The greatest “earthshaking” event in recent history occurred in Chile in 1960. This was an earthquake which registered at 9.5 on the Richter scale. The Chilean earthquake was followed just a few years later by a magnitude 9.2 quake in Prince William Sound, Alaska. The 9.0 quake in Japan in 2011 was the worst ever recorded in that country. Earthquakes of magnitude 9.0+ are very rare and produce major damage over a 600 mile area. Learn these and many other interesting facts during your 30-45 minute tour of the National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC).
Seismologists at the NEIC track data from monitoring stations located around the world. This is the only facility on earth that tracks seismic activity for the entire globe. This information is recorded on a series of computer screens and seismographs which are located at the Center. The scientists use the tracking data to monitor not only earthquakes, but also tsunamis, giant sea waves produced by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. This information can be used to activate emergency response teams around the world within minutes after the earthquake has occurred.
You can log on to www.earthquake.usgs.gov to view a variety of the most recent earthquake information as well as some outstanding photos of the 1964 Alaska earthquake. This site is really cool and even has a special section for kids only. Don’t miss viewing this exciting website.
After your tour ends, you will have an opportunity to create your own personal earthquake by jumping up and down on the special platform located on the first floor. Watch as the seismograph registers your impact. We hope you didn’t create a 9.1 quake!
For more information, contact:
U.S. Department of Interior
1711 Illinois Street (Corner of 18th & Illinois)
Phone for appointment: (303) 273-8420