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Federal News

New Oregon Maps Feature National Scenic Trails

USGS Newsroom - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 11:00
Summary: Newly released US Topo maps for Oregon now feature segments of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail

Contact Information:

Mark Newell, APR ( Phone: 573-308-3850 ); Larry  Moore ( Phone: 303-202-4019 );



Newly released US Topo maps for Oregon now feature segments of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. Several of the 1,835 new US Topo quadrangles for the state now display parts of the Trail along with other improved data layers.

“Having the Pacific Crest NST finally show up on Oregon US Topo maps is significant for all of the recreational users of the wild spaces the trail traverses,” said Tom Carlson, Geospatial Liaison for the Pacific Northwest. “Hiking the trail provides commanding views of the volcanic peaks of the Cascade Range as well as the verdant forests of the western side of the mountains and down into the farmlands of the Willamette Valley. You also see parts of the open Ponderosa Pine forest and high desert on the eastern slopes of the mountains.”

The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail is a treasured pathway through some of the most scenic terrain in the nation. Beginning in southern California at the Mexican border, the PCT travels a total distance of 2,650 miles through California, Oregon, and Washington until reaching the Canadian border. The PCT is one of the original National Scenic Trails established by Congress in the 1968 National Trails System Act and fifty-four percent of the trail lies within designated wilderness.

The USGS partnered with the U.S. Forest Service to incorporate the trail onto the Oregon US Topo maps. This NST joins the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail and the North Country National Scenic Trail as being featured on the new US Topo quads. The USGS hopes to eventually include all National Scenic Trails in The National Map products. 

These new maps replace the first edition US Topo maps for Oregon and are available for free download from The National Map and the USGS Map Locator & Downloader website.

Another important addition to the new Oregon US Topo maps in the inclusion of Public Land Survey System. PLSS is a way of subdividing and describing land in the US. All lands in the public domain are subject to subdivision by this rectangular system of surveys, which is regulated by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

To compare change over time, scans of legacy USGS topo maps, some dating back to the late 1800s, can be downloaded from the USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection

To download US Topo maps: http://nationalmap.gov/ustopo/

The National Trails System was established by Act of Congress in 1968. The Act grants the Secretary of Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture authority over the National Trails System. The Act defines four types of trails. Two of these types, the National Historic Trails and National Scenic Trails, can only be designated by Act of Congress. National scenic trails are extended trails located as to provide for maximum outdoor recreation potential and for the conservation and enjoyment of nationally significant scenic, historic, natural, and cultural qualities of the area through which such trails may pass.

There are 11 National Scenic Trails:
  • Appalachian National Scenic Trail
  • Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail
  • Continental Divide National Scenic Trail
  • North Country National Scenic Trail
  • Ice Age National Scenic Trail
  • Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail
  • Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail
  • Florida National Scenic Trail
  • Arizona National Scenic Trail
  • New England National Scenic Trail
  • Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail
(high resolution image) New 2014 US Topo quadrangle of the Three Fingered Jack, Oregon, area. Scale 1:24,000, with the orthoimagery layer turned on. (high resolution image) Scanned copy of the 1929 USGS Three Sister’s, Oregon, quadrangle. Scale 1:25,000 – from the USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection. (high resolution image)

Stay Prepared: Hurricane Season Doesn’t End with Summer

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 09:12

Eatontown, N.J. --  Hurricane season officially begins each year on June 1, but unlike firemen’s fairs, cookouts and fun at the beach, the season for hurricanes doesn’t end along with the summer.

As a new school year begins, now may be a good time to check your stock of batteries, bottled water and other emergency supplies that may be needed should New Jersey experience an autumn hurricane.

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Categories: Federal News

Federal Aid Programs for the State of Hawaii Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 09/12/2014 - 17:38

Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama's disaster declaration issued for the State of Hawaii.

Assistance for the State and Affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:

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Categories: Federal News

President Declares Disaster for Hawaii

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 09/12/2014 - 17:37

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of Hawaii to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by Tropical Storm Iselle during the period of August 7-9, 2014.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA, West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Announce a Statewide Test of the Public Alert and Warning System in West Virginia

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 09/12/2014 - 10:38

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the West Virginia Broadcasters Association, and others will conduct a statewide test of the Public Alert and Warning System on Wednesday, September 17, 2014. The test will begin at approximately 2:00 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) and will last approximately two minutes.  

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Categories: Federal News

Federal Aid Programs for the State of California Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 09/12/2014 - 07:31

Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama's disaster declaration issued for the State of California.

Assistance for the State, Tribal and Affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:

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Categories: Federal News

President Declares Disaster for California

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 09/12/2014 - 07:29

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of California to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the area affected by an earthquake during the period of August 24 to September 7, 2014.

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Categories: Federal News

Federal Aid Programs for the Territory of Guam Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 16:52

Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama's disaster declaration issued for the Territory of Guam.

Assistance for the Territory and Affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:

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Categories: Federal News

President Declares Disaster for Guam

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 16:46

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the Territory of Guam to supplement territory and local recovery efforts in the area affected by Tropical Storm Halong during the period of July 28 - 31, 2014.

The President's action makes federal funding available to territory and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by Tropical Storm Halong.

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Categories: Federal News

Public Invited to Comment on Flood Maps for Otero County, New Mexico

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 14:30

DENTON, Texas –– After working together for months to create new preliminary flood maps, Otero County and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials want to hear from the public about preliminary flood maps.

Homeowners, renters and business owners in the Village of Tularosa and unincorporated areas of Otero County are encouraged to look at the preliminary flood maps to learn where flood risks have been identified. Anyone who has comments or who would like to file an appeal has 90 days, from September 16, 2014 until December 15, 2014 to submit them.

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Categories: Federal News

Ten Years Later: Remembering Hurricane Ivan

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 09:42

ATLANTA—Ten years ago “Ivan the Terrible,” as the deadly hurricane was dubbed, ripped across the Gulf Coast as the strongest storm of the 2004 season. Ten years later, Hurricane Ivan serves as a reminder that the time to prepare for the next hurricane is now.

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Categories: Federal News

20-Year Study Shows Levels of Pesticides Still a Concern for Aquatic Life in U.S. Rivers and Streams

USGS Newsroom - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 08:30
Summary: Levels of pesticides continue to be a concern for aquatic life in many of the Nation’s rivers and streams in agricultural and urban areas, according to a new USGS study spanning two decades (1992-2011)

Contact Information:

Ethan Alpern ( Phone: 703-648-4406 ); Wesley Stone ( Phone: 317-600-2786 );



Levels of pesticides continue to be a concern for aquatic life in many of the Nation’s rivers and streams in agricultural and urban areas, according to a new USGS study spanning two decades (1992-2011). Pesticide levels seldom exceeded human health benchmarks.

Over half a billion pounds of pesticides are used annually in the U.S. to increase crop production and reduce insect-borne disease, but some of these pesticides are occurring at concentrations that pose a concern for aquatic life.

High resolution image

The proportion of streams with one or more pesticides that exceeded an aquatic-life benchmark was similar between the two decades for streams and rivers draining agricultural and mixed-land use areas, but much greater during the 2002-2011 for streams draining urban areas.

Fipronil, an insecticide that disrupts the central nervous system of insects, was the pesticide most frequently found at levels of potential concern for aquatic organisms in urban streams during 2002-2011.

“The information gained through this important research is critical to the evaluation of the risks associated with existing levels of pesticides,” said William Werkheiser, USGS Associate Director for Water.

Since 1992, there have been widespread trends in concentrations of individual pesticides, some down and some up, mainly driven by shifts in pesticide use due to regulatory changes, market forces, and introduction of new pesticides. “Levels of diazinon, one of the most frequently detected insecticides during the 1990s, decreased from about 1997 through 2011 due to reduced agricultural use and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory phase-out of urban uses,” said, Wesley Stone, USGS hydrologist.

The potential for adverse effects on aquatic life is likely underestimated in these results because resource constraints limited the scope of monitoring to less than half of the more than 400 pesticides currently used in agriculture each year and monitoring focused only on pesticides dissolved in water.

The USGS National Water-Quality Assessment Program is continually working to fill these data gaps by adding new pesticides that come into use, such as the neonicotinoid and pyrethroid insecticides, improving characterization of short-term acute exposures, and enhancing evaluations of sediment and other environmental media.

The study “Pesticides in U.S. Streams and Rivers:  Occurrence and trends during 1992-2011” is a feature article in the Environmental Science and Technology journal. The article and additional information including data, reports, and maps on pesticide status, trends, and use are available online.

Federal Aid Programs for the Territory of American Samoa Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 21:57

Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama's disaster declaration issued for the Territory of American Samoa.

Assistance for the Territory and Affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:

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Categories: Federal News

President Declares Disaster for American Samoa

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 21:50

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the Territory of American Samoa to supplement territory and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, flooding, and landslides during the period of July 29 to August 3, 2014.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Awards $187,500 Grant to Gasper Township: Hazard Mitigation funds will be used to construct a tornado safe room

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 16:33

CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released $187,500 in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to Gasper Township, Ohio, for the construction of a safe room at the Boys Scouts of America’s Woodland Trails Camp in Preble County.

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Categories: Federal News

200 Years of Magma at Kīlauea Volcano Described in New Book

USGS Newsroom Technical - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 15:00
Summary: A new book that summarizes the Kīlauea magma system is now available online, with printed copies to follow soon

Contact Information:

Thomas Wright ( Phone: 301-365-2287 );



Professional Paper 1806: Two Hundred Years of Magma Transport and Storage at Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaiʻi, 1790–2008

ISLAND OF HAWAIʻI, Hawaiʻi — A new book that summarizes the Kīlauea magma system is now available online, with printed copies to follow soon.  The U.S. Geological Survey monograph summarizes the evolution of the internal plumbing of Kīlauea Volcano on the Island of Hawaiʻi from the first documented eruption in 1790 to the explosive eruption of March 2008 in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. 

For the period before the founding of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory in 1912, the authors rely on written observations of eruptive activity, earthquake swarms, and periodic draining of magma from the lava lake present in Kīlauea Caldera by missionaries and visiting scientists. After 1912 the written observations were supplemented by continuous measurement of tilting of the ground at Kīlauea’s summit and by a continuous instrumental record of earthquakes, both measurements made during 1912–56 by a single pendulum seismometer housed on the northeast edge of Kīlauea’s summit. Scientific interpretations become more robust following the installation of seismic and deformation networks in the 1960s. A major advance in the 1990s was the ability to continuously record and telemeter ground deformation to allow its precise correlation with seismic activity before and after eruptions, intrusions, and large earthquakes.

In Kīlauea’s 200-year history, USGS scientists and authors of the new volume, Thomas Wright and Fred Klein, identify three regions of the volcano in which magma is stored and supplied from below. Source 1 is at 1-km depth or less beneath Kīlauea’s summit and fed Kīlauea’s summit lava lakes throughout most of the 19th century and again from 1907 to 1924. Source 1 was used up in the series of small Halemaʻumaʻu eruptions following the end of lava-lake activity in the summit collapse of 1924. Source 2 is the magma reservoir at a depth of 2–6 km beneath Kīlauea’s summit that has been imaged by seismic and deformation measurements beginning in the 1960s. This source was first identified in the summit collapses of 1922 and 1924. Source 3 is a diffuse volume of magma-permeated rock between 5 and 11 km depth beneath the east rift zone and above the near-horizontal fault at the base of the Kīlauea edifice. 

Kīlauea’s history can be considered in cycles of equilibrium, crisis, and recovery. The approach of a crisis is driven by a magma supply rate that greatly exceeds the capacity of the plumbing to deliver magma to the surface. Crises can be anticipated by inflation measured at Kīlauea’s summit coupled with an increase in overall seismicity, particularly manifest by intrusion and eruption in the southwest sector of the volcano. Unfortunately the nature of the crisis—for example, a large earthquake, new eruption, or edifice-changing intrusion—cannot be specified ahead of time. The authors conclude that Kīlauea’s cycles are controlled by nonlinear dynamics, which underscores the difficulty in predicting eruptions and earthquakes.

Highlights of interpretations for the period prior to 1952 are:

• Prior to and including 1924, major subsidence events include draining of the deep magma system identified beneath Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone. 1924 is the last such occurrence.

• A massive intrusion on the lower east rift zone preceding the 1924 phreatic activity at Kīlauea’s summit stabilized the south flank and the present magmatic system.

• The 1952 eruption was preceded by deep earthquakes associated with the magma supply path from the mantle resulting in the beginning of a steady increase in magma supply rate extending to 2008.  A large earthquake swarm on the offshore part of Kīlauea’s south flank in the months before the 1952 eruption ushered in the modern era of seaward spreading.

Interpretations in the post-1952 period are based on connecting events over a far longer time period than the duration of any one person’s tenure on the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory staff.

Highlights are:

• Kīlauea’s shallow magma system is envisioned as a small molten core surrounded by a partially molten matrix able to record both short- and long-period seismicity.

• Magma coming from the mantle enters the rift zone before it reaches the molten core and appears in rift eruptions before it is seen as a summit eruption.

• Earthquake swarms beneath Kīlauea’s south flank precede as well as succeed shallow intrusions, supporting the modern idea of deep magma pressure being exerted from beneath the East Rift Zone.

• Prior to the M7 south flank earthquake on November 29, 1975 south flank spreading was driven by Kīlauea’s magma supply. Following the earthquake the spreading rate was decoupled from the still increasing magma supply rate.

• The seismic signatures of “suspected deep intrusions” in the monograph are equated with similar signatures that characterize “slow-slip” or “silent” earthquakes. The occurrence of such events is inferred to extend as far back as the 1960s well before continuous geodetic monitoring could identify correlated spreading steps.

• Major changes in Kīlauea’s behavior, such as ends of long eruptions, large south flank earthquakes or changes in eruptive style are anticipated by increased seismic activity on the southwest side of the volcano. The nature of the coming event is not specified, which emphasizes the uncertainties in eruption and earthquake forecasting, even in an increasingly well-monitored, but yet imperfectly understood volcano.

Citation: Wright, T.L., and Klein, F.W., 2014, “Two hundred years of magma transport and storage at Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai'i, 1790-2008,” U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1806, 240 p., plus 8 digital appendixes.

Appendices include yearly time-series seismic plots and map plots for all intrusion-related earthquake swarms covered in the text. Earthquakes are color-coded to indicate those preceding, during, and following the intrusion.

Ocean Warming Affecting Florida Reefs

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 14:22
Summary: Late-summer water temperatures near the Florida Keys were warmer by nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the last several decades compared to a century earlier, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey Increased Temperatures Spell Trouble for Corals

Contact Information:

Ilsa Kuffner ( Phone: 727-502-8048 ); Christian Quintero ( Phone: 813-498-5019 );



ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— Late-summer water temperatures near the Florida Keys were warmer by nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the last several decades compared to a century earlier, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Researchers indicate that the warmer water temperatures are stressing corals and increasing the number of bleaching events, where corals become white resulting from a loss of their symbiotic algae.  The corals can starve to death if the condition is prolonged.

“Our analysis shows that corals in the study areas are now regularly experiencing temperatures above 84 F during July, August and September; average temperatures that were seldom reached 120 years ago,” said Ilsa Kuffner, a USGS research marine biologist and the study’s lead author. “When corals are exposed to water temperatures above 84 F they grow more slowly and, during extended exposure periods, can stop growing altogether or die.”

The new analysis compares water temperatures during two time periods a century apart at two of Florida’s historic offshore lighthouses – Fowey Rocks Lighthouse, off Miami, and Carysfort Reef Lighthouse, off Key Largo, Florida. The first period included data from 1879 to 1912, while the second period spanned from 1991 to 2012. Temperatures at a third area, a reef off Islamorada, Florida, were also monitored from 1975 to 2007.

“What’s interesting is that the temperature increase observed during this recent 32-year period was as large as that measured at the lighthouses spanning 120 years,” said Kuffner. “This makes it likely the warming observed at the lighthouses has actually occurred since the 1970s.” 

The study indicates that August is consistently the month when Florida’s ocean temperatures peak. In the analysis of recent decades, average temperatures for August have been at or very close to 86 F.  At Fowey Lighthouse from 1879 to 1912, the average August temperature was just 84.2 F. Temperatures this August at the same location, though not included in the study, averaged 87 F. 

Coral bleaching is currently underway in the Florida Keys, highlighting the real-time impact that warmer ocean temperatures are having on reefs. Corals can recover from bleaching if the waters cool down within a few weeks, but mortality usually ensues if corals remain bleached longer than a month or two.

The study, “A century of ocean warming on Florida Keys coral reefs: Historic in-situ observations,” was recently published in the journal Estuaries and Coasts and is available via open access.  

FEMA Region 6 Urges You to “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare”

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 17:14

DENTON, Texas — September is National Preparedness Month, so the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region 6 office is urging you to “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare.”

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Region 6 Urges You to “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare”

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 17:11

DENTON, Texas — September is National Preparedness Month, so the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region 6 office is urging you to “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare,” especially if you live along the Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coast.

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Categories: Federal News

When You See the Yellow School Bus, Think Preparedness

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 15:18

Eatontown, N.J. --  September is the time of year when those big yellow school buses start making their rounds, offering safe passage to school for millions of kids across the nation.

For parents, teachers and school administrators, keeping children safe and protected is a priority.

That’s why it’s important to let your children know that life may throw some surprises their way, but with a little planning and support, we can handle them.

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Categories: Federal News