Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Skip to content

Map data showing concentration of landslides caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico

Metadata Updated: October 28, 2023

On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria hit the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico as a category 4 storm. Heavy rainfall caused landslides in mountainous regions throughout the territory. This data release presents geospatial data describing the concentration of landslides generated by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. We used post-hurricane satellite and aerial imagery collected between September 26, 2017 and October 8, 2017 to visually estimate the number of landslides over nearly the whole territory. This was done by dividing the territory into a grid with 4 km2 cells (2 km x 2 km). Each 4 km2 grid cell was classified as either containing no landslides, fewer than 25 landslides/km2 or more than 25 landslides/km2. We used 12 WorldView satellite images (~0.5 m-resolution) available from Digital Globe, Inc. and ~0.15 m-resolution aerial imagery collected by Sanborn and QuantumSpatial ( Because leaves were stripped from much of the vegetation, landslide scars were readily visible in both sources of imagery. We assume that the majority of landslides were triggered by rainfall from Hurricane Maria, but rainfall from Hurricane Irma during the first week of September and rainfall from thunderstorms after Hurricane Maria may have also initiated landslides.
During this investigation, we visually examined a total area of 8103 km2, which encompassed most of the territory and nearly all the mountainous areas. Approximately 846 km2 of the land area of the territory was not examined because either 1) imagery was unavailable or 2) the area was obscured by cloud cover. Approximately 61% of the examined area was unaffected by landslides. Landslides were observed in the remaining 39% of the examined area, but, for the most part , the landslide density was less than 25 landslides/km2 (37% of the examined area). Landslide density was greater than 25 landslides/km2 in about 2% of the examined area (156 km2), which includes parts of the Añasco, Mayagüez, Las Marías, Maricao, Lares, Utuado, Adjuntas, and Jayuya municipalities. Based on visual examination of imagery, the municipality of Utuado appears to have been the most severely impacted, with about 40% of the municipality having a density of landslides greater than 25 landslides/km2. This preliminary assessment serves to inform response and recovery efforts and as a basis for more detailed studies on the impacts of landslides in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria.

Access & Use Information

Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: No license information was provided. If this work was prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person's official duties it is considered a U.S. Government Work.

Downloads & Resources


Metadata Created Date June 1, 2023
Metadata Updated Date October 28, 2023

Metadata Source

Harvested from DOI EDI

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date June 1, 2023
Metadata Updated Date October 28, 2023
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Identifier USGS:59de6459e4b05fe04ccd39d8
Data Last Modified 20200821
Category geospatial
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 010:12
Metadata Context
Metadata Catalog ID
Schema Version
Catalog Describedby
Harvest Object Id 60703a2b-594c-4a6a-9427-682caed586d7
Harvest Source Id 52bfcc16-6e15-478f-809a-b1bc76f1aeda
Harvest Source Title DOI EDI
Metadata Type geospatial
Old Spatial -67.952945219,17.860388612,-65.217154593,18.522685179
Publisher Hierarchy White House > U.S. Department of the Interior > U.S. Geological Survey
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash 9d7a8e6ea53e4a0fb17a0a21166c4b3dde1fd069a8f4ce751927d5edf1ee15eb
Source Schema Version 1.1
Spatial {"type": "Polygon", "coordinates": -67.952945219, 17.860388612, -67.952945219, 18.522685179, -65.217154593, 18.522685179, -65.217154593, 17.860388612, -67.952945219, 17.860388612}

Didn't find what you're looking for? Suggest a dataset here.