Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Earthquake risk in Europe detailed

Date:
August 10, 2012
Source:
Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
Summary:
For the first time, scientists have succeeded in setting up a harmonized catalog of earthquakes for Europe and the Mediterranean for the last thousand years. This catalog consists of about 45000 earthquakes.

Map of all epicentres in EMEC , plate boundaries (red) and selected first order fault (black).
Credit: Copyright GFZ

For the first time, scientists of the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences have succeeded in setting up a harmonized catalogue of earthquakes for Europe and the Mediterranean for the last thousand years. This catalogue consists of about 45000 earthquakes.

Related Articles


How strong can earthquakes in Germany be? Where in Europa are the earthquake activities concentrated? These questions are the basis for risk assessments and become relevant when it comes to the safety of buildings or the generation of tsunami.For the first time, scientists of the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences have succeeded in setting up a harmonized catalogue of earthquakes for Europe and the Mediterranean for the last thousand years. This catalogue consists of about 45000 earthquakes, reported in the latest issue of the Journal of Seismology.

Earthquakes occur with different frequencies of occurrence, meaning that in some regions, strong earthquakes happen with time gaps of hundreds of years. Such rare events can cause a false feeling of security which belies the true risk. This is compounded by the fact that instrumental measurements only go back for roughly a century, and reliable data for smaller quakes for about half that long.

Thus, the only way to assess the actual risk is the analysis of historical earthquake accounts. "The catalogue that we present here covers the earthquakes of the last thousand years with magnitudes of Mw 3,5 and larger in the northern part of our research area and magnitudes Mw4,0 for the southern part," explains Dr. Gottfried Grünthal of the GFZ. "Our earthquake catalogue stretches over an area from the Azores to the Caspian Sea and from the Sahara to the North Cape." Based on some 80 mostly national earthquake catalogues, more than 100 other sources and own analyses of key historical earthquakes, the EMEC-catalogue (European-Mediterranean Earthquake Catalogue) offers the first reliable, regional, long-time database with a harmonized assessment of earthquake magnitudes.

In bringing together all these sources with their considerable differences in magnitude or intensity scales, particular care was taken to harmonize the latter in the form of moment magnitude Mw. The earthquakes in the EMEC are catalogued from 1000 AD bis 2006. In areas south of 40°N and east of 10°E the available data allow for an analysis starting from 300 AD. Of course these data are not complete, especially in the early phase of the catalogued time period.The point in time after which data for certain magnitudes can be assumed as sufficiently complete is very different within the research area. For example, earthquakes with a magnitude of Mw 6,5 and above in the Levant exist more or less completely since 300 AD, and earthquakes of Mw 5 and above since 1965. In Germany, the catalogue of earthquakes with Mw 5 and greater is sufficiently complete since about 1600.

"Part of the EMEC-publication is also a list of so-called fake-quakes, i.e. quakes that have been reported erroneously due to errors of the chroniclers, errors in dates or other mistakes," explains GFZ scientist Gottfried Grünthal. Importance was also attached to a user-friendly web page: "On the GFZ-EMEC-website, data can be downloaded according to the wishes of the users and epicentre maps can be generated, stored and printed in customized scales of time and space and map projections."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gottfried Grünthal, Rutger Wahlström. The European-Mediterranean Earthquake Catalogue (EMEC) for the last millennium. Journal of Seismology, 2012; 16 (3): 535 DOI: 10.1007/s10950-012-9302-y

Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. "Earthquake risk in Europe detailed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120810133110.htm>.
Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. (2012, August 10). Earthquake risk in Europe detailed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120810133110.htm
Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. "Earthquake risk in Europe detailed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120810133110.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

AP (Dec. 21, 2014) — Officials have opened a new road on Hawaii's Big Island for drivers to take care of their daily needs if encroaching lava from Kilauea Volcano crosses a highway and cuts them off from the rest of the island. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scuba Diving Santa Off Florida Keys

Raw: Scuba Diving Santa Off Florida Keys

AP (Dec. 20, 2014) — A scuba diving Santa Claus explored the waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Dive shop owner Spencer Slate makes the dive each year to help raise money for charity. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — US President Barack Obama says that construction of the Keystone pipeline would have 'very little impact' on US gas prices and believes there are 'more direct ways' to create construction jobs. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) — Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins