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USGS Perspectives

by Gavin P Hayes (USGS)

Mar 24, 2023

A Word from the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program Coordinator

Over the past year, the USGS has increased its investment in subduction zone science. For example, last summer we used our uncrewed Wave Glider instrument to remeasure two GPS-A sites deployed as part of the Alaska Amphibious Community Seismic Experiment that were very close to the July 2020 M7.8 Perryville earthquake and subsequent M8.2 Chignik earthquakes. An analysis of these new surveys will support an upcoming publication.  


USGS has also recently funded the purchase of a new autonomous Wave Glider instrument for GNSS-A measurements, and an additional GNSS-A site to support the recently funded NSF community proposal for Cascadia and Alaska subduction zone studies.  


The Wave Glider surveys are just one example of our research advancements. Another is our exemplary work in the Pacific Northwest. Researchers there have been investigating ancient landslide deposits to help determine the historical recurrence of earthquakes and their paleoseismic shaking levels. USGS has also gathered extremely high-resolution bathymetric data in the Cascadia subduction zone using CHIRP sonar imaging, which has revealed fine features of the seafloor and provided new insights into submarine landslides, earthquake scarps, and splay faults. 


We hope the future of subduction zone research is bright. The President’s FY 2024 Budget Request proposes to support greater investment in subduction zone science by prioritizing the delivery of scientific information, reducing disaster risk, and expanding support for subduction zone hazard characterization. The proposed work would include geodetic monitoring of the seafloor, internal and external support for research on subduction zone processes, and exploring new technologies for studying offshore environments, particularly in the Cascadia subduction zone. 


We look forward to our progress in characterizing hazards, reducing risk in subduction zone environments, and collaborating with the academic community, including SZ4D, on advancing these crucial efforts.  

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