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Publications recently added to the Pubs Warehouse

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The complexity of mudstone diagenesis - some insight from the Tøyen Formation, Lower to Middle Ordovician, southern Sweden

Released November 09, 2019 19:16 EST

2019, GFF (141) 54-67

Sven Egenhoff, Neil Fishman, Heather A. Lowers, Per Ahlberg

The Lower to Middle Ordovician Tøyen Formation in southern Sweden, a biostratigraphically well-dated siliciclastic mudstone unit, shows 18 distinct cements that include sulfides, carbonates, silicates, clays, and phosphates. Marcasite, sphalerite, galena, and six texturally distinct types of pyrite characterize the sulfides whereas only one type of dolomite and three different generations of calcite are observed in this unit. Quartz, phosphate, and organic matter occur as only one generation each. Authigenic clay minerals are represented by chlorite and kaolinite. The paragenesis can be subdivided into the two pre-burial carbonates, succeeded by ten relatively early burial cements, and six late burial cements, the kaolinite being the latest of them all and potentially being of Cretaceous age. Based on textural relationships, the paragenetic sequence of alteration events started with dolomite precipitation followed by calcite, and then five different generations of pyrite. All eleven other phases post-date these initial seven cements in the Tøyen Formation

Naturally occurring uranium in groundwater in northeastern Washington State

Released November 08, 2019 12:31 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3069

Sue C. Kahle

Uranium is a radioactive element (radionuclide) that occurs naturally in rock, soil, and water, usually in low concentrations. Radionuclides are unstable atoms with excess energy and as radionuclides decay, they emit radiation. The uranium decay sequence also includes other radionuclides of concern such as radium and radon. This fact sheet addresses naturally occurring uranium in groundwater in northeastern Washington.

Batrachochytrium salamandriovrans (Bsal) in Appalachia—Using scenario building to proactively prepare for a wildlife disease outbreak caused by an invasive amphibian chytrid fungus

Released November 08, 2019 10:35 EST

2018, Open-File Report 2018-1150

M.C. Hopkins, M.J. Adams, P.E. Super, D.H. Olson, C.R. Hickman, P. English, L. Sprague, I.B. Maska, A.B. Pennaz, K.A. Ludwig

Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), a pathogenic chytrid fungus, is nonnative to the United States and poses a disease threat to vulnerable amphibian hosts. The Bsal fungus may lead to increases in threatened, endangered, and sensitive status listings at State, Tribal, and Federal levels, resulting in financial costs associated with implementing the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The United States is a global biodiversity hotspot for salamanders, an order of amphibians that is particularly vulnerable to developing a disease called chytridiomycosis when exposed to Bsal. Published Bsal risk assessments for North America have suggested that salamanders within the Appalachian region of the United States are at a high risk. In May 2017, a workshop was facilitated by the Department of the Interior’s Strategic Sciences Group. During the workshop, a discussion-based incident-response exercise focused on a hypothetical Bsal disease outbreak in Appalachia was led by U.S. Geological Survey staff members. Participants included representatives of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service. Scenario building was used to brainstorm cascading consequences (social, economic, and ecological) of a Bsal disease outbreak in the Appalachian region. This report highlights the management and science actions that could be undertaken to ensure an effective, rapid response to a Bsal introduction into the United States.

Geology and assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources of the Lomonosov-Makarov Province, 2008

Released November 08, 2019 09:16 EST

2019, Professional Paper 1824-CC

Thomas E. Moore, Kenneth J. Bird, Janet K. Pitman

Thomas E. Moore, Donald L. Gautier, editor(s)

The Lomonosov-Makarov Province lies in the central Arctic Ocean and encompasses the northern part of the oceanic Amerasia Basin (Makarov and Podvodnikov Basins) and the adjoining Lomonosov Ridge and Siberian continental margins. The Amerasia Basin is thought to have been created in the Jurassic and Early Cretaceous by rotational rifting of the Alaska-Siberia margin away from the Canada margin about a pivot point in the Mackenzie Delta and an associated continental-scale transform fault along the Lomonosov Ridge. The province is bounded on the south by the Cretaceous Alpha-Mendeleev Ridge, an undersea ridge composed of plume-type volcanic rocks that obliquely crosses the Amerasia Basin, dividing it into northern and southern parts. The thickest passive-margin succession in the province lies along the Siberian margin, where sediments thin from a maximum thickness along the continental margin to less than 2 km in the basin. The northern part of the province consists of the Lomonosov Ridge, which was rifted away from the Eurasia Plate in the Paleocene during formation of the oceanic Eurasia Basin, creating an isolated, narrow, submerged, but high-standing microcontinent. This part of the province contains sediments that were shed from the Eurasia Plate in the Mesozoic and covered by pelagic and hemipelagic sediments in the Cenozoic, creating depositional successions with thicknesses ranging from about 1 to more than 5 km.

This tectonic framework provides the basis for division of the province into four assessment units (AUs), including (1) Lomonosov Ridge AU, (2) Makarov Basin Margin AU, (3) Siberian Passive Margin AU, and (4) Makarov Basin AU. The Lomonosov Ridge and Makarov Basin Margin AUs compose a displaced part of the Cretaceous shelf and slope, respectively, of the Eurasia continental margin with a covering drape of pelagic Cenozoic sediments. The Siberian Passive Margin and Makarov Basin AUs represent the slope of the Siberian continental margin and adjoining basin plain deposits, respectively, deposited on oceanic crust of the northern Amerasia Basin. All of the AUs are entirely submarine and covered by the polar icecap, and consequently have not been explored for petroleum. Petroleum source rock units considered in the assessment of the province are mostly hypothetical, and include Triassic and Jurassic platformal marine shale units on the Lomonosov Ridge, and province-wide Lower Cretaceous synrift, Lower and Upper Cretaceous postrift, and Paleogene organic-rich shale intervals. The most prospective reservoirs and traps are envisioned to include base-of-slope turbidite-fan complexes, slope channels and basins, extensional and growth fault structures, and other stratigraphic, structural, and composite trap features typically present on clastic-dominated continental passive margins. Because of concerns about reservoir quality in the Makarov Basin AU and the detrimental effect of Paleocene rifting in the Lomonosov Ridge AU, these units were not quantitatively assessed, as they were judged to have less than 10 percent probability of containing at least one accumulation of hydrocarbons equal to or greater than 50 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMBOE). The mean volumes of undiscovered resources for the Makarov Basin Margin AU are estimated to be 0.12 billion barrels of oil and 0.74 trillion cubic feet of nonassociated gas, whereas the undiscovered resources for the Siberian Passive Margin AU are estimated to be ~1 billion barrels of oil and 4.7 trillion cubic feet of nonassociated gas.

Full Equations Model Graphical Data Inspector (FEQ–GDI) user guide

Released November 07, 2019 15:32 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1113

Jessica L. Ern, Terry Ortel, Audrey L. Ishii, Maitreyee Bera

The Full Equations Model Graphical Data Inspector (FEQ–GDI) is a menu-driven utility program that enables users to visualize and check the geometric and hydraulic properties of channel cross sections, selected control structures, and stream profiles in the input files for the Full Equations (FEQ) Model and the Full Equations Utilities (FEQUTL) Model. The FEQ Model is a computer program for the simulation of one-dimensional, unsteady flow in open channels and through control structures using the full, dynamic equations of motion. The input to FEQ Model includes the output from the FEQUTL Model, which computes tables relating the hydraulic properties of channel cross sections and control structures to depth, flow, and (or) other specified parameters. FEQ–GDI can be used to help users quickly detect anomalies in the data that may indicate errors in the input files.

Detailed Lithologic Logs from Auger Holes in southern Charleston County, southwestern Dorchester County, and eastern Colleton County, South Carolina

Released November 07, 2019 13:30 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1119

Robert E. Weems, William C. Lewis

The lithologic logs described in this open-file report are from holes augered in the South Carolina Low Country in parts of Charleston, Dorchester, and Colleton Counties from 1998 through 2010. Lithologic units described here include not only surficial Pleistocene units but also subsurface stratigraphic units ranging as far back in age as late Eocene. This region comprises the southernmost and westernmost portions of the area included in the 1:100,000 Charleston region geologic map, which lies east of 80°30′ west and south of 33°15′ north. Logs of the remainder of that map area were published prior to the release of that map. The present report completes the lithologic log record from which the 1:100,000 Charleston region geologic map largely was compiled.

Updates to the Madison Lake (Minnesota) CE–QUAL–W2 water-quality model for assessing algal community dynamics

Released November 06, 2019 10:02 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5124

Erik A. Smith, Richard L. Kiesling

A previously developed CE–QUAL–W2 model for Madison Lake, Minnesota, simulated the algal community dynamics, water quality, and fish habitat suitability of Madison Lake under recent (2014) meteorological conditions. Additionally, this previously developed model simulated the complex interplay between external nutrient loading, internal nutrient loading from sediment release of phosphorus, and the organic matter decomposition of the algal biomass. However, the partitioning of Cyanophyta within the modeling framework was simplified to one group and did not account for how different Cyanophyta populations are affected by light conditions, use of nitrogen, temperature growth ranges, and differences in settling rates. Properly capturing Cyanophyta dynamics is important given the potential risks posed by potential large algal blooms. For example, when Cyanophyta form large blooms, recreational activities can become restricted in certain areas because of thick algal scums or algal mats, in addition to the possible production of a class of toxins, known as cyanotoxins, capable of threatening human health, domestic animals, and wildlife. Therefore, we updated the model to partition the Cyanophyta into a group that fixed nitrogen and a second, more buoyant Cyanophyta group that did not independently fix nitrogen.

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the St. Croix Watershed Research Station (Science Museum of Minnesota) with support from the Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund of Minnesota (Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources), updated the Madison Lake CE–QUAL–W2 model to address the shortcomings of simulating Cyanophyta in the previously developed model and better characterize Cyanophyta into two groups. In addition to updating the Cyanophyta group differentiation, the part of the model that handles the simulation of algal community dynamics was updated while preserving model predictive capabilities for nutrients, water temperature, and dissolved oxygen. The calibration and validation of the model was done under recent meteorological conditions with large and persistent Cyanophyta blooms (2014 and 2016).

Overall, the model simulations predicted the persistently large total phosphorus concentrations in the hypolimnion of Madison Lake and key differences in nutrient concentrations between 2014 and 2016. The Cyanophyta bloom persistence throughout the summer was also simulated by the model in 2014 and 2016, a critical goal of the model update. Finally, monthly total phosphorus budgets were calculated for the updated Madison Lake model for 2014 and 2016.

The lava flow that came to Hilo—The 1880–81 eruption of Mauna Loa volcano, Island of Hawai‘i

Released November 06, 2019 09:58 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5129

James P. Kauahikaua, Ben Gaddis, Ku`ulei Kanahele, Ken Hon, Valerie Wasser

The Mauna Loa eruption sequence of 1880–81 consists of two eruptions. The May 1880 eruption in Mokuʻāweoweo at the summit of Mauna Loa lasted just a few days and was followed 6 months later by three lava flows that issued from vents along the Northeast Rift Zone. The November 1880 eruption lasted almost a year and one of its flows nearly reached Hilo Bay.

Public reaction in Hilo to the advancing lava flow increased as the lava got closer, but a smallpox quarantine prevented travelers and government officials from leaving Honolulu, the government seat of the Hawaiian Kingdom, until July 1881. In the King’s absence, his sister Princess Regent Liliʻuokalani and key officials met in Hilo at the beginning of August to plan a government response. This included the first known plan to use barriers and explosives to divert the lava flow in Hawaiʻi. Fortunately, the lava flow stopped before the plan was enacted; however, both Christian prayer and traditional Hawaiian chants and gifts to the Hawaiian deity Pele were offered in the last few weeks of lava activity.

Mauna Loa was again restless in 2019 and the time seems optimum to review this and other Mauna Loa flows, in order to be ready for the next lava flow. Should the next flow threaten developed areas, review of past lava flow threats may provide valuable experience on how the public may best be provided with information.

Near-field receiving-water monitoring of trace metals and a benthic community near the Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant in south San Francisco Bay, California—2018

Released November 06, 2019 09:48 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1084

Daniel J. Cain, Janet K. Thompson, Francis Parchaso, Sarah Pearson, Robin Stewart, Matthew A. Turner, Kelly H. Shrader, Emily L. Zierdt Smith, Samuel N. Luoma

Trace-metal concentrations in sediment and in the clam Macoma petalum (formerly reported as Macoma balthica), clam reproductive activity, and benthic macroinvertebrate community structure were investigated in a mudflat 1 kilometer south of the discharge of the Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant (PARWQCP) in south San Francisco Bay, Calif. This report includes the data collected by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists for the period January 2018 to December 2018. These append to long-term datasets extending back to 1974. A major focus of the report is an integrated description of the 2018 data within the context of the longer, multi-decadal dataset. This dataset supports the City of Palo Alto’s Near-Field Receiving-Water Monitoring Program, initiated in 1994.

Significant reductions in silver and copper concentrations in both sediment and M. petalum occurred at the site in the 1980s following the implementation by PARWQCP of advanced wastewater treatment and source control measures. Since the 1990s, concentrations of these elements appear to have stabilized at concentrations somewhat above (silver [Ag]) or near (copper [Cu]) regional background concentrations. Data for other metals, including chromium (Cr), mercury (Hg), nickel (Ni), selenium (Se), and zinc (Zn), have been collected since 1994. Over this period, concentrations of these elements have remained relatively constant, aside from seasonal variation that is common to all elements. In 2018, concentrations of silver and copper in M. petalum varied seasonally in response to a combination of site-specific metal exposures and annual growth and reproduction, as reported previously. Seasonal patterns for other elements, including Cr, Ni, Zn, Hg, and Se, were generally similar in timing and magnitude as those for Ag and Cu. This record suggests that legacy contamination and regional-scale factors now largely control sedimentary and bioavailable concentrations of silver and copper, as well as other elements of regulatory interest, at the Palo Alto site.

The effects of management practices on grassland birds—Henslow’s Sparrow (Centronyx henslowii)

Released November 05, 2019 14:41 EST

2019, Professional Paper 1842-II

James R. Herkert

Keys to Henslow’s Sparrow (Centronyx henslowii) management are providing large grasslands with tall, dense, herbaceous vegetation and well-developed litter; avoiding habitat disturbances during the breeding season; and controlling plant succession. Henslow’s Sparrows have been reported to use habitats with less than or equal to (≤) 122 centimeters (cm) average vegetation height, 25–80 cm visual obstruction reading, 35–51 percent grass cover, 10–55 percent forb cover, ≤2 percent shrub cover, ≤5 percent bare ground, 15–30 percent litter cover, and less than 13 cm litter depth.

Evaluation of potential sources of sauger Sander canadensis for reintroduction into Lake Erie

Released November 05, 2019 13:12 EST

2019, Journal of Great Lakes Research

Travis Hartman, Jeff Tyson, Kevin Page, Wendylee Stott

Sauger (Sander canadensis) supported recreational and commercial fisheries in Lake Erie until the fishery collapsed in the early-1950s, with extirpation of sauger occurring soon after. Previous attempts to rebuild populations via stocking programs were unsuccessful, and the reasons for lack of success are unclear. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources-Division of Wildlife is re-examining the feasibility of reintroducing sauger because the current fish community and habitat conditions appear more suitable for sauger survival and proliferation. Selecting potential sources for reintroduction programs requires consideration of several factors. Donor and recipient ecosystems and life histories should be similar, the source population should have sufficient genetic diversity to withstand losses in diversity associated with hatchery practices, and the source and donor populations should have similar genetic diversity metrics and should be accessible while broodstock is developed. A review of the literature and a genetic analysis of historical sauger collections from Lake Erie and contemporary samples from possible donor populations in five different watersheds was performed to evaluate potential candidate sources for a re-introduction program. We compared genetic diversity, life history parameters, and ecosystem conditions of historical Lake Erie sauger to contemporary sauger populations from the Ohio River (Bellville, Meldahl, and Cumberland pools), Missouri River, Ottawa River, Lake of the Woods, and Lake Winnebago. While life history and ecological conditions were similar across populations, there was genetic differentiation among potential donor sources and historical collections of sauger from Lake Erie, with contemporary populations from the Ohio River being most like historic Lake Erie sauger.

2019 Disaster Relief Act: USGS recovery activities

Released November 04, 2019 07:20 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3066

Jo Ellen Hinck, Joseph Stachyra

The Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 (H.R. 2157) was signed by the President on June 6, 2019. The U.S. Geological Survey received $98.5 million for repair and replacement of facilities and equipment, collection of high-resolution elevation data in affected areas, and scientific assessments to support recovery and rebuilding decisions for declared disasters in 2018 from the Kīlauea volcano eruption, Hurricanes Florence and Michael, the Anchorage earthquake, and California wildfires.

Instructions for running the analytical code PAT (Purge Analyzer Tool) for computation of in-well time of travel of groundwater under pumping conditions

Released November 01, 2019 14:00 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1104

P.T. Harte, B.J. Huffman, Tomas Perina, Herb Levine, Daewon Rojas-Mickleson


Understanding the optimal time needed to purge a well while pumping to collect a representative groundwater sample requires an understanding of groundwater flow in wells (in-well flow). Parameters that affect in-well flow include the hydraulic properties of the aquifer, well construction, drawdown from pumping, and pump rate. The time of travel relative to in-well flow is affected by the pump’s intake location. The Purge Analyzer Tool (PAT) incorporates hydraulic calculations to help assess the optimal purge times required to vertically transport groundwater in the well to the pump intake (Harte, 2017). Harte (2017) includes a discussion on the rationale for determining in-well groundwater flow and time of travel and also discusses the limitations inherent in the PAT; an understanding of the limitations is important to ensure proper use.

The PAT calculates flow by use of the Dupuit-Theim equation (Lohman, 1979) that assumes steady-state radial flow and a total inflow from the well opening or screen equal to the pumping rate (eq. 1). A bulk average hydraulic conductivity (Kavg) is derived from this relationship. Once Kavg is calculated, the program calculates incremental (layered) horizontal radial inflow into the well over user defined increments (layers). These defined increments represent the screen or well opening as a fraction of the total inflow. The amount of inflow per layer is proportional to the user-defined layered distribution of hydraulic conductivity (Klayer) because drawdown is assumed to be uniformly distributed in the well. The water budget equation that guides the solution of the PAT (eq. 1) is specified as:

Qp = Qv + QH + Qw                                     (1)


QP   is pumping rate,
Qv   is vertical flow entering the boundary of the mixing zone (Mz) from the summation of layered radial flow (∑Qhl-n) where l-n denotes number of layers,
QH   is horizontal radial flow into the mixing zone (Mz), and
Qw   is flow from wellbore storage effects.

The in-well flow is computed from the convergence of incremental (layered) radial inflows (Qhl-n) summed to the total vertical flow (QV) entering the adjacent zone to the pump intake (called mixing zone [Mz]) as shown in figure 1. The Qv is transported as one-dimensional piston flow. Within the Mz, it's assumed that flow to the pump is dominated by horizontal radial flow (QH) when the pump is in the open interval of the well. Flow from the wellbore storage (Qw) is computed from the volume of water pumped from the well at the time of the drawdown (s) measurement(s). Aquifer storage effects are unaccounted for but are likely to be problematic when (1) dewatering within the well opening occurs or (2) when the water table is close to the top of the well screen or open interval where additional flow into the upper portion of the well opening may occur. For fully saturated wells tens of feet below the water table, storage effects are likely to be more uniformly distributed across the well screen or open interval (regardless of confined or unconfined conditions). Therefore, radial inflow from storage will be less prominent under pump rates commonly used in groundwater sampling either for volumetric sampling (<3 gallons per minute) or low-flow sampling (<0.5 liters per minute).

A major benefit of the use of the PAT is the understanding of time-varying, vertical integration of captured pump water. The analytical model computes aquifer (formation) capture intervals relative to the open interval of the well. This information is displayed graphically (called aquifer fraction graphs) and can be used to assess the likely formation intervals contributing water to the sample at any time.

Optimization of salt marsh management at the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex through use of structured decision making

Released October 31, 2019 13:10 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1103

Hilary A. Neckles, James E. Lyons, Jessica L. Nagel, Susan C. Adamowicz, Toni Mikula, Nicholas T. Ernst

Structured decision making is a systematic, transparent process for improving the quality of complex decisions by identifying measurable management objectives and feasible management actions; predicting the potential consequences of management actions relative to the stated objectives; and selecting a course of action that maximizes the total benefit achieved and balances tradeoffs among objectives. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, applied an existing, regional framework for structured decision making to develop a prototype tool for optimizing salt marsh management decisions at the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Refuge biologists, refuge managers, and research scientists identified multiple potential management actions to improve the ecological integrity of nine salt marsh management units within the refuge complex and estimated the outcomes of each action in terms of performance metrics associated with each management objective. Value functions previously developed at the regional level were used to transform metric scores to a common utility scale, and utilities were summed to produce a single score representing the total management benefit that would be accrued from each potential management action. Constrained optimization was used to identify the set of management actions, one per salt marsh management unit, that would maximize total management benefits at different cost constraints at the refuge scale. Results indicated that, for the objectives and actions considered here, total management benefits may increase consistently up to approximately $150,000, but that further expenditures may yield diminishing return on investment. Management actions in optimal portfolios at total costs less than $150,000 included digging runnels (by hand or machine) on the marsh surface to improve drainage in eight management units, applying sediment to the marsh surface (thin layer deposition) in one management unit, constructing islands for use by tidal marsh obligate birds in two management units, and controlling Phragmites australis in one management unit. The management benefits were derived from expected improvements in the capacity for marsh elevation to keep pace with sea-level rise and increases in numbers of spiders (as an indicator of trophic health) and tidal marsh obligate birds. The prototype presented here provides a framework for decision making at the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex that can be updated as new data and information become available. Insights from this process may also be useful to inform future habitat management planning at the refuge.

Report of the River Master of the Delaware River for the period December 1, 2009–November 30, 2010

Released October 31, 2019 13:10 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1093

Kendra L. Russell, Darwin Ockerman, Bruce E. Krejmas, Gary N. Paulachok, Robert R. Mason, Jr.

A Decree of the Supreme Court of the United States, entered June 7, 1954, established the position of Delaware River Master within the U.S. Geological Survey. In addition, the Decree authorizes diversion of water from the Delaware River Basin and requires compensating releases from certain reservoirs, owned by New York City, to be made under the supervision and direction of the River Master. The Decree stipulates that the River Master will furnish reports to the Court, not less frequently than annually. This report is the 57th Annual Report of the River Master of the Delaware River. It covers the 2010 River Master report year, the period from December 1, 2009, to November 30, 2010.

During the report year, precipitation in the upper Delaware River Basin was 49.38 inches or 112 percent of the long-term average. Combined storage in Pepacton, Cannonsville, and Neversink Reservoirs remained high much of the year and did not decline below 80 percent of combined capacity until September 2010. A lower basin drought warning was issued by the Delaware River Basin Commission on September 24, 2010. It automatically ended on October 31, 2010, when the reservoir contents rose above drought levels, due in large part to heavy rainfall during the last week of September. River Master operations during the year were conducted as stipulated by the Decree and the Flexible Flow Management Program.

Diversions from the Delaware River Basin by New York City and New Jersey were in full compliance with the Decree. Reservoir releases were made as directed by the River Master at rates designed to meet the flow objective for the Delaware River at Montague, New Jersey, on 81 days during the report year. Interim Excess Release Quantity and conservation releases, designed to relieve thermal stress and protect the fishery and aquatic habitat in the tailwaters of the reservoirs, were made during the report year.

The quality of water in the Delaware Estuary between Trenton, New Jersey, and Reedy Island Jetty, Delaware, was monitored at various locations. Data on water temperature, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, and pH were collected continuously by electronic instruments at four sites.

Columbia Environmental Research Center

Released October 31, 2019 12:59 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3040

U.S. Geological Survey

The U.S. Geological Survey Columbia Environmental Research Center performs research to solve challenging environmental problems related to contaminants and habitat alterations in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The research is interdisciplinary and pursued through partnerships within the U.S. Geological Survey and with national, international, state, and local agencies; nongovernmental organizations; and universities. Research is prioritized to provide science to the U.S. Department of the Interior and other natural resource management agencies to inform rehabilitation of degraded habitats and imperiled fish and wildlife populations.

The Columbia Environmental Research Center was established in 1966 in Columbia, Missouri, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Fish Pesticide Research Laboratory; the Columbia Environmental Research Center was incorporated into the U.S. Geological Survey in 1996. The U.S. Geological Survey’s staff of 130 includes 90 scientists of which one-half have advanced degrees in ecology, toxicology, biology, biochemistry, chemistry, hydrology, geology, and information technology.

The LArge-n Seismic Survey in Oklahoma (LASSO) experiment

Released October 31, 2019 12:01 EST

2019, Seismological Research Letters (90) 2015-2057

S. Dougherty, Elizabeth S. Cochran, R. M. Harrington

In 2016, the U.S. Geological Survey deployed more than 1,800 vertical-component nodal seismometers in Grant County, Oklahoma to study induced seismic activity associated with production of the Mississippi Limestone Play. The LArge-n Seismic Survey in Oklahoma (LASSO) array operated for approximately one month, covering a 25-km-by-32-km region with a nominal station spacing of ~400 m. Primary goals of the deployment were to detect microseismic events not captured by the sparser regional network stations and to provide nearly unaliased records of the seismic wavefield. A more complete record of earthquakes allows us to map the spatiotemporal evolution of induced event sequences and illuminates the structures on which the events occur. Dense records of the seismic wavefield also provide improved measurements of the earthquake source, including focal mechanisms and stress drops. Taken together, we can use these findings to glean insights into the processes that induce earthquakes. Here, we describe the array layout, features of the nodal sensors, data recording configurations, and the field deployment. We also provide examples of earthquake waveforms recorded by the array to illustrate data quality and initial observations. LASSO array data provide a significant resource for understanding the occurrence of earthquakes induced by wastewater disposal.

A mosaic of land tenure and ownership creates challenges and opportunities for transboundary conservation in the US-Mexico borderlands

Released October 31, 2019 10:56 EST

2019, Case Studies in the Environment 1-10

Miguel L. Villarreal, Sandra L. Haire, Juan Carlos Bravo, Laura M. Norman

In the Madrean Sky Islands of western North America, a mixture of public and private land ownership and tenure creates a complex situation for collaborative efforts in conservation. In this case study, we describe the current ownership and management structures in the US-Mexico borderlands where social, political, and economic conditions create extreme pressures on the environment and challenges for conservation. On the US side of the border, sky island mountain ranges are almost entirely publicly owned and managed by federal, state and tribal organizations that manage and monitor species, habitats, and disturbances including fire. In contrast, public lands are scarce in the adjacent mountain ranges of Mexico, rather, a unique system of private parcels and communal lands make up most of Mexico's Natural Protected Areas. Several of the Protected Area reserves in Mexico form a matrix that serves to connect scattered habitats for jaguars dispersing northward toward public and private reserves in the U.S. from their northernmost breeding areas in Mexico. Despite administrative or jurisdictional boundaries superimposed upon the landscape, we identify two unifying management themes that encourage collaborative management of transboundary landscape processes and habitat connectivity: jaguar conservation and wildfire management. Our case study promotes understanding of conservation challenges as they are perceived and managed in a diversity of settings across the US-Mexico borderlands. Ultimately, recognizing the unique and important contributions of people living and working under different systems of land ownership and tenure will open doors for partnerships in achieving common goals.

A conceptual framework for the identification and characterization of lacustrine spawning habitats for native lake charr Salvelinus namaycush

Released October 30, 2019 15:30 EST

2019, Environmental Biology of Fishes

Stephen Riley, J. E. Marsden, M. S. Ridgway, Christopher Konrad, Steve A. Farha, Thomas R. Binder, Trevor A. Middel, Peter Esselman, Charles C. Krueger

Lake charr Salvelinus namaycush are endemic to the formerly glaciated regions of North America and spawn primarily in lakes, unlike most other Salmoninae. Spawning habitats for lake charr are thought to be characterized by relatively large substrate particle sizes which provide sufficient interstitial spaces for egg incubation, but little is known about the physical processes that create or maintain suitable habitats. We review the literature on lake charr spawning habitat and present a conceptual framework that examines the roles of physical variables in creating the appropriate conditions for egg incubation. A critical underlying assumption of this framework is that lake charr will select spawning habitats that provide suitable hypolentic flows for egg incubation. We suggest that the characterization of lakebed surface roughness, current patterns, substrate particle size, and groundwater flows at multiple spatial scales may yield significant insight into the physical mechanisms supporting lacustrine spawning habitats for lake charr and will be useful in creating predictive models of these habitats. This framework may also apply to other lake-spawning lithophilic fish species.

Landsat time series assessment of invasive annual grasses following energy development

Released October 30, 2019 12:39 EST

2019, Remote Sensing (11) 1-18

Miguel L. Villarreal, Christopher E. Soulard, Eric Waller

Invasive annual grasses are of concern in many areas of the Western United States because they tolerate resource variability and have high reproductive capacity, with propagules that are readily dispersed in disturbed areas like those created and maintained for energy development. Early-season invasive grasses “green up” earlier than the most native plants, producing a distinct pulse of greenness in the early spring that can be exploited to identify their location using multi-date imagery. To determine if invasive annual grasses increased around energy development areas after the construction phase, we calculated an invasive index using Landsat TM and ETM+ imagery for a 34-year time period (1985–2018) and assessed trends for 1755 wind turbines installed between 1988 and 2013 in the Southern California Desert. The index uses the maximum normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) for early-season greenness (January–June) and mean NDVI (July–October) for the later dry season. We estimated the relative cover of invasive annuals each year at turbine locations and control sites, and tested for changes before and after each turbine was installed. The time series was also mapped across the region and temporal trends were assessed relative to seasonal precipitation. The results showed an increase in early-season invasives at turbine sites after installation, but also an increase in many of the surrounding control areas. Maps of the invasive index show a region-wide increase starting at around 1998, and a great deal of the increase occurred in areas surrounding wind development sites. These results suggest that invasions around the energy developments occurred within the context of a larger regional invasion, and while the development did not necessarily initiate the invasion, annual grasses were more prevalent around the development areas.

Summary of hydrologic testing, wellbore-flow data, and expanded water-level and water-quality data, 2011–15, Fort Irwin National Training Center, San Bernardino County, California

Released October 30, 2019 11:37 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5091

Joseph M. Nawikas, Jill N. Densmore, David R. O'Leary, David C. Buesch, John A. Izbicki

In view of the U.S. Army’s historical reliance and plans to increase demands on groundwater to supply its operations at Fort Irwin National Training Center (NTC), California, coupled with the continuing water-level declines in some developed groundwater basins as a result of pumping, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the U.S. Army, evaluated the water resources, including water quality and potential groundwater supply, of undeveloped basins in the NTC. Previous work in the three developed groundwater basins—Langford, Bicycle, and Irwin—provided information to support water-resources management of those basins. During 2009–12, the USGS installed 41 wells at the NTC; 34 wells were at 14 single- or multiple-well monitoring sites, and 7 wells were long-screen test wells. The majority of the wells were installed in previously undeveloped or minimally developed groundwater basins (Cronise, Red Pass, the Central Corridor area, Superior, Goldstone, and Nelson Basins). During 2012–15, the USGS tested hydrologic properties at 32 wells in 8 basins to help characterize the aquifer system. This report presents data and analyses from core samples; slug tests and single-well aquifer tests; coupled measurements of wellbore flow, water levels, and water-quality constituents; and results from two-dimensional numerical modeling. This information provides a basis for developing and constraining basin-scale hydrogeologic framework and groundwater-flow models to further evaluate water resources in each groundwater basin.

Core samples were tested for vertical saturated hydraulic conductivity, physical properties, and particle-size distribution. Vertical saturated hydraulic conductivities of the cores ranged from less than 0.00001 to 18.13 feet per day, and porosities ranged from 0.15 to 0.56. These physical properties and particle-size analyses indicate the high degree of heterogeneity of the hydrogeologic deposits penetrated by the boreholes. Horizontal hydraulic conductivities estimated from slug tests in 22 monitoring wells in 6 basins (Cronise, Central Corridor area, Goldstone, Langford, Bicycle, and Nelson Basins) ranged from less than 0.1 to 40 feet per day. Results of the aquifer tests at six test wells in the Goldstone, Nelson, and Superior Basins indicate hydraulic conductivities ranged from 0.37 to 66 feet per day; associated transmissivity values ranged from 130 to 28,000 feet squared per day. Wellbore-flow data, collected from the six test wells under unpumped and pumped conditions, generally showed downward movement of water. Flow data collected under unpumped conditions indicate groundwater entered the well through the upper part of the screened interval and exited to aquifer zones in the lower part of the screened interval at rates ranging from 1 to 3 gallons per minute. Flow data collected under pumping conditions show increased flow downward in the test wells, indicating higher yields from deeper aquifers.

Water levels, measured periodically between 2011 and 2015, remained stable during this period in the majority of the wells measured since 2011, except at two monitoring sites in developed basins (Bicycle and Langford). Vertical hydraulic gradients were generally low throughout the NTC, but ranged from –0.0003 to 0.27 during the summer of 2015. Multiple-well monitoring sites in Bicycle, Central Corridor area, Cronise, Goldstone, Nelson, and Superior Basins, had downward vertical gradients.

Groundwater in wells in Nelson and Superior Basins, and wells BLA5, CCT1, and GOLD2 #2, was characterized as sodium-bicarbonate water, whereas groundwater from the remaining wells in Goldstone Basin was characterized as sodium-chloride water and Cronise Basin, and well LL04 was characterized by sodium-sulfate water. Total dissolved solids (TDS) ranged from 285 to 13,400 milligrams per liter (mg/L) TDS and chloride concentrations ranged from 19 to 1,030 mg/L chloride, with lowest concentrations of each in groundwater from Superior and Nelson Basins and highest concentrations in Cronise Basin. Nitrate plus nitrite as nitrogen ranged from less than 0.040 mg/L in groundwater from Cronise and Goldstone Basins to about 20 mg/L in Nelson Basin. Groundwater from wells in Nelson Basin was isotopically light, whereas groundwater samples from wells CRTH1, CRTH2, and LL04 were isotopically heavier and plotted along an evaporative trend line. No measurable tritium was detected in groundwater from 13 wells sampled in 2015, indicating that groundwater was recharged prior to 1952. Measured carbon-14 (14C) activities in groundwater from four wells sampled in 2015 ranged from about 7.9 to 23.5 percent modern carbon and had apparent (uncorrected) ages of 11,970–20,980 years. Arsenic concentrations were above the maximum contaminant level of 10 micrograms per liter in groundwater from all wells, except those in Goldstone Basin and the two deepest wells in Langford Basin (LL04); likewise, fluoride concentrations were above the California maximum contaminant level of 2 mg/L in groundwater from most wells, except those in Goldstone and Superior Basins, the middle well in Langford Basin, middle and deep wells in two locations in Cronise Basin, and two wells in Nelson Basin.

Wellbore flow was simulated for each well by using an integrated-flow analysis tool, AnalyzeHOLE, to evaluate aquifer properties and heterogeneity. Horizontal layers in the model (hydrogeologic units) were defined by lithostratigraphic‐geophysical units, interpreted from lithologic and geophysical logs for each well, and were adjusted during calibration. The saturated hydraulic conductivities derived from the calibrated simulations ranged from less than 0.01 to 60 feet per day in Nelson, Goldstone, and Superior Basins.

Eruption age and duration of the ~9 km3 Burney Mountain dacite dome complex, northern California

Released October 30, 2019 08:13 EST

2019, Geological Society of America Bulletin

Drew T. Downs, Michael A. Clynne, Duane E. Champion, L. J. Patrick Muffler

At ~9 km3, the six dacite domes of Burney Mountain (db1–db6) constitute the most voluminous Quaternary dome complex in the Cascades volcanic arc. Whole-rock geochemistry, electron microprobe, and petrographic data indicate that the domes are magmatically related, which, when integrated with geomorphology and stratigraphy, indicate early (db1, db2, db3) and late (db4, db5, db6) erupted groups. We present 40Ar/39Ar ages of 271.9±4.6 ka (db1), 280.8±8.2 and 281.7±6.8 ka (db2), and 290.2±6.0 ka (db3) along with a previous age of 280±12 ka (db1). These ages scatter over 20 kyr, whereas remanent magnetic directions are similar between 53.3–59.0° inclination and 352.7–355.9° declination. The latter dataset indicates that the dacite domes were emplaced over a geologically brief time interval; not thousands of years. Crystal-size distribution patterns of plagioclase were used to calculate residence times, which we use to infer the duration over which the eruptions likely occurred. Three slopes represent three populations of plagioclase crystals (fine-grained groundmass, coarse-grained groundmass, phenocrysts). A commonly used growth rate for plagioclase in dacitic magmas (10-10 mm/s) yields 9–10 years of growth for the coarse-grained groundmass (early erupted domes of db1, db2, db3), whereas plagioclase in the fine-grained groundmass (late erupted domes of db4, db5, db6) grew over 4–5 years. All plagioclase phenocrysts have apparent residence times of 26–36 years; however, they contain high An>70 resorbed cores with sieve textures, which have euhedral, lower An<65 overgrowth rims. Similarities in chemistry between groundmass plagioclase and phenocryst overgrowth rims indicate that they grew concurrently, and we therefore propose that both have similar residence times. Thus, the Burney Mountain dacite dome complex was emplaced during a single eruptive episode over the course of years to decades at 281.1±4.8 ka (weighted mean age).

Study design and methods for a wetland condition assessment on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fee-title lands in the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana, USA

Released October 29, 2019 16:01 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1118

Brian A. Tangen, Sheel Bansal, Rachel R. Fern, Edward S. DeKeyser, Christina L. M. Hargiss, David M. Mushet, Cami S. Dixon

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) manages wetlands and grasslands for wildlife habitat throughout the central North American Prairie Pothole Region (PPR). PPR wetlands, or potholes, are widely recognized as critical habitats for North American migratory waterfowl, waterbirds, and other wildlife. Potholes also provide other ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, flood mitigation, filtration of pollutants, groundwater recharge, nutrient retention, and recreational opportunities. Wetland condition assessments have been completed nationally at coarse scales, but focused, regionwide assessments of the biological condition of potholes managed by the FWS are lacking. Therefore, FWS personnel require information pertaining to the biological condition and status of wetlands on FWS fee-title lands in the PPR to support management, restoration, and acquisition efforts. The biological condition of wetlands typically is reflected by their plant communities, and these communities correspond to past and current management and anthropogenic disturbances; thus, plant communities are a suitable surrogate of wetland condition.

This report describes the study design, selection of sample sites, and field survey methods for a wetland condition assessment for FWS fee-title lands in the PPR of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana. Various spatial databases were gathered (for example, National Wetlands Inventory) to identify and assess potholes on FWS fee-title lands and to facilitate the selection of study sites. A spatially balanced, site-selection process resulted in the inclusion of 125 temporarily and 125 seasonally ponded potholes distributed across the area of interest; the first 100 for each classification were considered the primary study sites, whereas the remaining 25 were considered an oversample to replace those deemed not appropriate for sampling by field crews. Study sites were within native prairie and reseeded grasslands on FWS National Wildlife Refuges and Waterfowl Production Areas and are distributed among the primary physiographic subregions of the PPR: the Glaciated Plains, Missouri Coteau, and Prairie Coteau; a small number of sites also are within the Lake Agassiz Plain and Turtle Mountains. Site assessment protocols, vegetation survey methods, data analyses, and condition categories (for example, poor, good, very good) for the wetland assessment are based on the North Dakota Rapid Assessment Method and an Index of Plant Community Integrity developed for potholes. Results of the wetland condition assessment will aid FWS staff in assessing past and current management and help to identify priority areas for future management and acquisition.

Status of three-dimensional geological mapping and modeling activities in the U.S. Geological Survey

Released October 29, 2019 09:01 EST

2019, Report, AER/AGS Special Report 112

Donald Sweetkind, Russell Graymer, D.K. Higley, Oliver S. Boyd

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), created in 1879, is the national geological survey for the United States and the sole science agency within its cabinet-level bureau, the Department of the Interior. The USGS has a broad mission, including: serving the Nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect quality of life. USGS scientific activities are organized around major topics, or Mission Areas, aligned with distinct science themes; three-dimensional (3-D) modelling typically supports research and project work within a specific Mission Area. The vastness, diversity, and complexity of the geological landscape of the United States has resulted in the creation of 3-D geological framework models that are local or regional in scale; a National-scale 3-D model is only beginning to evolve. This paper summarizes 3-D geological modeling at the USGS and does not discuss 3-D modeling that is conducted by other Federal agencies, state geological surveys, academia, or industry within the U.S. This paper updates and expands upon a similar status report of USGS 3-D modeling activities of Jacobsen et al. (2011).

Development of regression equations for the estimation of flood flows at ungaged streams in Pennsylvania

Released October 28, 2019 15:50 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5094

Mark A. Roland, Marla H. Stuckey

Regression equations, which may be used to estimate flood flows at select annual exceedance probabilities, were developed for ungaged streams in Pennsylvania. The equations were developed using annual peak flow data through water year 2015 and basin characteristics for 285 streamflow gaging stations across Pennsylvania and surrounding states. The streamgages included active and discontinued continuous-record stations, as well as crest-stage partial-record stations, and required a minimum of 10 years of annual peak streamflow data for inclusion in the study. Explanatory variables significant at the 95-percent confidence level for one or more regression equations included the following basin characteristics: drainage area, maximum basin elevation, mean basin slope, percent storage, and the percentage of carbonate bedrock within a basin. The State was divided into five regions, and regional regression equations were developed to estimate flood flows associated with the 50-, 20-, 10-, 4-, 2-, 1-, 0.5-, and 0.2-percent annual exceedance probabilities (which correspond to the 2-, 5-, 10-, 25-, 50-, 100-, 200-, and 500-year recurrence intervals, respectively). Although the regression equations can be used to estimate the magnitude of flood flows for most streams in the State, they are not valid for streams with drainage areas generally greater than 1,500 square miles or with substantial regulation, diversion, or mining activity within the basin. The regional regression equations will be incorporated into the U.S. Geological Survey StreamStats application (https://water.usgs.gov/osw/streamstats/).

Additionally, annual peak flow data for 356 streamgages initially considered for inclusion in the analysis for development of updated flood-flow regression equations were analyzed for the existence of trends; estimates of flood-flow magnitude and frequency were also computed for these streamgages. Estimates of flood-flow magnitude and frequency for streamgages substantially affected by upstream regulation are also presented.

Regression Equations for Estimating Flood Flows at Selected Recurrence Intervals for Ungaged Streams in Pennsylvania

Released October 28, 2019 15:50 EST

2008, Scientific Investigations Report 2008-5102

Mark A. Roland, Marla H. Stuckey

Regression equations were developed for estimating flood flows at selected recurrence intervals for ungaged streams in Pennsylvania with drainage areas less than 2,000 square miles. These equations were developed utilizing peak-flow data from 322 streamflow-gaging stations within Pennsylvania and surrounding states. All stations used in the development of the equations had 10 or more years of record and included active and discontinued continuous-record as well as crest-stage partial-record stations. The state was divided into four regions, and regional regression equations were developed to estimate the 2-, 5-, 10-, 50-, 100-, and 500-year recurrence-interval flood flows. The equations were developed by means of a regression analysis that utilized basin characteristics and flow data associated with the stations. Significant explanatory variables at the 95-percent confidence level for one or more regression equations included the following basin characteristics: drainage area; mean basin elevation; and the percentages of carbonate bedrock, urban area, and storage within a basin. The regression equations can be used to predict the magnitude of flood flows for specified recurrence intervals for most streams in the state; however, they are not valid for streams with drainage areas generally greater than 2,000 square miles or with substantial regulation, diversion, or mining activity within the basin. Estimates of flood-flow magnitude and frequency for streamflow-gaging stations substantially affected by upstream regulation are also presented.

Asymptotic population abundance of a two-patch system with asymmetric diffusion

Released October 28, 2019 15:33 EST

2019, Discrete & Continuous Dynamical Systems-A

Mengting Fang, Yuanshi Wang, Mingshu Chen, Donald L. DeAngelis

This paper considers a two-patch system with asymmetric diffusion rates, in which exploitable resources are included. By using dynamical system theory, we exclude periodic solution in the one-patch subsystem and demonstrate its global dynamics. Then we exhibit uniform persistence of the two-patch system and demonstrate uniqueness of the positive equilibrium, which is shown to be asymptotically stable when the diffusion rates are sufficiently large. By a thorough analysis on the asymptotic population abundance, we demonstrate necessary and sufficient conditions under which the asymmetric diffusion rates can lead to the result that total equilibrium population abundance in heterogeneous environments is larger than that in heterogeneous/homogeneous environments with no diffusion, which is not intuitive. Our result extends previous work to the situation of asymmetric diffusion and provides new insights. Numerical simulations confirm and extend our results.

Targeting wildlife crime interventions through geographic profiling

Released October 28, 2019 15:11 EST

2019, Report

Stephanie Romanach, Sally C. Faulkner, Michael C.A. Stevens, Peter A. Lindsey, Steven C. Le Comber

Seeing an animal hanging lifelessly from a snare is a heart-wrenching experience. Knowing that most animals caught in snares are left to rot without being used for meat or any other purpose might be worse.

Over an eight-year period, 2001–2009, we recorded 10,231 incidents of illegal hunting in a wildlife conservation area in southeastern Zimbabwe, the Savé Valley Conservancy (SVC). Sixty-three percent of these incidents used snares, which is an illegal form of hunting in Zimbabwe. Almost fifty-nine percent of animals caught in snares were left to rot on the snare lines. What if we could prevent these unnecessary losses?

The SVC is home to many iconic wildlife species such as elephants, lions, rhinos, giraffes, and buffalos. However, with the onset of political turmoil in the early 2000s, large sections of wildlife fencing surrounding SVC were removed, enough to make over 400,000 wire snares, many of which were recovered by anti-poaching teams. We found illegal hunting to be widespread throughout SVC. During the period of our study, we discovered the deaths of at least 6,454 wild animals, equating to a minimum of USD 1 million in financial losses annually – the ecological and financial scale of the problem is massive. However, in an area like SVC, which covers 3,450 km2, tackling the problem of illegal hunting is challenging.

Geologic map of the Ferncliff and Louisa quadrangles, Louisa, Fluvanna, and Goochland Counties, Virginia

Released October 28, 2019 10:30 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Map 3429

William C. Burton, Richard W. Harrison, Helen F. Malenda, Frank J. Pazzaglia, E. Allen Crider, Jr.

The area encompassed by the geologic map of the Ferncliff and Louisa, Va., 7.5-minute quadrangles includes the hypothetical surface projection of the Quail fault, which is the subsurface fault that was responsible for the 2011 magnitude 5.8 (M5.8) Mineral, Va., earthquake. The mapping shows that the Quail fault appears to have reactivated the Harris Creek fault, a Paleozoic fault that has been mapped and named in the study area and marks the boundary between the Ellisville pluton neck and Chopawamsic Formation. The Harris Creek fault was also reactivated in the early Mesozoic. Another result of the mapping is a well-defined, southwest to northeast, narrow zone of metagraywacke and ultramafic rocks (both part of the informal Shores complex) that marks the closure of a small ocean basin and the accretion of the 468- to 460-Ma (mega-annum) Ordovician Chopawamsic volcanic arc (part of the Carolina terrane) onto Laurentia. The accretion zone is truncated by the Ordovician-Silurian (444 Ma) Ellisville pluton; the 444-Ma age of the pluton therefore represents the minimum age of the accretion zone and indicates likely closure of the ocean basin during the Taconic orogeny. Across the map area, the metamorphic grade ranges from lower-greenschist facies in the northwest to amphibolite facies in the southeast. 40Ar/39Ar age-dating across this metamorphic gradient indicates that Taconic metamorphism was overprinted by late-Paleozoic Alleghanian metamorphism that was accompanied by refolding and faulting of Taconic structures. Quaternary terraces mapped along the South Anna River record a long history of incision and downcutting. A continuing question is how much of this downcutting was a result of neotectonic uplift in the central Virginia seismic zone.

This report consists of a single geologic map sheet and an online geographic information systems database that includes bedrock geologic unit contacts and polygons, surficial geologic polygons, faults, and structural geologic information.

Sources, fate, and flux of geothermal solutes in the Yellowstone and Gardner Rivers, Yellowstone National Park, WY

Released October 25, 2019 13:03 EST

2019, Applied Geochemistry (111) 1-14

R. Blaine McCleskey, David A. Roth, D. Mahony, D. Kirk Nordstrom, Stacy Kinsey

The total discharge and thermal output from the numerous hydrothermal features in Yellowstone National Park (YNP) can be estimated from the chloride (Cl) flux in the Madison, Yellowstone, Falls, and Snake Rivers. Monitoring the Cl flux in these four major rivers provides a holistic view of the hydrothermal output from YNP and changes in the Cl flux may indicate changes in geothermal or magmatic activity. In this study, the source, fate, and flux of geothermal solutes in the Yellowstone River and Gardner Rivers were determined. Beginning in 2012, the fluxes of geothermal solutes, including Cl, were determined at monitoring sites in the Yellowstone and Gardner Rivers downstream of geothermal inputs within YNP. A method was developed using specific conductance as a surrogate measure for solute concentrations at these monitoring sites. Combining continuous (15-min) specific conductance and discharge data, Cl and other geothermal solute fluxes were determined at both sites and approximately 32% of the Cl flux exiting YNP is from the Yellowstone River watershed. Synoptic sampling of river water and discharge measurements were performed during low-flow conditions of September 2014 allowed for the determinations of geothermal solute sources and their downstream fate. Thus, the contribution of geothermal solutes from the various geothermal areas at the downstream monitoring sites was quantified. The thermal features draining into Yellowstone Lake account for 34% of the Cl flux at the Yellowstone River monitoring site which is located approximately 5 km north of YNP. The Gardner River, which captures geothermal water from Mammoth Hot Springs, is responsible for 22% of the Cl at the Yellowstone River monitoring site. Because the Yellowstone River watershed is large and contains numerous thermal areas, knowing the source and fate of geothermal solutes is import baseline information that can be used to identify future changes in thermal activity.

Map showing geology, oil and gas fields, and geologic provinces of the Caribbean Region

Released October 25, 2019 12:15 EST

2004, Open-File Report 97-470-K

Christopher D. French, Christopher J. Schenk

This CD-ROM compilation contains a map and associated spatial data showing surface geology, faults, oil and gas field centerpoints, and geologic provinces of the Caribbean region, draped over a shaded relief image of topography and bathymetry. The map is provided in the Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI) ArcMap and ArcReader GIS formats, as well as in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF). On this CD-ROM, ESRI ArcReader and Adobe Acrobat Reader software provide a way to view and interact with the maps.

The organization and user-friendly navigation of this CD-ROM ensure easy access to its maps and data by using the links on the right side of each page. A link to the USGS World Energy Project website is also provided to access the latest information, updates, and interactive maps, as they relate to this and other world energy products. In addition, system requirements, permission, and contact information can be found in the readme section of this product.

Navigation of this product can be fully utilized with most web browsers (Internet Explorer 6.0/Netscape Navigator 7.1 or later recommended). Note: an Internet connection is necessary to view USGS website links, World Energy website, and the Caribbean Internet Map Service.

Maps showing geology, oil and gas fields, and geologic provinces of the Arctic

Released October 25, 2019 12:15 EST

2003, Open-File Report 97-470-J


This CD-ROM was compiled according to the methodology developed by the U.S. Geological Survey's World Energy Project. The geologic map of the Arctic was compiled and synthesized from the Circumpolar Geological Map of the Arctic, by Okulitch A.V., Lopatin B.G., and Jackson H.R., scale 1:6,000,000, published by the Geological Survey of Canada in 1989 (see References ). Specific details of the data sources are given in the metadata files on this CD-ROM. Map units were kept as close as possible to original map (more than 100 unique values). These Arctic maps were compiled using Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc. (ESRI) ARC/INFO software. Political boundaries and cartographic representations on this map are shown (with permission) from ESRI's ArcWorld 1:3M digital coverage. They have no political significance and are displayed as general reference only. Portions of this database covering the coastline, rivers and country boundaries contain proprietary property of ESRI. (© 1992 and 1996, Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc. All rights reserved. The bathymetric data were derived from the International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean (IBCAO) which was downloaded from the NOAA web site. Oil and gas centerpoints were derived from Probe 4.0 database - proprietary property of Petroleum Information/Dwights LLC d/b/a/IHS Energy Group. Specific details of the data sources and map compilation are given in the metadata files on this CD-ROM.

Three-dimensional geologic map of the southern Carson Sink, Nevada, including the Fallon FORGE area

Released October 25, 2019 10:17 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Map 3437

Drew L. Siler, James E. Faulds, Jonathan M.G. Glen, Nicholas H. Hinz, Jeffrey B. Witter, Kelly Blake, John Queen, Mark Fortuna

The three-dimensional (3–D) geologic map characterizes the subsurface in the southern Carson Sink region. We created the 3–D map by integrating the results from seismic-reflection, potential-field-geophysical, and lithologic well-logging inves­tigations completed in and around the Fallon FORGE site as part of the U.S. Department of Energy Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) initiative from 2015–2018. The FORGE initiative was part of an effort to develop the technologies, techniques, and knowledge needed to make enhanced geothermal systems a commercially viable electricity-generation option for the United States. Geo­logic units and structures mapped during the Fallon FORGE study, which particularly focused on the Mesozoic basement, were extrapolated to create the 3–D map of the southern Carson Sink area. The 3–D map area is 10 km wide along the east-west and north-south axes and extends 2.5 km below sea level, ~3.7 km below the land surface. Views of the map include horizontal and vertical sections and oblique perspective views from several angles. We describe the geologic units and structures and dis­cuss the methods used to integrate the geologic and geophysical information in a 3–D geologic interpretation. We provide digital data for elements of the map, such as individual 3–D fault and stratigraphic surfaces and surface-fault traces. Input data are available from various data repositories through cited web links. A brief movie displaying the 3–D map is available at https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3437.

1200 years of Upper Missouri River streamflow reconstructed from tree rings

Released October 25, 2019 07:00 EST

2019, Quaternary Science Reviews (224)

Justin Martin, Gregory T. Pederson, Connie A. Woodhouse, Edward R Cook, Gregory McCabe, Erika K. Wise, Patrick Erger, Larry Dolan, Marketa McGuire, Subhrendu Gangopadhyay, Katherine J. Chase, Jeremy S. Littell, Stephen Gray, Scott St. George, Jonathan M. Friedman, David J. Sauchyn, Jannine St. Jacques, John W. King

Paleohydrologic records can provide unique, long-term perspectives on streamflow variability and hydroclimate for use in water resource planning. Such long-term records can also play a key role in placing both present day events and projected future conditions into a broader context than that offered by instrumental observations. However, relative to other major river basins across the western United States, a paucity of streamflow reconstructions has to date prevented the full application of such paleohydrologic information in the Upper Missouri River Basin. Here we utilize a set of naturalized streamflow records for the Upper Missouri and an expanded network of tree-ring records to reconstruct streamflow at thirty-one gaging locations across the major headwaters of the basin. The reconstructions explain an average of 68% of the variability in the observed streamflow records and extend available records of streamflow back to 886 CE on average. Basin-wide analyses suggest unprecedented hydroclimatic variability over the region during the Medieval period, similar to that observed in the Upper Colorado River Basin, and show considerable synchrony of persistent wet-dry phasing with the Colorado River over the last 1200 years. Streamflow estimates in individual sub-basins of the Upper Missouri demonstrate increased spatial variability in discharge during the Little Ice Age (~1400-1850 CE) compared with the Medieval Climate Anomaly (~800-1400 CE). The network of streamflow reconstructions presented here fills a major geographical void in paleohydrologic understanding and now allows for a long-term assessment of hydrological variability over the majority of the western U.S.

Seasonality of climatic drivers of flood variability in the conterminous United States

Released October 25, 2019 06:55 EST

2019, Scientific Reports (9)

Jesse E. Dickinson, Tessa M. Harden, Gregory McCabe

Flood variability due to changes in climate is a major economic and social concern. Climate drivers can affect the amount and distribution of flood-generating precipitation through seasonal shifts in storm tracks. An understanding of how the drivers may change in the future is critical for identifying the regions where the magnitude of floods may change. Here we show the regions in the conterminous U.S. where seasonal changes in global-scale climate oscillations have driven a large part of the variability of flood magnitude. The regions are cohesive across multiple watershed boundaries suggesting that variability in floods is driven by regional climate influences. Correlations with climate indices indicate that floods in the western and southern U.S. are most affected by global-scale climate. The regions provide a useful approach for characterizing flood variability and for attributing climatic drivers on flood variability and magnitude.

Fossil tabulate corals reveal outcrops of Paleozoic sandstones in the Atlantic Coastal Plain Province, Southeastern USA

Released October 24, 2019 16:09 EST

2019, PLoS ONE (14)

James E. Landmeyer, Francis Tourneur, Julien Denayer, Mikolaj K Zapalski

The geologic deposits of the Southeastern United States of America are missing nearly 350-million-years of rocks, sediments, and fossils. This gap defines the Fall Line nonconformity where Upper Ordovician consolidated rocks are directly overlain by Upper Cretaceous unconsolidated sediments of the Atlantic Coastal Plain Province. Here we begin to fill in the missing geologic record by reporting the discovery of fossils of lower-to-middle Paleozoic tabulate corals (Syringophyllidae) in angular, quartz-rich, ferruginous sandstones that crop out in the Carolina Sandhills Physiographic Province that forms the updip margin of the Atlantic Coastal Plain Province near the Fall Line. These fossils of extinct tabulate corals are the first evidence that Paleozoic (Upper Ordovician–Lower Silurian) sandstones crop out amidst the mostly Mesozoic-to-Cenozoic deposits of the Atlantic Coastal Plain Province of the United States of America. This discovery of Paleozoic fossils and strata in a region in which they were previously entirely unknown offers a more complete insight into the geologic history of the Southern Appalachian Mountains Region, Carolina Sandhills and updip margin of the Atlantic Coastal Plain Province and extends the previously identified range of Syringophyllidae in North America.

Quantifying the eroded and deposited mass of mercury-contaminated sediment by using terrestrial laser scanning at the confluence of Humbug Creek and the South Yuba River, Nevada County, California, 2011–13

Released October 24, 2019 15:52 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5104

James F. Howle, Charles N. Alpers, Jeffrey Kitchen, Gerald W. Bawden, Sandra Bond

High-resolution, terrestrial laser scanning, also known as ground-based lidar (light detection and ranging), was used to quantify the volume of mercury-contaminated sediment eroded from an outcrop of historical placer-mining debris at the confluence of Humbug Creek and the South Yuba River in the Sierra Nevada foothills, about 17 kilometers northeast of Grass Valley, California, and delivered to a zone below an observed flood stage of the South Yuba River. Substantial quantities of mercury were used and lost to the environment from historical placer gold mining activities on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, California, and recent studies have documented continued persistence of mercury and methylmercury concentrations in water, sediment, fish, and predatory invertebrates in the Yuba River drainage basin in relation to suspected mercury sources. To identify areas that have high levels of mercury contamination as possible remediation targets in the Yuba River drainage basin and other areas in the Sierra Nevada, the U.S. Geological Survey worked in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management on this and other detailed studies. Malakoff Diggings, one of the largest hydraulic gold mines in the Sierra Nevada, is 3.5 kilometers north of the study site in the Humbug Creek subbasin.

Terrestrial laser scanning was used to produce centimeter-scale, three-dimensional maps of the complex outcrop surface, which was composed of an upper erosional area (cliff and over-steepened slope) and a lower depositional area (colluvial slope). The outcrop could not be mapped non-destructively or in sufficient detail by traditional surveying techniques. The study site, which was approximately 70 meters long, 30 meters wide and 20 meters high, was surveyed four times in 2 years (December 15, 2011; October 25, 2012; January 4, 2013; and November 22, 2013) to determine volumetric differences in the upper erosional and lower depositional areas between surveys. Measured changes in volume for the upper erosional area and lower depositional area were multiplied by the corresponding sediment density so that a mass-balance relationship, between the eroded and deposited sediment during each period, could be used to estimate the amount of mercury-contaminated sediment that was transported to below the base of the colluvial slope, where it could be mobilized by the South Yuba River during a flood having a 5-to-10-year recurrence interval. On December 2, 2012, a flood of this estimated magnitude reached the base of the colluvial slope.

Between the first and second surveys (December 15, 2011–October 25, 2012), an estimated mass of 18±9.2 kilograms of sediment was transported from steeper slopes to the gently sloping river bank below the base of the colluvial slope. Between the second and third surveys (October 25, 2012–January 4, 2013), an atmospheric river caused heavy precipitation at the study site during late November and early December 2012. This short-duration, high-intensity rain resulted in a large amount of erosion and deposition at the study site and also caused high streamflow (flood stage) in the South Yuba River. From October 2012 to January 2013, 51±31 kilograms of sediment was transported to below the base of the colluvial slope, that is, below the high-water mark of December 2, 2012. Between the third and fourth surveys (January 4, 2013–November 22, 2013), an additional 10±26 kilograms of sediment was transported to below the base of the colluvial slope. During the 24 months of the study, the total mass of sediment delivered below the base of the colluvial slope and the high-water mark of December 2, 2012, was 79±66 kilograms.

In any given year there is a 10–20-percent chance (5-to-10-year recurrence interval) of a flood equal to or greater than that of the December 2, 2012, flood, which could transport mercury-contaminated sediment at the study site into the South Yuba River. Hydraulically modeled estimates of the South Yuba River stage during floods having a 50- and 100-year recurrence interval (2- and 1-percent annual exceedance probability, respectively) indicated that resulting river stages could be 2.2–3.0 meters above the base of the colluvial slope, or 2.2–3.0 meters above the high-water mark of December 2, 2012. Such high river stages would be likely to inundate the lower half of the colluvial slope and mobilize a substantial volume of mercury-contaminated sediment to downstream areas.

Comparison of groundwater-model construction methods, representations of glacial geology, model designs, and groundwater-model flow simulations within Elkhart County, Indiana

Released October 24, 2019 15:28 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5088

Leslie D. Arihood, David C. Lampe, E. Randall Bayless, Steven E. Brown

Automated data-processing methods allow hydrologists to efficiently incorporate digital well-record datasets into the construction of hydrostratigraphic frameworks for groundwater-flow models. The method selected to construct the hydrostratigraphic framework can affect the extent of geologic heterogeneity that can be included in the model. The detail generated from a hydrostratigraphic framework can affect groundwater simulation results. The effects of detail on model accuracy, groundwater-flow simulations, and particle-tracking simulations are described in this study. This report compares differences in hydrostratigraphic frameworks and results of groundwater models using (1) a method that incorporates more hydrologic judgment at the expense of using limited lithologic data and (2) a method that is more automated and uses all available lithologic data. The study additionally evaluates the effect of model discretization and inclusion of more (or less) geologic detail on simulation results.

Two methods were used to create hydrostratigraphic frameworks of glacial deposits in the St. Joseph River Basin. One method, referred to as the subjective method, manually identifies stratigraphic boundaries using a sample of well logs from State databases and uses two-dimensional kriging to create three model layers of the study area. Indicator kriging is used to define aquifer extent in each layer. The second method, referred to as the objective method, uses three-dimensional kriging to automatically create a detailed heterogeneous model of the study area using all wells logs from the State database. The objective method increases detail in the vertical by greatly increasing the number of computer groundwater model layers from 3 to 30. In Elkhart County, Indiana, a previously published model represents the product of the subjective method, and a newly calibrated model of the same area represents the product of the objective method.

An automated calibration procedure was used with the objective model (derived from the objective method) for Elkhart County. The two most-sensitive parameters for the Elkhart County objective model are horizontal hydraulic conductivity of the sand and the combined sand and gravel/gravel deposits. Vertical hydraulic conductivity of the fine-grained and intermediate-sized deposits could not be estimated, possibly indicating major flow paths are along a continuously connected series of sand and gravel deposits and not through a confining layer.

The statistics measuring model calibration accuracy for the objective model were slightly better than statistics for the subjective model (model derived from the subjective method) of Elkhart County, but the hydraulic conductivities and flow rates for the two models were different. The mean absolute errors between simulated and measured groundwater levels are 2.04 and 2.16 feet for the objective and subjective models, respectively. Simulated seepage losses from and groundwater discharges to measured stream reaches in the objective model were evenly balanced in terms of over and under simulations of measured values; the subjective model tended to overpredict measured groundwater discharge to streams. The overprediction may be related to the 58 percent greater total inflow and outflow through the subjective model. The greater flow rate through the subjective model results from higher horizontal hydraulic conductivities in the subjective model than in the objective model. Horizontal hydraulic conductivity ranged from 23.9 to 111 feet per day in the objective model and generally ranged from 170 to 370 feet per day in the subjective model. The improvement in calibration statistics for the objective model relative to the subjective model may be from increased detail in how the objective model represents the distribution of fine- and coarse-grained deposits. The improvement also could be associated with the difference in methods used to represent the continuity of the confining unit.

The effect of differences in horizontal hydraulic conductivity distributions between the two models for Elkhart County is evident in the groundwater-flow paths simulated by the objective and subjective models. At a withdrawal well location, the flow lines produced by the objective model indicate a wider contributing area than that for the subjective model. The discontinuous confining unit represented in the objective model provided the opportunity for groundwater flow to split into an upper and lower path. The split in flow simulated by the objective model at one location was independently supported by bromide concentrations in groundwater; the subjective model did not duplicate the split in flow.

Climatic controls on the distribution of foundation plant species in coastal wetlands of the conterminous United States: Knowledge gaps and emerging research needs

Released October 24, 2019 13:14 EST

2019, Estuaries and Coasts

Michael Osland, James Grace, Glenn Guntenspergen, Karen Thorne, Joel Carr, Laura Feher

Foundation plant species play a critical role in coastal wetlands, often modifying abiotic conditions that are too stressful for most organisms and providing the primary habitat features that support entire ecological communities. Here, we consider the influence of climatic drivers on the distribution of foundation plant species within coastal wetlands of the conterminous USA. Using region-level syntheses, we identified 24 dominant foundation plant species within 12 biogeographic regions, and we categorized species and biogeographic regions into four groups: graminoids, mangroves, succulents, and unvegetated. Literature searches were used to characterize the level of research directed at each of the 24 species. Most coastal wetlands research has been focused on a subset of foundation species, with about 45% of publications directed at just one grass species—Spartina alterniflora. An additional 14 and 8% have been directed, respectively, at two mangrove species—Rhizophora mangle and Avicennia germinans. At the national scale, winter temperature extremes govern the distribution of mangrove forests relative to salt marsh graminoids, and arid conditions can produce hypersaline conditions that increase the dominance of succulent plants, algal mats, and unvegetated tidal flats (i.e., salt flats, salt pans) relative to graminoid and mangrove plants. Collectively, our analyses illustrate the diversity of foundation plant species in the conterminous USA and begin to elucidate the influence of climatic drivers on their distribution. However, our results also highlight critical knowledge gaps and identify emerging research needs for assessing climate change impacts. Given the importance of plant-mediated processes in coastal wetland ecosystems, there is a pressing need in many biogeographic regions for additional species- and functional group-specific research that can be used to better anticipate coastal wetland responses to rising sea levels and changing temperature and precipitation regimes.

Dissolved organic carbon turnover in permafrost-influenced watersheds of interior Alaska: Molecular insights and the priming effect

Released October 24, 2019 10:45 EST

2019, Frontiers in Earth Science (7) 17 pp

Sadie R. Textor, Kimberly P. Wickland, David C. Podgorski, Sarah Ellen Johnston, Robert G.M. Spencer

Increased permafrost thaw due to climate change in northern high-latitudes has prompted concern over impacts on soil and stream biogeochemistry that affect the fate of dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Few studies to-date have examined the link between molecular composition and biolability of dissolved organic matter (DOM) mobilized from different soil horizons despite its importance in understanding carbon turnover in aquatic systems. Additionally, the effect of mixed DOM sources on microbial metabolism (e.g., priming) is not well understood. No studies to-date have addressed potential priming effects in northern high-latitude or permafrost-influenced aquatic ecosystems, yet these ecosystems may be hot spots of priming where biolabile, ancient permafrost DOC mixes with relatively stable, modern stream DOC. To assess biodegradability and priming of DOC in permafrost-influenced streams, we conducted 28 day bioincubation experiments utilizing a suite of stream samples and leachates of fresh vegetation and different soil horizons, including permafrost, from Interior Alaska. The molecular composition of unamended DOM samples at initial and final time points was determined by ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry. Initial molecular composition was correlated to DOC biodegradability, particularly the contribution of energy-rich aliphatic compounds, and stream microbial communities utilized 50–56% of aliphatics in permafrost-derived DOM within 28 days. Biodegradability of DOC followed a continuum from relatively stable stream DOC to relatively biolabile DOC derived from permafrost, active layer organic soil, and vegetation leachates. Microbial utilization of DOC was ∼3–11% for stream bioincubations and ranged from 9% (active layer mineral soil-derived) to 66% (vegetation-derived) for leachate bioincubations. To investigate the presence or absence of a priming effect, bioincubation experiments included treatments amended with 1% relative carbon concentrations of simple, biolabile organic carbon substrates (i.e., primers). The amount of DOC consumed in primed treatments was not significantly different from the control in any of the bioincubation experiments after 28 days, making it apparent that the addition of biolabile permafrost-derived DOC to aquatic ecosystems will likely not enhance the biodegradation of relatively modern, stable DOC sources. Thus, future projections of carbon turnover in northern high-latitude region streams may not have to account for a priming effect.

Sediment classification and the characterization, identification, and mapping of geologic substrates for the glaciated Gulf of Maine seabed and other terrains, providing a physical framework for ecological research and seabed management

Released October 24, 2019 10:15 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5073

Page C. Valentine

A geologic substrate is a surface (or volume) of sediment or rock where physical, chemical, and biological processes occur, such as the movement and deposition of sediment, the formation of bedforms, and the attachment, burrowing, feeding, reproduction, and sheltering of organisms. Seabed mapping surveys in the Stellwagen Bank region off Boston, Massachusetts, from 1993 to 2004 have led to the development of a methodology for characterizing, identifying, and mapping geologic substrates. The resulting high-resolution interpretive maps (1:25,000) show the distribution of substrates in a glaciated terrain of banks and basins in water depths of 30 to 185 meters. Data sources used to characterize substrates are multibeam sonar bathymetric and backscatter imagery to document seabed topography and patterns of sediment and rock distribution, grain-size analyses of sediment samples to determine substrate composition, and video and photographic imagery of the seabed to aid in the interpretation of multibeam sonar imagery and to provide information on substrate layering and mobility, seabed structures, and sediments and nonsediment materials that cannot be physically sampled.

Sediment composition is a major property of many seabed substrates. Sediment grains belong to a continuum of grain-diameter sizes previously classified into grades (for example, fine sand, medium sand) and into aggregates (mud, sand, gravel). The definition of grade and aggregate boundaries in a classification is arbitrary, and a useful classification is limited to as few classes as are needed to effectively organize and apply information. For the purpose of mapping substrates, sediment grades and aggregates were simplified and re-classified into eight composite grades based on grain-size content, mode of transport, and ecological role. Five composite grades are identified using grain-size analysis and three are identified using video and photographic imagery of the seabed.

Naturally occurring sediments contain various amounts of the aggregates mud, sand, and gravel. The separation of naturally occurring sediments into sediment classes, based on grain-size analysis, requires that limits be set on the amount of mud, sand, and gravel each class contains. Fifteen previously identified basic sediment classes provided interpretive information on sediment transport by emphasizing gravel content (a low 0.01-weight-percent threshold) and on winnowing processes based on the sand-to-mud ratio. The present study recognizes 20 basic sediment classes that are combinations of aggregates in which the lower limits for recognition of mud and sand are 10 weight percent and of gravel, 25 weight percent. These sediment classes can be made more specific by listing their content of the composite grades fine-grained sand (3 and 4 phi), which is transported in suspension, and coarse-grained sand (0, 1, and 2 phi), which is transported as bedload. Additional sediment classes and nonsediment classes that cannot be sampled are recognized on the basis of visual analysis of seabed video and photographic imagery and include pebble, cobble, and boulder gravel, rock outcrops, and shell beds, among others.

Substrates are not classified because their properties are too varied for a classification to be concise and useful. Rather, substrates are characterized and identified by sediment grain-size composition (the sediment class); the distribution, in millimeters, of grain diameters in the sediment; the presence of nonsediments (for example, rock outcrops); substrate mobility based on the presence of sediment ripples; substrate layering (for example, a partial veneer of sand on gravel); and seabed structures. These properties have interpretive value by providing information about sedimentary processes acting on a substrate and about its ecological function. A geologic substrate, when it is associated with one or more species, is an important element of a habitat.

This methodology was developed to map a glaciated terrain characterized by geologic substrates that typify a wide range of erosional and depositional sedimentary environments, and it likely will be useful for mapping substrates in other terrains. Substrate maps provide the physical framework required for identifying sediment transport processes, validating sediment transport models, studying the ecology of species and communities, and managing marine resources and seabed usage.

Draft genome sequence of the Mn(II)-oxidizing bacterium Oxalobacteraceae sp. AB_14

Released October 24, 2019 07:09 EST

2019, Microbiology Resource Announcements (43)

Timothy (Contractor) Bushman, Denise M. Akob, Tsing Bohu, Andrea Beyer, Maria Fabisch, Tanja Woyke, Nicole Shapiro, Alla Lapidus, Hans-Peter Klenk, Kirsten Küsel

Biological Mn(II) oxidation produces reactive manganese oxides that help to mitigate metal contamination in the environment. Here we present the genome of Oxalobacteraceae sp. AB_14, a species of Mn(II)-oxidizing bacteria (MOB) notable for its ability to catalyze Mn oxidation at low pH (5.5).

Digital geologic and geophysical data of Bangladesh

Released October 23, 2019 16:00 EST

1997, Open-File Report 97-470-H

This CD-ROM was compiled according to the methodology developed by the U.S. Geological Survey's World Energy Project. The goal of the project was to assess the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources of the world and report these results by the year 2000. A worldwide series of geologic maps, published on CD-ROMs, was released by the U.S. Geological Survey's World Energy Project during 1997 - 2000.

Specific details of the data sources and map compilation are given in the metadata files on this CD-ROM.

These maps were compiled using Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc. (ESRI) ARC/INFO software. Political boundaries and cartographic representations on this map are with permission from ESRI's ArcWorld 1:3M digital coverage: they have no political significance and are displayed as general reference only. Portions of this database covering the coastline and country boundaries contain proprietary property of ESRI. (© 1992 and 1996, Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc. All rights reserved.)

Evaluating barrier island characteristics and piping plover (Charadrius melodus) habitat availability along the U.S. Atlantic Coast—Geospatial approaches and methodology

Released October 23, 2019 14:00 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1071

Sara L. Zeigler, Emily J. Sturdivant, Benjamin T. Gutierrez

Policy makers, individuals from government agencies, and natural resource managers face increasing demands to manage coastal areas in a way that meets economic, social, and ecological needs as sea levels rise. Scientific knowledge of how coastal processes drive beach and barrier island changes and how those changes affect habitat use can support decision makers as they balance sometimes conflicting human and ecological needs. However, uncertainties in the knowledge of the cumulative results of coastal processes make it challenging to forecast specific changes for a particular location and time. The U.S. Geological Survey is developing tools for identifying and forecasting barrier island characteristics as well as suitable coastal habitats for species of concern (such as piping plovers, Charadrius melodus) given ongoing sea-level rise. As part of this effort, we use three Bayesian networks to calculate probabilities of shoreline change rates, changes in barrier island biogeomorphic characteristics, and piping plover habitat availability, which together forecast the effects of different sea-level-rise rates and storm regimes. This report details the methodology used to derive geospatial biogeomorphic datasets that are used as inputs for two of these Bayesian networks, which forecast barrier island geomorphology and piping plover habitat availability at sites along the U.S. Atlantic coast (Maine to North Carolina). Further information about the project, including specific study sites, can be found at https://woodshole.er.usgs.gov/project-pages/beach-dependent-shorebirds/.

Plant community establishment in a coastal marsh restored using sediment additions

Released October 23, 2019 13:26 EST

2019, Wetlands

Rebecca Howard, Patricia S. Rafferty, Darren J. Johnson

A goal of wetland restoration is the establishment of resilient plant communities that persist under a variety of environmental conditions. We investigated the role of intraspecific and interspecific variation on plant community establishment in a brackish marsh that had been restored by sediment addition. Plant growth, sediment accretion, and surface elevation change in planted, not-planted, and nearby reference sites (treatments) were compared. Four perennial macrophytes were planted: Bolboschoenus robustus, Distichlis spicata, Phragmites australis, and Schoenoplectus californicus. There was 100% survival of the planted species, and all exhibited rapid vegetative spread. Intraspecific variation in stem height and cover was identified, and interspecific comparisons also indicated differences in species cover. Treatment comparisons revealed that final total cover at not-planted sites was equivalent to that at reference sites, and was highest at planted sites where P. australis became dominant. Species richness was initially highest at the reference sites, but final richness was equivalent among treatments. Soil surface elevation was greater at planted compared to not-planted and reference sites. Because of the rapid cover and increased surface elevation generated by planted species, the resiliency of restored coastal marshes may be enhanced by plantings in areas where natural colonization is slow and subsidence is high.

The ‘Ike Wai Hawai‘i groundwater recharge tool

Released October 23, 2019 06:57 EST

2019, Conference Paper

Jared H. McLean, Sean B. Cleaveland, Kolja Rotzoll, Scot K. Izuka, Jason Leigh, Gwen A. Jacobs, Ryan Theriot

This paper discusses the design and implementation of the ‘Ike Wai Hawai‘i Groundwater Recharge Tool, an application for providing data and analyses of the impacts of land-cover and climate modifications on groundwater-recharge rates for the island of O‘ahu. This application uses simulation data based on a set of 29 land-cover types and two rainfall scenarios to provide users with real-time recharge calculations for interactively defined land-cover modifications. Two visualizations, representing the land cover for the island and the resultant groundwater-recharge rates, and a set of metrics indicating the changes to groundwater recharge for relevant areas of the map are provided to present a set of easily interpreted outcomes based on the user-defined simulations. Tools are provided to give users varying degrees of control over the granularity of data input and output, allowing for the quick production of a roughly defined simulation, or more precise land-cover models that can be exported for further analysis. Heuristics are used to provide a responsive user interface and performant integration with the database containing the full set of simulation data. This tool is designed to provide user-friendly access to the information on the impacts of land-cover and climate changes on groundwater recharge rates needed to make data-driven decisions.

Measuring sustainability of seed-funded Earth science informatics projects

Released October 23, 2019 06:50 EST

2019, PLoS ONE (14)

Leslie Hsu, Vivian Hutchison, Madison Langseth

Short term funding is a common funding model for informatics projects. Funders are interested in maximizing the sustainability and accessibility of the outputs, but there are no commonly accepted practices to do so in the Earth sciences informatics field. We constructed and applied a framework for sustainability drawing from other disciplines that have more published work in sustainability of projects. This framework had seven sustainability influences (outputs modified, code repository used, champion present, workforce stability, support from other organizations, collaboration/partnership, and integration with policy), and three ways of defining sustainability (at the individual-, organization-, and community-level). Using this framework, we evaluated outputs of projects funded by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Community for Data Integration (CDI). We found that the various outputs are widely accessible, but not necessarily sustained or maintained. Projects with most of the sustainability influences often became institutionalized, and met a required need of the community. Even if proposed outputs were not delivered or sustained, knowledge of lessons learned could be spread to build community capacity in a topic, which is another type of sustainability. We conclude by summarizing lessons for individuals applying for short-term funding, and for organizations running programs that provide such funding, in terms of maximizing sustainability of their projects.

Groundwater and surface-water resources near Red Fleet Reservoir, Uintah County, Utah

Released October 22, 2019 15:24 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5101

Thomas M. Marston, John E. Solder, Katherine K. Jones

Red Fleet Reservoir in Uintah County, Utah, is an approximately 26,000 acre-foot (acre-ft) on-channel reservoir in the Big Brush Creek drainage on the south slopes of the Uinta Mountains. It is operated primarily for irrigation needs while providing a supplemental drinking-water supply to the Vernal, Utah area. Red Fleet Reservoir, which was operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and the Uintah Water Conservancy District through 2015, began storing water in May 1980. The reservoir is on southward dipping Mesozoic lithologies ranging from Jurassic to Cretaceous in age. The Nugget and Frontier Sandstone aquifers are the targeted units in this investigation, which is to characterize groundwater conditions that exist in each sandstone aquifer and how they interact with Red Fleet Reservoir. Groundwater levels were measured in six wells and one spring in the Nugget Sandstone and the Frontier Sandstone aquifers. Water levels in the Nugget Sandstone aquifer were 35–70 feet above the maximum stage of Red Fleet Reservoir on the west and east banks. Water levels in the Frontier Sandstone aquifer were 15–30 feet below the observed stage of Red Fleet Reservoir on the west bank during the study period. A water budget was calculated for Red Fleet Reservoir between May 1980 and December 2015. During this period, 1,050,000 acre-ft of water from Big Brush Creek discharged into the reservoir, while 993,000 acre-ft of water was released downstream of Red Fleet Dam. Total evaporation from May 1980 through December 2015 was about 52,000 acre-ft, while total precipitation over the same period was about 12,000 acre-ft. From May 1980 through December 2015, the total pumped volume of water from the Tyzack Pump Station, at the base of Red Fleet Dam, was about 42,000 acre-ft. Total groundwater discharge to Red Fleet Reservoir from 1980 through 2015 was about 40,000 acre-ft. Water was sampled from four wells and from the inflow arm of Red Fleet Reservoir, and analyzed for major-ion chemistry, select trace metals, nutrients, and environmental tracers. Water sampled from the Nugget Sandstone aquifer yielded good-quality water with dissolved-solids concentrations of less than 200 milligram per liter, and no trace elements above the Environmental Protection Agency drinking-water standards. Water sampled from the Frontier Sandstone aquifer yielded poor-quality water with dissolved-solids concentrations of about 2,150 milligrams per liter with trace elements approaching drinking-water standards for arsenic. Dissolved noble gases used to identify recharge elevations and temperatures for groundwater indicate that water in the Nugget Sandstone aquifer likely recharged at a high altitude and low temperature, and not locally because of interaction with Red Fleet Reservoir. The Frontier Sandstone aquifer is likely recharged at low elevation and at temperatures similar to those observed at Red Fleet Reservoir.

Track tube construction and field protocol for small mammal surveys with emphasis on the endangered Pacific pocket mouse (Perognathus longimembris pacificus)

Released October 22, 2019 15:01 EST

2019, Techniques and Methods 2A15

Cheryl S. Brehme, Tritia A. Matsuda, Devin T. Adsit-Morris, Denise R. Clark, Jeremy B. Sebes, Melanie Anne T. Burlaza, Robert N. Fisher

Track tubes are used to identify small animals by their tracks. Animals that are small enough to fit into the tubes walk over ink pads and onto cardstock paper to obtain bait within the tube, leaving their footprints. The tracking tubes described in this document are designed to be set on the ground with free access and exit at either end with additional design components for stability, durability, and efficiency. They are also designed to prevent dirt from getting onto the ink pads and to decrease the ability of birds and other mammals to pull out track cards or bait.

We describe detailed methods for constructing, setting and checking track tubes, as well as measuring and identifying small mammal prints for a small mammal study. The protocols described are for monitoring the Pacific pocket mouse (PPM); however, this method can be applied to many small mammal species that have uniquely identifiable tracks in relation to co-occurring species.

We have deployed track tubes for over 5 years on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton for PPM discovery efforts and to monitor the three extant PPM populations on Base. We have shown that nightly detection probability is similar to that of live-trapping, but the track tubes can be checked weekly or bi-monthly. We use this passive and economical method to assess timing of annual emergence and torpor, seasonal activity, and localized colonization and extinction events. Using this method, we can model occupancy dynamics in relation to habitat and disturbance covariates that directly inform management and support a monitoring and management feedback loop for this species.

Caryospora-like coccidia infecting green turtles (Chelonia mydas): An emerging disease with evidence of interoceanic dissemination

Released October 22, 2019 13:46 EST

2019, Frontiers in Veterinary Science (6) 1-12

Brian A. Stacy, Phoebe A. Chapman, Heather Stockdale-Walden, Thierry M. Work, Julie Dagenais, Allen M. Foley, Morgan Wideroff, Jr. Wellehan, April L. Childress, Mya Rodriguez, Trevor T. Zachariah, Lydia Staggs, Bette Zirkelbach, Nina Nahvi, Whitney Crowder, Shane M. Boylan, Shelly Marquardt, Craig Pelton, Terry M. Norton

Charles A. Manire, editor(s)

Protozoa morphologically consistent with Caryospora sp. are one of the few pathogens associated with episodic mass mortality events involving free-ranging sea turtles. Parasitism of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) by these coccidia and associated mortality was first reported in maricultured turtles in the Caribbean during the 1970s. Years later, epizootics affecting wild green turtles in Australia occurred in 1991 and 2014. The first clinical cases of Caryospora-like infections reported elsewhere in free-ranging turtles were from the southeastern US in 2012. Following these initial individual cases in this region, we documented an epizootic and mass mortality of green turtles along the Atlantic coast of southern Florida from November 2014 through April 2015 and continued to detect additional, sporadic cases in the southeastern US in subsequent years. No cases of coccidial disease were recorded in the southeastern US prior to 2012 despite clinical evaluation and necropsy of stranded sea turtles in this region since the 1980s, suggesting that the frequency of clinical coccidiosis has increased here. Moreover, we also recorded the first stranding associated with infection by a Caryospora-like organism in Hawai'i in 2018. To further characterize the coccidia, we sequenced part of the 18S ribosomal and mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I genes of coccidia collected from 62 green turtles found in the southeastern US and from one green turtle found in Hawai'i. We also sequenced the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer regions from selected cases and compared all results with those obtained from Caryospora-like coccidia collected from green turtles found in Australia. Eight distinct genotypes were represented in green turtles from the southeastern US. One genotype predominated and was identical to that of coccidia collected from the green turtle found in Hawai'i. We also found a coccidian genotype in green turtles from Florida and Australia with identical 18S and mitochondrial sequences, and only slight inter-regional differences in the internal transcribed spacer 2. We found no evidence of geographical structuring based on phylogenetic analysis. Low genetic variability among the coccidia found in green turtle populations with minimal natural connectivity suggests recent interoceanic dissemination of these parasites, which could pose a risk to sea turtle populations.

Fire disturbance influences endangered Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow (Ammopiza maritima mirabilis) relative bird count

Released October 22, 2019 13:20 EST

2019, Conservation Science and Practice

Allison Benscoter, James (Contractor) Beerens, Leonard G. Pearlstine, Stephanie Romanach

Periodicity of fire disturbance is a known driver of ecosystem function and is reported as important in both promoting and maintaining viable breeding habitat for the endangered Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow (Ammospiza maritima mirabilis; CSSS). In south Florida, the CSSS serves as a fine‐scale indicator of the marl and mixed‐marl prairie communities of the Florida Everglades. The CSSS distribution is affected by numerous well‐documented physical drivers, including water depth and fire regime. Here, we fit zero‐inflated negative binomial generalized linear mixed models and used model selection to determine the relationship between CSSS bird count observations from 1992 to 2014 and the spatially‐specific fire return interval on the landscape. CSSS bird count was highest at a 5–8‐year fire return interval and increased linearly with the percent of cell burned (400 × 400 m cells). The results of this study can inform management plans designed to maintain existing, and promote new, marl prairie habitat for conservation of the CSSS.

Map showing geology, oil and gas fields, and geologic provinces of the Gulf of Mexico region

Released October 22, 2019 12:40 EST

2006, Open-File Report 97-470-L

This map was created as part of a worldwide series of geologic maps for the U.S. Geological Survey’s World Energy Project, available on CD-ROM and through the Internet. The goal of the project is to assess the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources of the world. Geologic provinces were created for ranking purposes in the World Petroleum Assessment 2000 (U.S. Geological Survey World Energy Assessment Team, 2000). A modified subset of these provinces are shown on the map, based on new bathymetric data and geologic knowledge. Geologic province boundaries are not intended to be taken for country boundaries or exclusive economic zone (EEZ) boundaries. The USGS World Petroleum Assessment 2000 - Description and Results can be found online at: http://pubs.usgs.gov/dds/dds-060. Oil and gas fields are represented by a single geographic point in the center of the field and displays field type (oil or gas) only. The map includes three surface geology datasets, which were modified for display purposes.

Groundwater availability in the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system

Released October 22, 2019 12:31 EST

2019, Professional Paper 1854

Brian R. Clark, Leslie L. Duncan, Katherine J. Knierim

Executive Summary

The study described in this report, initiated by the U.S. Geological Survey in 2014, was designed to evaluate fresh groundwater resources within the Ozark Plateaus, central United States, as an area within a broader national assessment of groundwater availability. The goals of the Ozark study were to evaluate historical effects of human activities on water levels and groundwater availability, quantify groundwater resources now and under probable future pumping and climate conditions, and evaluate existing monitoring networks for their value in making better predictions of future groundwater resources. Previous studies include simulation of local-scale groundwater flow under varying temporal scales, or simulation of the regional system under steady-state conditions. While these studies are useful, particularly for the problem for which they were designed, there is a need to look at the larger regional system under transient conditions to fully evaluate the water resource over time. This study focused on multiple spatial and temporal scales to examine changes in groundwater pumping, storage, and water-level declines. The regional scale provides a broad view of the sources and demands on the system with time.

The study area covers approximately 68,000 square miles in the central United States in parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma and encompasses the Ozark Plateaus Physiographic Province (Ozark Plateaus), including the Salem Plateau, Springfield Plateau, and Boston Mountains. Groundwater is withdrawn from the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system (Ozark system) for public supply and for domestic, agriculture (including irrigation and aquaculture), livestock, and non-agricultural use (including industrial, thermoelectric power generation, mining, and commercial). The Ozark system provides an important drinking-water supply for people living in the Ozark Plateaus because public supply and domestic use combined constitute the largest groundwater use. Precipitation is the ultimate source of freshwater to the Ozark system; most rainfall occurs during April, May, and June, and precipitation increases generally from north to south across the study area.

Groundwater use currently accounts for only 10 percent of the total water use in the areas overlying the Ozark system, but provides a critical drinking-water resource because public supply and domestic groundwater withdrawals are largely from groundwater resources. The 380 million gallons per day of groundwater withdrawn from the Ozark system in 2010 accounts for approximately 2 percent of recharge. Although groundwater use represents a small component of the hydrologic budget, because of low storage in aquifer units, cones of depression with steep water-level gradients can develop quickly around pumping centers.

The amount of water entering and leaving the aquifer system from 1900 to about 1965 was relatively constant at a rate of about 13 billion gallons per day (Bgal/d). Much of this inflow of water is discharged through streams in the system to balance the hydrologic budget. Changes in storage over time (from outflows to inflows) reflect the large variability in recharge: if recharge decreases, water levels will decrease, resulting in less groundwater discharge to streams and more water released from aquifer storage. Conversely, when recharge increases, water levels increase, more groundwater discharges to streams, and aquifer storage is replenished. Although pumping generally increased from 1900 to 2016, it does not appear to correlate with the change in storage over the same time period. Regionally, simulated change in groundwater storage corresponds with changes in recharge, more so than with increases in pumping.

Average recharge was 11.6 Bgal/d for the period 1900 to 2016. Recharge was generally above average from predevelopment to 1965, followed by a period of below-average recharge from 1965 to about 1980. Recharge remained consistently above average from 1980 to about 1988, after which there was a period of average or below-average recharge, reflected by a decline through the mid-2000s.

The implications and potential effects of increased pumping and long-term climate change on the Ozark Plateaus hydrologic system and groundwater availability are a concern for communities and resource managers in the area. Pumping varies from year to year, but is generally expected to moderately increase with population, industrial, and agricultural needs. Most climate models predict warmer minimum and maximum air temperatures by midcentury in the Ozark Plateaus area, especially from midspring through early fall. Three scenarios were developed to simulate possible future conditions from 2016 to 2060 and assess the potential effects on the hydrologic system and availability of water resources. For each scenario, changes in water levels and hydrologic budget components were evaluated from predevelopment (1900) to present (2016) and 45 years into the future (2060). The baseline scenario represents an extension of the average (1996 to 2016) seasonal pumping and recharge values. The pumping scenario is an extension of the average (1996 to 2016) seasonal recharge values with increases in pumping following the historical trend for the period 2016–2060 of up to 120 percent of the 1996 to 2016 average seasonal pumping values. The general circulation model (GCM) scenario is an extension of the average (1996 to 2016) seasonal pumping values and variable recharge based on seasonal averages of soil water storage from a water-balance model using temperature and precipitation from multiple GCMs.

The general patterns of water-level decline are similar for each scenario. The areas of water-level decline in southwest Missouri and northeast Oklahoma are only marginally different by 2060 from those of 2009. In one area south of Springfield, Mo., water-level declines are less in the baseline and GCM scenarios than in 2009. This may be the result of a transition from groundwater use to surface-water supplies for a larger percentage of the demand in the area.

For all three scenarios, forecasted pumping, recharge, and aquifer properties play an important role in determining the uncertainty of water-level forecasts at 94 real-time observation wells. Simulated aquifer properties in the productive middle and lower Ozark aquifers and the St. Francois confining unit of the Ozark system contribute most to predictive uncertainty in water levels at approximately 35 percent of the real-time observation wells. Out of the 94 real-time observation wells, 82 are developed in the lower Ozark aquifer.

User guide to the FireCLIME Vulnerability Assessment (VA) Tool: A rapid and flexible system for assessing ecosystem vulnerability to climate-fire interactions

Released October 22, 2019 07:46 EST

2019, Report

Megan Friggens, Rachel A. Loehman, Andi Thode, William T. Flatley, Alexander Evans, Windy Bunn, Craig Wilcox, Stephanie Mueller, Larissa Yocum, Donald A. Falk

Decisionmakers need better methods for identifying critical ecosystem vulnerabilities to changing climate and fire regimes. Climate-wildfire-vegetation interactions are complex and hinder classification and projection necessary for development of management strategies. One such vulnerability assessment (VA) is FireCLIME VA, which allows users to compare management strategies under various climate scenarios and gauge the potential effectiveness of those strategies for reducing undesirable impacts of climate on wildfire regimes and resulting impacts of wildfire on natural ecosystems. Developed as part of the SW FireCLIME science-management partnership, FireCLIME is meant to be quick, flexible, and amendable to a range of data inputs (literature review, expert, and modeling or monitoring activities), allowing users to easily compare various fire-climate outcomes for one or more ecosystems of interest. Users can use literature, hypothetical scenarios, or quantitative data to implement the FireCLIME VA tool. This tool, unlike other vulnerability assessment, is best used iteratively to explore a range of possible scenarios and management strategies.

13C and 15N NMR identification of product compound classes from aqueous and solid phase photodegradation of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene

Released October 22, 2019 07:15 EST

2019, PLoS ONE (14)

Kevin Thorn

Abstract Photolysis is one of the main transformation pathways for 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) released into the environment. Upon exposure to sunlight, TNT is known to undergo both oxidation and reduction reactions with release of nitrite, nitrate, and ammonium ions, followed by condensation reactions of the oxidation and reduction products. In this study, compound classes of transformation products from the aqueous and solid phase photodegradation of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) have been identified by liquid and solid state 13C and 15N NMR. Aqueous phase experiments were performed on saturated solutions of T15NT in deionized water, natural pond water (pH = 8.3, DOC = 3.0 mg/L), pH 8.0 buffer solution, and in the presence of Suwannee River Natural Organic Matter (SRNOM; pH = 3.7), using a Pyrex-filtered medium pressure mercury lamp. Natural sunlight irradiations were performed on TNT in the solid phase and dissolved in the pond water. In deionized water, carboxylic acid, aldehyde, aromatic amine, primary amide, azoxy, nitrosophenol, and azo compounds were formed. 15N NMR spectra exhibited major peaks centered at 128 to 138 ppm, which are in the range of phenylhydroxylamine and secondary amide nitrogens. The secondary amides are proposed to represent benzanilides, which would arise from photochemical rearrangement of nitrones formed from the condensation of benzaldehyde and phenylhydroxylamine derivatives of TNT. The same compound classes were formed from sunlight irradiation of TNT in the solid phase. Whereas carboxylic acids, aldehydes, aromatic amines, phenylhydroxylamines, and amides were also formed from irradiation of TNT in pond water and in pH 8 buffer solution, azoxy and azo compound formation was inhibited. Solid state 15N NMR spectra of photolysates from the lamp irradiation of unlabeled 2,6-dinitrotoluene in deionized water also demonstrated the formation of aromatic amine, phenylhydroxylamine/ 2° amide, azoxy, and azo nitrogens.

Challenges for monitoring the extent and land use/cover changes in monarch butterflies’ migratory habitat across the United States and Mexico

Released October 21, 2019 13:46 EST

2019, Land (10)

Rafael Moreno-Sanchez, James Raines, James E. Diffendorfer, Mark A. Drummond, Jessica Manko

This paper presents a synopsis of the challenges and limitations presented by existing and emerging land use/ land cover (LULC) digital data sets when used to analyze the extent, habitat quality, and LULC changes of the monarch (Danaus plexippus) migratory habitat across the United States of America (US) and Mexico. First, the characteristics, state of the knowledge, and issues related to this habitat are presented. Then, the characteristics of the existing and emerging LULC digital data sets with global or cross-border coverage are listed, followed by the data sets that cover only the US or Mexico. Later, we discuss the challenges for determining the extent, habitat quality, and LULC changes in the monarchs’ migratory habitat when using these LULC data sets in conjunction with the current state of the knowledge of the monarchs’ ecology, behavior, and foraging/roosting plants used during their migration. We point to approaches to address some of these challenges, which can be categorized into: (a) LULC data set characteristics and availability; (b) availability of ancillary land management information; (c) ability to construct accurate forage suitability indices for their migration habitat; and (d) level of knowledge of the ecological and behavioral patterns of the monarchs during their journey.

Assessing plant production responses to climate across water-limited regions using Google Earth Engine

Released October 21, 2019 13:41 EST

2019, Remote Sensing of Environment (233) 1-15

Erin L. Bunting, Seth M. Munson, John Bradford

(Munson) Climate variability and change acting at broad scales can lead to divergent changes in plant production at local scales. Quantifying how production responds to variation in climate at local scales is essential to understand underlying ecological processes and inform land management decision-making, but has historically been limited in spatiotemporal scale based on the use of discrete ground-based measurements or coarse resolution satellite observations. With the advent of cloud-based computing through Google Earth Engine (GEE), production responses to climate can be evaluated across broad landscapes though time at a resolution useful for ecological and land management applications. Here, GEE was employed to synthesize a multi-platform Landsat time series (1988 – 2014) and evaluate relationships between the soil-adjusted vegetation index (a proxy for plant production) and climate across deserts and plant communities of the southwestern U.S. A “climate pivot point” approach was adopted in GEE to assess the trade-off between production responses to increasing wetness and resistances to drought at 30-m resolution. Consistent with a long-term seasonal climate gradient, production was most related to climate variance during the cool-season in the western deserts, during the warm-season in the eastern deserts, and equally related to both seasons within several desert areas. Communities dominated by grasses and deciduous trees displayed large production responses to an increase in wetness and low resistances to water deficit, while shrublands and evergreen woodlands had variable responses and high drought resistances. Production in plant communities that spanned multiple deserts responded differently to seasonal climate variability in each desert. Defining these plant production sensitivities to climate at 30-m resolution in GEE advances forecasts of how long-term climate trajectories may affect carbon storage, wildlife habitat, and the vulnerability of water-limited ecosystems.

Assessment of continuous gas resources in the Permian Phosphoria Formation of the Southwestern Wyoming Province, Wyoming, 2019

Released October 21, 2019 10:45 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3047

Christopher J. Schenk, Tracey J. Mercier, Thomas M. Finn, Kristen R. Marra, Phuong A. Le, Heidi M. Leathers-Miller, Janet K. Pitman, Michael E. Brownfield, Ronald M. Drake II

Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable mean resources of 1.4 trillion cubic feet of continuous gas in the Phosphoria Formation of the Southwestern Wyoming Province, Wyoming.

Low streamflow trends at human-impacted and reference basins in the United States

Released October 18, 2019 14:36 EST

2020, Journal of Hydrology (580)

Robert Dudley, Robert M. Hirsch, Stacey A. Archfield, Annalise G. Blum, Benjamin Renard

We present a continent-scale exploration of trends in annual 7-day low streamflows at 2482 U.S. Geological Survey streamgages across the conterminous United States over the past 100, 75, and 50 years (1916–2015, 1941–2015 and 1966–2015). We used basin characteristics to identify subsets of study basins representative of reference basins with streamflow relatively free from human effects (n = 259), and predominantly agricultural basins (n = 78), regulated basins (n = 220), and urban basins (n = 121). Trend significance was computed using the Mann-Kendall test considering short- and long-term persistence. Lag-one autocorrelation tests of detrended 7-day low streamflows for all gage classes show that time-series independence is not an appropriate assumption for annual low streamflow data at many basins. Among all study gages, upward trends (wetter conditions) in 7-day low streamflows outnumbered downward trends (drier conditions) approximately 2–1 for the 75- and 100-year trend periods—50-year trends indicated roughly equal numbers of increases and decreases. Increases in 7-day low streamflow were consistently observed for all time periods throughout much of the northeastern quadrant of the conterminous U.S. including western New England and the Mid-Atlantic, the southeastern Great Lakes basin, northern Ohio River basin, and the Upper Mississippi River and eastern Missouri River basins. Decreases in 7-day low streamflow were consistently observed for all time periods at many gages in the southeastern U.S. and in the northwestern U.S. in much of Idaho and northwestern Washington. Overall, we observed greater percentages of statistically significant trends at gages with human-induced influences than at reference gages. Low-flow trends at agricultural gages were regionally consistent with trends at reference gages. Regulated basins had many statistically significant upward trends for all three time periods tested, which may be attributed in part to substantial increases in dam-related storage prior to 1970. Urban gages had the greatest percentage of significant decreases in 7-day low flows compared to all other gage classes even though most urban gages saw upward trends in mean annual flows. Urban gages also had the greatest percentage of significant increases in low flows second only to regulated gages, highlighting that urban development can increase or decrease low streamflows depending on the basin-specific development.

Review of indicators for comparing environmental effects across energy sources

Released October 18, 2019 13:57 EST

2019, Environmental Research Letters (14)

Monica Dorning, James E. Diffendorfer, Scott R Loss, Kenneth J. Bagstad

Robust, quantitative comparisons of environmental effects across energy sources can support development of energy planning strategies that meet growing demand while managing and minimizing undesirable effects on environmental resources. Multicriteria analyses of energy systems often use a suite of indicators to make such comparisons, but those indicators and their units of measure vary among studies. We reviewed 179 papers that described or applied energy indicators to compare environmental effects of different primary energy sources to answer four questions: (1) what environmental indicators have been used in multicriteria energy-source comparisons? (2) across studies, how consistently are these indicators used to quantify effects? (3) to what degree are different effects accounted for across energy sources and locations? and (4) how comprehensive are indicators in terms of assessing known environmental effects? For reviewed studies, we quantified the number of unique indicators and the diversity of indicators used to measure different effects. We also recorded the specific measurement units applied to quantify each indicator, the energy sources evaluated, and the continent where each study was conducted. While we found that many environmental effects of energy development have been analyzed across multiple sources, indicators were frequently measured, interpreted, and applied in ways that are not directly comparable, and some known environmental effects were infrequently assessed. We also found an emphasis on applying indicators to renewable energy sources; assessing current and potential energy sources, both renewable and nonrenewable, would greatly clarify the full suite of tradeoffs among sources and can inform energy development strategies that minimize adverse environmental effects. Overall, our review indicated that making comprehensive comparisons of the effects of energy development across sources may require efforts to standardize how effects are measured, synthesize effects literature into an open-source database, expand the range of environmental effects analyzed, and establish consistent frameworks for comparison.

Life cycle of the trout cecal nematode, Truttaedacnitis truttae (Nematoda: Cucullanidae): Experimental and field observations

Released October 18, 2019 13:48 EST

2019, Journal of Parasitology (105) 769-782

Anindo Choudhury, Rebecca A. Cole

Truttaedacnitis truttae is a cucullanid nematode of primarily salmonine fishes. Brown trout (Salmo trutta) in Europe reportedly become parasitized by ingesting lampreys (Lampetra planeri) carrying infective larvae. However, our field and laboratory observations suggested that North American specimens of T. truttae have an alternative life cycle. High abundances and potential impact of T. truttae in rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss, in the Colorado River drainage in Grand Canyon, where there are no lampreys, prompted a study on the transmission dynamics of this nematode. Eggs of T. truttae, collected from live gravid females, were incubated in the laboratory. Snails, Physa gyrina and Lymnaea sp., were exposed to T. truttae larvae 3–4 wk later. Active larvae of T. truttae were observed penetrating the intestinal wall of exposed snails, and worm larvae were found in the visceral tissues when examined 1 wk after exposure. Larvae in snails showed little growth and development 2 wk later and corresponded to L3 larvae. Infected snails were fed to hatchery-reared juvenile rainbow trout. Developing stages were subsequently found in the mucosal lining and lumen of trout intestines. Adult male and female (gravid) worms were found in the ceca of trout examined 5–6 mo after consuming infected snails. Larvae found in pepsin/trypsin digests and mucosal scrapings from wild, naturally infected, trout corroborate laboratory findings. Screening of Physa sp. and gammarids collected from Colorado River, Grand Canyon, for natural infections with T. truttae using the ITS1 rDNA marker gave positive results. Truttaedacnitis truttae is the second species, after Truttaedacnitis clitellarius of lake sturgeon, capable of using a snail first intermediate/paratenic host and is similar to several other cucullanids in having a histotropic phase of development in the definitive fish host.

The HayWired earthquake scenario—Societal consequences

Released October 18, 2019 07:11 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5013-v3

Shane T. Detweiler, Anne M. Wein, editor(s)

The HayWired Earthquake Scenario—Societal Consequences is the third volume of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5013, which describes the HayWired scenario, developed by USGS and its partners. The scenario is a hypothetical yet scientifically realistic earthquake sequence that is being used to better understand hazards for the San Francisco Bay region during and after a magnitude-7 earthquake (mainshock) on the Hayward Fault and its aftershocks.

Estimated use of water in Georgia for 2015 and water-use trends, 1985–2015

Released October 17, 2019 15:50 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1086

Jaime A. Painter

Water-withdrawal, water-use, and water-return information have been collected and compiled for each county in Georgia every 5 years since 1980 using data obtained from various Federal, State, and private agencies, as well as additional online sources. For 2015, water use, water withdrawal, and water returns were estimated for each county, water-planning region, major river basin, and principal aquifer in Georgia. Offstream water use in 2015 is estimated for the categories of domestic, commercial, industrial processing, mining, irrigation (subdivided into crop and golf course irrigation), livestock, aquaculture, and thermoelectric power cooling.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 10.2 million people in Georgia needed water resources to meet their personal, commercial, and recreational needs in 2015. Public water suppliers provided water to about 85 percent of the population of Georgia. Estimated total water withdrawals from both surface-water and groundwater sources were about 3,384 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) in 2015, which is a 27-percent reduction from 2010, a 48.1-percent reduction from 2000, and a 49.7-percent reduction from 1980. In 2015, surface-water withdrawals were greatest for thermoelectric power cooling (839.8 Mgal/d), and groundwater withdrawals were greatest for irrigating crops (547.9 Mgal/d). Water needs in northern Georgia are typically met by withdrawing a larger percentage of water from surface-water than groundwater sources; conversely, counties in southern Georgia withdraw more water from groundwater sources. About 1,571 Mgal/d of water were returned to Georgia streams and lakes in 2015, which represents about 46 percent of the total water withdrawn from all sources in 2015.

Water users in the Apalachicola River Basin, in 2015, withdrew the highest percentage of water (35 percent) and returned the highest percentage of water to surface-water bodies (almost 40 percent) compared to other major river basins in Georgia. Withdrawals in the Apalachicola River Basin are primarily extracted by public-supply systems (43 percent) and irrigation (34 percent). The aquifer from which 68 percent of statewide groundwater withdrawals were extracted was the Floridan aquifer system, and the majority of the water was used for irrigation (57 percent).

Historically, statewide water use in Georgia was highest in 1980 (6,735 Mgal/d), decreased to 5,353 Mgal/d in 1990, peaked at 6,531 Mgal/d in 2000, and has been declining since that time. The reduction in water use between 2000 and 2015 came primarily from surface-water withdrawals (90 percent of total reduction) and thermoelectric power cooling use (78 percent of total reduction). Water use for livestock and aquaculture increased between 1985 and 2015, and this increase correlates with the growth of agriculture in Georgia during that period. The driving forces behind the observed water-use changes include (1) shifts in population numbers and locations, (2) five periods of major drought, (3) water conservation efforts and education programs initiated by State and local governments and water utilities, and (4) changing water needs for thermoelectric power cooling, industry, and agricultural activities.

Variability in results from mineralogical and organic geochemical interlaboratory testing of U. S. Geological Survey shale reference materials

Released October 17, 2019 08:00 EST

2019, Conference Paper, Proceedings of the 7th Unconventional Resources Technology Conference

Justin E. Birdwell, Stephen A. Wilson

The expansion of unconventional petroleum resource exploration and production in the United States has led to an increase in source rock characterization efforts, particularly related to bulk organic and mineralogical properties. To support the analytical and research needs of industry and academia, as well as internal work, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has collected and prepared shale geochemical reference materials (GRMs) from several major shale petroleum systems in the U.S. The sources of these materials are the Late Cretaceous Boquillas (lower Eagle Ford-equivalent) Formation (roadcut near Del Rio, TX), Late Cretaceous Mancos Shale (outcrop near Delta, CO), Devonian–Mississippian Woodford Shale (outcrop near Ardmore, OK), Late Cretaceous Niobrara Formation (quarry near Lyons, CO), Middle Devonian Marcellus Shale (creek bed in LeRoy, NY), and Eocene Mahogany zone oil shale of the Green River Formation (oil shale mine near Rifle, CO). Of particular interest in the development of these GRMs has been the examination of variability between laboratories and specific methods or instruments in commonly made measurements, including major- and trace-element concentrations, X-ray diffraction (XRD) mineralogy, total organic carbon (TOC) content, and programmed pyrolysis (PP) parameters. For the component concentrations and parameters we measured, the techniques and instrument types included: (1) elemental analysis by X-ray fluorescence, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, and instrumental neutron activation analysis; (2) XRD mineralogy with various preparatory methods (spray drying or micronizing with or without internal standard); (3) TOC by combustion with infrared detection after carbonate removal or the PP approach; (4) PP by Rock-Eval 2 or more recently developed instruments (Rock-Eval 6, Source Rock Analyzer or SRA, and Hydrocarbon Analyzer With Kinetics or HAWK). Overall, the results showed that the selected shales cover a wide range of source rock organic and mineralogical properties. Major- and trace-element chemistry results showed low heterogeneity consistent with other USGS GRMs. Comparison of TOC results showed coefficients of variation (COV) of around 5% and the most consistent organic geochemical results between different laboratories and methods. Arguably the most relevant PP measurement, S2 or kerogen hydrocarbon-generating potential (mg-HC/g-rock), showed a somewhat wider range of variability than TOC (COV ~10%), but was consistent between the three modern instruments and the industry-standard Rock-Eval 2. Major phase mineralogy (mineral concentrations ≥10 wt. %, organic-free basis) were comparable between laboratories, but variability in minor phase identification and quantification was observed. Utilization of these shale GRMs as quality control samples and testing materials is expected to help support analytical and experimental efforts in the continued development of unconventional petroleum resources.

Evolutionary history predicts high-impact invasions by herbivorous insects

Released October 17, 2019 07:39 EST

2019, Ecology and Evolution

Angela M. Mech, Kathryn A. Thomas, Travis D. Marsico, Daniel A. Herms, Craig Allen, Matthew P. Ayres, Kamal J.K. Gandhi, Jessica Gurevitch, Nathan P. Havill, Ruth A. Hufbauer, Andrew M. Liebhold, Kenneth F. Raffa, Ashley N. Schulz, Daniel R. Uden, Patrick C. Tobin

A long‐standing goal of invasion biology is to identify factors driving highly variable impacts of non‐native species. Although hypotheses exist that emphasize the role of evolutionary history (e.g., enemy release hypothesis & defense‐free space hypothesis), predicting the impact of non‐native herbivorous insects has eluded scientists for over a century. Using a census of all 58 non‐native conifer‐specialist insects in North America, we quantified the contribution of over 25 factors that could affect the impact they have on their novel hosts, including insect traits (fecundity, voltinism, native range, etc.), host traits (shade tolerance, growth rate, wood density, etc.), and evolutionary relationships (between native and novel hosts and insects). We discovered that divergence times between native and novel hosts, the shade and drought tolerance of the novel host, and the presence of a coevolved congener on a shared host, were more predictive of impact than the traits of the invading insect. These factors built upon each other to strengthen our ability to predict the risk of a non‐native insect becoming invasive. This research is the first to empirically support historically assumed hypotheses about the importance of evolutionary history as a major driver of impact of non‐native herbivorous insects. Our novel, integrated model predicts whether a non‐native insect not yet present in North America will have a one in 6.5 to a one in 2,858 chance of causing widespread mortality of a conifer species if established (R2 = 0.91) Synthesis and applications. With this advancement, the risk to other conifer host species and regions can be assessed, and regulatory and pest management efforts can be more efficiently prioritized.

Competitive interactions among H, CU, and Zn ion moderate aqueous uptake of Cu and Zn by an aquatic insect

Released October 17, 2019 07:32 EST

2019, Environmental Pollution (255)

Daniel J. Cain, Marie-Noele Croteau, Christopher C. Fuller

The absorption of aqueous copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) by aquatic insects, a group widely used to assess water quality, is unresolved. This study examined interactions among Cu, Zn, and protons that potentially moderate Cu and Zn uptake by the acid-tolerant stonefly Zapada sp. Saturation uptake kinetics was imposed to identify competitive mechanisms. Decreasing pH reduced the maximum transport capacity, Jmax, in both metals, had little effect on the Cu dissociation constant, KD, and increased the Zn KD. Partial noncompetitive (Cu) and partial mixed competitive (Zn) inhibitor models most closely tracked the observed Cu and Zn influx across pH treatments. The estimated values for acid dissociation constants for the binary (proton-receptor) and ternary (proton-metal-receptor) complexes indicated the strong inhibitory effect of protons on Cu and Zn. In neutral pH water, Cu inhibited Zn uptake, but Zn had little effect on Cu uptake. The mechanism of Cu-Zn interaction was not identified. Results from separate Zn experiments suggested that the insect’s developmental stage may affect the apparent Jmax. The study underscores some of the challenges of modeling metal bioaccumulation and informs future research directions.

Hurricane Matthew: Predictions, observations, and an analysis of coastal change

Released October 16, 2019 17:40 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1095

Justin J. Birchler, Kara S. Doran, Joseph W. Long, Hilary F. Stockdon

Hurricane Matthew, the strongest Atlantic hurricane of the 2016 hurricane season, made land-fall south of McClellanville, S.C., around 1500 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on October 8, 2016. Hurricane Matthew affected the States of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina along the U.S. Atlantic coastline. Numerous barrier islands were breached, and the erosion of beaches and dunes occurred along most of the South Atlantic coast. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) fore-casted potential coastal-change effects—including dune erosion and overwash that can threaten coastal resources and infrastructure—to assist with pre-storm management decisions. Following the storm, oblique aerial photography was collected, and lidar topographic survey missions were flown. These two datasets were used to document the changes that resulted from the storm and to validate coastal change forecasts. Comparisons of pre- and post-storm photographs were used to characterize the nature, extent, and spatial variability of hurricane-induced coastal changes. Analyses of pre- and post-storm lidar eleva-tions were used to quantify magnitudes of change in shoreline positions, dune elevations, and beach volumes. Erosion was observed along the coast from Florida to North Carolina; however, the coastal response exhibited extensive spatial variability, as would be expected over such a large region.

Insights into post-Miocene uplift of the western margin of the Colorado Plateau from the stratigraphic record of the lower Colorado River

Released October 16, 2019 17:15 EST

2019, Geosphere

Ryan S. Crow, Keith A. Howard, L. Sue Beard, Phil Pearthree, P. Kyle House, Karl Karlstrom, Lisa Peters, William C. McIntosh, Colleen Cassidy, Tracey J. Felger, Debra Block

The spatial and temporal distribution of Pliocene to Holocene Colorado River deposits (southwestern USA and northwestern Mexico) form a primary data set that records the evolution of a continental-scale river system and helps to delineate and quantify the magnitude of regional deformation. We focus in particular on the age and distribution of ancestral Colorado River deposits from field observations, geologic mapping, and subsurface studies in the area downstream from Grand Canyon (Arizona, USA). A new 4.73 ± 0.17 Ma age is reported for a basalt that flowed down Grand Wash to near its confluence with the Colorado River at the eastern end of what is now Lake Mead (Arizona and Nevada). That basalt flow, which caps tributary gravels, another previously dated 4.49 ± 0.46 Ma basalt flow that caps Colorado River gravel nearby, and previously dated speleothems (2.17 ± 0.34 and 3.87 ± 0.1 Ma) in western Grand Canyon allow for the calculation of long-term incision rates. Those rates are ~90 m/Ma in western Grand Canyon and ~18–64 m/Ma in the eastern Lake Mead area. In western Lake Mead and downstream, the base of 4.5–3.5 Ma ancestral Colorado River deposits, called the Bullhead Alluvium, is generally preserved below river level, suggesting little if any bedrock incision since deposition. Paleoprofiles reconstructed using ancestral river deposits indicate that the lower Colorado River established a smooth profile that has been graded to near sea level since ca. 4.5 Ma. Steady incision rates in western Grand Canyon over the past 0.6–4 Ma also suggest that the lower Colorado River has remained in a quasi–steady state for millions of years with respect to bedrock incision. Differential incision between the lower Colorado River corridor and western Grand Canyon is best explained by differential uplift across the Lake Mead region, as the overall 4.5 Ma profile of the Colorado River remains graded to Pliocene sea level, suggesting little regional subsidence or uplift. Cumulative estimates of ca. 4 Ma offsets across faults in the Lake Mead region are similar in magnitude to the differential incision across the area during the same approximate time frame. This suggests that in the past ~4 Ma, vertical deformation in the Lake Mead area has been localized along faults, which may be a surficial response to more deep-seated processes. Together these data sets suggest ~140–370m of uplift in the past 2–4 Ma across the Lake Mead region.

The 30 November 2018 Mw7.1 Anchorage Earthquake

Released October 16, 2019 12:57 EST

2019, Seismological Research Letters

Michael E. West, Adrian Bender, Matthew Gardine, Lea Gardine, Kara Gately, Peter Haeussler, Wael Hassan, Franz Meyer, Cole Richards, Natalia Ruppert, Carl Tape, John Thornley, Robert Witter

The Mw7.1 47-km deep earthquake that occurred on 30 November 2018 had deep societal impacts across southcentral Alaska and exhibited phenomena of broad scientific interest. We document observations that point to future directions of research and hazard mitigation. The rupture mechanism, aftershocks, and deformation of the mainshock are consistent with extension inside the Pacific plate near the down-dip limit of flat-slab subduction. Peak ground motions exceeding 25% g were observed across more than 8,000 km2, though the most violent near-fault shaking was avoided because the hypocenter was nearly 50 km below the surface. The ground motions show substantial variation highlighting the influence of regional geology and near-surface soil conditions. Aftershock activity was vigorous with roughly 300 felt events in the first six months, including two dozen aftershocks exceeding M4.5. Broad subsidence of up to 5 centimeters across the region is consistent with the rupture mechanism. The passage of seismic waves, and possibly the co-seismic subsidence, mobilized ground waters resulting in temporary increases in stream flow. Though there were many failures of natural slopes and soils, the shaking was insufficient to reactivate many of the failures observed during the 1964 M9.2 earthquake. This is explained by the much shorter duration of shaking as well as the lower amplitude long-period motions in 2018. The majority of observed soil failures were in anthropogenically-placed fill soils. Structural damage is attributed to both the failure of these emplaced soils as well as to the ground motion, which shows some spatial correlation to damage. However, the paucity of instrumental ground motion recordings outside of downtown Anchorage makes these comparisons challenging. The earthquake demonstrated the challenge of issuing tsunami warnings in complex coastal geographies and highlights the need for a targeted tsunami hazard evaluation of the region. The event also demonstrates the challenge of estimating the probabilistic hazard posed by intraslab earthquakes.

Vertical distribution of microplastics in the water column and surficial sediment from the Milwaukee River basin to Lake Michigan

Released October 16, 2019 10:47 EST

2019, Environmental Science & Technology (53) 12227-12237

Peter L. Lenaker, Austin K. Baldwin, Steven R. Corsi, Sherri A. Mason, Paul Reneau, John W Scott

Microplastic contamination was studied along a freshwater continuum from inland streams to the Milwaukee River estuary to Lake Michigan, and vertically from the water surface, water subsurface and sediment. Microplastics were detected in all 96 water samples and nine sediment samples collected. Results indicated a gradient of polymer presence with depth: low-density particles decreased from water surface to subsurface to sediment, and high-density particles had the opposite result. Polymer identification results indicated water surface and subsurface samples were dominated by low-density polypropylene particles and sediment samples were dominated by more dense polyethylene terephthalate particles. Of the five particle-type categories (fragments, films, foams, pellets/beads and fibers/lines), fibers/lines were the most common particle type and were present in every water and sediment sample collected. Fibers represented 45% of all particles in water samples and were distributed vertically throughout the water column regardless of density. Sediment samples were dominated by black foams (66%, identified as styrene-butadiene rubber, SBR) and to a lesser extent fibers/lines (29%) with approximately 89% of all the sediment particles coming from polymers with densities greater than 1.1 g cm-3. Results demonstrated polymer density influenced partitioning between water surface and subsurface and the underlying surficial sediment and the common practice of sampling only the water surface can result in substantial bias, especially in estuarine, harbor and lake locations where water surface concentrations tend to overestimate mean water column concentrations.

Economic valuation of landsat imagery

Released October 16, 2019 10:00 EST

2019, Open-File Report 2019-1112

Crista L. Straub, Stephen R. Koontz, John B. Loomis

Landsat satellites have been operating since 1972, providing a continuous global record of the Earth’s land surface. The imagery is currently available at no cost through the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). A previous USGS study estimated that Landsat imagery provided users an annual benefit of $2.19 billion in 2011, with U.S. users accounting for $1.79 billion of those benefits. That study, published in 2013, surveyed users in 2012 about Landsat imagery they retrieved in 2011. But since then, many changes have altered the demand for and supply of remotely sensed imagery and have made the analysis complex. This report updates these estimates, surveying users in 2018 about Landsat images they retrieved in 2017. The report discusses changes in the value per scene in 2017 when compared to 2011 and analyzes the potential consequences of charging fees. Landsat imagery has been available at no cost to the public since 2008, resulting in the distribution of millions of scenes each subsequent year. In addition, tens of thousands of Landsat users have registered with the USGS to access the data. Considering the number of Landsat data users worldwide and the broad range of Landsat data applications, it is difficult to quantify the cascading benefits to society provided by Landsat imagery. The value of Landsat imagery to these users was demonstrated by the substantial aggregated annual economic benefit from the imagery. Landsat imagery provided domestic and international users an estimated $3.45 billion in benefits in 2017 compared to $2.19 billion in 2011, with U.S. users accounting for $2.06 billion of those benefits. Much of the societal value of Landsat stems from the free and open data policy that allows users to access as much imagery as is necessary for their analysis at no cost. Charging even small fees would result in a loss of users and, most likely, a steep decline in the amount of imagery downloaded. It is reasonable that more than 50 percent of users will decline to pay. The consequences of charging for Landsat imagery would be felt by downstream users as well, through increased prices for value-added products as well as more intangible effects, such as reduced monitoring of environmental hazards.


Released October 16, 2019 07:01 EST

2019, Geophysical Research Letters

Wenyuan Fan, Jeffrey McGuire, C. D. de Groot-Hedlin, M. A. H. Hedlin, S. Coats, J. W. Fiedler

Seismic signals from ocean-solid Earth interactions are ubiquitously recorded on our planet. However, these wavefields are typically incoherent in most frequency bands limiting their utilization for understanding ocean dynamics or solid Earth properties. In contrast, we find that during large storms such as hurricanes and Nor’easters the interaction of long-period ocean waves with shallow seafloor features located near the edge of continental shelfs, known as ocean banks, excites coherent transcontinental Rayleigh wave packets in the 20 to 50 s period band. These “stormquakes” migrate coincident with the storms, but are spatiotemporally focused seismic point sources with equivalent earthquake magnitudes that can be greater than 3.5. Stormquakes thus provide new coherent sources to investigate Earth structure in locations that typically lack both seismic instrumentation and earthquakes. Moreover, they provide a new geophysical observable with high spatial and temporal resolution with which to investigate ocean wave dynamics during large storms.

Map showing geology, oil and gas fields, and geologic provinces of Europe including Turkey

Released October 15, 2019 12:50 EST

1997, Open-File Report 97-470-I

Mark J. Pawlewicz, Douglas W. Steinshouer, Donald L. Gautier


This digitally compiled map includes geology, geologic provinces, and oil and gas fields of Europe including Turkey. The maps are part of a worldwide series of maps on CD-ROM released by the U.S. Geological Survey's World Energy Project. The goal of the project is to assess the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources of the world. For data management purposes the world was divided into eight energy regions corresponding approximately to the economic regions of of the world as defined by the U.S. Department of State. Europe (Region 4) includes Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Vatican. The depicted portion of Region 2 includes Turkey.

Plant and insect herbivore community variation across the Paleocene–Eocene boundary in the Hanna Basin, southeastern Wyoming

Released October 15, 2019 10:55 EST

2019, PeerJ

Lauren E Schmidt, Regan E Dunn, Jason J Mercer, Marieke Dechesne, Ellen D Currano

Ecosystem function and stability are highly affected by internal and external stressors. Utilizing paleobotanical data gives insight into the evolutionary processes an ecosystem undergoes across long periods of time, allowing for a more complete understanding of how plant and insect herbivore communities are affected by ecosystem imbalance. To study how plant and insect herbivore communities change during times of disturbance, we quantified community turnover across the Paleocene­–Eocene boundary in the Hanna Basin, southeastern Wyoming. This particular location is unlike other nearby Laramide basins because it has an abundance of late Paleocene and Eocene coal and carbonaceous shales and paucity of well-developed paleosols, suggesting perpetually high water availability. We sampled approximately 800 semi-intact dicot leaves from five stratigraphic levels, one of which occurs late in the Paleocene–Eocene thermal maximum (PETM). Field collections were supplemented with specimens at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Fossil leaves were classified into morphospecies and herbivore damage was documented for each leaf. We tested for changes in plant and insect herbivore damage diversity using rarefaction and community composition using non-metric multidimensional scaling ordinations. We also documented changes in depositional environment at each stratigraphic level to better contextualize the environment of the basin. Plant diversity was highest during the mid-late Paleocene and decreased into the Eocene, whereas damage diversity was highest at the sites with low plant diversity. Plant communities significantly changed during the late PETM and do not return to pre-PETM composition. Insect herbivore communities also changed during the PETM, but, unlike plant communities, rebound to their pre-PETM structure. These results suggest that insect herbivore communities responded more strongly to plant community composition than to the diversity of species present.

Escherichia coli in the Santa Cruz River in Tumacácori National Historical Park, Arizona

Released October 15, 2019 09:31 EST

2019, Fact Sheet 2019-3065

Nicholas V. Paretti

At Tumacácori National Historical Park in southern Arizona, resource managers are concerned about microbial pathogens in the Santa Cruz River that could pose a serious health risk to employees and visitors. The U.S. Geological Survey recently completed a comprehensive 3-year study of water quality in the Santa Cruz River watershed that investigated the possible sources of microbial contamination and how it relates to the amount of water and suspended sediment in the river. The results of this study help water managers and park administration better address this contamination and issue warnings to the public when the water is unsafe. 

Spatial and temporal distribution of bacterial indicators and microbial-source tracking within Tumacácori National Historical Park and the upper Santa Cruz River, southern Arizona and northern Mexico, 2015–2016

Released October 15, 2019 09:30 EST

2019, Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5108

Nicholas V. Paretti, Christopher M. Kephart, Thomas J. Porter, Edyth Hermosillo, Jay R. Cederberg, Justine P. Mayo, Bruce W. Gungle, Alissa L. Coes, Rachel S. Tucci, Laura M. Norman

Tumacácori National Historical Park (TUMA) in southern Arizona protects the culturally important Mission San José de Tumacácori, while also managing a part of the ecologically diverse riparian corridor of the Santa Cruz River. The quality of the water flowing through depends solely on upstream watershed activities, and among the water-quality issues concerning TUMA is the microbiological pathogens in the river introduced by human and animal sources that pose a significant human health risk to employees and visitors. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) conducted a 3-year study to understand the sources, timing, and distribution of the fecal-indicator bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) within TUMA and the upstream watershed.

The information provided in this investigation is a result of a comprehensive approach to quantify the spatial and temporal variability of E. coli and suspended sediment in the Upper Santa Cruz River Watershed. Several types of flow were sampled from base flow to flood flow and at high frequency intervals (rise, peak, and recession) to determine daily variability, as well as seasonal variability. Hydrologic data collection and estimation techniques were used to establish a hydrologic relation with E. coli and suspended sediment. Furthermore, source tracking was used to describe the potential sources of E. coli. Models were developed that are expected to be useful for predicting E. coli concentrations to help TUMA managers understand instantaneous conditions to keep the public and staff informed about potentially harmful water-quality conditions. In addition, the concentration, flux, and source information will provide more accurate data for other surface-water modeling and can be useful in the development of total maximum daily load standards. This will help TUMA describe the water-quality conditions at the park and waters flowing through the park, as well as prioritize and help carry out future best-management actions to address these issues.

Quantifying source and sink habitats and pathways in spatially structured populations: A generalized modelling approach

Released October 14, 2019 11:24 EST

2019, Ecological Modelling (407) 1-10

James E. Diffendorfer, Christine Sample, Joanna A Beiri, Benjamin L. Allen, Yulia Dementieva, Alyssa Carson, Connar Higgins, Sadie Piatt, Shirley Qiu, Summer Stafford, Brady J. Mattsson, Darius J. Semmens, Wayne E. Thogmartin

The ability to classify habitats and movement pathways as sources or sinks is an important part of the decision making process for the conservation of spatially structured populations. Diverse approaches have been used to quantify the importance of habitats and pathways in a spatial network, however these approaches have been limited by a lack of general applicability across life histories and movement strategies. In this paper we develop a generalized per-capita contribution metric, the C-metric, for quantifying habitat and pathway quality. This metric is novel in that it can be applied broadly to both metapopulations and migratory species. It allows for any number of age and sex classes, unlimited number of seasons or time intervals within the annual cycle, and for density-dependent parameters. We demonstrate the flexibility of the metric with four case studies: a hypothetical metapopulation, elk of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, northern pintail ducks in North America, and the eastern population of the monarch butterfly. General computer code to calculate the per-capita contribution metric is provided. We demonstrate that the C-metric is useful for identifying source and sink habitats in a network and suggest that the C-metric could be supplemented by some measure of network structure for a more robust description of habitat or pathway importance.