Federal Investment in Seismology Matters

U.S. earthquake science protects Americans and the places they live and work. Sustained federal funding for seismology is key to that protection. There are no comparable private funders.

Safety and Security

Every $1 spent on earthquake mitigation efforts equals $10 saved in response and rebuilding costs.

The impacts of federally funded seismic science are geographically widespread, from supporting an earthquake and tsunami early warning program along the U.S. Pacific and Caribbean coasts to guiding economically important oil and gas operations in the central and eastern U.S.

Strong seismic science supports global nuclear test monitoring and informs national security strategy regarding both established nuclear states and potential nuclear proliferators.

Federal funding of earthquake science guides efforts to prepare for and rebuild after an earthquake, tsunami or volcanic eruption.

Federal agencies calculate possible economic losses from future earthquakes and provide essential data for insurance and reinsurance programs.

Seismologists, geophysicists and earthquake engineers are an agile workforce for diverse fields:

The estimated annualized earthquake loss to the national building stock is $6.1 billion.

• Energy Recovery and Management

• Space Exploration

• Geotechnical Assessment and Construction

• Water Monitoring and Management

• Public Safety and Natural Disaster Resilience

• Workforce and Innovation

Workforce and Innovation

©Purdue University


Federally funded earthquake scientists were early promoters of the modem, feedback electronics, high performance computing, and machine learning—all technologies that have transformed the American economy. Continued investment will keep Americans competitive in the global tech sector.

Federal funds support colleges and universities that educate the next generation of earthquake scientists in all 50 states and territories and commonwealths, as well as university-run seismic networks that provide critical data for state and local infrastructure and economic development.

Federal Agencies and Products

Changes to earthquake science funding in one federal agency can have wide-ranging impacts across the science.

There are more than a dozen federal agencies that contribute valuable research, hazards monitoring and coordination with the larger community of earthquake scientists. The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program ensures that these coordinated efforts are strongly focused and fiscally responsible.

Products developed by federal agencies, including updates to the U.S. National Seismic Hazard Model, the Advanced National Seismic System, and ShakeAlert, inform the country’s planning around earthquakes through their impact on building codes, early warning and operational forecasting systems.