USGS Evening Public Lecture Series



Lectures listed by each season: 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002
( The season listings also includes information of lectures that were not recorded. )

All recorded lectures from March 2002 until present


March 27, 2014

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Preparing for California Climate Change

Climatologists Look Back and Peer Forward

By Dan Cayan, USGS Climate Change Researcher

  • Climatologists are using observational history, climate and earth system physics and computer modeling to develop plausible scenarios of California's changing climate.
  • How much will California's climate warm in future decades, and what are the greatest vulnerabilities to climate change?
  • Experts are investigating how climate change might impact resources that are crucial to the state, including the Sierra Nevada snowpack, California coastal sea levels and the San Francisco Bay/Delta.

Flyer: Mar14flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



February 27, 2014

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The 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami 50th ANNIVERSARY

By George Plafker, USGS Geologist Emeritus

  • March 27th, 1964, one of the most violent earthquakes of all time rocked southern Alaska.
  • More than 50,000 square miles of the state was tilted to new elevation, and the resulting property damage disrupted the state's economy.
  • Within 24 hours, a team of USGS geologists conducted scientific and engineering investigations, to help advise with the reconstruction effort.

Flyer: Feb14flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)

Handout Material (Acrobat PDF)


January 23, 2014

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The Yellowstone Volcano: Past, Present and Future

Monitoring the sleeping giant beneath Yellowstone National Park

By Jake Lowenstern, Scientist-in-Charge, Yellowstone Volcano Observatory

  • What's all the buzz about -- is the Yellowstone area really dangerous?
  • Learn about Yellowstone's amazing geological history
  • What's happening now with earthquakes, hot springs, and steam explosions?
  • Hear how scientists monitor Yellowstone and other volcanoes to forecast future eruptions

Flyer: Jan14flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



February 23, 2013

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Is "THE IMPOSSIBLE" Possible in the Pacific Northwest?

-- Coastal Community Tsunami Hazards and Risk

By Nathan Wood, Geographer

  • The movie "The Impossible", currently showing in theaters, portrays the destruction of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami
  • Recent tsunami disasters in the Pacific Ocean testify to their destructive power -- are similar events likely in the Pacific Northwest?
  • Geographic research is helping to understand the risk, assisting planners with developing effective emergency response plans
  • Which coastal communities are at greatest risk, and what can be now to prepare for future Cascadia tsunamis?

Flyer: feb13flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


January 24, 2013

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Exploring the Earth's Crust

--Seismology Uncovers Hidden Secrets Beneath our Feet

By Walter Mooney, Geophysicist

  • During the past century, scientists have dissected the outer layer of our planet with bold scientific investigations revealing the deep properties of the Earth's crust
  • Scientific creativity has fostered innovation in field measurements from the Tibetan Plateau to the deep Pacific Ocean, and beyond
  • New insights are providing clues to processes that have been shaping the Earth during the past 4.5 billion years

Flyer: Jan13flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


2012

December 13, 2012

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Colorful South Pacific Species
--New Discoveries and Looming Threats

by Robert Fisher, Research Biologist

  • Exciting discoveries are spurring research to uncover hidden secrets deep within South Pacific tropical forests
  • A scientific expedition roaming the tropical forests of Papua New Guinea recently discovered a new species dubbed the "bumblebee" gecko
  • Some Pacific Islands species are endangered, while others pose emerging threats to nearby wildlife and ecosystems
  • How are scientists studying these species, and what are herpetologists finding while studying Pacific lizard biodiversity?
Flyer: Dec12flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


November 15, 2012

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Understanding Climate-Wildlife Relationships
-- are American pikas harbingers of changing conditions?

by USGS Research Ecologist Erik Beever

  • American pikas are denizens of rocky talus and lava-flow habitats in mountain ecosystems across western North America
  • Mountain environments, cauldrons of climatic harshness, exhibit sharp topographic, vegetative, and climatic gradients
  • Pikas are providing scientists with a model for assessing species vulnerability to warming temperatures
  • Are other species and indicators in the animal kingdom equally sensitive to changing climate conditions and warming temperatures?
Flyer: November Flyer (Acrobat PDF)




October 25, 2012

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Exploring Mars With Curiosity

by Ken Herkenhoff, USGS Astrogeology Science Center

  • The Mars Science Laboratory rover "Curiosity" landed successfully on August 5th to begin its 23 month mission
  • What have scientists discovered so far, particularly with respect to the geology of the Gale crater landing site?
  • Instruments aboard Curiosity are searching for evidence of environmental conditions that could support microbial life
  • How are dust and rocks analyzed and studied to learn about the role of water in forming the Martian landscape?
Flyer: Oct12flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



September 27, 2012

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Pacific Nearshore Ecosystem Mysteries
--from kelp forests to fisheries, sea otters aid in studying ocean vitality

by USGS Research Wildflife Biologist James Bodkin

  • Nearshore marine ecosystems face unprecedented challenges, regionally and globally, with threats from adjacent lands and oceans
  • Sea otter populations are experiencing reduced rates of increase across much of their range
  • Scientists are evaluating the status of north Pacific nearshore ecosystems from southern CA to southwest Alaska looking for clues about processes influencing the sea otter and the nearshore environment
  • New technology is being used to study nearshore food webs, define the effects of adjacent watersheds, and demystify sea otter behaviors
Flyer: Sept12flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



August 30, 2012

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Global Food Security in the 21st Century
--the increasing need for food production, cropland areas, and agricultural water

by Prasad Thenkabail, Research Geographer
  • Worldwide demand for food will require more than one billion hectares of new cropland to feed 9 billion plus people by 2050
  • Presently, of all the water used by humans over 70% goes towards agriculture to produce food in most countries
  • Remote-sensing from space will provide crucial data for policy development affecting croplands and their water use
  • Social scientists recognize global food security as a primary requirement for human advancement, overall health, and peaceful coexistence.

Flyer: Aug12flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



July 26, 2012

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Wind Energy and Wildlife
-- the challenges of wind-energy development and wildlife conservation

by Manuela Huso, Research Statistician

  • Wind-power development in the United States is increasing exponentially, with proposals to provide 20% of the country's total power by 2030.
  • High numbers of bird and bat carcasses at some wind farms have raised concerns about the environmental effects of this rapidly expanding industry.
  • Why don't simple counts of carcasses beneath turbines provide reliable estimates of fatality?
  • What tools are scientists developing to accurately estimate wildlife fatalities and help identity options for monitoring and mitigation?

Flyer: July12flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



June 28, 2012

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Scanning the Seafloor with Sound

--modern sonar reveals hidden hazards and resources

by David Finlayson, Marine Geologist

  • The USGS seafloor mapping program supports scientific studies across most marine disciplines, including geologic mapping, mineral exploration and environmental characterization.
  • See dramatic, colorful imagery of underwater features presented using modern 3-D processing software
  • Learn how state-of-the-art sonar systems are being used by marine geologists and oceanographers to interpret and study the seafloor in unprecidented detail

Flyer: June12flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



June 6, 2012

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Exploring The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes

-- a Centennial perspective of the Novarupta-Katmai eruption, the largest of the 20th century

By Judy Fierstein, USGS

  • 100 years ago on June 6, a 3-day explosive eruption at Novarupta on the Alaska Peninsula created the spectacular Katmai caldera and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, called the eighth wonder of the world by early explorers.
  • Why has this area remained scientifically important for 100 years, and what insights does it still offer about earth processes that shape our world?
  • USGS geologist and noted Novarupta-Katmai expert Judy Fierstein will describe the excitement and rewards of conducting geologic fieldwork in this remote and wild setting

Flyer: Katmai Volcano Flyer (Acrobat PDF)


May 26, 2012

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Restoring the Wild Heart of South San Francisco Bay

--The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project

By Laura Valoppi, Lead Scientist

  • This is largest Western U.S. coastal wetlands restoration project, encompassing 15,100 acres of former salt ponds around the edge of South San Francisco Bay
  • The project will restore and enhance South Bay wetlands for endangered species and migratory birds while providing flood management and wildlife oriented public access and recreation
  • USGS multidisciplinary science is guiding the restoration effort, providing an integral part of the adaptive management process being used to restore this area over the next 50 years
  • Scientists are conducting studies in avian and invertebrate biology, water quality, hydrology, geomorphology, and chemistry to better understand the wetland ecosystem

Flyer: may12flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


April 26, 2012

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ShakeAlert!

--building an earthquake early warning system for California

by Doug Given, USGS Earthquake Early Warning Coordinator

  • Millions of Japanese citizens received advance warning of the 2011 magnitude 9.0 Tohoku earthquake -- can such a system be built for use in California?
  • University researchers and government agencies are working together to create an Earthquake Early Warning system in California to reduce earthquake losses
  • April is Earthquake Awareness Month in California -- how could you and your family best prepare for severe ground shaking using 30 seconds of advance warning?

Flyer: april12flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



March 22, 2012

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Projected Climate Change Impacts in California

--the consequences of increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases

Tom Suchanek, USGS Western Ecological Research Center Lead Scientist and Climate Change Coordinator
  • How will decisions that the global community makes about emissions likely affect the future of the western U.S.?
  • How will rising sea level likely affect coastal human communities and vulnerable ecological systems along the Pacific coast?
  • What might changes in atmospheric CO2 concentrations mean to human land-use and environmental systems throughout California, and the San Francisco Bay Area?
  • What might Sierra snowpack, sensitive fire regimes, and species distributions look like in our children's and grandchildren's generations?

Flyer: mar12flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


February 23, 2012

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Mapping a Flood..... Before it Happens

-- the new USGS FloodPath early warning system

By Marijke van Heeswijk, USGS Hydrologist

  • Historically, floods have been the most destructive natural hazard in the Nation
  • The USGS and National Weather Service have developed an early warning system that produces online maps of tomorrow's floods today
  • The new USGS FloodPath system maps a forecast flood 3 days before it happens, showing when and where floodwaters will be and the likely water depths

Flyer: feb12flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


January 26, 2012

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Lassen Volcanic National Park

--a wonderland of volcanoes and thermal features

By Patrick Muffler, Geologist Emeritus

  • Lassen Peak, the southernmost active volcano in the Cascade Range,explosively erupted in 1915, devastating nearby areas and raining volcanic ash as far away as 200 miles to the east
  • Lassen National Park, in addition to prominent volcanic areas,contains the most spectacular array of thermal features in the Cascade Range including fumaroles, bubbling mud pots, and a boiling lake
  • A new USGS map shows volcanic centers in unprecedented detail,enabling development of products to better evaluate and assess regional volcanic hazards

Flyer: jan12flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



2011 Video Archives

December 8, 2011

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Tracking Ongoing Kilauea Eruptions
--fissures...fountains...and flows

by Matthew Patrick, USGS, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

  • Spectacular Kilauea eruptions have produced a summit lava lake, roiling for several years, and a flank eruption recently sending lava flows downslope to threaten residential areas
  • How do USGS scientists monitor and track subsurface molten rock movement, measure the state of volcanic unrest, and forecast eruptions?
  • Hawaiian volcano "plumbing systems" force deep molten magma into subsurface reservoirs, through eruptive fissures, and onto the surface to form large lava flows
Flyer: Dec11flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


November 17, 2011

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Colorado River High-Flow Experiments
- a story of Grand Canyon geology, water, and biology

by Jack Schmidt & David Rubin

  • New insights from recent Glen Canyon Dam high-flow experiments on the Colorado River
  • Are these high flows doing more than building large sand bars in Grand Canyon National Park?
  • The challenge of adaptively managing a highly regulated river
  • USGS Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center: www.gcmrc.gov

Flyer: Nov11flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



November 3, 2011

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USGS Science for a Changing Bay Area
-- a special USGS public lecture celebrating the inaugural Bay Area Science Festival

by Patrick Barnard and William Ellsworth

  • USGS scientists will be speaking about current Bay Area research, including recent discoveries beneath Bay waters and the latest on earthquake research. The scientists will be presenting information in non-technical terms for the general public. Following the speakers, a "video theatre" will feature two award-winning USGS products, "Delta Revival" and "Wetland Revival", on scientists working to restore San Francisco Bay-Delta ecosystems
Flyer: BASF_USGS.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



October 27, 2011

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Understanding Migratory Connectivity in a Changing Climate

by Susan Haig, Wildlife Ecologist

  • Scientists are studying global migratory animal movements throughout their annual cycles to improve conservation efforts
  • Changing climate conditions have accentuated this need, as species movements and their ranges are fluctuating every year
  • Technology being used to study the migratory patterns ranges from leg bands to satellite telemetry and isotopic markers
  • The USGS and the Smithsonian Institution have partnered to form the Migratory Connectivity Project to address this issue
Flyer: oct11flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



September 22, 2011

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Tracking the Nation's Groundwater Reserves
--issues facing current and future water supplies

by William Alley, USGS Office of Groundwater

  • Ground water is among the Nation's most important natural resources, providing half of our drinking water as well as being essential to agriculture and industry, and the health of ecosystems throughout the country
  • During the past 50 years, groundwater depletion has spread from isolated pockets to large areas in many countries throughout the world
  • What are the issues involved, how much groundwater do we have left, and are we running out?
  • Scientists are discovering more about where our Nation's groundwater resources are most stressed, and where they are most available for future supply
Flyer: Sept11flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



August 25, 2011

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Through the Lens of Time
Repeat Photography in an Era of Global Change

by Robert Webb, Hydrologist
  • Repeat photography remains an essential and cost-effective technique for scientists and researchers working to track and study changing environmental conditions
  • Scientists worldwide are exploring methods to apply this technique in various important research areas in the natural sciences
  • Studies of global change using repeat photography include many diverse areas such as geomorphology, ecosystems and landscapes, as well as demographics and land-use practices

Flyer: aug11flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



July 28, 2011

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How is San Francisco Bay Doing?
discoveries from 4 decades of studies

by Jim Cloern, Senior Research Biologist

  • San Francisco Bay is in a continual state of change.
  • Drivers of change include:
    • residiual effects of the Gold Mining era
    • the 1972 Clean Water Act
    • urbanization of the landscape
    • transoceanic shipping
    • damming of rivers
    • a 1999 climate shift across the North Pacific

Flyer: july11flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



June 30, 2011

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May 26, 2011

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The Future of Rare Earth Elements
--Will these high-tech industry elements continue in short supply?

by Keith Long, USGS Mineral Resource Analyst

  • Rare earth elements provide critical material for flat-panel display screens, cell phones, electric cars, windmills, etc.
  • Although relatively abundant in nature, deposits of rare earth elements that are economic to mine are uncommon
  • China produces 96% of the world's rare earth elements but severely restricts their export
  • Can new exploration and development meet future high-tech industry needs for these materials?

Flyer: may11flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



April 28, 2011

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"Predictable Earthquakes"
--updating earthquake prediction--fact vs. fiction

by Susan Hough, USGS Seismologist

  • Although scientists were optimistic about earthquake prediction in the 1970s, reliable short-term prediction has remained an elusive goal
  • What have seismologists learned from recent earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, and Japan?
  • Great strides have been made in earthquake forecasting, and to a large extent damaging earthquakes are predictable
  • Active fault zones have been identified where damaging earthquakes are inevitable -- possibly within our lifetimes

Flyer: april11flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


March 31, 2011

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Unraveling the Mystery of Avian Navigation

New research indicates that birds are listening to the landscape to find their way

By Jon Hagstrum, Research Geophysicist
  • For nearly 40 years, biologists have been unable to agree on how birds find their way over great distances during homing or migrational flights
  • Do birds use their olfactory senses, the Earth's magnetic field, or low-frequency acoustic (infrasonic) signals to navigate by?
  • New findings indicate that birds use infrasonic signals radiated from the land surface for navigational purposes during their journeys
  • Perplexing behavior by birds observed during experimental releases can be readily explained by the influences of topography and atmospheric variations on the propagation of infrasound

Flyer: mar11flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


February 24, 2011

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Is Our Coast in Jeopardy?

-predicting the impact of extreme storms on the California Coast

By Patrick Barnard, USGS Pacific Coastal & Marine Science Center

  • Extreme storms are expected to become more frequent and intense as a result of climate change
  • The USGS has developed the Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) for predicting the impact of extreme storms hitting the California Coast
  • CoSMoS provides an increased understanding and prediction of coastal flooding, erosion, wave heights, current strength, and cliff failure along the California coastline
  • Ultimately, the model could contribute to real-time warning system used by emergency managers, lifeline operators, and recource managers

Flyer: feb11flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


January 27, 2011

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Capture and Geologic Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide to Mitigate Global Warming

Is Sequestration Necessary? Can We Do It at an Acceptable Total Cost?

By Yousif Kharaka, USGS National Research Program

  • Combustion of fossil fuels currently releases approximately 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere annually
  • Increased anthropogenic emissions have dramatically raised atmospheric CO2 concentrations in the last 100 years
  • There is broad scientific consensus that global warming, and resulting climate changes, are caused mainly by increases in atmospheric CO2
  • Geochemistry of CO2 sequestration: Recent results and remaining major technical and environmental challenges for successful geologic storage

Flyer: jan11flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



2010

December 9, 2010

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Forecasting Volcanic Eruptions in Alaska
-- the contrasting stories of two recent spectacular eruptions

by Stephanie Prejean, USGS Alaska Volcano Observatory

  • Alaskan volcanoes erupt frequently and violently. However each eruption is preceded by a unique set of geophysical precursors.
  • Eruptions of Redoubt and Kasatochi volcanoes highlight the challenges of doing real-time science in remote environments
  • Volcanic hazards and the impacts of eruptions vary widely, but all eruptions provide scientists with real-time, providing grounds for USGS research
  • Successful response to reuptions requires an understanding of Earth physics and close cooperation between government agencies
Flyer: Dec10flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


November 18, 2010

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Silicon, Software, and Science
Monitoring the Earth's Landscape with Low-Cost High-Tech

by Rian Bogle, Remote Sensing Specialist

  • The USGS is one of the world's largest providers of remote sensing data, employing the best tools and techniques to expand our knowledge of the Earth.
  • Working with low-cost field and aerial imaging technologies, together with emerging technologies such as unmanned aerial vehicles, wireless sensor networks, and light detection and ranging systems, USGS scientists are developing new methods to provide earth scientists, land managers, and land-use planners with better information about our environment.
  • The USGS is developing and testing new systems, sensors, and methodologies, while fostering critical domestic and global partnerships to fully utilize the rapidly evolving science and technology of remote sensing.

Flyer: Nov10flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



October 28, 2010

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Dam Removal in the Pacific Northwest
- a new tool for river restoration

by Jonathan Warrick, Research Geologist

  • Dams provide water supply, power generation and flood control, but they have finite life spans and can disrupt river and coastal ecosystems.
  • Removal of two large dams on the Elwha River of Washington in 2011 will be the largest dam removal project ever.
  • Will removing the dams aid the recovery of the once flourishing salon runs on the river?
  • Dam removal will release 10's of millions of cubic meters of sediment, which may help restore river spawning and reduce coastal erosion.
Flyer: oct10flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



September 30, 2010

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The Great Missoula Floods & Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail
- a journey through the landscape of Earth's greatest floods

by Richard Waitt, Geologist

  • Glacial Lake Missoula released scores of cataclysmic floods, sculpting the bizarre landscape of Washington's Channeled Scabland
  • New video depicts the enormous 3-day flood releasing 500 cubic miles of water
  • Floodwaters poured as deep as 1100 feet down Columbia Valley, carrying enormous boulders and icebergs
  • Collaborative efforts have spawned the new Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail in the Pacific Northwest
Flyer: sep10flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



August 26, 2010

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Invasives and Wildfires in the West
New Crossroads in Science, Policy, and Management

by Julio Betancourt, Sr. Scientist and Desert Ecologist
  • Exponential spread of non-native grasses is a pressing environmental issue in American Deserts
  • Invasive grasses increased fuel continuity and large wildfires in desert scrub that previously experienced little or no fire
  • Impacts include threats to biodiversity, conservation efforts, life and property, and local and regional economies
  • Successful mitigation will need unparalleled collaboration among scientists, managers, policy makers and general public

Flyer: aug10flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



July 29, 2010

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Looking Down On Our Planet
New satellite imagery reveals a changing global surface

by Ron Beck, USGS Land Remote Sensing Program

  • Nearly 40 years of USGS satellite imagery shows dramatic changes earth's surface features
  • Changing patterns of land use are seen in urban growth, clear cutting of amazon forests, and surface mining
  • Landsat imagery monitors potential natural disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires, and flooding and records the environmental impact of human disasters such as the Chernobyl incident and Deepwater Horizon oil spill
  • Future satellite programs will provide scientists, planners, and managers with valuable information about our environment

Flyer: july10flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)




June 24, 2010

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Monterey Canyon - Superhighway to the Deep-Sea

USGS-MBARI Cooperative Oceanographic Research

By Charles K. Paull, Senior Scientist Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, CA

  • Monterey Bay provides a diverse 4,000 meter-deep "laboratory" for both biologists and geologists
  • Ocean studies are providing critical information on climate change, ecosystems, and environmental hazards
  • New discoveries reveal how sediment travels to the deep ocean - the triggers, quantity, and timing of events
  • Underwater vehicles assist in seafloor mapping and exploration

Flyer: june10flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



May 27, 2010

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The Heat is On: Desert Tortoises & Survival
A New USGS documentary video exploring the world of the mojave desert tortoise

Introduced & discussed by USGS Ecologist Todd Esque & Ken Nussear, Wildlife Biologist

  • The Mojave Desert tortoise, an important indicator of desert ecosystem health, is being threatened by habitat loss, predators, wildfire, and disease
  • Population numbers have severely declined during the last 40 years, raising survival concerns and driving recent recovery efforts
  • Can scientists meet the challenge of providing the information required to reverse trends impacting the habitat and wellbeing of the tortoise, and threatening extinction?
  • The Heat Is On - Desert Tortoise & Survival, USGS General Product 98, Produced & Directed by Stephen M. Wessells

Flyer: may10flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


April 29, 2010

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Large, Destructive Earthquakes in Haiti and Chile
Lessons Learned for the San Francisco Bay Area

by USGS Geophysicists, Walter Mooney & Eric Geist

  • Why was the January 2010 magnitude 7.0 earthquake in Haiti the 4th deadliest in history?
  • What have scientists discovered from seismology, satellite observations, and field investigations?
  • The Chilean magnitude 8.8 earthquake is the 5th largest ever recorded, generating a deadly tsunami-- what have we learned from this mega-earthquake?
  • Is the Bay Area prepared for the next large earthquake?

Flyer: april10flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


March 25, 2010

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Changing Times-- A Changing Planet!

Using phenology to take the pulse of our planet

By Jake F. Weltzin, Executive Director, USA National Phenology Network
  • Citizens, scientists and natural resources managers are teaming-up to track biological events and cycles responding to changing climate
  • Phenology is providing new insights into seasonal changes in response to global cliamte conditions
  • Scientists need phenology data to better understand the delicate interaction between plants and animals, climate change, and future environmental health/li>
  • Learn about the new animal monitoring system and how to participate in exciting USA-NPN activities

Flyer: mar10flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


February 25, 2010

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ARkSTORM

A Scenario of a Massive West Coast Storm

By Dale Cox, Project Manager, USGS Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project

  • Scientists are preparing ARkStorm for emergency planning and disaster preparedness
  • A series of "Atmospheric River" events slams into the West Coast with hurricane force overal several weeks
  • Weather models show expected hazards such as floods, landslides, and erosion impacting life and property
  • Storms of this magnitude are projected to become more frequent and intense as a result of changing climate conditions

Flyer: feb10flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


January 29, 2010

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Coral Reefs, the 6th Extinction, and You

By Michael Field, Senior Marine Geologist

  • Five major episodes of biological extinction have occurred on Earth during geologic time -- what caused these extinctions and why are they relevant today?
  • Scientists are concerned that life on Earth may be facing a 6th major extinction, severely limiting the biodiversity of animals and plants -- why is this important to us?
  • Coral reefs, one of the most diverse and important ecosystems on the planet, are thriving in many places but are threatened in many others -- a harbinger of things to come?
  • If there is indeed a growing wave of extinction, what can you as an ĂŠindividual do to help shape the future?

Flyer: jan10flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



2009 Video Archive

December 10, 2009

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A New Generation of Maps
Topographic Maps for the 21st Century

by Mark DeMulder, Director of the National Geospatial Program

  • December 5 marks the 125th Anniversary of the popular USGS topographic map, used by engineers and surveyors, industry, academia, and outdoor enthusiasts for reliably accurate information
  • Starting December 3 the new US Topo maps will be available free on the Web at the USGS Store: http://store.usgs.gov. Each USGS Topo quadrangle is constructed in GeoPDF format from key Layers of geographic data found in The National Map This new technology enables richer content, providing the user with more than a standard map
  • The National Map provides a continuous evolution and incorporation of additonal data layers. For more information: http://nationalmap.gov
Flyer: dec09flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


November 19, 2009

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Geohazards in the Aleutian Islands
Great Earthquakes, Great Waves, and Great Volcanic Explosions!

by Steve Kirby, Geophsicist, and Dave Scholl, Scientist Emeritus

  • The Aleutian Islands are discussed with respect to geology, climate change, and the fates of sediments produced by mountain building and glaciation
  • These islands, occupied by maritime indigenous cultures known as the Aleuts for 9,000 years, lie over an active crustal subduction zone spawning seven great earthquakes since 1895, resulting in several destructive transoceanic tsunamis
  • Over a dozen catastrophic volcanic eruptions have occurred during the time of the Aleuts, forcing cultural separation and differences in Inuit and Aleut languages
  • Continued research promises to uncover the Holocene prehistory of such events and aid in future forecasting of mega-earthquake probabilities.

Flyer: nov09flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


October 29, 2009

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Paddling for a Purpose in a Troubled Sea
Sampling the Salish Sea During Tribal Canoe Journeys

by Eric Grossman, USGS Tribal Journey Science Advisor

  • Deteriorating water quality in Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia is causing population declines in valued species such as salmon, orcas, and a number of sea birds
  • USGS scientists and the Coast Salish Peoples are blending science and tradition to sample water quality in ancestral waters along canoe routes during annual Tribal Journeys
  • Water sampling will identify the extent and likely causes of poor water quality, possibly related to changes in land use and changing climate conditions
  • Studying Puget Sound water quality is crucial for making informed decisions about balancing the needs of coastal ecosystems and human livelihood
Flyer: oct09flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



September 24, 2009

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Meeting the Challenge of the Loma Prieta Earthquake

by Jack Boatwright, USGS Seismologist

The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake ended decades of seismic tranquility in the San Francisco Bay region. It was considered then . as well as now . to be a wake-up call for the region to prepare for potentially even more devastating earthquakes. How well is the Bay Area prepared for the next large earthquake?

  • Learn what scientists now think happened during the Loma Prieta earthquake
  • How did this destructive event change scientific thinking and influence Bay Area earthquake engineering?
  • Future large Bay Area earthquakes are inevitable . are we prepared?
Flyer: sep09flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



August 27, 2009

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The Future of Geothermal Energy
a discussion of present opportunities and future challenges

by Colin F. Williams, USGS Geophysicist
  • A new USGS assessment of our Nation.s geothermal resources identifies favorable areas for energy development
  • Can geothermal energy help satisfy the growing need for .clean. energy sources?
  • Seven western states are currently generating electricity from geothermal resources
  • Emerging technologies may dramatically increase the potential for geothermal energy extraction

Flyer: aug09flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



July 30, 2009

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Restoring California's "Inland Sea"
Status of efforts to restore the Salton Sea

by Lee Case, Chief Scientist, USGS Salton Sea Science Office

  • The Salton Sea is California's largest lake and has a surface elevation about 230 feet below sea level
  • The Salton Sea is a terminal lake - it has no outlets, inflows are principally from agricultural drainage, and its salinity not as mercury-contaminated is about 30% greater than the Pacific Ocean
  • This "inland sea", a critical stop for migratory birds on the Pacific and Central Flyways, is used used by more than 400 species of birds
  • Proposed water transfers will result in loss of aquatic aquatic and wetland habitat, increased salinity, and degraded regional air quality quality unless mitigation actions are taken

Flyer: jul09flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



June 25, 2009

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Tracking Mercury from Ore to Organism

Mercury Cycling and Bioaccumulation In a Mine-Dominated Ecosystem

By Tom Suchanek, USGS Western Ecological Research Center

  • Nearly 300 abandoned mercury mines and prospects are found in the California Coast Range-- the Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine at Clear Lake, CA is one of them
  • Clear Lake is one of the most mercury-contaminated lakes in the world, but fish and wildlife there are not as mercury-contaminated as might be expected
  • Learn about mercury concentration in the Clear Lake water column and sediments, mercury bioaccumulation in the food web, and which fish have mercury-contamination that exceeds recommended levels for consumption

Flyer: jun09flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



April 30, 2009

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SOILS, CARBON, and Global exCHANGE

by Jennifer Harden, USGS Soil Scientist

  • Studying Arctic Changes during the International Polar Year
  • Why soils aren't just for growing crops
  • What does carbon have to do with global weather and climate?
  • Balancing tradeoffs between the carbon cycle, econoic concerns, and the environment
  • Making choices-- from household decisions to national policies

Flyer: apr09flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


March 26, 2009

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Can our Western Forests Take the Heat?!

Climatic change and the future of forests in the western United States

By Philip van Mantgem, Ecologist
  • Tree death rates have more than doubled over the last few decades in old-growth forests of our western states, possibly reflecting increasing temperatures, with potentially serious consequences for wildlife, fire risks, and the global carbon cycle
  • Rising regional temperatures have lengthened the summer drought, likely stressing trees and leading to higher death rates
  • Is this alarming trend a harbinger of larger, more abrupt changes in our forests?

Flyer: mar09flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


February 26, 2009

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PETROLEUM IN THE ARCTIC:

Geology, Climate, and National Interests

By Donald L. Gautier, Geologist

  • For better or worse, technological advances and diminishing opportunities elsewhere make the Arctic increasingly attractive to oil and gas exploration. Retreating polar ice, shifting ecosystems, and heightened development potential are vital issues to the nations of the Arctic, to petroleum companies, and to all concerned about the region's fragile environments.

Flyer: feb09flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


February 19, 2009
* Special Guest Lecture *

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A lecture by Martha A. Sandweiss on her latest book -

Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line"

By Martha Sandweiss, Princeton University

  • After leading one of the four great surveys of the western U.S., Clarence King was appointed to be the first Director of the U.S. Geological Survey in 1879. For thirteen years he lived a double life-- as the celebrated white explorer, geologist and writer Clarence King, and as a black Pullman porter and steel worker named James Todd. The fair, blue-eyed son of a wealthy China trader passed across the color line, revealing his secret to his black common-law wife, Ada Copeland, only on his deathbed.
Flyer: MSandeeisslecture.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


January 29, 2009

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EXPLORING MARS: Geology, Climate Change and Prospects for Past Life

By Michael H. Carr, USGS Astrogeologist

  • Data from a recent polar lander, two still active rovers
    and three spacecraft in orbit are changing our
    perceptions about how Mars evolved. What do
    these new data imply for the prospects of past and present life?

Flyer: jan09flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



2008 Video Archive

December 18, 2008

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Gemstone Deposits of the United States
Commercial production - localities visited by mineral collectors

by Pete Modreski, USGS Gemstone Specialist

  • Gemstones found in the United States include sapphire, opal, tourmaline, aquamarine, turquoise, amethyst, peridot, and many others
  • More than a half-dozen states are known for their gemstones, including unusual and exotic varieties such as red beryl, benitoite, and sunstone
  • The gem material produced in the U.S. having the greatest overall value, does NOT come from rocks . what is this valuable commodity?
  • In how many states have diamonds have been found; which states have produced diamonds commercially?



November 13, 2008

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Taking the Biological Pulse of Our Planet
The USA National Phenology Network

by Jake Weltzin, NPN Executive Director

  • Phenology, an emerging integrated science, is combining government, university, and public knowledge to study seasonal cycles in the biosphere
  • Recent findings in phenology are providing new insights into the timing of biological events and cycles in relation to changing seasons and global climate conditions
  • Citizen scientists are contributing valuable information to Project BudBurst nationwide with backyard and field observations of nature
  • Scientists are using phenology to study the effects of global climate change on the delicate interaction between plants and animals, and for predicting the future health of our environment



October 30, 2008

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Prehistoric Packrat Piles --
Archives of Climate Change

by Kenneth Cole, USGS Research Ecologist

  • Piles of ancient vegetation hoarded by packrats are providing clues to past events of rapid climate warming -- similar to those expected for the 21st century
  • Preserved material shows the effects of three sudden warming events that occurred over the last 20,000 years
  • Each historic warming event was followed by several thousand years of vegetation migration and succession
  • Changes following these past warming events resemble some recently observed shifts in natural ecosystems, and can be incorporated into models of future ecosystems



September 25, 2008

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Ready for the Next Big Bay Area Earthquake?
The 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake was not the Bay Area's "Big One" but a repeat of the destructive 1868 Hayward earthquake may qualify!

by Tom Brocher, USGS Seismologist

  • The next large Hayward Fault earthquake will effect the entire San Francisco Bay Area - Are You Prepared?
  • The Hayward Fault is the most urbanized active fault in the Bay Area. The fault crosses multiple freeways, major water pipelines, and BART runs parallel to and crosses the fault.
  • A large earthquake on the Hayward Fault could impact more than 5 million people with $1.5 trillion in property damage.
  • October 21st marks the 140th anniversary of the last large earthquake on the Hayward Fault. Are we due for a repeat?



August 28, 2008

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How the Earth Copes with Our LUSTs
The amazing capabilities of subsurface life

by Barbara Bekins, USGS Research Hydrologist

LUST= Leaking Underground Storge Tank

  • By some estimates, the total carbon in subsurface bacteria is nearly as large as the carbon in all surface plants
  • Underground microorganisms are capable of biodegrading an array of industrial contaminants, including petroleum-based fuels
  • In the late 1990s this knowledge was used to revise clean-up strategies for LUST sites
  • There are more than 3,000 LUST sites in California-- more than 450 in the Bay Area



July 24, 2008

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A Moroccan Adventure
Searching for a blue-eyed turtle in the Sahara Desert

by USGS Herpetologist Jeffrey Lovich and visiting Cadi Ayyad University (Marrakech) Professor Mohammed Znari

  • See several ecoregions of central Morocco in a picturesque 1,000 mile journey
  • Take a virtual tour from the Atlantic coast through High Atlas Mountains to the Sahara Desert
  • Learn about the only blue-eyed turtle in the world, found in a river flowing through the Sahara Desert





June 26, 2008

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Cleanup on Aisle 9
The Long Lasting Legacy of Nuclear Waste

Dave Stonestrom, USGS Research Hydrologist

  • Radioactive wastes:
    • Where do they come from?
    • How do we get rid of them?
  • Once buried, do the wastes stay put?
  • What are the risks of off-site migration?
  • How does basic research inform decision making?



May 22, 2008

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Global Warming
Western Style

Michael Dettinger, USGS Research Hydrologist

  • Increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases are linked to a rise in global temperture of almost 1.5° F
  • Is climate change already affecting Western lands and waters?
  • What changes predicted by climate models are still to come -- when will they be here?
  • Why is the West especially vulnerable, and California even more so?



April 24, 2008

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The Hayward Fault in Google Earth
Visualizing Past, Present, and Future Earthquakes

USGS scientists David Schwartz, Heather Lackey, Luke Blair, and Scott Haefner take you on a virtual tour of the Bay Area's most urbanized fault

  • Explore the destructive 1868 Hayward earthquake and today's earthquake hazards using Google Earth
  • Nearly 2.4 million people in the East Bay, critical infrastracture and lifelines, and large public facilities are vulnerable to significant damage
  • Scientists have estimated a high probability of a large earthquake on the Hayward Fault, the single most dangerous in the entire Bay Area
  • The next large Hayward Fault earthquake will affect the entire Bay Area, are you prepared?





March 27, 2008

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Wetland Revival
Restoring San Francisco Bay Salt Ponds to Wetlands Habitat

A video production introduced and discussed by Steven E. Schwarzbach, Director, USGS Western Ecological Research Center

Nearly 15,000 acres of salt ponds in the southern San Francisco bay were purchased in 2003 for restoration by a partnership of Federal, State, and nonprofit organizations

This new USGS video product documents how science is playing a crucial role in restoring these wetland areas and shows that...

  • ... USGS biologists, hydrologists, and geologists are playing a crucial role in restoring these salt ponds through unprecendented restoration efforts
  • ... endangered species including the California Clapper Rail and the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse are expected to rebound as the salt marsh habitat returns
  • ... restoration of wetlands habitat in the nations's most urbanized estuary faces many challenges but is important for migration and wintering of waterfowl and shorebirds


February 28, 2008

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Alaska's Rivers of Ice

USGS scientist Bruce Molnia, discusses the impact of changing climate and conditions on Earth's glaciers

By Bruce Molnia, Geologist

See excerpts from this full-length film feature showing:

  • How and where glaciers form
  • How scientists study glaciers and climate
  • The processes of glacial erosion and deposition
  • Glacial ecosystems and ice worms
  • The role glaciers play in global sea level change


January 31, 2008

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The Indonesian Mud Crisis

Long-lived mud "eruption" inundates housing and infrastructure

By Thomas J. Casadevall, Geologist

In May, 2006 hot, dark mud appeared from a fissure covering more than 10 square kilometers, displacing more than 30,000 people. The ongoing mud extrusion has also damaged or broken important transportation and communication infrastructure, displaced an oil pipeline, caused the closure of numerous factories, and impacted agricultural development.

The USGS was invited for a fact-finding visit to assess the ongoing geological, social, economic, and political issues associated with the mud extrusion.


2007 Video Archive


December 13, 2007

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Exploring Antarctica's Frozen Frontier

The USGS Antarctic Program from the 1957 International
Geophysical Year to the 2007 International Polar Year

By Jerry Mullins, Coordinator, USGS Antarctic, Arctic and Canadian Programs
and John Behrendt, USGS Geophysicist Emeritus


  • Learn about USGS surveying and mapping of "The Frozen Continent"
  • Discover how geophysical surveys reveal what lies beneath the ice
  • Hear how the United States officially names Antarctic geographic features
  • Why does the geographic South Pole survey maker need repositioning?
  • See the new high resolution Landsat Satellite Image Map of Antarctica


November 15, 2007

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Disasters, Dust, .... and Danger?

Using geoscience to help understand whether health risks lurk in particles produced by disasters

By Geoff Plumlee, Research Geochemist

  • Valley Fever outbreak following the 1994 Northridge, California earthquake
  • World Trace Center collapse
  • Hurricane Katrina flooding
  • 1996 Marinduque, Philippines, mine tailings spill

October 25, 2007

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Fire As An Ecosystem Process

Past, Present, And Future

By Jon E. Keeley, Research Ecologist

  • Plants have evolved over hundreds of millions of years with fire.
  • Are human-induced changes threatening naturally fire-prone ecosystems?
  • How has human suppression of fire affected different ecosystems?
  • Will predicted climate changes affect future fire-management decisions?

September 27, 2007

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A Tale of Two Kelp Forests

Sea Otters and Ecosystem Dynamics in the Aleutians and the Commander Islands

By Tim Tinker, Research Biologist, University of California, Santa Cruz

Sea otter populations in the central and western Aleutian Islands have declined by 75-95% over the past 15-20 years, while populations in the nearby Russian Commander Islands have remained roughly stable. There are no obvious environmental explanations for these disparate patterns, as the archipelagos are physically and biologically quite similar. Because of the differing population trajectories and the role of sea otters as keystone predators, the two kelp forest ecosystems that were once very similar are now quite different. What has caused these differences?


August 30, 2007

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Dark Holes in Muir's "Range of Light"

Insights from southern Sierra Nevada caves and karst

By John C. Tinsley, Geologist

  • Water long ago carved many caves in carbonate rocks of the Sierra Nevada
  • As the Sierra (John Muir's "Range of Light") was uplifted, successively deeper caves were drained and decorated during the past 5 million years
  • Vertical arrays of caves document the progressive uplift and erosion in Kings Canyon
  • Lilburn Cave, with 21 miles of passages, is California's longest
  • New spectacular and pristine caves are still being discovered as recently as 2006

July 26, 2007

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Plate Tectonics in Action

Exploring the Earth with the new edition of This Dynamic Planet map and Web site

By Robert Tilling, Volcanologist, and Stephen Kirby, Earthquake Geophysicist

  • Improved digital data on the distribution of Earth's volcanoes, earthquakes, and meteorite impact craters
  • Special maps of polar regions, showing topography beneath the ice sheets
  • Informative articles, tables, and illustration on the back of the map
  • A series of global images showing the "dance of the continents" through geologic time
  • A companion Web site offering an interactive version of the map http://www.minerals.si.edu/tdpmap/


Jun 28, 2007

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Adventures in Southwest Geology

Exploring the colorful southern Colorado Plateau in 3-D

By Philip Stoffer, Geologist

Take a colorful tour with the help of 3-D photography through some of the region's highlights:
  • A plethora of parklands- Petrified Forest, Chaco Canyon, Wupatki, Grand Canyon
  • High desert climate changes, past, present, and future
  • Colorado River history: a river ran through it, but where?
  • Desert life and death-- and dunes
  • Earth history laid bare: volcanoes, mountain-building, erosion


May 31, 2007

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Alchemy in the Abyss

Probing the mysteries of deep-ocean minerals

By James R. Hein, Marine Geologist
  • Since President Reagan in 1983 extended U.S. mineral rights 200 nautical miles offshore, interest in deep-sea mining has increased
  • Massive sulfide deposits form rapidly at very hot ephemeral vents..black smokers. and .white smokers.
  • Slow-forming manganese nodules cover vast areas of the cold abyssal depths
  • Cobalt-rich crusts form extremely slowly on the tops of extinct sunken volcanoes
  • The year 2009 may see the first commercial mining of deep-sea polymetallic sulfides in Papua-New Guinea waters

April 26, 2007

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Shock Waves

How the 1906 earthquake shook up California and science

A presentation of the award-winning USGS Video Shock Waves introduced by David Schwartz, Earthquake Geologist
  • The 46-minute film Shock Waves includes dramatic historical footage, colorful animations, and interviews with earthquake experts
  • Shock Waves received recognition as an outstanding documentary at the 2006 Telly Awards and has been nominated for an Emmy
  • The catastrophe of the great 1906 quake spurred a century of progress in earthquake science and engineering
  • Current and future research includes drilling through the San Andreas Fault at depth in the SAFOD Experiment
  • Learn what can you do to reduce the risk to yourself and your family

March 22, 2007

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Impact!

Piecing together the story of a giant meteorite crater beneath the Atlantic coast

By David S. Powars, Geologist, and R.D. Catchings, Geophysicist
  • Buried under Chesapeake Bay is a very well preserved impact structure 56 miles across and more than 2 miles deep
  • Following clues from drill holes and seismic imagery, careful detective work in the 1990's identified this ancient buried crater
  • When a meteorite 2 miles in diameter slammed into what was then ocean, it instantly blew out a crater 7 miles deep, splashed water and debris 30 miles up, and spawned tsunamis thousands of feet high
  • Long-mysterious glass stones ("tektites") found in the eastern U.S. and the Caribbean are now recognized as ejecta from the Chesapeake Bay impact
  • After 35 million years, the landscape, drainage patterns, and underground water in the Chesapeake Bay area are still affected by the impact event

February 22, 2007

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Riding the Storm

Landslide Danger in the Bay Area Hills

Peter Lyttle, National Landslide Hazards Program Coordinator,
will introduce the USGS premiere of the documentary
Riding the Storm by Karen Adams. A question-and answer session
with the producer, USGS researchers, and residents
featured in Riding the Storm will follow.

  • 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

January 25, 2007

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The Hidden World of the Golden Gate

How tides, currents, and humans have created an array of sea-floor features

By Patrick Barnard, Marine Geologist, and Peter Dartnell, Physical Scientist
  • A century of technical advances allow scientists to identify and visualize spectacular sea-bottom features
  • Recent collaborative research outside the Golden Gate found that 100 million cubic yards of sediment disappeared in the past 50 years
  • Swift, powerful tidal currents have scoured the Golden Gate down to bedrock and moved massive amounts of sediment
  • Giant sand waves near the Golden Gate reach 30 feet in height and more than 700 feet in wavelength
  • Why is the sediment in this area mostly from local sources, while farther out to sea are masses of sediment derived from erosion of the Sierra Nevada?


2006 Video Archive

December 14, 2006

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The Mojave National Preserve
Geology and Water Shape Desert Plant Communities

by David Miller, Geologist and John Nimmo, Soil Hydrologist

  • One of the largest units in the National Park System, the Mojave National Preserve was established in 1994
  • The Preserve encompasses great sand dunes (including "singing sands"), young volcanic features, forests of Joshua trees, and fields of wildflowers
  • Maps of the surface geology can predict the distribution of vegetation types
  • How do the different ways soils accept rainwater affect plant communities?
  • Learn how USGS researchers are modeling the relations of geology, water, and desert plants

Flyer: dec06flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)


November 16, 2006

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Drills, Spills, and Chills
The inside story on USGS estimates of Alaskan oil and gas resources

by Ken Bird and Rick Stanley, Geologists

  • See the basic elements of a petroleum system.where the oil comes from and where it goes
  • USGS resource assessments in Alaska have a long history and have changed over time
  • Learn how the newest and best scientifi c research methods are used to prepare oil and gas estimates
  • Find out what the USGS estimates really mean and how are they are applied to land-use decisions
  • The North Slope (including Prudhoe Bay, NPRA, and ANWR) and the Yukon Flats area provide contrasting case studies

Flyer: nov06flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)








October 26, 2006

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The Parkfield 2004 Earthquake
Lessons From the Best-Recorded Quake in History

by Andy Michael, Geophysicist

  • To record high-quality measurements close to a large earthquake, the right instruments have to be in the right place at the right time
  • Such a convergence happened, for the fi rst time ever, on September 28, 2004, when a magnitude 6 quake struck the San Andreas Fault near Parkfield, California
  • The fault at Parkfield is monitored by a dense and diverse network of instruments designed to record events before, during, and after a quake (the Parkfield Earthquake Prediction Experiment)
  • Parkfield was chosen for this experiment because a magnitude 6 earthquake had struck that area every two or three decades since at least 1857
  • New data from the 2004 event provide important lessons about earthquake processes, prediction, and the hazards assessments that underlie building codes and mitigation policies

Flyer: oct06flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)


September 28, 2006

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Water Odysseys
Surface-water and ground-water flow in the Santa Clara Valley

by Randall T. Hanson, Research Hydrologist

  • What has deep drilling in the valley found about ground-water flow?
  • A new computer model improves our understanding of water-flow patterns
  • Learn how underground water makes the ground rise and fall--is the valley sinking?
  • Why is our ground water so remarkably clean?
  • Uncontrolled artesian wells were once a nuisance here-and may be again

Flyer: sep06flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)


August 28, 2006

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Hidden Faults Under Silicon Valley
Do new discoveries change our view of Santa Clara Valley earthquake hazards?

by R. D. Catchings, Geophysicist
  • Seismic profiles have revealed the valley.s deep structure and previously unknown faults
  • Earthquakes and seismic reflection images suggest some reverse faults beneath the valley that are not seen at the surface
  • The disastrous 1994 Northridge earthquake occurred on a hidden fault like those now known to underlie Silicon Valley
  • Deep sedimentary basins on both sides of the valley can greatly amplify earthquake shaking

Flyer: aug06flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)


July 27, 2006

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Uncovering Silicon Valley
Weaving a tale of three sedimentary basins

by Victoria E. Langenheim, Geophysicist

  • Geophysical probing reveals the geology under Santa Clara Valley
  • What does the new 3-D view tell us about the San Andreas fault system?
  • How does this affect earthquake hazards and ground-water resources?
  • Was the strong 1865 earthquake caused by a thrust fault beneath Cupertino?
  • Significant movement on the Silver Creek Fault may have partitioned the valley's ground-water resources

Flyer: jul06flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)


June 29, 2006

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Geology on Conveyor Belts
New ideas on Bay Area evolution from a decade of geologic mapping

By Russ Graymer, Geologist

  • What was the Bay Area like during the Age of Dinosaurs?
  • Learn about the distant origins of some rocks seen around the bay
  • Hear how the San Andreas fault system has rearranged the region.
  • Volcanoes in Berkeley?
  • 3-D geologic mapping yields new ideas about active Bay Area faults- what.s next?

Flyer: jun06flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

May 25, 2006

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What Lies Beneath?
Concealed sedimentary basins and hidden oil under Silicon Valley

By Richard G. Stanley, Geologist

  • Before computers and cubicles there were orchards-- and a few oil wells, too
  • Learn about the "oil boom" in Los Gatos about 100 years ago
  • See how historical records from old oil wells, together with modern scientific studies, reveal the hidden geology beneath the urban landscape
  • Is there more oil to be found here?

Flyer: may06flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

April 27, 2006

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California's Greatest Fault
How historical data from 1906 have shed light on the San Andreas Fault

By Carol S. Prentice, Geologist

  • What insights are gained from merging original 1906 observations and field notes with today's earthquake science?
  • Data collected during and after the catastropic 1906 earthquake prove to be essential to-
    • determine the fault's slip rate in the Fort Ross area,
    • map the fault through Peninsula housing developments, and
    • provide a better understanding of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake

Flyer: apr06flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

March 30, 2006

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The Great 1906 Earthquake
Lessons learned, lessons forgotten, and future directions in earthquake science

By Mary Lou Zoback, Seismologist (and Chair of the Steering Committee, 1906 Earthquake Centennial Alliance)
  • The 1906 California disaster taught us that--
    • the San Andreas Fault is a continuous feature extending nearly the length of the State
    • earthquakes are a recurring process, not random events
    • shaking is most intense on "made land"
    • much of the damage to buildings is related to construction style and quality
  • The elastic-rebound theory came from studies of the 1906 event--how is this theory used today in forecasting earthquakes?
  • Why, so long after 1906, do we still have--
    • so many unreinforced masonry buildings?
    • development sited on "made land" and soft ground?
  • New understanding and new technology promise a bright future for earthquake science-- breakthroughs are inevitable

Flyer: mar06flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)

February 23, 2006

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Science and Natural Resources
along La Frontera

By Floyd Gray, Geologist
  • Natural systems-water, geology, and wildlife-tend to cross the 1,900- mile-long arbitrary political border between Mexico and the U.S.
  • Rapid population growth on the U.S. side and in Mexican border cities is creating a variety of environmental, ecological, and human health problems
  • The San Pedro River, which flows from Mexico into Arizona, is now the most studied river in the U.S.
  • One goal of joint U.S.-Mexican studies is to combine and complete geologic mapping of the entire border at uniform scale and unit definitions

Flyer: feb06flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)

January 26, 2006

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Serving California's Needs

HOW THE CALIFORNIA GEOLOGICAL SURVEY IDENTIFIES AND MAPS NATURAL HAZARDS, PROMOTES THE STATE'S ECONOMY, AND PROTECTS PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY

By George J. Saucedo and Keith L. Knudson, Geologists
  • Hear about the rich and productive 125-year history of the California Geological Survey (CGS)
  • Major emphases of CGS work are mapping the geology, assessing mineral resources, and reducing risk from natural hazards
  • CGS products and services enhance the quality of decisionmaking by local government, business, and the public
  • CGS cooperative programs with the USGS include Trinet and ShakeMaps for earthquakes, STATEMAP and SCAMP for geologic mapping
  • In October, CGS relocated their Bay Area office to the USGS in Menlo Park, incorporating the former USGS Map and Publication Sales (ESIC) and adding the full line of CGS products
Flyer: jan06flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)

2005 Video Archive

December 8, 2005

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Frozen in Time
How Ice Cores Are Revealing the Composition and Temperature of Earth's Atmosphere During the Past Million Years

by Todd Hinkley, Geologist

  • Scientifically invaluable ice cores taken from Antarctic and Arctic ice are stored and safe guarded at the U.S. National Ice Core Laboratory, operated by the U.S. Geological Su rvey
  • These ice cores are the only systematic record of the composition (including "greenhou se" gasses) and temperature of the Earth's atmosphere over the past million years
  • The ice cores show that most of Earth's geologically recent climate history has been characterized by great instability and rapid, extreme swings of temperature, beyond anything we have experienced in historical times
  • These ice cores are our only source of information about natural, pre-industrial levels of toxic trace metals and other substances deposited from the atmosphere into the world's ecosystems
Flyer: dec05flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)



November 17, 2005

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Shifting Shoals and Shattered Rocks--
HOW MAN HAS CHANGED THE FLOOR OF SAN FRANCISCO BAY

by John Chin and Florence Wong, Geologists

  • San Francisco Bay is one of the world's finest natural harbors and a major center of maritime trade
  • All ships visiting bay ports are funneled through the central bay
  • Bedrock knobs that rise from the central bay floor have been repeatedly blasted to accommodate vessels of increasingly deeper draft
  • Sediment dredged from harbors and shipping channels has been disposed of on the bay floor
  • Since the early 1900s, the bay floor has been mined for sand and gravel
  • New tools are allowing scientists to create detailed views of the bay floor, revealing changes that man has made since the Gold Rush

Flyer: nov05flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

October 27, 2005

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Earthquake Storms
The Very Long Reach of Very Large Earthquakes

by Susan Hough, Seismologist

  • How did the 1992 Landers quake in the remote Mojave Desert change scientists' thinking about earthquake sequences?
  • What is the explanation for "aftershocks" of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake reported in Arizona?
  • How do large quakes shake up distant faults and volcanic areas ?
  • Are new theories of earthquake interactions making the conventional terminology-- foreshock, mainshock, aftershock--inadequate?
  • Do large earthquakes have a long reach on human cultures as well?
Flyer: oct05flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)


October 21, 2005

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A Crack in the Edge of the World
America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906

by Simon Winchester

  • The international bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman and Kra katoa vividly brings to life the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake that leveled a city symbolic of America's relentless western expansion. Simon Winchester has also fashion ed an enthralling and informative look at the tumultuous subterranean world that produces earthquakes, the planet's most sudden and destructive force.
  • In the early morning hours of April 18, 1906, San Francisco and a string of towns to i ts north-northwest and the south-southeast were overcome by an enormous shaking that was compounded by the violent shocks of an earthquake, registering 8.25 on th e Richter scale. The quake resulted from a rupture in a part of the San Andreas fault, which lies underneath the earth's surface along the northern coast of Calif ornia. Lasting little more than a minute, the earthquake wrecked 490 blocks, toppled a total of 25,000 buildings, broke open gas mains, cut off electric power lines th roughout the Bay area, and effectively destroyed the gold rush capital that had stood there for a half century.^M
  • Simon Winchester brings his inimitable storytelling abilities -- as well as his unique understanding of geology -- to this extraordinary event, exploring not only what happened in northern California in 1906 but what we have learned since about the geologica l underpinnings that caused the earthquake in the first place. But his achievement is even greater: he positions the quake's significance along the earth's geolo gical timeline and shows the effect it had on the rest of twentieth-century California and American history.
  • A Crack in the Edge of the World is the definitive account of the San Francisco earthquake. It is also a fascinating exploration of a legendary event that changed the way we look at the planet on which we live.


September 29, 2005

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Toxic Mercury in Aquatic Ecosystems
Why Quality Trumps Quantity

by Mark Marvin-DiPasquale, Microbial Ecologist
  • Different mercury sources generate different forms of mercury with different environmental consequences
  • Learn how mercury is transported and transformed in air and water, and how it ultimately accumulates as toxic methylmercury in wildlife and humans
  • How do mercury-methylating bacteria react with "new" mercury from atmospheric deposition and with "old" mercury from remobilized sediments?
  • Why are fish in Florida's Everglades as contaminated with mercury as those in San Francisco Bay, even though total mercury inputs are much higher in the Bay?
  • How do differences in landscape and vegetation type affect mercury cycling and bioaccumulation pathways?
Flyer: sep05flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)


August 25, 2005

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A Delicate Balance
Salt Ponds, Wetland Restoration, and Wildlife in San Francisco Bay

by A. Keith Miles and John Y. Takekawa, Wildlife Biologists
  • Nearly 15,000 acres of salt ponds were purchased in 2003 for restoration by a partners hip of Federal, State, and non-profit organizations
  • How important are the salt ponds for migration and wintering of waterfowl and shorebir ds?
  • Restoration of wetland in the Nation\x92s most urbanized estuary faces many challenges
  • Will it be possible to manage concentrated salts, low dissolved oxygen, and toxicity o f sequestered mercury as pond levees are opened?
  • Restoring wetlands while controlling invasive species, such as smooth cord grass, may prove very difficult
Flyer: aug05flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)


June 30, 2005

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Tsunamis
Lessons and Questions from the Indian Ocean Disaster

By Eric L. Geist, geophysicist, Bruce E. Jaffe, oceanographer, and Brian F. Atwater, geologist
  • What do computer animations reveal about transoceanic tsunamis?
  • What varied marks of its force and height did the December 26 tsunami leave in the coa stal environment?
  • Why did waves 100 feet high strike norhtern Sumatra in December, while low-lying Bangl adesh was spared?
  • Can a Sumatra-size tsunami occur on the U.S. Pacific coast?
  • What is the tsunami threat to central California, and how is this region getting prepa red?
Flyer: jun05flyerB.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)


June 14, 2005

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Deep Freeze
The Impact of Science on U.S. Climate-Change Policy

By Judy Layzer, MIT Political Scientist, and Herman Karl, USGS Earth Scientist
  • Why have science and scientiests had so little impact on U.S. climate-change policy?
  • Hear about the present implications of past societal collapses resulting from climate change
  • Can citizens and scientists work together to find creative and durable solutions to th e climate-change crisis?
  • Learn how flood-management projects in the San Francisquito watershed may be affected by climate-change policy
  • How can programs like the MIT-USGS Science-Impact Collaborative help thaw the deep fre eze?
Flyer: jun05flyerA.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)


May 26, 2005

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Sonoran Desert
Fragile Land of Extremes
A video presentation and discussion

Research Ecologists Cecil Schwalbe and Todd Esque will introduce the 2003 USGS video Sonoran Desert: Fragile Land of Extremes, present an update on recent research, and answer your questions.
  • Learn about the fantastic biodiversity in North America's lushest desert
  • The venomous Gila Monster is turning out to be a medical miracle
  • Why is the saguaro cactus, icon of the Sonoran Dessert, going up in smoke?
  • Scientists hop to it!--to help the lowland leopard frog face the challenges of fire, flood, drought, and disease
  • What can we do about the threat posed by buffelgrass, an aggressive invasivespecies fr om Africa?
Flyer: may05flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)


April 28, 2005

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Earthquakes at the USGS
Blowing the Lid off Seismic Science for 40 Years

Ross Stein, representing the USGS Earthquake Hazards Team

The Parkfield earthquake of 1966 launched a torrent of research at the USGS in Menlo Park. With the San Andreas Fault as a backyard lab and global earthquakes as a guide, the USGS has changed the landscape of earthquake science in:

  • MAKING RAPID EARTHQUAKE ASSESSMENTS
  • PROMOTING PUBLIC SEISMIC SAFETY
  • DISCOVERING NEW AND HIDDEN FAULTS
  • MEASURING FAULT STRESS AND STRAIN
  • IMPROVING SEISMIC ENGINEERING
  • UNDERSTANDING GROUND SHAKING
  • FORECASTING FUTURE EARTHQUAKES
Flyer: apr05flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)


March 31, 2005

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Commotions in the Oceans
USGS Shipboard Research Sparked Scientific Advances

By William R. Normark, and
David W. Scholl, Marine Geologists
  • Alaskan work from the Survey's M/V Eider in the 1950's led to visualizing how great earthquakes and tsunamis originate along trenches
  • In the 1970's, researchers discovered deep-sea "black smokers" and the Survey's R/V S.P. Lee found massive sulfide deposits on the Juan de Fuca Ridge
  • USGS scientists on the R/V Farnella confirmed and mapped humongous submarine landslides off Hawaii's coasts in the 1980's
  • Extensive international Pacific Ocean expeditions of the Lee in 1982-84 yielded a rich harvest of discoveries, including sea-floor cobalt concentrations
  • Where we are heading-what are the challenges for future discoveries in the oceans?
Flyer: mar05flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

February 24, 2005

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When Rocks Fall and the Land Slides
Hear why California makes an ideal environment for landslides North face

By Gerald F. Wieczorek, Geological Engineer, and
Raymond C. Wilson, Landslide Geologist
  • Hear why California makes an ideal environment for landslides North face
  • Learn about rock falls, debris flows, and other landslides Rocks fall
  • There have been more than 500 documented rock falls and other slope failures in Yosemite National Park what triggers these? How do park rangers deal with this hazard?
  • John Muir gave a remarkable account of an 1872 rock fall in Yosemite Valley
  • Large rock falls in Yosemite can generate air blasts potentially dangerous to campers and hikers
  • How did ancient glaciers help create the rock-fall hazard in Yosemite? ascent
Flyer: feb05flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

January 29, 2005

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Deciphering an Estuarine Ecosystem
35 Years of San Francisco Bay Studies

By John Conomos, Scientist Emeritus

  • USGS research in the Bay system began in the 1960s with a search for underwater earthquake faults
  • In the 1970s, the research team expanded to cover studies of water properties and quality, water mixing and flow, and estuarine ecology
  • Early scientifc findings clashed with assumptions behind massive and unbridled modifcations of the Bay system and served to stimulate much public debate
  • The USGS Bay research program and its scientists became renowned-- they have set the standards for the study of estuaries
  • Thirty-five years of scientifc data and publications form a unique resource for decisions by legislators, planners, and coastalzone managers
Flyer: jan05flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

2004 Video Archive

December 18, 2004

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Probing Volcanoes
Advances in Understanding and Coping with their Hazards

by Robert L. Christiansen and Robert I. Tilling, Volcanologists
  • The development of plate tectonic theory in the 1960s shed new light on the origins of volcanoes
  • Mount St. Helens' spectacular 1980 eruption stimulated much productive new research
  • Frequent eruptive activity in Hawaii provides a natural laboratory for understanding active volcanoes
  • Deciphering "lifestyles" of volcanoes helps to assess their hazards and mitigate risks
  • A unique USGS volcano "SWAT" team deals with volcano crises around the world
  • What might the future bring--in volcanic eruptions and in our understanding of them?
Flyer: dec04flyer.pdf


November 18, 2004

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From Plane Tables to Pixels
The Revolution in Mapping at the U.S. Geological Survey

by Susan P. Benjamin, Research Geographer
  • Mapping the United States in the 19th century was arduous, dangerous work; flash floods, bears, and bandits were just a few hazards
  • By the mid-20th century, aerial photography, photogrammetry, and stereophoto pairs, allowed technicians to map land-elevation contours without fifi eld visits
  • The "art" of cartography has evolved from hand scribing to computer digitization and the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Satellite, airborne, and other remote-sensing technologies have greatly improved the acquisition of map data
  • The Internet has revolutionized map availability--many maps are now available on-line; some are customizable from your computer
Flyer: nov04flyer.pdf


October 30, 2004

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Hot Oil, Frozen Ground, and Earthquakes
The Trans-Alaska Pipeline story-- so far, so good!

by George Gryc, Arthur Lachenbruch, and Robert Page, Scientists Emeriti
  • The 1968 discovery of North America.s largest oil fi eld on the Arctic coast posed the challenge of an 800-mile pipeline to carry hot oil across mountains, rivers, and the giant Denali Fault
  • The oil industry's plan was to bury the hot pipeline, even through extensive tracts of permafrost (frozen ground)
  • After USGS scientists raised the alarm about hazards to the pipeline and the environment, a USGS working group set performance requirements for the pipeline
  • Redesign of the pipeline--elevated over ice-rich permafrost and set on "sliders" across the Denali Fault--delayed the project 2 years and increased its cost from $900 million to $8 billion
  • When the Denali Fault slipped 14 feet under the pipeline in a powerful 2002 quake, the design worked--no oil was spilled!
  • The story of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline has been a complex battle of scientific, economic, safety, environmental, and political concerns--what lessons can we learn from it?
Flyer: oct04flyer.pdf


September 25, 2004

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The Winemaker's Dance
Connecting Geology and Wine in Napa Valley

by David G. Howell, Geologist Emeritus
  • Does a glass of wine really contain 100 million years of geologic history ?
  • How did continental glaciation help shape the Napa Valley's soils?
  • Are the hills in Napa Valley that help control its microclimates really megalandslides?
  • What effect will global warming have on the vineyards?
  • If "2-buck chuck" is drinkable, why bother with a $100 bottle of wine?
  • Do wine critics play a role in influencing the "quality" of wine?
Flyer: sep04flyer.pdf


August 26, 2004

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Precipice of Survival
What is the Future of the Southern Sea Otter?

Featuring the new award-winning USGS video Precipice of Survival. The Southern Sea Otter by Stephen Wessells, introduced and discussed by sea otter researchers including Alisha H. Kage and M. Tim Tinker, Research Biologists
  • The southern subspecies of sea otter, Enhydra lutris nereis, is a keystone organism in the kelp forests along the California coast
  • One of the otters' favorite foods is sea urchins, which feed on the kelp-hence changes in the otter population affect all levels of the ecosystem
  • The species Enhydra lutris originally was found all the way around the North Pacific, from Baja California to Japan, and may have numbered half a million animals
  • The southern subspecies was thought to be extinct in the early 20th century, but a tiny colony was found off Big Sur in the 1930's and has since expanded to about 2,500 animals along our coast
  • In the 1990's, otter numbers off California began to decline again--but why?
Flyer: aug04flyer.pdf


July 29, 2004

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Secrets in Stone
The Role of Paleomagnetism in the Evolution of Plate Tectonic Theory Video Presentation

Presentation of the award-winning USGS video "Secrets in Stone" (35 minutes), introduced by Jack Hillhouse, Research Geophysicist, and followed by a tour of the USGS Paleomagnetics Laboratory
  • Crucial discoveries in the early 1960.s were made in a "tar-paper shack" at the USGS Menlo Park campus
  • Learn how the old idea of .continental drift. was surprisingly revived by these discoveries and woven into the new theory of plate tectonics
  • Hear about the strange behavior of the Earth.s magnetic field: drift and occasional reversals of North and South poles
  • Do we know when the next flip (reversal) of the Earth's magnetic field will happen?
  • Tour the USGS Paleomagnetics Laboratory (Building 16 - see map on back) after the presentation and learn about the current research taking place there. All welcome.
Flyer: jul04flyer.pdf


June 24, 2004

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From Strawberry Fields to the Ozone Layer
The Methyl Bromide Story

By Laurence G. Miller, Biogeochemist
  • Methyl bromide (CH3Br) is an important agricultural pesticide widely used in growing strawberries and other field crops
  • Methyl bromide---much of it from natural sources---is one of the gases contributing to destruction of Earth's ozone layer
  • No single replacement has been identified for its use in the strawberry fields
  • USGS research discovered bacteria that metabolize methyl bromide and so could help save the ozone layer
Flyer: jun04flyer.pdf


May 27, 2004

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Delta Revival -- Restoration of a California Ecosystem
Video presentation and discussion

Ecologist Jim Cloern will introduce the video Delta Revival, produced jointly by the USGS and the CALFED Bay-Delta Authority.

USGS Scientists wil answer your questions about this documentary, which shows:

  • biologists, chemists, physical scientists, and engineers working together to solve a complex environmental problem,
  • team-based science learned form 3 decade of studies in San Francisco Bay and applied to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem,
  • the joy of scientific discovery, and
  • how new scientific discoveries can guide future ecosystem restoration.
Flyer: may04flyer.pdf


April 22, 2004

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Science, Society, and the Survey
50 Years of the USGS in Menlo Park

By David G. Howell, Geologist

Hear about some of the scientific highlights from 1954 to 2004 --

  • The search for strategic minerals
  • Exploring the high seas
  • The birth of astrogeology
  • Advancing the theory of plate tectonics
  • From topo maps to digital GIS
  • Predicting volcanic eruptions
  • Monitoring the health of San Franscisco Bay
  • Understanding earthquake hazards
Flyer: apr04flyer.pdf


March 4, 2004

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Mapping the American West
Clarence King and the 40th Parallel Survey

By James G. Moore, Geologist
  • After completing a geology degree at Yale and coming West in a wagon train, Clarence King worked with the California Geological Survey and was in the field party that discovered Mount Whitney
  • King led the United States Geological Exploration of the 40th Parallel (1867-79), which mapped topography and geology along a 100-mile-wide strip across Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming
  • King discovered the first known glaciers in the U.S., exposed the .great diamond hoax. of 1872, and wrote "Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada", a book that became a classic in western writing
  • In 1879 Clarence King became the founding Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, the Nation.s first civilian government science agency
  • King's enduring legacy includes excellence in combining mapping of geology and topography and supporting geologic field work with a full range of laboratory studies
Flyer: mar04flyer.pdf

February 26, 2004

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Life and Death of Hawaiian Coral Reefs
New Studies Track the Life Cycle of Maui's Changing Reefs

By Michael E. Field, Marine Geologist & Curt D. Storlazzi, Coastal Oceanographer
  • How are coral reefs changing, and why is it a concern?
  • Agents of change on Maui's reefs have both natural and human causes
  • Coral eggs and sperm released during remarkable spawning events are tracked using current drifters and satellites
  • New information is unraveling the ecological connection between separated reefs on different islands
  • Coral reefs may face serious future challenges related to changes in climate and sea level
Flyer: feb04flyer.pdf

January 22, 2004

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Roving Around Mars
Adventures in Exploring the Red Planet

By Devon M. Burr & Michael H. Carr, Planetary Geologists

  • January 2004 will see two NASA rovers land on Mars to analyze rock and soil and measure environmental conditions
  • By January, a European Mars probe and a Japanese orbiter should also be studying the planet's surface
  • Share the excitement and intensity of running the rovers and interpreting the data they return
  • Learn about the bizarre routine of scientists who wear "Mars watches" and work on Mars time
  • Will these missions tell us finally whether Mars ever had oceans of water.or even life?
Flyer: jan04flyer.pdf

2003 Video Archive

December 11, 2003

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WHAT'S HAPPENING TO ALASKA'S GLACIERS?
Their Dynamic Response to Changing Climate and Other Factors

by Bruce F. Molnia, Research Geologist

  • Although the oceans contain more than 95% of the Earth.s water, glaciers hold 75% of the fresh water
  • If all the world's glaciers melted, sea level would rise more than 250 feet
  • Of Alaska.s 2,000 or so large glaciers, more than 99% are now retreating or stagnating
  • Photos taken decades apart at Glacier Bay reveal the dynamic evolution of the glacial landscape
  • Why are Alaska's glaciers now contributing more water to raising sea level than Antarctica and other polar areas?

Flyer: dec03flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


November 20, 2003

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CLEAN POWER FROM THE EARTH'S HEAT
The Present and Future of Geothermal Energy

by John Sass, Geophysicist

  • Since ancient times, people have sought out geothermal hot springs for bathing, cooking, and supposed healing effects
  • In Iceland, nearly half the electrical power and all space heating are derived from geothermal sources
  • For Iceland and other volcanic regions of current volcanism, large-scale generation of geothermal energy is a viable, environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels
  • Did you know that Northern California has the world.s largest electricity-generating geothermal development?
  • Geothermal heat pumps can provide cost-effective space heating and cooling, almost anywhere
Flyer: nov03flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



September 25, 2003

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Beneath Crater Lake
An underwater volcanic landscape tells a complex tale

by Charles R. Bacon, Geologist
Visualizations presented by David W. Ramsey, Geologist

  • Crater Lake, a jewel of the National Park system, partly fi lls a caldera basin formed during a giant volcanic eruption 7,700 years ago
  • Deepest of all U.S. lakes, Crater Lake has no surface outlet.how does its fresh water leave the lake?
  • Cooperative studies by USGS, National Park Service, and university scientists have probed the lake's secrets
  • New high-precision echo sounding and GPS navigation techniques "strip away" the water to reveal volcanoes, lava deltas, and giant landslides
Flyer: sep03flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



August 28, 2003

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Human Footprints on the Web of Life
Biodiversity and Increasing Population and Development in California

by Robert N.Fisher, Research Zoologist
  • Why does California lead the country in endangered species--why are so many reptiles and amphibians in decline?
  • Learn about the California lizard that keeps Lyme disease in check and the butterflies that prevented development on San Bruno Mountain
  • California faces growing economic costs from fire ants, Asian clams, and other aggressive invasive species
  • The megamouth shark occurs off our coast, but was not discovered until 1976--what else do we still not know?
  • How will California's spreading asphalt (already 5 million acres) affect future biodiversity? Thursday August

Flyer: aug03flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


July 31, 2003

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Molten Paradise
Video Presentation and Discussion

Featuring the award-winning USGS video Molten Paradise-Kilaea Volcano by Stephen Wessells, introduced and discussed by Robert I. Tilling, Volcanologist

See-

  • The dramatic nonstop Pu'u O'o eruption, now entering its 21st year
  • Rivers of glowing lava flow through underground tubes
  • Scientists collect samples of molten rock hotter than 2000 F
  • Lava ooze and drip down sea cliffs into the surf
  • Scientists explain how volcanic eruptions built the Hawaiian Islands
Flyer: jul03flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



June 26, 2003

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The Quakes, They Are A-comin'--
New Estimates of Earthquake Hazard and Risk Across the Bay Region

By Michael Blanpied, Geophysicist

  • A USGS-led Working Group has used new ideas about Bay Area faults and earthquakes to revise the probabilities for future quakes
  • The slow movement of the Earth.s plates builds up stress that is relieved in violent earthquakes.where are we now in this relentless cycle?
  • Earthquakes can.t yet be predicted, but scientists can estimate probabilities of their occurrence
  • New scenario ShakeMaps provide a guide to expected shaking and damage from future quakes
Flyer: jun03flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



May 22, 2003

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The National Map -- Coming to Your Neighborhood!
Integrating and Sharing Geographic Information in the Public Domain

By Ken Osborn, Cartographer

  • Begun by the USGS in 2001, The National Map is a 10-year vision for a seamless, constantly updated, national geospatial database
  • This vast public database will be continually updated through local partnerships, selectively printable, and available on the Internet and at neighborhood kiosks
  • Implementation projects --such as the Lake Tahoe and Sacramento areas--demonstrate the benefi ts of integrating high-resolution local datasets
  • With the current focus on homeland security, datasets for 10 U.S. urban areas are scheduled for completion this year, at a resolution of 0.3 meter (1 foot)
  • Because many printed maps are more than 20 years old, The National Map will be of great value for multiple uses, including planning, disaster response, and recreation
Flyer: may03flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)



April 24, 2003

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Gaia's Breath
Methane and the Future of Natural Gas

By Keith A. Kvenvolden, Geochemist

  • The Earth--or "Gaia," the Earth Goddess of Ancient Greece-- exhales more than 1 million tons of methane each day
  • Mud volcanoes around the world emit about 5 million tons of methane each year as part of Gaia's breath
  • Energy sources used by society have evolved from wood to coal to oil and natural gas.soon possibly to hydrogen extracted from natural gas?
  • Gas hydrate--"ice that burns"--found under the sea and in permafrost regions, is a potential future source of energy
Flyer: apr03flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


February 27, 2003

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Is Your Neighborhood Going Downhill?
How Landslides Threaten Bay Area Lives and Property

By Raymond C. Wilson, Landslide Geologist
  • Landslides-the underrated hazard-cost the Nation billions of dollars in property damage annually
  • How do our local geologic conditions make the Bay Area an ideal habitat for landslides?
  • El Nino storms or other heavy rains can activate dormant slides
  • Recent Bay Area landslides, such as Devil's Slide (1995), Polhemus Road (1997), La Honda (1998), Mission Peak (1998), and Daly City (1999), remind us of the danger
  • What makes certain kinds of landslides life-threatening?
Flyer: feb03flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


January 30, 2003

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Exploring Mars
Recent Discoveries and Upcoming Missions

By Michael H. Carr, Planetary Geologist

  • Thirty years of Mars exploration have revealed a spectacularly diverse planet
  • Dry river valleys and layered sediments suggest a warm, wet past
  • Huge f oods may have created transient oceans
  • Towering volcanoes, deep canyons, and global fracture systems dwarf their counterparts on Earth
  • Two US rovers and a European lander, to be launched this May and reach Mars in January 2004, are expected to shed new light on how the planet evolved
Flyer: jan03flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)

2002 Video Archive

December 12, 2002

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Hawai`i's Volcanoes--- Never a Dull Moment !
20 Years of Eruption at Kilauea and Waiting for Mauna Loa

by Don Swanson,Volcanologist, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

  • Kilauea's Pu'u O'o-Kupaianaha eruption, which began on January 3, 1983, is already the volcano's longest rift eruption in at least 600 years
  • Lava has destroyed 8 miles of highway and 189 structures, while covering more than 40 square miles, and adding more than 500 acres to the Island of Hawai'i
  • In addition to lava, Kilauea each day emits more than 1,500 tons of sulfur dioxide gas--an irritant and possible health hazard
  • After 18 years of quiet, 13,677-ft-high Mauna Loa began swelling again in May 2002--when will it erupt?

Flyer: dec02flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)


November 21, 2002

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What is a Butterfly Worth?
Challenge of Making Economic Estimates for Biodiversity

by Alicia Torregrosa, Geographer and Ecologist

  • How can we best strike a balance between vineyard development and wildlife in the Napa Valley?
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) facilitates comparing the "apples and oranges" of endangered species and the value of real estate
  • Linking GIS layers and models gives them added meaning and value
  • Such data layers are part of biodiversity software being developed by NatureServe
  • This software will help decisionmakers evaluate alternative land-use choices

Flyer: nov02flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)


October 24, 2002

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Plumbing the Mysteries of the San Andreas Fault
Deep Drilling to Test Fundamental Theories About Faulting and Earthquakes

By Stephen H. Hickman, Geophysicist

  • Scientists will make measurements, obtain samples and place instruments directly within the fault at a depth of 2.5 miles, creating the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD)
  • SAFOD's instruments will continuously measure fluid pressure, deformation, temperature, and seismic shaking through multiple earthquake cycles
  • A 1.4-mile-deep pilot hole drilled this summer is already providing earthquake data; Congressional approval is pending for the deeper SAFOD hole
  • Data from these drill holes are providing a third dimension to the ongoing Parkfield Earthquake Experiment (see http://quake.usgs.gov/research/parkfield)
  • Learning what really happens in the fault zone before, during,and after earthquakes will help scientists betterpredict the timing and severity of future quakes

Flyer: oct02flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)


September 26, 2002

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Healing the Redwood Creek Watershed
Successes and Failures in a Large-scale Watershed Restoration Program

by Mary Ann Madej, Geologist

  • Can we undo the effects of decades of logging and road-building on salmon habitat and redwood forest?
  • The Redwood Creek restoration program in California--one of the Nation.s largest and longest-running watershed projects-- was begun nearly 25 years ago
  • What do agencies like the National Park Service actually do to restore a watershed?
  • The large 1997 floods in the Redwood Creek area provided the first real test of the restoration efforts
  • What lessons have been learned at Redwood Creek that can be applied to restoring other disturbed watersheds?

Flyer: sep02flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)


August 29, 2002

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Revealing the Hidden World Beneath Monterey Bay
Explore the diverse features on and below the sea floor in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

by Steve Eittreim, Marine Geologist

  • See---
    • Drowned bedrock pinnacles that provide shelter for rockfish
    • Earthquake faults that slice through the sea floor
    • New, highly detailed views of the tortuous Monterey Canyon
  • Learn---
    • About buried former seacliffs now 40 meters below sea level
    • About Monterey Bay.s muds that are migrating toward San Francisco
    • About the value and importance of a marine sanctuary

Flyer: aug02flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)


July 25, 2002



Play Video

Beyond the Golden Gate
Oceanography, Geology, Biology, and Environmental Issues In The Gulf of the Farallones

by Herman A. Karl, Marine Geologist, and Edward Ueber, Director, Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

  • Learn about the complex marine geology offshore from the San Francisco Bay region
  • Hear the story of the 47,000 barrels of radioactive waste that were dumped near the Farallon Islands.and how they were found
  • Has the highly radioactive aircraft carrier USS Independence, scuttled somewhere in the Gulf in 1951, been located?
  • The Marine Sanctuaries are facing the challenges of protecting complex and diverse marine ecosystems adjacent to densely populated metropolitan areas
  • Why is the Gulf of the Farallones a favorite habitat for great white sharks?
Flyer: jul02flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)









June 27, 2002



Play Video

Finding Elusive Earthquake Faults
New Mapping Techniques Reveal Potential Seismic Sources Beneath Seattle

By Richard J. Blakely, Geophysicist and Ralph A. Haugerud, Geologist

  • Geophysical methods reveal "the landscape beneath the landscape"
  • Why does the Seattle Fault exist, and why is it so hard to locate and map?
  • LIDAR imagery can depict faults and other geologic features hidden under dense forest
  • Learn how geologists unravel and translate the stories concealed in landscapes
  • Does the research in the Seattle area have implications for other urban areas?
Flyer: jun02flyer.pdf (Adobe Acrobat PDF)











March 28, 2002

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Play Video

LOSING THE RACE FOR SURVIVAL?
The catastrophic decline of the desert tortoise in California

Kristin H. Berry, Desert Ecologist
  • Learn about the unique social behavior and fragile ecology of the desert tortoise, some of whose populations have declined by 70-90% in the past 20 years
  • Why is this fabled creature sometimes referred to as the "Methuselah of the Desert"?
  • What is the importance of this species, already listed as Threatened (and perhaps soon as Endangered), in the desert ecosystem?
  • How can tortoises reproduce when females lay eggs only in the spring and males have viable sperm only in the late summer?
  • How have human activities influenced the increasingly important role of diseases in tortoise mortality?
Flyer: mar02flyer.pdf (Acrobat PDF)


USGS Public Events Calendar (Recorded Message) --- (650) 329-5000
For additional information on the USGS Evening Public Lecture Series please contact Amelia Barrales: abarrales2@usgs.gov or telephone (650) 329-5136.

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