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USGS Science Resources For Undergraduate Education

This Web site contains selected USGS educational resources that may be useful to educators at the college level. Many of these resources can be used directly in the classroom (see Resource Symbols below) or will be useful in demonstration activities preparation, or as resources for student research. Note that this is only a partial list of selected resources.

There is no single comprehensive index to USGS resources and information. Thousands of older USGS publications and maps are in print only. Keep searching! Read a librarian's advice How to Conduct an Exhaustive Literature Review in the Earth Sciences.

More information can be found through WWW searching or by searching the USGS Library Web site.

Resource Symbols
lesson plans - Contains complete teaching module
WWW datasets and activities - WWW-resource useful for computer lab activities or getting images
cost items - Has costs for supplies beyond basic printing or on-line viewing
USGS-authored or produced data and information are considered to be in the U.S. public domain. While the content of most USGS Web pages is in the U.S. public domain, not all information, illustrations, or photographs on our site are. Some photographs, images, and/or graphics that appear on USGS Web sites are used by the USGS with permission from the copyright holder. These materials are generally marked as being copyrighted. To use these copyrighted materials, you must obtain permission from the copyright holder under the copyright law.

When using information from USGS information products, publications, or Web sites, we ask that proper credit be given. Credit can be provided by including a citation such as the following:

Credit: U.S. Geological Survey
Department of the Interior/USGS
U.S. Geological Survey/photo by Jane Doe (if the photographer/artist is known)

Additional information on Acknowledging or Crediting USGS as Information Source is available.

Policy: For relevant USGS policy on copyrights and trademarks, refer to the Survey Manual chapter entitled, "Use of Copyrighted Material in USGS Information Products."

Contact: If you have questions concerning the use of USGS information, contact the Office of Communications and see the Information Policies and Instructions for more details.


Image Galleries

Photo and Image Collections
This Web site provides links to a growing number of photo and image galleries available on USGS Web sites. Some of these Web sites contain classical and historical photographs taken by USGS scientists.



Genealogy (PDF)
Document describing how to find and use USGS map and database resources valuable for the study of genealogy.


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National Wetlands Research Center/Ecosystems
Research on wetland losses, restoration, and management, with an emphasis on Gulf Coast habitats.

Status and Trends of Ecosystems
A compilation of USGS research related to ecosystems. This is the best starting point for USGS ecosystem science.



1997 Workshop on Climate Variability and Change
A series of USGS articles and Web sites related to climate change that were compiled for a 1997 workshop on effects of climate variability, long-term climate change, and land-use change in the rapidly-growing southwestern United States.

USGS Global Change Research - Earth Surface Dynamics
This more technical resource Web site describes climate change research at the USGS, but contains useful links to many climate investigations and publications.

USGS News and Information on El Niño
The term El Niño (Spanish for "the Christ Child") refers to a warm ocean current that typically appears around Christmas-time and lasts for several months, but may persist into May or June. This Web site provides a general overview of the science of El Niño, and provides links to resources that discuss the weather's impact on floods, landslides, coastal hazards, climate and other information.

Effects of Climatic Variability and Land Use on American Drylands (USGS Global Change Research)
This Web site has links to many resources about global change in the US and Southwest, including California.

Investigating Climate Change of Western North America
This USGS fact sheet provides discussion how the California Current in the Pacific Ocean drives the climate of the western United States.

Deserts—Geology and Resources
This general interest publication describes how deserts form, types of deserts, and landscape features typically associated with deserts. Learn about desertification as an indicator of climate change.

Carbon Cycle Science Program  WWW datasets and activities
This interagency Web site provide links to information and educational resources related to the carbon cycle and greenhouse gases.

USGS Carbon Cycle Research
This Web site has selected links to resources about the impacts of greenhouse gases on vegetation and climate change.

Exchanges of Greenhouse Gases, Water Vapor, and Heat at the Earth's Surface
This Web site discusses research into the exchange of greenhouse gases (notably: carbon dioxide (CO 2 ), methane, and nitrous oxide), water vapor, and heat between Earth's land and water surfaces and the overlying atmosphere.

Volcanic Gas
This fact sheet describes gases released by volcanoes. Volcanic gases contribute to the ongoing evolution of the atmosphere.



National Biological Information Infrastructure
Explore the broad range and scope of USGS science in biology, biodiversity, and ecology. NBII includes research on botany, birds, fisheries and aquatic resources, coral reefs, amphibians, reptiles, invasive species, West Nile Virus, wildlife population genetics, pollinator declines, wildlife diseases, and much more.

USGS research on invasive species includes all significant groups of invasive organisms in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems
This Web site contains information about many types of invasive species and the impacts they are having on ecosystems.

Invasive Species Research at WERC (Western Ecological Research Center)
The Pacific Southwest (California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona) is characterized by remarkable biodiversity in an unparalleled range of environments. But the region's biodiversity and the continued survival of functioning native ecosystems are threatened by the invasion of nonnative species. Once established, some invasive species have the ability to displace or replace native plant and animal species, disrupt nutrient and fire cycles, and cause changes in the pattern of plant succession. (WERC) researchers strive to improve the ability to detect, monitor, and predict the effects of invasive species. Equally important research is being conducted by WERC scientists on exotic animals.

USGS Contaminant Biology Program
The USGS Contaminant Biology Program investigates the effects and exposure of environmental contaminants (such as mercury) to the Nation's living resources, particularly those under the stewardship of the Department of the Interior.

Redwood Field Station Research
Studies concerning restoration of the physical and biological landscapes in Redwood National and State Parks. The studies include inventory and monitoring of erosion, sediment transport, and stream temperatures; evaluating the effectiveness of various strategies for watershed restoration; and determining the influence of timber harvest and floods on riparian areas.

Discovery for Recovery  WWW datasets and activities
4-year study using satellite telemetry to follow the spring migration of northern pintails; has maps that show the migration of individual birds, and overall map of the migration routes documented in study; background material about pintails and this study; how satellite tracking works; summaries of 4 years, each with maps, biologist's journal, and forum (Q&A with biologists); pintail voice on study home page can be played.

Migration of Surf Scoters Along the Pacific Coast
In this study on surf scoters, scientists are capturing and marking scoters with radio transmitters in San Francisco Bay to determine their late winter, spring migration, and breeding distribution. Sea ducks are under investigation because of evidence indicating widespread population declines in this group.

A Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Coastal Southern California  WWW datasets and activities
The highly developed and urbanized area of coastal Southern California is host to one of the richest herpetofaunas in the United States and includes several species with State and Federal protected status.

Synopsis of conservation information on the desert tortoise

Habitat Conservation Planning Support
Habitat Conservation Plans, particularly the growing number of plans that cover large geographic areas and multiple species and habitats, address a complex array of ecological issues. USGS scientists are making important contributions to the scientific foundations upon which HCPs are developed and analyzed.

CAIN (California Node for the National Biological Information Infrastructure)  lesson plansWWW datasets and activities
The CAIN Web site provides links to many educational resources produced in cooperation with many federal, state, and local agencies (including the USGS). Web sites that provide resources related to ecology can be found on this Web site, but especially on the California Environmental Resources Evaluation System (CERES) Web site. This theme page provides links to pages relating to weather, climate, plants, wildlife, rivers, watersheds, wetlands, biodiversity, coastal resources, fisheries, soils, environmental education, and much more.

Conservation Genetics at USGS WERC, San Diego Field Station
USGS scientists are using genetic techniques to investigate the population structure of several species of conservation concern and to investigate links between Southern California geography and patterns of genetic diversity across different species groups.

Status and Trends of Biological Resources
The Status and Trends of Biological Resources Program supports and provides the collection and analysis of biological data for use by natural resource managers, scientists, and the general public. It examines: what they are, where they are located, how many there are, their capacity to produce, their health, and how these trends change over time and space. This very extensive site includes a publication list and recent news items.

Birds of North America Taxonomic List
A table listing birds of North America that is sorted taxonomically (by order, family, and genus).

NBII Digital Image Library
Each photograph in this extensive collection is available in low, medium, and high resolution. Most images are in the public domain and can be freely downloaded. Images are grouped as plants, animals, or fungi and lichen.

USGS National Wildlife Health Center
Resource site for materials related to wildlife health research and the functions of the National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC). Includes links to hot topics in wildlife health and recent news articles.

West Nile Virus—USGS National Wildlife Health Center
West Nile virus fact sheets, Frequently Asked Questions, maps, identification tips for birds that host the virus, bird handling guidelines, and more.



USGS National Wildlife Health Center: Amphibian Malformations and Decline
This site provides links to a Field Guide to Malformations of Frogs and Toads plus a 1997 report on Diagnostic Findings Associated with Malformed Frogs in Vermont.

NBII FrogWeb: Amphibian Declines and Malformations
FrogWeb is a one-stop shop for information about amphibian declines and malformations, amphibian identification guides, lists of monitoring programs that utilize amateur observers, and ideas for creating amphibian-friendly habitats.

USGS Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI)  hands-on activitiesWWW datasets and activities
As amphibian populations decline, reports of malformed frogs, toads, and salamanders are increasing. Learn about amphibians as environmental bellwethers and Congressionally-mandated USGS efforts in support of amphibian research and conservation. Links to regional Web Sites, a searchable publication list, and copyright-free photos are included.


Maps and Geospatial Data

The National Map  WWW datasets and activities
This free, online map service allows users to design and print custom maps or download seamless, high-resolution geospatial layers for use in other software. Surface elevation, topography, boundaries, hydrography, geographic names, transportation, structures, high-resolution orthoimagery, and land cover are among the many layers of available data. This is the best starting point for obtaining free, seamless vector data.

Seamless Data Distribution System
This is the best starting point for obtaining free, seamless raster data from the USGS. Contents for the conterminous U.S. include National Elevation data (NED), Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data (SRTM), orthoimagery (1 foot resolution for selected areas), National Landcover Characterization data (NLCD), and more. Most files are in GeoTIFF and/or Arc formats.

National Atlas of the United States  WWW datasets and activities
This invaluable educational tool is a free, online version of the traditional paper United States atlas. Hundreds of interactive geospatial data layers are available for viewing or free download. Most data are designed to depict patterns and trends on a national scale. Use the Map Maker tool to create a custom map or print one of hundreds of pre-formatted page-size maps that are convenient for classroom use.

Geospatial One-Stop Portal  WWW datasets and activities
A central portal for access to maps and geospatial data from multiple agencies (mostly Federal). Categories include Atmosphere, Climate, Culture, Demographic, Business, Economic, Human Health and Disease, Utilities, Communications, and much more.

Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)  WWW datasets and activities
GNIS provides a fast search with a search on its Query Form for the United States and Its Territories. A search on GNIS will give you topographic map indexing, longitude & latitude, and feature information, plus gives you direct access to topographic maps and aerial photography via the National Map and other sources.

USGS Education Map Catalog  WWW datasets and activities
Browse samples of popular USGS maps that are frequently used by educators.

National Hydrography Database (NHD)
The best and easiest source for downloading free, seamless hydrography data for use in GIS software. Data can be extracted by sub-basin, county, congressional district, or topographic quadrangle.

All about USGS Topographic Maps  WWW datasets and activitiescost items
A comprehensive description of topographic maps and how they are made. Links to map symbols and ordering information.

Free Digital USGS Topographic Map Quadrangles
Download free USGS topographic map quadrangles in georeferenced PDF (GeoPDF) format through the Map Locator and Downloader on the USGS Store Web site. These files were created using high-resolution scans and average 10-17 megabytes in size.

Topographic Maps Illustrating Physiographic Features  WWW datasets and activitiescost items
Lists of USGS topographic maps (listed by state) that show good examples of over 200 different physiographic features.

Map Symbols
An explanation of topographic maps and map symbols.

Map Projections
Every map projection has its own set of advantages and disadvantages; mapmakers must select the one best suited to their needs. Learn about the eighteen most common projections and how they compare. A folded poster of this information is also available for free through the USGS Store (product number 16573). The poster is highly popular with professionals and academics who use it as a handy reference.

USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)  WWW datasets and activities
GNIS contains information for almost 2 million physical and cultural geographic features in the United States and its territories. Query the database to find individual features and their corresponding coordinates. Search results include links to on-line air photos and topographic maps containing the feature. GNIS is also a layer of The National Map (above).


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Satellite Imagery and Remote Sensing

Earth Resources Observation and Science Center (EROS)
EROS is the repository and source for USGS satellite imagery, aerial photography, and many digital data resources.

Satellite Image Gallery
A special collection of satellite images that record beautiful sights, events of historic significance, and scenes that stir the imagination. Includes the 'Earth as Art' collection. All images can be downloaded for free as high-resolution JPEG files.

Free USGS Satellite Data
Selected Landsat 4, 5, and 7 satellite data are available for free download through this site. Click on the product name to see what's free, what's not, and where to get it. Download an entire scene containing all bands, metadata, JPEG, and header information in a single, zipped file.

Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica (LIMA)
LIMA brings the coldest continent on Earth alive in greater detail than ever before through this virtually cloudless, seamless, and high resolution satellite view of Antarctica. Zoom in on stunning detail with this Natural-Color, Pan-Sharpened image. The mosaic and all of the LIMA products can be downloaded at no charge.

USGS Center for LIDAR Information Coordination and Knowledge (CLICK)
CLICK was created to facilitate data access, user coordination, and education of Light Detecting And Ranging (LIDAR) remote sensing for scientific needs. Use CLICK to determine if publically-available lidar exists in your area of interest.

EarthNow! Landsat image Viewer
View near-real-time imagery received from the Landsat 5 and Landsat 7 satellites as they pass over the United States.

Global Visualization Viewer (Glovis)  WWW datasets and activities
Order Landsat TM (4, 5, 7) and Terra ASTER satellite images on-line. User-friendly global database allows convenient preview of images and scene mosaics. The mosaic of the world comes in 240m and 1000m resolution.

Earthshots: Satellite Images of Environmental Change  WWW datasets and activities
Earthshots is an e-book of before-and-after Landsat images (1972-present), showing recent environmental events and introducing the concept of remote sensing. Some changes are due to natural causes and some are due to human causes. Each set of images includes a detailed description, photographs and maps, a list of references, and a question/answer. Images are best used on-line.


Purchase USGS Maps and Remote Sensing Data

USGS Store  WWW datasets and activitiescost items
A quick and easy way to find and order printed USGS products: paper maps, books, and other publications.

EarthExplorer  WWW datasets and activitiescost items
Order digital USGS data including satellite imagery. Locate products by name, coordinates, or define on map.

Photo Finder
This Web site provides a quick and easy way to order digital USGS National High Altitude Photography (NHAP) and National Aerial Photography Program (NAPP) photos. These items can also be purchased through Earth Explorer.

Global Visualization Viewer (GloVis)
Use GloVis to order Landsat, Terra ASTER, MODIS, and EO-1 satellite images and NAPP photography. This data is also available through EarthExplorer, but the GloVis interface is preferred by some users. Some free downloads are only available through GloVis.


Land Use History and Changing Landscapes

Land Use History of North America
Describes the historical and on-going changes in land use and land cover for several regions around the U.S. The section on Land Use Changes in the Southwestern U.S.

Analyzing Land Use Change in Urban Environments (PDF)
Four-page USGS Fact Sheet describing and illustrating the need for urban growth studies.

USGS Urban Dynamics Research Program
Describes a project that analyzes land use change in urban environments in order to provide a historical perspective of land use change and an assessment of the spatial patterns, rates, correlation, trends, and impacts of that change. Includes links to computer animations of urban growth in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Baltimore-Washington Area.

Urban Dynamics - California 's Central Valley
Preliminary assessment of urban growth in California 's Central Valley. Includes an urban growth timeline and an urban growth animation from 1906-1996.

Urban Growth in American Cities (Circular 1252)
An on-line publication that illustrates the spatial history of urban growth in sixteen areas around the U.S. and the corresponding land use change. Images can be downloaded as GIF files.

Population Distribution - Urban and Rural - National Atlas article
Article describing population change in the U.S. 1990 - 2000. Includes population numbers for each state and for the ten largest cities plus graphs and maps.

Analyzing Land Use Change in Urban Environments (PDF)
Four-page USGS Fact Sheet describing and illustrating the need for urban growth studies.

Historical USGS topographic maps of the San Francisco Bay Area  WWW datasets and activities
The San Francisco Bay Area Regional Database (BARD) has 100 years of 15-minute topographic maps for the Bay Area. View on-line or download low-resolution JPG files or high-resolution SID compressed files.

Historic USGS Topographic Maps of the San Francisco Bay region  WWW datasets and activities
This interactive Web site provides access to historic USGS topographic maps going back into the late 19th Century when most of California was still undeveloped. An examination of the same location on maps of different ages shows the gradual progression of land use over time.


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Astronomy and Astrogeology

Browse the Solar System!  hands-on activitiesWWW datasets and activities
This Web site starts with a "clickable" image of a popular poster of all the planets and moons in the Solar System, and provides links to images and information about each of them. Printouts of each of the planets could be used for a variety of classroom activities.

Maps from the Astrogeology program  WWW datasets and activities
Global and regional maps of planets and moons.

Flagstaff Science Center
Looking for information on the moon, Mars, or impact craters? The Flagstaff Science Center is home to USGS astrogeology research. Take a special look at the Education and Outreach portion of the site for information, lesson plans, and activities that are "out of this world!"

USGS Planetary GIS Web Server (PIGWAD)
This user-friendly interface supports GIS tools for analyses of planetary data and includes planetary GIS databases consisting of digital geologic maps, feature maps, topography, and remote-sensing data. All downloads are free.


Plate Tectonics

This Dynamic Earth: the Story of Plate Tectonics  WWW datasets and activitiescost items
"This Dynamic Earth" is one of the most recommended and referenced primers on plate tectonics. Topics include a history of the theory, scientific developments that spurred its development, the mechanics of plate motions, and the relationship of hotspots to plate tectonic theory. A companion best-selling map, "This Dynamic Planet", is also available online or in print.

This Dynamic PlanetWWW datasets and activitiescost items
Plate tectonics are fully illustrated by this best-selling world map (a companion to "This Dynamic Earth: the Story of Plate Tectonics") showing the locations of plate boundaries, volcanoes, earthquakes, and impact craters. Detailed ocean floor bathymetry and discussions of fundamental components are also featured. A paper version is available for purchase or the map can be downloaded free in PDF format.

"Ring of Fire", Plate Tectonics, Sea-Floor Spreading, Subduction Zones, "Hot Spots"  WWW datasets and activities
This resource page includes links to USGS information about plate tectonics and volcanic eruptions including the geology behind the Cascade Range Volcanoes, the East Africa Rift, the Iceland volcanic rift, the Juan De Fuca Ridge and Juan de Fuca Subduction Zone, the Marianas Trench, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, South America, and the Hawaiian and Yellowstone "hot spots."

The Interior of the Earth
This booklet is an introductory guide to what is known about the interior of our planet.


Geologic Maps

Geologic Maps and Mapping
Geologic maps describe the rocks and soils at the surface, provide information about what rocks lie at depth, describe the ages of rocks and soils, and show where features such as earthquake faults and landslides lie. Geologic maps are made by studying the rocks and materials exposed at the surface and depicting information about those rocks on a map. This resource page is particularly useful to help students understand geologic maps of areas near where they live or study.

National Geologic Map Database  WWW-based activities
This exhaustive database provides bibliographic access to many thousands of geologic, geophysical, and other kinds of maps available in USGS publication, Web sites, and in popular science journals, etc.

Tapestry of Time and Terrain  WWW-based activitiescost items
Shaded relief and geology are combined on this interactive map of the 48 conterminous states. It is a useful resource for discussing physiographic provinces and for viewing the location of rocks deposited during different geologic time periods. A paper wall-size version (one of the most eye-catching maps produced by the USGS) is available for purchase through the USGS Store.

The North America Tapestry of Time and Terrain  WWW datasets and activitiescost items
The North America Tapestry of Time and Terrain is woven from a geologic map and a shaded relief image. This digital combination reveals the geologic history of North America through the interrelation of rock type, topography and time. Regional surface processes as well as continent-scale tectonic events are exposed in the three dimensions of space and the fourth dimension, geologic time. This map is an expansion of the original United States Tapestry of Time and Terrain, produced in 2000.


Rocks and Minerals

Learn about the occurrence and production of various gemstones in the United States. The site is organized by state and gemstone.

Minerals Statistics and Information
This Web site assembles statistics and information about the worldwide supply of, demand for, and flow of minerals and materials essential to the U.S. economy, the national security, and protection of the environment.

USGS Mineral Resources Program
The USGS Mineral Resources Program funds science to provide and communicate current, impartial information on the occurrence, quality, quantity, and availability of mineral resources.  The MRP provides information about mineral commodities, regional mineral resources, crustal imaging, and minerals information.

Mineral Resources On-Line Spatial Data
View maps and download data for the U.S. and the World.

Historic Events in Minerals and Materials
This report provides a review of significant changes in industries that consume metals and industrial minerals. It includes a timeline showing major achievements in mineral production and events that affected the U.S. mineral industry. These are related to overall U.S. mineral consumption and years of war or recession.

Rocks and Geology of the San Francisco Bay Region
The landscape of the San Francisco Bay region is host to a greater variety of rocks than most other areas the United States. This introductory guide provides illustrated descriptions of 46 varieties of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks found in the region. Discussions about regional geology, the rock cycle, and mineral resources are included.

Building Stones of Our Nation's Capital
This on-line publication provides descriptions and examples of all the kinds of stone used in the buildings and monuments in the Washington DC area, and discusses the impact of acid precipitation on our national landmarks.

Natural Aggregate: A Primer
This Web site describes the origins of sand, gravel, and crushed stone and their uses and importance to society.

The Living Rock: The Earth's Continental Crust (Windows Media)
This 1 hour 45 minute film provides a global tour of geologic processes through the eyes of several USGS scientists.

Gold—Why is gold such an important mineral?
This 23-page booklet gives a brief history of gold mining and the "gold fever" that has endured for centuries of civilizations.


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Fossils and Earth History

Education Resources for Paleontology
This Web site provides links to paleontological resources available from the USGS and elsewhere for teachers, students, scientists, and others who are interested in paleontology and related earth and biological science disciplines.

The Southern Appalachians: A Changing World (Window Media)
This award-winning 25 minute film, co-produced with the National Park Service, explains the origin of one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world.


Geology of National Parks

Geology in the National Parks
This Web site provides a general introduction to many facets of the geology of national parks, and USGS research involving our public lands.

3d glasses Geology of National Parks: 3-D Tours Featuring Park Geology  WWW datasets and activitiescost items
  This Web site index provides examples of 3D images representing many kinds of landscape features including many associated with processes of erosion and deposition including volcanoes, canyons, wind, glaciers, spheroidal weathering, caverns, beaches, landslides, dunes, alluvial fans, stream erosion, fossils, and much more. Over 50 national parks are represented. Images can be previewed in image thumbnail galleries. Specific examples of landscape features can be found on the Subject Index. You will need 3D viewing glasses to best utilize this Web site (like the kind used with commercial 3D movies; red and cyan varieties work best). Non-3D versions of images are also provided.


Coastal Environments

USGS Coastal & Marine Geology Program
The USGS Coastal & Marine Geology Program Web site provides current information on a variety of research topics including tsunamis generated by submarine earthquakes and landslides, El Niño, sea level change, coastal erosion, corals, pollution, and much more. The Web site provides links to CMGP field centers in Santa Cruz/Menlo Park, California, St. Petersburg, Florida, and Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

Seafloor Mapping
State-of-the-art digital multibeam systems are now used to systematically map the seafloor and collect data such as bathymetry and backscatter. Use this Web site to access maps and data for select USGS study areas, mostly along the west coast and the Gulf of Mexico. Some lakes are included.

Coasts in Crisis (Circular1075)
This Web site describes types of coasts (rocky shores, sandy beaches, coastal wetlands, and coral reefs). It also provides discussion about processes that affect beaches and coastlines including waves, tides, weather, water-level changes, coastal vegetation, and human impacts of beach sediments and processes.

Beyond the Golden Gate: Oceanography, Geology, Biology, and Environmental Issues in the Gulf of the Farallones (Circular 1198)
The general report describes a major USGS geologic and oceanographic study of the Gulf of the Farallones. This investigation, the first of several now being conducted adjacent to major population centers by the USGS, was undertaken to establish a scientific data base for an area of 3,400 square kilometers (1,000 square nautical miles) on the Continental Shelf adjacent to the San Francisco Bay region. The results of this study can be used to evaluate and monitor human impact on the marine environment.


Natural Hazards

Natural Hazards GatewayWWW-based activities
Provides many links and resources to USGS information related to earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, landslides, tsunamis, volcanoes, and wildfires.

USGS Hazards Data Distribution System (HDDS)
Use this dynamic map interface to view and download free USGS datasets for national and international disasters including tsunamis, hurricanes, and earthquakes.

USGS Natural Hazards Support System (NHSS)
Monitor and analyze natural hazards events as they are occurring anywhere on the earth through NHSS. Dynamic links connect to additional information. Viewer resolution is designed for a national or global scale.


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USGS Earthquake Hazards Program  hands-on activitiesWWW datasets and activities
This is a comprehensive Web site about earthquake hazards and research, and includes numerous links to teaching resources, activities, and current and past earthquake activity.

This general interest publication provides an introduction to earthquakes, historic quakes, where earthquakes occur, how they happen, how they are measured, and efforts to predict earthquakes.

The Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake:  100 Years Later  lesson planshands-on activitiesWWW datasets and activities
A list of links to USGS science and products about the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. Includes simulations of ground shaking, earthquake intensity maps, a virtual tour of the San Francisco Bay Area faults, historic photographs, an earthquake survival handbook for the San Francisco Bay region, and much, much more.

Putting Down Roots In Earthquake Country: Your Handbook For the San Francisco Bay Region
This general interest publication provides information about San Francisco Bay region earthquakes (cause, history, probabilities, effects) and provides detailed information about how to be prepared when a major earthquake happens. The guide identifies specific steps to improve your safety before, during, and following an earthquake. This "must read" document provides sound advice for anyone living in a potential disaster zone.

Earthquake Maps  WWW datasets and activitiescost items
Database of seismic hazard maps, earthquake maps, site response, and fault and landform maps.

National Seismic Hazard Maps  WWW datasets and activities
National maps of ground motion.

Shake Maps  WWW datasets and activities
Regional maps of ground motion and shaking intensity.

Did you feel it? Report An Earthquake
This Web site allows the public to report earthquake experiences.

Quaternary Faults and Fold Database of the United States  WWW datasets and activities
This Web site contains information on faults and associated folds in the United States that are believed to be sources of M>6 earthquakes during the Quaternary (the past 1,600,000 years). Maps of these geologic structures are linked to detailed descriptions and references. Many of the faults described in this database are in California.

Recent Earthquake Activity in the United States  WWW datasets and activities

Recent Earthquake Activity Around the World  WWW datasets and activities

Maps of Recent Earthquake Activity in California-Nevada  WWW datasets and activities
Visit the ever-popular USGS "Quake" Web site to see information about the daily earthquake activity in California and Nevada.

Earthquake History of California

Earthquake Probability Map for San Francisco Bay Area

Faults in Southern California
This Web site provides detailed information about major active faults in Southern California.

Parkfield: San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD)
The SAFOD project is a deep borehole experiment that penetrates the San Andreas Fault in one of the most predictively active segments of the San Andreas Fault. The USGS and partners have installed an extensive network of seismic instrumentation along the fault near the Parkfield, California.

The San Andreas Fault System, California (USGS Professional Paper 1515)
This classic book, edited by Robert E. Wallace, is both a technical and exhaustive resource of information about the San Andreas Fault and is an essential companion to all newly published research about the fault system. The book is available for download or to purchase.

The San Andreas Fault In The San Francisco Bay Area, California: A Geology Field Trip Guidebook To Selected Stops On Public Lands
This field guide provides descriptions of the section of the San Andreas Fault that ruptured in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. Descriptions of places the public can go range from the South Bay regions near Hollister, San Juan Bautista, throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains between San Jose and San Francisco, and Point Reyes National Seashore. Introductory materials include an overview of the San Andreas Fault System, geology, landscape features, and plant communities that reveal information about the underlying geology.

Earthquakes In and Near the Northeastern United States, 1638-1998
This thematic map documents earthquake activity in the northeastern United States from the time of the first settlers. A companion fact sheet is also available for download.

Earthquakes in the Central United States—1699-2002
More than 800 earthquakes are shown on this downloadable map detailing seismic activity in the most active region of the central United States.

Earthquake Photos

Earthquake Preparedness

The Severity of an Earthquake
The severity of an earthquake can be expressed in terms of both intensity and magnitude . However, the two terms are quite different, and they are often confused. This Web site explains the differences.

FAQs about Earthquakes, Faults, Plate Tectonics, and Earth Structure

Locating Earthquakes

Measuring the Size of an Earthquake

Earthquake Effects

What is Earthquake Intensity?

Tabletop Earthquakes  WWW datasets and activitiescost items
This publication contains directions for constructing a simple earthquake machine and supporting instructional material to demonstrate the principles of seismology.



West Coast & Alaska Tsunami Warning Center
This Web site provides comprehensive information and links to information about earthquakes and related tsunami hazards for the West Coast and Alaska. It provides information about historic and recent tsunamis.

Surviving a Tsunami-Lessons from Chile, Hawaii, and Japan
This on-line publication describes the causes and impacts of large tsunamis, with examples from around the Pacific Rim.

Western Coastal & Marine Geology (USGS)
This Web site provides access to information about scientific research in the coastal and offshore areas of California and other states, including marine earthquake, tsunami and other submarine hazards and processes.

Tsunamis & Earthquakes
This Web site provides information about USGS tsunami research and links to information Web sites about the origins of tsunamis and QuickTime animations of tsunamis in the Pacific region including a recreation of the probable tsunami associated with the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.

Tsunamis (USGS Earthquake Hazards Program Facts & Lists page)
This resource page provides links to many tsunami information and resources.


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Landslide Hazards in Glacial Lake Clays – Tully Valley, New York  WWW datasets and activities
This fact sheet explores the largest landslides to have occurred in the state of New York in more than 75 years. Learn how USGS science is being used to map landslide susceptibility throughout the region.

USGS Natural Hazards Gateway—Landslides
Gateway to the USGS Landslide Hazards Program, highlighted landslide resources, recent USGS news related to landslides, and a list of recent landslide alerts. This is a good jumping-off point for general landslide research.

Landslide Photo Collections
Landslide photos from all over the United States.

Landslide Types and Processes
This Web site provides a good introduction to types of landslides and mass movement associated with gravity and stream floods.

Landslide Hazards (PDF)
This Web site provides basic information about landslide hazards and safety issues related to wet weather conditions in landslide-prone areas.

National Landslide Hazards Mitigation Strategy: A Framework for Loss Reduction (Circular 1244)
This circular outlines the key elements of a comprehensive and effective national strategy for reducing losses from landslides nationwide and provides an assessment of the status, needs, and associated costs of this strategy.

National Landslide Overview Map of the United States
This interactive map show landslide and flood hazard areas of the United States, including California (and was used in generating "California's Landslide Hazards" Map - show here to the right).

Debris-Flow Hazards in the United States

Map Showing Inventory and Regional Susceptibility for Holocene Debris Flows, and Related Fast-Moving Landslides in the Conterminous United States
This map shows debris flow hazard areas of the United States, including California.

Riding the Storm—Landslide Danger in the San Francisco Bay Area
A catastrophic 1982 rainstorm triggered 18,000 landslides in the Bay Area, claiming 25 lives and causing $66 million in property damage. Learn what USGS scientists have discovered in the last two decades about landslide dynamics and which slopes are most susceptible to sliding.



Fire and Mud: Eruptions and Lahars of Mt. Pinatubo, Philippines
This history of the devastating 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo highlights the new science that was learned at the time and challenges that lie ahead to prevent and/or mitigate another disaster.

USGS Natural Hazards Gateway—Volcanoes
Gateway to the USGS Volcano Hazards Program, highlighted volcano resources, recent USGS news related to volcanoes, and a list of recent volcano observatory activity reports. This is a good jumping-off point for general volcano research.

Alaska Volcano Observatory  WWW datasets and activities
The AVO Web site contains current information about Alaska's volcanoes, FAQs, images, regional maps, and more.

Cascades Volcano Observatory  hands-on activitiesWWW datasets and activities
This USGS Web site has resources and links to practically every conceivable concept related to volcanoes, particularly those in the western United States, Hawaii, and Alaska. This comprehensive Web site includes current volcanic activity information. An educational resources page has teaching guides about volcanoes, activities and "fun stuff", posters, access to videos, special features, and much more!

Hawaii Volcano Observatory  WWW datasets and activities
This Web site provides comprehensive information about Hawaii's active volcanoes with many graphics and features.

Long Valley Volcano Observatory
Find out what USGS scientists are discovering about this perhaps not widely known volcanic area in eastern California. Long Valley Volcanic System extends from Mammoth Mountain to Mono Lake.

Yellowstone Volcano Observatory
Find out about current seismic and potential volcanic activity in Yellowstone National Park.

Living with Volcanoes (Circular 1073)
The 1980 cataclysmic eruption of Mount St. Helens in southwestern Washington ushered in a decade marked by more worldwide volcanic disasters and crises than any other in recorded history. Volcanoes killed more people (over 28,500) in the 1980's than during the 78 years following the 1902 eruption of Mont Pelee (Martinique). Not surprisingly, volcanic phenomena and attendant hazards received attention from government authorities, the news media, and the general public. As part of this enhanced global awareness of volcanic hazards, the U.S. government significantly expanded the Volcano Hazards Program of the U.S. Geological Survey in response to the eruptions or volcanic unrest during the 1980's at Mount St. Helens (Washington), Mauna Loa and Kilauea (Hawaii), Long Valley Caldera (California), and Redoubt Volcano (Alaska). This publication summarizes the Volcano Hazards Program—its goals, the activities designed to achieve these goals, some key accomplishments of the past two decades, and a plan for work that started in the the 1990's.



USGS Natural Hazards Gateway—Wildfires
Gateway to the USGS wildfire science, with highlighted wildfire resources and recent USGS news related to wildfires. This is a good jumping-off point for general wildfire research.

GeoMAC Wildland Fire Support
The Geospatial Multi-Agency Coordination Group (GeoMAC) is an internet-based mapping application designed for fire managers (and the public) to access online maps of current fire locations and perimeters in the conterminous 48 States and Alaska.

Fire Ecology Research
This is the portal page to fire ecology studies at WERC; research is in Sierra Nevada forests, California shrublands, and Mojave and Sonoran deserts, and Great Basin.

Fire and Invasive Annual Grasses in Western Ecosystem
Research on ways to prevent invasive annual grass invasions and restore invaded habitats; this particular study has a nice photo gallery of field work on prescribed burning and monitoring.

Fire and Fire Surrogate Study Sequoia National Park Site
Evaluating the ecosystem impacts of different fire hazard reduction treatment in forests that historically experienced short-interval, low- to moderate-severity fire regimes.

Effects of Fuel Management Treatments in Piñon Juniper Vegetation at a Site on the Colorado Plateau
Study on the cost-effectiveness and ecological effects of various combinations of thinning, seeding, and burning to restore sagebrush steppe vegetation.


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Water Resources

Fog Drip in Tropical Montane Ecosystems
How much does fog contribute to cloud forest water budgets? Do plants utilize fog water, rain water, or both? How much does fog contribute to streamflow? This study on the importance of fog drip to ecosystem hydrology and water resources attempts to answer those questions.

Water Resources of the United States
The main portal to USGS Water Resources Program provides links to real-time data for surface and groundwater, and water quality information for all states. The Web site is rich in data resources pertaining to regional science investigations, floods, droughts, toxic substances hydrology, water use, recreation, and state, national, and international research initiatives.

The Quality of Our Nation's Waters: Nutrients and Pesticides
This nontechnical report describes major findings on nutrients and pesticides in water and on pesticides in bed sediment and fish tissue. These are results of studies made at regional and national levels.

Water Availability for the Western United States—Key Scientific Challenges
In the Western United States, the availability of water has become a serious concern for many communities. This report reviews the quality, availability, use, and sustainability of both ground water and surface water in the western U.S.

Water Resources Data  WWW-based activities
The National Water System Web Site is a comprehensive source of real-time water data for the nation (surface& underground water and water quality). Real-time stream flow data is collected from over 8,000 on-line stations throughout the U.S. A "Water Use" Web site has maps and searchable data by county and watershed. A great place for a school project! On-line databases provide data and reports on acid rain, atmospheric deposition and precipitation chemistry, and information about the transport of sediments and contaminants in streams.

Science in Your Watershed  WWW-based activities
This Web site provides information about watersheds and provides a map locator for watersheds across the country.

Chemical and Pathogenic Contaminant Exposure by Drinking Water
USGS provides scientific data and information on the occurrence, fate, and transport of emerging and legacy contaminants in water resources, assessments of drinking water sources, and the vulnerability of water supplies to contamination. How safe is your water?



Aquifer Basics
An underground layer of permeable rock, sediment, or soil that yields water is called an aquifer. This site describes different kinds of aquifers and where they are located.

Ground Water Atlas of the United States
Learn about the ground-water resources of regional areas that collectively cover the U.S. and its territories. Text and maps are used to describe the climate, physiography, geology, land use, major aquifers, and ground-water withdrawals for each region.

Sustainability of Ground-Water Resources (USGS Circular 1186)
Ground water is one of the Nation's provides about 40 percent of the public water supply in the United States. This Web site provides information and discussion about one or our nation's most precious resource, our groundwater supply.

Groundwater and Surface Water - A Single Resource (USGS Circular 1139)
This publication includes a chapter on the hydrologic cycle, and illustrates the interactions of groundwater and surface water. The report discusses issues related to water supply, water quality, and degradation of aquatic environments.

Ground Water and the Rural Homeowner
This comprehensive 36-page booklet describes groundwater as it relates to problems that rural homeowners might encounter, such as digging a well, water-level declines, and contamination.



USGS Natural Hazards Gateway—Floods
Gateway to USGS research on floods. Includes highlighted flood resources and recent USGS news related to floods. This is a good jumping-off point for general flood science.

Large Floods in the United States : Where they Happen and Why (Circular 1245)
A 13-page on-line publication that describes the geographic and climatic factors that influence the occurrence and impacts of large floods in the United States.

Two Months of Flooding in Eastern North Carolina, September - October 1999: Hydrologic Water-Quality, and Geologic Effects of Hurricanes Dennis, Floyd, and Irene
In 1999, unusually heavy rainfall caused 500-year or greater floods in all of the river basins in the eastern part of North Carolina. This report describes flooding, water quality, and shoreline changes caused by the floods and related storms.


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