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Natural Hazards

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Natural Hazards Gateway

In the United States each year, natural hazards cause hundreds of deaths and cost tens of billions of dollars in disaster aid, disruption of commerce, and destruction of homes and critical infrastructure. This series of sections will educate citizens, emergency managers, and lawmakers on seven natural hazards facing the Nation — earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, landslides, tsunamis, volcanoes, and wildfires — and show how USGS science helps mitigate disasters and build resilient communities.


Ground shaking caused by the sudden release of accumulated strain by an abrupt shift of rock along a fracture in the Earth or by volcanic or magmatic activity, or other sudden stress changes in the Earth.


Relatively high streamflow that overflows the natural or artificial banks of a stream or that submerges land not normally below water level.

Severe cyclones, or revolving storms, originating over the equatorial regions of the Earth, accompanied by torrential rain, lightning, and winds with a speed greater than 74 miles per hour.
Downslope movement of rock, soil, or artificial fill under the influences of gravity.
Large destructive sea waves generated by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or large landslides.
Vents in the surface of the Earth through which magma and associated gases erupt; also, the forms of structures, usually conical, that are produced by the erupted material.
Combustion, marked by flames or intense heat, in natural settings, often ignited by lightning or human activities. For fires set as part of natural resource managment, use controlled fires.
Hazard Fact Sheets
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