The Core Research Center is a facility run by the United States Geological Survey, located in "F" bay in building 810 on the Denver Federal Center campus. The United States Geological Survey ( USGS) is a scientific agency of the United States government. Denver Federal Center is located in Lakewood Colorado and is the home to about 6200 employees for many Federal agencies It is maintained by the USGS to preserve valuable rock cores, well cuttings and various other geologic samples for use by scientists and educators from government, industry and academia. The CRC is open to the general public for core viewings or tours of the facility by appointment only. The CRC houses the largest collection of rock cores and well cuttings in the nation.
Established in 1974 by the USGS, in cooperation with the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, it was designed as a permanent free-access core repository. Its goal was to rescue rock cores threatened with disposal or destruction. It would become the prototype core repository, leading to the establishment of others, notably one in Menlo Park, California. Menlo Park is an affluent City in San Mateo County, in the San Francisco Bay Area of California
The CRC core collection contains 1. 1 million feet of drilled core, from 31 states. The general collection contains mostly cores from petroleum exploration and development holes. Aside from the general core collection, there are various sub-collections, including Eniwetok Atoll, Cajon Pass, Yellowstone Park, oil shale development, plus more. Enewetak (or Eniwetok) is an Atoll in the Marshall Islands of the central Pacific Ocean. At an elevation of 1277 meters (4190 ft the Cajon Pass (kəˈhoʊn is a moderate-elevation Mountain pass between the San Bernardino Mountains and the
A portion of the core collection has been "archived. " This involves sawing the core down the length of the core for the whole well or a specific desired interval into two sides. This exposes a fresh flat surface to enhance the core viewing process. Once archived, core also takes up less shelf space.
The CRC curates a large collection of well cuttings (rock chips) brought to the surface during drilling operations. This unique collection of cuttings represents 235 million feet of drilling. The USGS estimates that the replacement cost for this collection is around 10 billion dollars.
In addition to the core and cuttings collections, the CRC also houses a collection of about 16,000 thin sections of core and cuttings that are viewed through microscopes by researchers. In Optical mineralogy and Petrography, a thin section is a Laboratory preparation of a rock, Mineral or Soil sample for Photographs of archived cores are also available to researchers. A file is maintained for each well that contains chemical and physical analyses, core descriptions, stratigraphic charts, and other analyses performed by daily users.
In the early 1990s, the CRC was scaled down and reduced in storage capacity, requiring a portion of the collection to be removed. A temporary solution was to store the cores in the inactive USGS experimental oil shale mine at Anvil Points. The cores stored in the mine were from the oil shale development projects, and have remained inaccessible in the mine since placed there. With interest in oil shale recently rising, and new plans for the mine on the horizon, it was realized in 2006 that something needed to be done with the collection. The CRC hopes that a move of the 725 pallets out of the mine will occur within the next 2 years.
The CRC does allow scientists to remove samples of material stored at the facility. There are special requirements and procedures in place to protect the material from oversampling. Contact the CRC for current procedures.