
Assessing the impacts of sea-level rise and storm-wave-induced overwash and inundation on Pacific atoll islets and their freshwater resources under various sea-level rise and climatic scenarios
Research Theme(s): Understanding Coastal Change (Regional Study, Applied Science), Geologic Hazards and Catastrophic Events (Regional Study, Applied Science)
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.
Research Theme(s): Understanding Coastal Change (Regional Study), Geologic Hazards and Catastrophic Events (Regional Study, Applied Science), Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Science (Regional Study)

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