Example historical USGS topo map of Highlands, TX from 1912
Available Resources

USGS Historical Topographic Map Explorer

Esri announced earlier this summer that they were making over 175,000 historical maps from the USGS available online. The maps are available to anyone to view online using their web map viewer. Or ArcGIS online […]

USGS TNM Topographic Data as viewed in AlpineQuest.
Available Resources

USGS Topo Data on the Go

The USGS issued a press release at the beginning of May highlighting the possibility of accessing USGS topo maps and other USGS imagery on mobile devices such as Android, iPhone and iPad. The USGS is […]

No Picture
Press Releases

ARkStorm: California’s other ‘Big One’

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For emergency planning purposes, scientists unveiled a hypothetical California scenario that describes a storm that could produce up to 10 feet of rain, cause extensive flooding (in many cases overwhelming the state’s […]

USGS Documentary Riding the Storm - Landslide Danger in the San Francisco Bay Area
Geologic Hazards

USGS Landslide Documentary Video

USGS Documentary Riding the Storm - Landslide Danger in the San Francisco Bay Area The USGS has a documentary on landslide video on landslide danger in the San Francisco Bay area entitled “Riding the Storm”. I think the target audience is more general than geologist or engineer, but it is still interesting. The bullet points from the USGS site:

  • A catastrophic 1982 rainstorm triggered 18,000 landslides in the Bay Area, claiming 25 lives and causing $66 million in property damage
  • The combination of steep slopes, weak rocks, and intense winter storms make Bay Area uplands an ideal setting for landslides
  • Landslides include both swift, potentially deadly debris flows and slower, but destructive deepseated slides
  • Learn what USGS scientists have discovered about landslide dynamics and which slopes are most susceptible to sliding
  • Hear the devastating stories of Bay Area residents affected by landslides and learn to recognize the danger signs

Click through to view the trailer and for links to download the full video. (Image credit: USGS)


Geologic Hazards

What Would a Large Earthquake Do to Downtown L.A.?

USGS LogoFrom the USGS Newsroom:

USGS scientist Ken Hudnut fills us in on how science created the theoretical magnitude 7.8 earthquake behind the Great Southern California ShakeOut—the largest earthquake preparedness drill in U.S. history, coming Nov. 13—and what such an earthquake would do to downtown Los Angeles.

Seems like they did it right wiith this study. They had multiple teams independenlty come up with the ground shaking model, then had different structural engineers who are experts in seismic design of large buildings review the tall buildings in the L.A. area for the design earthquake. They say that buildings would likely come down in the 7.8 magnitude event. Click through to watch the video interview from the USGS.



Press Releases

New Study Shows Odds High for Big California Quakes

Released: 4/14/2008 12:02:15 PM

California has more than a 99% chance of having a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake within the next 30 years, according scientists using a new model to determine the probability of big quakes.

The likelihood of a major quake of magnitude 7.5 or greater in the next 30 years is 46%-and such a quake is most likely to occur in the southern half of the state.

[Editor] At Left: Figure 1. The colors on this California map represent the UCERF probabilities of having a nearby earthquake rupture (within 3 or 4 miles) of magnitude 6.7 or larger in the next 30 years. As shown in the table, the chance of having such an event somewhere in California exceeds 99%. The 30-year probability of an even more powerful quake of magnitude 7.5 or larger is about 46%. [/Editor]


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Press Releases

NOAA, USGS Warning System to Help Protect Southern Californians from Debris Flows and Flash Floods

Released: 11/7/2007 1:18:29 PM

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
Clarice Nassif Ransom &n=Clarice+Nassif+Ransom">1-click interview
Phone: 703-648-4299

Matt Ocana (NOAA)
Phone: 801-524-5692

Winter Rains on Burn Areas Could Spawn New Danger

NOAA logo A debris flow and flash flood warning system developed jointly by NOAA’s National Weather Service and the U.S. Geological Survey will help protect Southern Californians from potentially devastating debris flows-commonly known as mud slides- and flash floods in and around burn areas created by the recent wildfires.