The Core Research Center (CRC) was established in 1974 by the USGS to preserve valuable samples of the Earth’s subsurface for use by scientists and educators representing government, industry, and academia. The CRC collections include full-diameter rock cores, slabbed cores (cut in half longitudinally), well cuttings, thin sections, and associated analytical data. A majority of the material was donated to the CRC by private industrial companies, although some cores and cuttings were collected by the USGS and other government agencies. Rock cores were collected from roughly 9,500 drilled borehole locations representing approximately 610,000 meters (2 million feet) of subsurface strata in 35 states. Many of the boreholes represented in the collection were drilled for research, and energy and mineral exploration. Most of the boreholes are located in the Rocky Mountain region. However, because the samples were collected in diverse geologic settings and geographic localities, many in areas with rich resource potential, the CRC has become one of the largest and most frequently used public core repositories in the U.S. The well cuttings, which are rock particles chipped by a bit during well drilling operations and brought to the surface, were collected at almost 53,000 drilled borehole locations and represent approximately 73 million meters (240 million feet) of subsurface strata in 28 states. Additionally, more than 27,000 rock thin sections, numerous core photographs, and a large volume of analytical data are accessible for approximately half of the boreholes represented in the collection. Analytical data include chemical and physical analyses, core descriptions, stratigraphic interpretations, and other analyses acquired by researchers studying the samples. The cores, cuttings, and thin sections are available for continued examination and testing. The CRC customers may subsample the cores and cuttings for further analysis, provided that copies of the analytical data are given to the CRC. In addition, core and thin section photographs, well reports, and other auxiliary artifacts are available for viewing and download on the CRC website (http://geology.cr.usgs.gov/crc).
The CRC has an ongoing policy to accept sample donations from companies and government agencies and to make these materials available for research and other customer interests. The CRC encourages use of its facility by all interested parties. The CRC is often used by private companies, conference workshops, and schools to educate and explore subsurface processes demonstrated by the characteristics of CRC’s physical samples. Use of CRC resources and tours of the facility are available by appointment.