Operating a seismic data center is like being in the army. Most of the time it is “hurry up and wait,” but it can quickly change to “the plan goes out the window once the first bullet is fired.”

So it goes at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)’s National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC), home to one of the world’s foremost seismic monitoring systems. Located in Golden, Colorado, just west of Denver, NEIC staff provides the latest, most accurate earthquake information available within minutes of the occurrence of a global event. That means NEIC is ready to respond at a moment’s...

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