New earthquake assessments available to strengthen preparedness in Europe

 New earthquake assessments available to strengthen preparedness in Europe

During the 20th century, earthquakes in Europe accounted for more than 200,000 deaths and over 250 billion Euros in losses (EM-DAT). Comprehensive earthquake hazard and risk assessments are crucial to reducing the effects of catastrophic earthquakes. The newly released update of the earthquake hazard model and the first earthquake risk model for Europe are the basis for establishing mitigation measures and making communities more resilient. They significantly improve the understanding of where strong shaking is most likely to occur and what effects future earthquakes in Europe will have. The development of these models was a joint effort of seismologists, geologists, and engineers across Europe. EFEHR will maintain and further develop these models in future. The research has been funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Earthquakes cannot be prevented nor precisely predicted, but efficient mitigation measures informed by earthquake hazard and risk models can significantly reduce their impacts. The 2020 European Seismic Hazard and Risk Models offer comparable information on the spatial distribution of expected levels of ground shaking due to earthquakes, their frequency as well as their potential impact on the built environment and on people’s wellbeing. To this aim, all underlying datasets have been updated and harmonised – a complex undertaking given the vast amount of data and highly diverse tectonic settings in Europe. Such an approach is crucial to establish effective transnational disaster mitigation strategies that support the definition of in-surance policies or up-to-date building codes at a European level (e.g. Eurocode 8 ) and at national levels. In Europe, Eurocode 8 defines the standards recommended for earthquake-resistant construction and retrofitting buildings and structures to limit the impact due to earth-quakes. Open access is provided to both, the European Seismic Hazard and Risk Models, including various initial components such as input datasets. 

The updated earthquake hazard model benefits from advanced datasets

Earthquake hazard describes potential ground shaking due to future earthquakes and is based on knowledge about past earthquakes, geology, tectonics, and local site conditions at any given location across Europe. The 2020 European Seismic Hazard Model (ESHM20) replaces the previous model of 2013. 

The advanced datasets incorporated into the new version of the model have led to a more comprehensive assessment. In consequence, ground shaking estimates have been adjusted, resulting in lower estimates in most parts of Europe. With the exception of some regions in western Turkey, Greece, Albania, Romania, southern Spain, and southern Portugal where higher ground shaking estimates are observed. The updated model also confirms that Turkey, Greece, Albania, Italy, and Romania are the countries with the highest earthquake hazard in Europe, followed by the other Balkan countries. But even in regions with low or moderate ground shaking estimates, damaging earthquakes can occur at any time.

Furthermore, specific hazard maps from Europe’s updated earthquake hazard model will serve for the first time as an informative annex for the second generation of the Eurocode 8. Eurocode 8 standards are an important reference to which national models may refer. Such models, when available, provide authoritative information to inform national, regional, and local decisions related to developing seismic design codes and risk mitigation strategies. Integrating earthquake hazard models in specific seismic design codes helps ensure that buildings respond appropriately to earthquakes. These efforts thus contribute to better protect European citizens from earthquakes. 

Main drivers of the earthquake risk are older buildings, high earthquake hazard, and urban areas

Earthquake risk describes the estimated economic and humanitarian consequences of potential earthquakes. In order to determine the earthquake risk, information on local soil conditions, the density of buildings and people (exposure), the vulnerability of the built environment, and robust earthquake hazard assessments are needed. According to the 2020 European Seismic Risk Model (ESRM20), buildings constructed before the 1980s, urban areas, and high earthquake hazard estimates mainly drive the earthquake risk. 

Although most European countries have recent design codes and standards that ensure adequate protection from earthquakes, many older unreinforced or insufficiently reinforced buildings still exist, posing a high risk for their inhabitants. The highest earthquake risk accumulates in urban areas, such as the cities of Istanbul and Izmir in Turkey, Catania and Naples in Italy, Bu-charest in Romania, and Athens in Greece, many of which have a history of damaging earthquakes. In fact, these four countries alone experience almost 80% of the modelled average annual economic loss of 7 billion Euros due to earthquakes in Europe. However, also cities like Zagreb (Croatia), Tirana (Albania), Sofia (Bulgaria), Lisbon (Portugal), Brussels (Belgium), and Basel (Switzerland) have an above-average level of earthquake risk compared to less exposed cities, such as Berlin (Germany), London (UK), or Paris (France).

Developing the models is a joint effort

A core team of researchers from different institutions across Europe worked collaboratively to develop the first openly available Seismic Risk Model for Europe and to update Europe’s Seismic Hazard Model. They have been part of an effort that started more than 30 years ago and involved thousands of people from all over Europe. These efforts have been funded by several European projects and supported by national groups over all these years. 

More information

Press release

Downloads & information material

 

Tags: hazard, News, risk

Presentations of the EFEHR services webinar available

Presentations of the EFEHR services webinar available

On 16 December 2021, the EFEHR services webinar took place. More than 150 participants from science and industry received first-hand information from Andrea Rovida (INGV Milan), Roberto Basili (INGV Rome), Graeme Weatherill (GFZ Potsdam), Laurentiu Danciu (Swiss Seismological Service, ETH Zurich) and Helen Crowley (EUCENTRE, Pavia). They guided the participants through the different seismic hazard and risk datasets and tools, including those related to earthquake catalogues, active fault databases and ground motion modelling, and showed how to obtain access to the revised European seismic hazard model and the first openly available European seismic risk model.

The presentations and the recording from the webinar are now available to download:

Tags: EFEHR, Events, News

Register for the EFEHR services webinar

Andrea Rovida (INGV Milan), Roberto Basili (INGV Rome), Graeme Weatherill (GFZ Potsdam), Laurentiu Danciu (Swiss Seismological Service, ETH Zurich) and Helen Crowley (EUCENTRE, Pavia), will guide you through the different seismic hazard and risk datasets and tools, including those related to earthquake catalogues, active fault databases and ground motion modelling, and will show you how to obtain access to the revised European seismic hazard model and the first openly available European seismic risk model. The webinar is dedicated to all scientific and professional users of EFEHR services - sign up now!

The EFEHR services, providing access to the next generation of European seismic hazard and risk models and their underlying tools and datasets, will be available to the scientific and professional community from 16 December 2021. With this pre-release, we aim to gain feedback and carry out any necessary final improvements before we more widely publicise the release of the European seismic hazard and risk models in spring 2022.

When?
Thursday, 16 December 2021
10:00-12:30 (CET)

Where?
Zoom (you will receive the zoom link via email shortly before the webinar)

Interested to join the webinar? Please click here to sign up for the event!.

Further information

Scientists, engineers and other experts across Europe have greatly contributed to the development of the EFEHR data services and models over the last few years. These activities have also been supported by funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, and have been carried out in collaboration with GEM (Global Earthquake Model Foundation) and EPOS (European Plate Observing System).
 
Do you need further explanations, illustrative graphics, or carefully designed maps? Then wait until the full release in spring 2022, when the models and all products, including maps, an explainer video, answers to frequent questions, and additional materials, will become available on the EFEHR website. At this time, the European earthquake hazard and risk models will also be presented to the media and interested citizens.

Tags: EFEHR, Events, News

Take part on our user survey!

Take part on our user survey!

Are you satisfied with the data, products and services provided by EFEHR? Or do you have any suggestions on how we could improve them?

Please let us know and take five minutes to fill in our user survey until the 23rd of October. The results will also be shared with EPOS.

Click here to access the survey.

Tags: EFEHR

First EFEHR webinar & General Assembly meeting

First EFEHR webinar & General Assembly meeting

On Thursday 10th September the EFEHR Consortium successfully hosted its first scientific webinar on the European seismic hazard and risk models (ESHM20 and ESRM20), as well as its first General Assembly meeting. The webinar was attended by almost 150 participants and started with an introductory presentation by the Chair of the EFEHR Consortium, Fabrice Cotton, followed by summary presentations on ESHM20 (by Laurentiu Danciu, EFEHR Secretary) and ESRM20 (by Helen Crowley, EFEHR ExeCom member). The slides from the webinar are now available to download from the following links:

If you have any feedback or comments that you would like to share with the teams working on these models, please share them through this Google form.

We plan to summarise all of the comments received and prepare a general response to be shared with the community. Sign up for our newsletter to stay updated and obtain further information of the 2020 European Hazard and Risk Models.

The first General Assembly of the EFEHR Consortium led to the approval of an additional 8 new voting members to the Consortium, and important discussions and decisions related to the EFEHR data policy and the activities of the EFEHR Consortium over the next 12 months. It was agreed that the EFEHR Consortium should promote the use of Creative Commons Attribution licenses (CC-BY 4.0) amongst the community of data providers for the European seismic hazard and risk models. There was also an agreement that the Consortium, and its Executive Committee, should focus over the coming months on releasing ESHM20 and ESRM20 and developing the associated services that will provide access to the products of these models, as well as the individual components and all of the input files and associated documentation. Subsequently, the focus will be shifted towards the resources and services needed for future research and development of these models.

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Sign up for the webinar!

Sign up for the webinar!

The webinar "2020 European Seismic Hazard and Risk Models: Current Status and Next Steps towards the Final Release" takes place on 10 September 2020 (9:00 – 12:00).

Would you like to join the webinar? Register here – limited spaces available!

Tags: EFEHR, Events, News

Join the EFEHR LinkedIn Group

Join the EFEHR LinkedIn Group

We are happy to announce that we recently created an EFEHR LinkedIn group! Therein, we can discuss together about the various topics related to EFEHR. We are looking forward to interesting conversations, fruitful discussions and further inputs!

Tags: EFEHR, News

EFEHR Newsletter

The EFEHR newsletter offers updates and news on activities related to seismic hazard and risk in Europe and adjacent areas. It is distributed up to four times a year, so no spamming; all the important information will be summarized in one compact e-mail. Subscribe now!

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