Brief History

The first collaborative California clearinghouse was held after the 1971 San Fernando earthquake in California Geological Survey’s (CGS) downtown Los Angeles office. Personnel from Caltech, EERI, Los Angeles City and County, and CGS met there to exchange information. Small clearinghouse operations were established after the 1973 Pt. Mugu and 1975 Oroville quakes. EERI and CGS set up clearinghouses at El Centro in 1979, at Mammoth Lakes in 1980, and at Coalinga in 1983. The operation at Mammoth Lakes lasted for some weeks and accommodated both researchers and local and national media representatives. Following the 1989 Loma Prieta quake, no formal clearinghouse was established because two of the management organizations were located in the midst of the damage. EERI coordinated its field reconnaissance efforts from its office in Oakland while the USGS at Menlo Park–25 miles from the epicenter–filled many of the needs typically handled by a clearinghouse. A streamlined clearinghouse was operated after the Landers/Big Bear earthquakes in 1992, when CGS and OES coordinated the reconnaissance activities of largely earth science field investigators. A full-blown clearinghouse was established in an OES office in Pasadena following the 1994 Northridge earthquake. It was in operation for over a week, coordinated by the current management group, and involved a number of the additional organizations in the current Clearinghouse group. The information gathered by those multi-disciplinary field investigations was, in some cases, the only damage intelligence available to OES and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a number of days. A geoscience clearinghouse was established after the 1999 Hector Mine earthquake by USGS on the Twentynine Palms Marine base.