Roads, Bridges & the Built Environment Research


UA is providing definitive earthquake information to the public, emergency managers, scientists and engineers. This information is derived from a network of seismic monitoring stations that we operate across the state. Based on a mandate from the Alaska Legislature and the many stakeholders we support with data, products and outreach, UAF’s Alaska Earthquake Center ensures safe and economically sound construction, maintenance and long-term operation of Alaska infrastructure; on-site monitoring for major facilities (pipelines, mines, and military installations); and tsunami mapping, thus enabling evacuation planning in nearly every major Alaska coastal community.


UA researchers closely monitor the region’s Suicide Basin and Mendenhall River, which have experienced dramatic outburst floods (or jökulhlaups) from the Mendenhall Glacier, affecting valley populations and infrastructure in Juneau. These monitoring efforts provide essential information to communities and partner agencies, and aid prediction, mitigation and preparation efforts.


Based in the thorough, investigative work of one of our own PhD students, UA is studying how to improve preparedness and response to annual springtime flooding in Alaska and other high-latitude regions. We are developing effective and easily adaptable flood risk mitigation and disaster response and recovery strategies, for use in rural Alaska communities and elsewhere.

Interior, Southcentral

UA is developing a statistical understanding of how storms and other extreme events (wildfire, coastal erosion, flooding) are projected to change for Alaska in our current century. This is enabling us to better understand the connections between exposure to natural hazards and human vulnerability.

Arctic, Interior

Faced with energy costs four to 10 times the national average, rural Alaska community power grids are the focus of UAF work to develop kinetic energy storage systems. With high power density and a practically unlimited life cycle, these systems allow grids to meet demand with an ultimate reduction in diesel fuel consumption.


After the fatal 2015 Sitka landslide, researchers have been assessing risk from landslides that arise from changing Pacific storm patterns. As with wildfire, landslides represent a widespread disturbance pattern that’s experiencing shifts due to climate. UA is examining how these large-scale changes can affect capacities for ecosystem and community resilience.