Most USGS videos and and animations created since January 2009 are posted on the USGS Multimedia Gallery. All videos on that site have captioning or associated text. Newer videos can also be found on the USGS YouTube channel.
The following is a collection of USGS videos and animations created before 2009 plus more recent videos and animations that are especially appropriate for classroom use. Although by no means exhaustive, the list provides a broad representation of USGS research available through visual media. The USGS is a Federal agency and cannot copyright its products. With one indicated exception, all of these products are considered public domain and may be viewed, downloaded, and reproduced free of charge.
Overviews of USGS Science and USGS Careers
Science for a Changing World
This 2012 video describes a brief history of the USGS, the significance of USGS work, and the USGS mission in today's world.
USGS Careers—Not Just Rocks
What can you do when you work for the USGS? This video is a general overview of how USGS scientists do science. This video is targeted to student audiences.
Precipice of Survival: The Southern Sea Otter
Documentary film made in 2004 that traces the history of California’s sea otters from the onset of the Pacific maritime fur trade to the present. Focuses on the broad collaborative research effort to better understand these charismatic creatures.
Sonoran Desert: Fragile Land of Extremes
Documentary film made in 2003 showing how USGS biologists work with other scientists in an effort to better understand native plants and animals such as desert tortoises, saguaro cacti, and Gila monsters. Much of the program was filmed in and around Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona.
The Heat is On: Desert Tortoises and Survival
Documentary film (2010) that explains why the Mojave Desert tortoise, which is an important indicator of desert ecosystem health, is declining and what scientists are doing to save them. The film can also be downloaded here.
2009 film covering the role of science in restoring south San Francisco Bay's salt ponds to wetland habitat.
Status of Grizzly Bears in Northwest Montana
Video footage of grizzly bears in the wild taken by a remote camera and combined with audio from an interview with the research biologist in charge of the grizzly bear study. Click here for more grizzly bear videos and information about the research project.
Remote Camera Wildlife in Montana
Video footage of black bears, grizzly bears, wolves, elk, a wolverine, and other wildlife at bear rubs, baited hair traps, and other locations in northwest montana. All films were taken by remote, motion-triggered cameras. Scroll down the page for video thumbnails.
Extensive list of North American birds with identification information. Some include video or bird call. Those with video include the black vulture, snow goose, Canada goose, brant, wood duck, American black duck, and mallard.
Take a look at the Whooping Crane Project at the USGS Patuxent National Wildlife health center. Review the health, exercise, diet, and training of these birds that were once on the brink of extinction. Includes captions file.
Includes information on tracking sea ducks using satellite telemetry, the food habits of sea ducks, and the formation of a captive sea duck colony at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Comes in three chapters. Narrated throughout.
USGS Earthquake Hazards Team Seminar Series
Archive (2000-present) of lectures given at the USGS offices in Menlo Park, California on a variety of earthquake-related topics. Most of these lectures are designed for a technical, scientific audience. Click on blue video icon at the right side of the page. Go here for a collection of less-technical earthquake lectures.
Shock Waves: One Hundred Years after the 1906 Earthquake
This 2006 USGS film (nominated for an Emmy award) shows the century of progress that science and engineering have made since the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. Includes dramatic historical footage, reenactments, colorful animations, and interviews with earthquake experts.
When the Bay Area Quakes
Film made in 1990 documenting the science and social implications of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that created heavy damage throughout the San Francisco Bay Area of California.
Video depicting the consequences of a hypothetical major earthquake in southern California.
1906 San Francisco Earthquake Ground Motion Simulations
Earthquake models that recreate ground motion during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake (M7.8) and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake (M6.9). Files are available in low resolution (3.7 megabytes) or high resolution (15 megabytes).
Hayward Fault Ground Motion Simulations
Computer simulations of ground motion during large, anticipated earthquakes on the Hayward and Rodgers Creek faults on the east side of San Francisco Bay. Files are available in low, high, and high definition resolutions.
The Future of Energy Gases
Film explains the different types of energy sources our nation has used over its history. Includes the technology, economics, and effects on the environment associated with each source. Also addresses solar, wind, and nuclear power; and gas hydrates. A fine primer appropriate for all ages.
Gas Hydrate Laboratory
Video of the USGS Gas Hydrate Laboratory in Menlo Park, California. Scientists briefly explain how they use the laboratory to study gas hydrate and the importance of their work. Includes footage of frozen gas hydrate burning and dissociating into water plus gas. Gas hydrate occurs naturally in ocean sediments.
Experimental Rock-Water Interaction Laboratory
Video of the USGS Experimental Rock-Water Interaction Laboratory in Menlo Park, California. Scientists demonstrate how they use the laboratory to study reactions between rocks and fluids. The results help model oceanic processes and the sub-surface storage of excess carbon dioxide (CO2).
A list of miscellaneous animations that were created for USGS videos. Includes rotating globe showing visible night-time lights, an illustration of the greenhouse effect, and the creation of an oil deposit.
Antarctic 3D fly-through of the Dry Valley Area
This animation starts above the Washington Monument then moves to Antarctica where it zooms in on Wright and Taylor Dry Valleys and Ross Island. For more information go to http://lima.usgs.gov/browse.php.
Secrets in Stone
Film chronicling the scientific discoveries in the early 1960s that led to acceptance of the plate tectonics theory. Produced in 1996, this film traces the history of the hypothesis of continental drift, its early dismissal by experts, and the rise in acceptance after geomagnetic polarity reversals were shown to match magnetic anomalies on the sea floor. The film is shown as part of a public lecture at the USGS. The entire lecture is 65 minutes (short intro, then film, then long question/answer). The film itself is 25 minutes.
Debris Flow Dynamics
Although made in 1984, this is still the most popular film at the USGS Training Center. It covers the basic characteristics and behavior of a debris flow and includes a great deal of footage from many different locations.
La Conchita Landslide
Video of the La Conchita, California, slope failure of 2005. NOTE: This video is copyrighted. It can be shown in the classroom if you are connected directly to the Internet, but it cannot be downloaded or copied without permission.
Debris Flow in Devore, California
Video of a dramatic 2003 debris flow near San Bernardino in southern California. This video was made by a private citizen who made it freely available to the USGS for public use. Scroll down the page to view.
Short, looping animations that illustrate various concepts of tectonic plate movement.
Tsunami Preparedness in Oregon
Distinguishes between a local tsunami and a distant event, focuses on the specific tsunami hazards of the Oregon coast, and offers guidelines for correct tsunami response and community preparedness. Includes captioning.
Tells the story of what several coastal communities in Marin County, California (north of San Francisco) are doing to be prepared for a tsunami. Includes captioning.
Volcano Web Shorts: Photogrammetry
Photogrammetry is the science of making precise measurements using photography. USGS geologist Angie Diefenbach describes how she uses a digital camera and computer software to understand the growth rate of lava domes during a volcanic eruption.
Volcano Watch Web Short: Debris Flows
Debris flows are hazardous flows of rock, sediment and water that surge down mountain slopes. Hydrologist Richard Iverson describes debris-flow research and explains how experiments are conducted at the USGS. Spectacular footage makes clear the destructive power of these events.
Volcano Web Shorts: Volcanic Ash Impacts
Volcanic ash is the most widespread of all volcanic hazards. USGS geologist Larry Mastin describes how volcanic ash can disrupt lives many thousands of miles from an erupting volcano.
Yes! Yellowstone is a Volcano
The USGS Scientist-in-Charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory answers the questions: "How do we know Yellowstone is a volcano?", "What is a Supervolcano?", "What is a Caldera?","Why are there geysers at Yellowstone?", and "What are the other geologic hazards in Yellowstone?" (open captions)
Yellowstone Volcano Observatory
The USGS Scientist-in-Charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory answers the questions: "What is YVO?", "How do you monitor volcanic activity at Yellowstone?", "How are satellites used to study deformation?", "Do you monitor geysers or any other aspect of the Park?", and "Are earthquakes and ground deformation common at Yellowstone?" (open captions)
The USGS Scientist-in-Charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory answers the questions: When was the last supereruption at Yellowstone?", "Have any eruptions occurred since the last supereruption?", "Is Yellowstone overdue for an eruption?", "What does the magma below indicate about a possible eruption?", "What else is possible?", and "Why didn't you think the Yellowstone Lake earthquake swarm would lead to an eruption?" (open captions)
Kilauea Volcano - Recent Eruption Shorts
The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory frequently posts interesting Quicktime movies on their ever-changing Images page. Scroll and look for images with the USGS logo in the lower right hand corner. Find more movies in their image archive.
Refilling of Pu`u `O`o Crater (July 13, 2007)
A video made from images collected by a time-lapse camera showing lava flows ponding behind and over-topping self-made levees in Pu`u `O`o Crater on the island of Hawaii. This is an excellent example of the deposition and build-up of pahoehoe lava.
Follow USGS scientists at work after a dramatic 2002 eruption at Hawai'i's Kilauea Volcano. Scientists are interviewed and shown collecting molten lava. Spectacular photography.
The Eruption of Kilauea 1959–1960
Beautifully restored award-winning USGS film documenting the eruption of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii in 1959 and 1960. Includes spectacular footage of the highest lava fountains ever recorded and of the formation of Kilauea Iki lava lake. Narrated throughout.
Early Hawaiian Volcano Footage
Films of Mauna Loa volcano and Kilauea volcano in Hawaii erupting in the 1930s and 1940s. Includes the second black and white film ever produced of an erupting volcano and the earliest color film of an erupting volcano. Comes in five "chapters." Significant footage of flowing lava.
Mount St. Helens: May 18, 1980
In this 2010 video, USGS scientists recount their experiences before, during and after the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. Loss of their colleague David A. Johnston and 56 others in the eruption cast a pall over one of the most dramatic geologic moments in American history.
Mount St. Helens
A list of movies and animations created from photography at Mount St. Helens in 2004, 2005, and 2006.
Mount St. Helens 2004–2006, Instrumentation and Continuing Dome Growth
Each mp4 is a compilation of "chapters" of various lengths showing films of Mount St. Helens taken from a helicopter; films taken from inside the crater; films of equipment installation, maintenance, and removal; and more. Some films have companion 49MB "trailers" that are 5 minutes long.
USGS Water Resources Seminar Series
Archive (2003 to present) of lectures given at the USGS offices in Menlo Park, California, on a variety of water-related topics. Most of these lectures are designed for a technical, scientific audience. Go here for a collection of less-technical water lectures.
Lake of the Sky: USGS Tahoe Basin Science
A 2011 documentary film highlighting USGS research around the largest alpine lake in North America. The story is told through the use of narration, expert interviews, graphics, animations, incredible video imagery, and time-lapse video.
Delta Revival: Restoring a California Ecosystem
Award-winning 2003 film showing scientists from many disciplines working together to guide the unprecedented restoration of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta east of San Francisco Bay. View the movie as part of a filmed public lecture: introduction, then 22 minute movie, montage of scientists at work, followed by question and answer session.
Connecting People and Urban Streams
A video podcast outlining the importance of habitat to the health of a stream, and giving examples of ways that urban streams are being rehabilitated across the U.S.
1923 Grand Canyon Expedition
A silent film compiled from footage shot during the 1923 USGS expedition down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. This is the earliest USGS film and one of the first black and white films distributed nationally.
Streamgages: The Silent Superhero
Whether you drink water from your tap, use electricity or canoe down your local river, chances are you benefit from USGS streamgage information. So what is a streamgage and what does it do for you? This CoreCast episode gives you the inside scoop on your silent superhero.
Glen Canyon Dam High Flow Experiment
USGS experts give preliminary observations on what took place during the high flow experiment on the Colorado River in March, 2008. Includes links to time-lapse videos.
2009 Flood in North Dakota
Interview with USGS crews regarding the 2009 flooding events in Fargo, ND. This is a brief look at the important role of USGS data during a flood.
Hurricane Force: A Coastal Perspective
1994 film following USGS scientists studying hurricane-impacted coasts while connecting the environmental and economic consequences of these storms. Relates how hurricanes form and progress and includes a detailed account of the impacts of Hurricanes Andrew (Louisiana, 1992), Hugo (Puerto Rico, 1989), and Iniki (Kauai, Hawaii, 1992). Downloads in 12 segments. Average length: 3 minutes; average size: 25 megabytes.
Exploring Storm Surge
Preparedness movie made in 1995 about the dangers of storm surges that are associated with hurricanes.