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Tucked in a grove of thorny mesquite trees, on an ancient coral reef on the south side of the Hawaiian island of Oahu, west of Pearl Harbor, a small unmanned observatory quietly records the Earth’s time-varying magnetic field. The Honolulu Magnetic Observatory is 1 of 14 that the U.S. Geological Survey Geomag­netism Program operates at various locations across the United States and its territories.Data from these observatories, Honolulu, and those operated by institutions in foreign countries, record a variety of magnetic signals related to a wide diversity of physical phenomena in the Earth’s interior and its surrounding outer-space environment. USGS magnetic observatory operations are an integral part of a U.S....
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Fact Sheet
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Geologists recognize lavas and ash deposits from about 60 past eruptions in the area around Mammoth Mountain and Devils Postpile, California. This raises the unanswerable question, “When will it erupt again?” An alternative, answerable, and informative question is, “How often has it erupted?”In the Mammoth Lakes Sierra, geologists have mapped in great detail all the lavas and ash deposits produced by those 60 eruptions. They have dated almost all of them by laboratory methods, showing that eruptions have been repetitive and persistent, though not quite regular, over the last quarter-million years. For few volcanoes in the world is the long-term eruptive frequency so well calibrated as in the Mammoth Lakes Sierra.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Fact Sheet
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Ground water is an important freshwater source for domestic and livestock uses in southeastern Utah because of the arid climate and unavailability of surface water from the San Juan River. The study area includes about 1,200 square miles in the southeastern corner of Utah (fig. 1). Precipitation on mountainous areas north, south, and east of the study area (fig. 2) seeps into the Navajo and overlying aquifers where the sandstones that contain the aquifers are exposed at the surface along mountain flanks. The ground water then moves slowly away from the mountainous areas toward the area of lowest elevation 109°30' in the region, the San Juan River. The ground water reappears at land surface where it discharges as...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Fact Sheet
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Just outside the searing heat of Death Valley lies Devils Hole (fig. 1), a fault-created cave that harbors two remnants of the Earth's great ice ages. The endangered desert pupfish (Cyprinodon diabolis) has long made its home in the cave. A 500,000-year record of the planet's climate that challenges a widely accepted theory explaining the ice ages also has been preserved in Devils Hole.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Fact Sheet
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In 1991, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) began to implement a full-scale National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program. The long-term goals of the NAWQA program are to describe the status and trends in the quality of a large, representative part of the Nation's surface-water and ground-water resources and to provide a sound, scientific understanding of the primary natural and human factors affecting the quality of these resources. In meeting these goals, the program will produce a wealth of water-quality information that will be useful to policymakers and managers at the National, State, and local levels. Studies of 60 hydrologic systems that include parts of most major river basins and aquifer systems (study-unit...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Fact Sheet
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In 1991, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Department of the Interior, began a National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA). The long-term goals of NAWQA are to describe the status of and trends in the quality of a large representative part of the Nation's surface- and ground-water resources and to identify all the major factors that affect the quality of these resources. In addressing these goals, NAWQA produces water-quality information that is useful to policymakers and managers at State, Federal, and local levels.NAWQA emphasis is on regional scale water-quality problems. The program does not diminish the need for smaller scale studies and monitoring designed and conducted by State, Federal, and local...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Fact Sheet
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Mississippi River reintroductions (freshwater diversions) into wetlands previously disconnected from the river have been implemented in southeastern Louisiana as a means to rehabilitate degraded and submerging wetlands. To date, all active Mississippi River reintroductions have targeted marsh habitat. However, a 57 cubic meter per second (2,000 cubic foot per second) river reintroduction is being designed and implemented by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana to rehabilitate a degraded and submerging swamp forest of approximately 16,583 hectares (40,977 acres) in the Maurepas Swamp; 30 percent of the project area is closed forest canopy, 58 percent is transitional forest, and 12 percent...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Fact Sheet
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Rising sea level is potentially one of the most serious impacts of climatic change. Even a small sea level rise would have serious economic consequences because it would cause extensive damage to the world's coastal regions. Sea level can rise in the future because the ocean surface can expand due to warming and because polar ice sheets and mountain glaciers can melt, increasing the ocean's volume of water. Today, ice caps on Antarctica and Greenland contain 91 and 8 percent of the world's ice, respectively. The world's mountain glaciers together contain only about 1 percent. Melting all this ice would raise sea level about 80 meters. Although this extreme scenario is not expected, geologists know that sea level...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Fact Sheet
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A water-quality assessment began in 1991 for the Red River of the North (Red River) Basin as part of a national study. Data collection for the reconnainssance and intensive phases of the study briefly is described for each of the major components (streams, aquatic biology, and ground water) used to assess regional water quality. The data will be analyzed to address national and local water-quality concerns.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Fact Sheet
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In July 2002, lightning strikes started five forest fires that merged into one massive wildfire in the Klamath-Siskiyou Ecoregion of southern Oregon. Aided by drought, severe weather conditions, dry fuels, and steep topography, the fire grew to more than 200,000 hectares of mostly public forest land. Known as the Biscuit Fire, it was Oregon's largest forest fire in more than 130 years and one of the largest wildfires on record in the United States. Discussions centered around why such a massive fire was happening, how large would it become, who was keeping communities and homes safe, and what would be the final economic and ecological outcome. Weeks later when the fire was out, conversations turned to other questions,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Fact Sheet


map background search result map search result map Sea level change: lessons from the geologic record National Water-Quality Assessment Program: Central Arizona Basins 500,000-year temperature record challenges ice age theory National Water-Quality Assessment Program: Central Arizona Basins 500,000-year temperature record challenges ice age theory Sea level change: lessons from the geologic record