About Us

History of the Arizona Earthquake Information Center

Earthquake monitoring in northern Arizona can be traced back to 1961 when the first Flagstaff station FS-AZ was established as part of a national program known as Vela Uniform, that was initiated to study the monitoring and detection of underground nuclear tests. Station FS-AZ was active between 1961 and 1966 when it was terminated. A second Flagstaff station, FLG, was established in 1966 by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) as part of a program to develop instrumentation and techniques for the installation of seismometers on the Moon. This effort was concurrent with the Apollo Moon landing programs and the station was discontinued in the summer of 1972.

The Department of Geology at Northern Arizona University became committed to long term monitoring of seismicity in northern Arizona in 1977. This resulted in the establishment of a third Flagstaff station, FLAG, at a permanent site on the University campus. This was followed by the founding of the northern Arizona Seismic network and the AEIC in 1986, in accordance with formal authorization by the Arizona Board of Regents. The original network consisted of three seismic station at Flagstaff, Williams, and the Grand Canyon. Today the seismic network includes eight stations stretching from the Utah boarder to the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau. Through our node at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, the northern Arizona network is a participating member of the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS).

Purpose of AEIC

The purpose of the AEIC is to collect and distribute information on Arizona earthquakes, and to conduct research on them. These tasks all contribute to increased knowledge about why earthquakes occur in our state and what the potential hazards to the populace may be.

Collection and distribution of earthquake data is handled by two branches of the AEIC, the Seismic Archives and the Sherman Mifflin Smith seismic observatory. The primary task of the seismic archive is to catalogue, store, and distribute information on earthquakes. Records in the archives dating back to 1966 are found nowhere else and provide a valuable data source to scientists and historians. The archives contain 10,000 paper records of earthquakes, as well as microfilm, microfiche, and original seismograph logbooks.

The Sherman Mifflin Smith Seismic Observatory is the operation center for the northern Arizona seismic network and monitors and collects data on earthquakes throughout northern and central Arizona.

The old saying "forewarned is forearmed" sums up the service that the AEIC is providing for the people of Arizona. Because of our sparse population in this state, our broad open spaces, we know less about earthquakes in Arizona than we ought to. The more we do know, through the efforts of the AEIC, the better we will understand where and why earthquakes occur, and how often we may expect damaging tremors. This is important to the safety and wellbeing of the citizens of our state.

People of the AEIC

Director and Professor Dr. David Brumbaugh, Ph.D., Indiana University, 1972. Mechanics of normal and thrust faulting; seismology and geophysics. Cenozoic tectonics of the southern Colorado Plateau and Transition Zone.

Do Your Part

The Arizona Earthquake Information Center is only partly supported by state funds and so must rely on contributions from other sources to survive. Without these other funds, there would be no Arizona Earthquake Information Center. If you are in a position to help, send your tax deductible contribution to:

Box 4094
Northern Arizona Univ.
Flagstaff, Arizona 86011
Attention: Arizona Earthquake Info. Center
Checks should be made out to: NAU Foundation

Seismology Trivia