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Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

Probabilistic Forecasting of Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Earthquake Effects in the Coastal Zone

Ground view of collapsed building and burned area at Beach and Divisadero, Marina District, San Francisco, Loma Prieta earthquake, 1989. Photo by C.E. Meyer, USGS April 2011 in waterfront area of Arahama, Japan following the March 11 2011 earthquake and tsunami. House moved laterally off cement foundation in Redwood Grove, Santa Cruz Mountains, Loma Prieta earthquake, 1989. Photo by J.K. Nakata, USGS Building damaged in 2014 South Napa earthquake. Photo by Erol Kalkan, USGS Damage on Fourth Street near C Street, in Anchorage, from the magnitude 9.2 earthquake in Alaska on March 27, 1964. Photo Credit: US Army Corps of Engineers. April 2011 in waterfront area of Tohoku, Japan following the March 11 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Structural failure of twin bridges carrying Highway 1 across Struve Slough, near Watsonville, Loma Prieta earthquake, 1989. Photo by J.C. Tinsley, USGS April 2011 in waterfront area of Arahama, Japan following the March 11 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Damaged building in downtown Napa. Photo by Erol Kalkan, USGS Differential settlement due to liquefaction caused cracking of paved road on Pauls Island, Loma Prieta earthquake, 1989. Photo by S.D. Ellen, USGS April 2011 in Japan following the March 11 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
About Our Research

The nation's coastlines are vulnerable to the interrelated hazards posed by earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis. In the marine environment these events often occur in concert, and distant triggers can cause severe local effects, making the issue global in scope. As the population continues to migrate toward the coastlines, the social impacts of these hazards are expected to grow. Products are aimed for use in regional multi-hazard assessments, and might range from complete assessments to analysis tools, interpreted data, or models. We are interacting with groups tasked with making formal hazard assessments and have provided products needed by them in a timely manner (e.g., Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC), Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities (WGCEP)). These collaborations will continue to be a major guiding influence, and we plan to maintain research flexibility needed for proper response as necessary. As such, the task is defined thematically. The larger community will help to establish guidelines on regions in which we will we work.

Research Web Sites Photo of lidar scanner and USGS researcher.

Global Geoengineering Research

The Coastal and Marine Geology geoengineering group investigates the causes of ground deformation and ground failures—such as landslides and liquefaction—that result from earthquakes, storms, and wave action.

Screen capture of a tsunami animation.

Tsunami and Earthquake Research

This site provides general information about how earthquakes generate tsunamis, as well as descriptions and animations of historical tsunamis, virtual reality models showing how tsunamis change as they approach and bounce off coastlines, and summaries of past fieldwork in areas struck by major tsunamis.

Map of earthquake probability near San Francisco.

Earthquake Hazards Program

We work closely with scientists in the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program, with the goal of providing relevant scientific information to reduce deaths, injuries, and property damage from earthquakes.

Thumbnail of report, California Earthquake Rupture Forecast.

Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities (WGCEP)

We collaborate with groups that make formal hazard assessments, such as the Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities (WGCEP), providing and evaluating the latest scientific information. This site presents the most recent collaborative earthquake forecasts for all of California.

Recent Publications

Introduction to “Global Tsunami Science: Past and Future, Volume III” — Pure and Applied Geophysics v. 175, 2018

Determining on-fault earthquake magnitude distributions from integer programming — Computers & Geosciences v. 111, 2018

Testing Earthquake Links in Mexico From 1978 to the 2017 M = 8.1 Chiapas and M = 7.1 Puebla Shocks — Geophysical Research Letters v. 45, 2018

Tsunamis: Bayesian Probabilistic Analysis — Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2017

From coseismic offsets to fault-block mountains — Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) v. 114, 2017

Nucleation speed limit on remote fluid-induced earthquakes — Science Advances v. 3, 2017

Probabilistic Tsunami Hazard Analysis: Multiple Sources and Global Applications — Reviews of Geophysics v. 55, 2017

Introduction to “Global Tsunami Science: Past and Future, Volume II” — Pure and Applied Geophysics v. 174, 2017

Seismic velocity site characterization of 10 Arizona strong-motion recording stations by spectral analysis of surface wave dispersion — USGS Open-File Report 2016-1208, 2017

A Synoptic View of the Third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (UCERF3) — Seismological Research Letters v.88, 2017

Reducing risk where tectonic plates collide — USGS Fact Sheet 2017-3024, 2017

Reducing risk where tectonic plates collide — U.S. Geological Survey subduction zone science plan — U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1428, 2017

Tsunamis: Bayesian Probabilistic Analysis — Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science, 2017

A physics-based earthquake simulator and its application to seismic hazard assessment in Calabria (Southern Italy) region — Acta Geophysica v.65, 2017

 

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