The U.S. Geological Survey is really close to Mountain View and wellworth visiting. It’s in Menlo Park. Last week was National Tsunami Awareness Week. In the Visitor Center at the USGS they have displays showing the recent Japanese tsunami and before and after images. They also have tons of earthquake information, including detailed summary maps of major earthquake events and a seismograph. The press likes to film the seismograph after every major quake.
In the map sales office they sell all the topographic maps of the entire Western region of the United States. They have many other maps including: ‘This Dynamic Planet Map,’ US Forest Service maps, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) maps, National Parks maps and hiking maps. They have seismic hazard zone maps that show liquefaction and earthquake induced landslides. These are particularly popular in the rainy season. Many customers want a fault activity map for their city. If you like maps, almost any kind of map, this is definitely the place to go. Periodically they have free misprinted maps that you could use as gift wrap or art projects. They told me about one customer who purchases their maps and he has some kind of technique to seal them into the floor in his home. He has a map floor instead of a hard wood floor.
You can also visit their online store http://store.usgs.gov. It has more maps, including hazard, geological, national atlas, satellite image, world, and planet & moon maps. They also have educational items, books and recreational passes that you’ll need for the upcoming tourist season.
When you go to the USGS in Menlo Park, be sure to pick up the Self-Guided Tour flyer. It’ll show you all kinds of little things that you might not notice otherwise. And the “Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country” is a useful and fascinating free booklet. They have a free public lecture series too. It’s monthly on the last Thursday evening of each month with a different topic each month. The next one is this Thursday, March 31 at 7 pm. It is “Unraveling the Mystery of Avian Navigation.” Check their online calendar for future lectures. http://online.wr.usgs.gov/calendar/ The map sales office is open to the public 8-4 M-F. Their library has a really cool rock and mineral display and it’s open 8:30-4:30 pm. The USGS is located at 345 Middlefield Rd. in Menlo Park.