US Geological Survey

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Fishermen, Feds in Bizarre Legal Fight Over Lost Buoy

They want government to pay up, and the government is suing

(Newser) - Two California eel fishermen who stumbled across a US Geological Survey buoy in January are holding the piece of scientific equipment for ransom, citing the tried-and-true rule of finders-keepers, the Daily Beast reports. According to Ars Technica , the buoy was moored nearly 1,000 feet underwater off the coast of... More »

We Could Mine Our Waste for Gold

Researchers find enough valuable metals in there to make it worthwhile

(Newser) - There's gold in them thar ... wastewater treatment plants? Yes, researchers think that human waste contains enough gold and other valuable metals to make a mining operation pay off, reports LiveScience . Scientists with the USGS spent eight years analyzing treated solid waste to detect minute metal particles, which come from... More »

Bay Area Due for Seriously Big Earthquake: Scientists

Major 'locked' faults underneath San Francisco could give way soon

(Newser) - At least three major faults in the San Francisco Bay Area seem to be stuck—and when they come unstuck, they could wreak major havoc, NBC News reports. There's an almost 70% chance that one of four "locked" sections of the Hayward, Rodgers Creek, and Green Valley faults... More »

Planes Rerouted to Prevent Walrus Stampede

FAA warns media, gawkers to stay away, not spook beached animals

(Newser) - Aircraft, media, and curious folks in general have been instructed to stay far away from the 35,000 walruses crammed onto an Alaskan beach to prevent the easily spooked animals from stampeding each other to death, the Guardian reports. "When they lose their sea ice habitat and come ashore... More »

Waterways Now Less Crammed With Pesticides

Risk to humans drops, but aquatic life still in danger, especially in city waters

(Newser) - Carbon dioxide levels may be spiking , but there's one environmental irritant that looks to be partially on the decline: pesticides in our nation's waterways. More stringent regulations and the creation of more Earth-friendly products get some of the credit for this backslide, reports the New York Times , citing... More »

Quake Risk Growing in Eastern US

East Coast may be due for a big one soon, USGS report says

(Newser) - Earthquake Avoidance 101: Just stay away from California, right? Not so fast. An updated US Geological Survey report and accompanying hazard map confirm that the West still holds the worst potential for seismic shake-ups, with major faults and hazards creeping up the entire West Coast, reports the AP . But the... More »

Oklahoma Hit by 11 Quakes—in 2 Days

Record number of temblors in Sooner State may be from wastewater from fracking

(Newser) - Something shook Oklahoma all night long over the weekend—and it wasn’t the neighbors playing AC/DC too loud. The US Geological Survey recorded 11 small earthquakes, most in the magnitude 2.6 to 2.9 range, over Saturday and yesterday, reports the AP ; Tulsa World has a list. The... More »

Oklahoma Hit by 10 Quakes—in 3 Days

Number of quakes far higher in recent years

(Newser) - Last night saw a 3.8 earthquake hit central Oklahoma, according to the US Geological Survey—one of 10 to hit the area since Friday, NBC News reports. The 3.8 quake was the most powerful of the minor quakes; it struck near the town of Guthrie, which is about... More »

Scientist: Massive Quakes Hidden in History

Huge seismic events missing from the records

(Newser) - The Earth might have a more turbulent past—and hence a more turbulent future—than we thought. In a presentation yesterday, Dr. Susan Hough of the US Geological Survey argued that hidden throughout history are a glut of giant earthquakes that either went unrecorded or have been underestimated. "Seismometers... More »

Sandy Left NY Island 54% Less Sandy

The hurricane has left Fire Island vulnerable to future storms, finds new study

(Newser) - Miami Beach isn't the only one running low on sand —a new study has found more than half of the sand on New York's Fire Island was washed away during Hurricane Sandy, LiveScience reports. Though 18% of the barrier island's sand has been replenished, the... More »

Frogs Disappearing Faster Than Thought

Federal survey shows scary decline in amphibians

(Newser) - Scientists have been worried about the decline in amphibians for years now, and the most comprehensive federal survey of its kind has some bad news: Things are worse than they thought. Researchers from the US Geological Survey found that frogs, salamanders, and amphibians of all kinds are disappearing at an... More »

26-Foot Tsunami Could Hit California

Study looks at Cascadia Subduction Zone fault

(Newser) - It's a frightening scenario: An infamous 620-mile fault located off the West Coast generates an 8.0-magnitude earthquake; it triggers a 26-foot tsunami that strikes northern California. According to a new study, that series of events is a real possibility, and would threaten more than a quarter of a... More »

4.7 Earthquake Rattles S. California

Temblor was felt in downtown LA, wide area

(Newser) - A small earthquake has shaken a wide area of Southern California, but there's no word of damage. The quake was initially estimated at magnitude 5.1, but that was quickly downgraded to 4.7. The US Geological Survey's automated monitoring system places the epicenter in the desert near... More »

6.8 Quake Kills 12 in Burma

Gold mine collapses in temblor

(Newser) - A strong earthquake of magnitude-6.8 struck northern Burma today, collapsing a bridge and a gold mine, damaging several old Buddhist pagodas and leaving as many as 12 people feared dead. A slow release of official information left the actual extent of the damage unclear; the epicenter was near the... More »

7.4 Quake Hits Off Guatemala, 39 Dead

Buildings shake as far away as Mexico City

(Newser) - At least 39 people died in Guatemala today after a mighty 7.4-magnitude quake struck just off the coast. President Otto Perez Molina declared a state of emergency, urging people to evacuate tall buildings, the BBC reports. The quake hit about 15 miles southwest of Champerico at a depth of... More »

Small Quake Tsunami Touches Hawaii

Only California is still under a tsunami advisory

(Newser) - Officials in Hawaii have canceled a tsunami advisory for the state's coastline, paving the way for beaches and harbors to reopen after widespread fears of waves generated from a powerful earthquake off the coast of Canada. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center lifted its tsunami advisory early today just before... More »

Powerful Quake Hits Eastern Indonesia

6.3-magnitude shock strikes undersea; no casualty reports yet

(Newser) - A strong undersea earthquake has hit parts of eastern Indonesia, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. The US Geological Survey says today's 6.3-magnitude quake struck at a depth of 21 miles. It said it was 86 miles southeast of Ambon, the provincial capital of... More »

Colombia Hit By 7.1 Quake

Near border with Ecuador

(Newser) - Colombia's southwestern region was rocked this morning by an earthquake whose magnitude has been revised downward to 7.1, reports the USGS . It was centered 28 miles south of Popayan, near the border with Ecuador, notes Reuters . The quake was initially reported at 7.3, then 7.4, with... More »

7.6 Quake Hits Costa Rica

Buildings rattled 90 miles away in San Jose

(Newser) - A powerful 7.6-magnitude quake has hit about five miles northeast of Samara, Costa Rica, reports the US Geological Survey , which initially pegged the magnitude at 7.9. It was the largest quake to hit the country since one of the same magnitude struck in 1991, killing 47, reports Reuters... More »

3.3 Quake Shakes Los Angeles

Small temblor was centered in Beverly Hills

(Newser) - The US Geological Survey is reporting an earthquake early today in the greater Los Angeles area. The magnitude-3.3 quake was centered in Beverly Hills at 3:26am. There are no immediate reports of damage. A Beverly Hills police watch commander said his station has been getting numerous calls from... More »

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