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Researchers map Europe’s earthquake risk

The European Seismic Hazard Map. Blue colours indicate comparatively low hazard areas, yellow to orange colours indicate moderate hazard areas, and red colours indicate high hazard areas. (Photo : SHARE) Brussels: Researchers at the EU-funded SHARE project have produced a map displaying which parts of Europe are most at risk from an earthquake, and it shows that Italy, the Balkans, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey are among the most exposed regions of the continent. To produce the map, researchers from the SHARE project combined data from more than 30,000 European earthquakes with a magnitude larger than or equal to 3.5 on the Richter scale since the year 1,000, and factored in their damaging effects. To gather data they used data from the AHEAD interactive map of earthquakes in Europe.

They then cross-referenced this data with over 1,100 active faults in Europe, which have a combined length of 64,000 km. All the information was combined on a single map that shows thick purple zones running through the areas of south-east Europe where earthquakes are more likely, and where they can cause the greatest damage to society. It shows the areas where there is a 10 % or larger probability of experiencing the mapped level of ground shaking within 50 years. “It is the first state-of-the-art reference hazard model for Europe. It can be useful for future policies regarding different kinds of buildings and infrastructure such as dams, tall buildings or even bridges,” said Dr Artur Pinto, Head of the European Laboratory for Structural Assessment at the Joint Research Centre, the EU’s in-house science service, in Ispra, Italy. The map also shows earthquake hotspots near Brussels in Belgium, Lisbon in Portugal, near Budapest in Hungary and along the Pyrenees mountain range.

Source: Science world report