In 1973, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) formally initiated the Learning from Earthquakes (LFE) Program. This program, which has been funded in large part by the U.S. National Science Foundation, sends out multi-disciplinary teams of researchers (e.g., earth scientists, engineers, social scientists) into the field to investigate and to learn from the damaging effects of earthquakes. The reconnaissance team makes a rapid, general damage survey of the affected area, documents initial important observations from the particular earthquake, and assesses the need for follow-up areas of research. These teams are supported by a range of agencies, organizations, and EERI subscribing member firms. The LFE program is managed by an EERI committee, currently chaired by Professor Ken Elwood, University of Auckland, New Zealand.

The ability to make observations rapidly and precisely following a disaster has long been recognized as critical to managing emergency response activities in the short term and improving the understanding of natural hazards in the long term. Participating in earthquake reconnaissance is a vivid reminder of why we are actively engaged in earthquake engineering and risk management. The collected data are compiled into earthquake reports, which are in our LFE Archive . Such reports are a valuable source of information for current and future researchers.

EERI members and other investigators are encouraged to use this clearinghouse website to share brief observations and photos from the field as well as link to other resources or websites where more detailed information can be found.