National Earthquake Information Center - Golden, CO - information and education on earthquakes


The National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) is a portion of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) on the Colorado School of Mines campus in Golden, Colorado. The facility is ten miles to the west of the city of Denver, Colorado. It was originally established during 1966 in Rockville, Maryland as an extension of National Ocean Survey of the Commerce Department. In 1972 it became part of the U.S. Geological Survey during 1973 after being transferred to Boulder, Colorado. It was transferred to the current location during 1974.

There are three missions that the NEIC focuses on. The first mission is to determine specific data about earthquakes that occur all over the world such as their size and location. The center then collects the date and gives it to both scientists and the public with a seismic database that is used in scientific research. This is done with global and national seismograph networks and cooperation create through international agreements. It is the national archive and data center for information on earthquakes.

Finally the National Earthquake Information Center is a research program designed to improve locating and understanding earthquakes in an effort to reduce the threat they pose. Human reviews in addition to automated tools are used to issue location and magnitude information after an earthquake. Seismograms are recorded in the United States and other parts of the world; although as much data as possible is collected there are nations that do not release the information obtained to the U.S. for political reasons. The facility operates twenty-four hours a day for this purpose.

The information collected by the National Earthquake Information Center is then sent to state and government agencies that are responsible for responding to emergencies. Channels for public information, news media and scientific groups that include those doing aftershock studies are included in the distribution of information. The information from earthquakes in other countries is distributed to the proper channels by the NEIC.

The facility is located at 1711 Illinois Street. Tours can be gotten of the National Earthquake Information Center by appointment. The tours are free of charge although there are reservations required to take them. Tours of the NEIC are made up of a thirty to forty-five minute lecture about the operations of the NEIC, early alert service and general information about earthquakes. Groups consisting of twenty-five people or fewer may take the tours together.

Parking at the National Earthquake Information Center can be done at the corner of Illinois and 18th in the parking lot of the CSM or on the street. Reaching the facility is easy from Denver. Utilize Highway 6 which is 6th Avenue into Golden. When you reach the traffic light on 19th Street take a right and then a left when you reach the light for Illinois Street. The building for the NEIC is at the northeast corner of Illinois and 18th streets.

Those wishing to acquire additional information about the National Earthquake Information Center and the services it provides should contact the facility directly.

Greg Beckman
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Jul 19, 2011 @ 11:11 am
Is there any chance of you emailing me a copy of your file on the Jan. 17, 1994 Northridge earthquake? I am curious about what your seismographs in Golden registered the magnitude as, both Richter and Mercalli. I received conflicting magnitude reports through the HAM radio network in relation to the JPL and CalTech reports, and those from Europe (9 different locations). Some of the reports, from Germany and Spain reported the Richter as high as 8.7, which I feel is out of line to what CalTech reported. Thank You in advance for any information you can supply.

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