Historical Catalogue

In a nutshell

The Global Historical Earthquake Archive (1000-1903) represents the platform for compiling, collating and comparing studies of historical earthquakes, and contains..

  • 239 of the most recent studies of earthquakes that occured during the past centuries
  • 994 earthquakes
  • 3,175 records in the database underlying the archive 

plus…

  • 77 studies that feature macroseismic intensity data points (of relevance to understand intensity and possible damage)
  • 12,282 macroseismic intensity data points related to 292 earthquakes 

The Global Historical Earthquake Catalogue (1000-1903) is the main distillate of the Global Historical Earthquake Archive, and contains..

  • 825 earthquakes of M >= 7
  • 87 studies supplying the most reliable input datasets from the archive

GEM Global Historical Earthquake Catalogue - click to enlarge

Who developed the archive & catalogue?

The archive and catalogue were developed by an international consortium, comprising Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) and the British Geological Survey (BGS), in collaboration with experts from around the globe. Principal Investigators Paola Albini and Roger Musson led the effort, in collaboration with Augusto Antonio Gomez Caprera, Mario Locati, Andrea Rovida, Massimilliano Stucchi and Daniele Viganò, the core group of the experts who contributed. The project benefitted from the contributions from many scientists from around the globe. See below for a full list of contributors.

 

The catalogue over time; 32 earthquakes between 1000-1250

The catalogue over time; 32 earthquakes between 1000-1250

The catalogue over time; 37 earthquakes between 1251-1490

The catalogue over time; 37 earthquakes between 1251-1490

The catalogue over time; 101 earthquakes between 1491-1650

The catalogue over time; 101 earthquakes between 1491-1650

The catalogue over time; 132 earthquakes between 1651-1750

The catalogue over time; 132 earthquakes between 1651-1750

The catalogue over time; 209 earthquakes between 1751-1850

The catalogue over time; 209 earthquakes between 1751-1850

The catalogue over time; 316 earthquakes between 1851-1903

The catalogue over time; 316 earthquakes between 1851-1903

The methodology

Compiling the Global Historical Earthquake Archive

  • The overall goal for the archive was to identify, collect and critically organise the best and most recent information available for earthquakes in the time-window 1000-1903 and magnitude equal to or higher than 7.
  • The archive relies on the collection of published material, such as:
    • Papers, reports and volumes
    • Sets of Macroseismic Intensity Data Points
    • Parametric Earthquake Catalogues
  • Each earthquake is represented in the archive by the multiplicity of the studies on the event
  • The content was subsequently analysed for earthquake date, location and size on a region-by-region and in most cases an earthquake-by-earthquake basis
  • Duplicates, dubious earthquakes and other errors have been filtered out as much as possible

Compiling the Global Historical Earthquake Catalogue

  • The material upon which the catalogue is built was selected because of i) public availability and ii) clarity and reliability
  • The catalogue is the result of comparing sets of parameters that are available for each earthquake and subsequently selecting the best-attested set, carefully checked against the studies and the data they feature on the earthquake.

How are the products of relevance?

Only by working together on a global scale can earthquake hazard and risk assessment advance, as critical input for decisions to mitigate and reduce earthquake risk. The Global Historical Earthquake Catalogue and Archive provide a global starting point for continuous improvement of seismicity both for science and concrete applications, especially in regional contexts.

What are the main characteristics?

Version 1.0 of the Global Historical Earthquake Catalogue (GHEC) we believe is the best global historical catalogue of large earthquakes (magnitudes 7 and higher) currently available - with the best parameters selected, duplications and fakes removed, and newly discovered earthquakes included.

The catalogue is supported by the Global Historical Earthquake Archive which provides a complete account - to the extent possible - of the global situation in historical seismology, with all existing studies collected together in a syncretic way, retrievable either by earthquake or region.

How can I use the products?

 

Licensing 

The GEM Global Historical Earthquake Catalogue v1.0 is released under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported for the first 18 months, with an extension to cover 'Sui Generis' Database Rights, where applicable. Read more on licensing of GEM products.

Please use this form to request your personal non-commercial clause waiver for this GEM data product.

Contributors worldwide

Selda Altun Poyraz Istanbul

William Bakun (Menlo Park)

Mine B. Demircioglu (Istanbul)

Julio Garcia Pelaez (Trieste)

Ron Harris (Provo, Utah)

Karin Sesetyan (Istanbul)

Gerardo Suarez (Mexico City)

Ruben Tatevossian (Moscow)

Özge Zülfikar (Istanbul)

 

The catalogue and archive also benefitted from the contributions of:

Rogelio Altez (Caracas), Reina Aranguren (Merida), Mario Araujo (San Juan), Monica Arcila (Bogotá), Maria Belen Benito (Madrid), Mario Bufaliza (San Juan), Eduardo Camacho (Panama), Tomas Chuy (Santiago de Cuba), Hernan Cifuentes Avendaño (Bogotá), Jim Cousins (Lower Hutt NZ),  Domenico Di Giacomo (Thatcham, UK), Maria Cristina Dimaté Castellanos (Bogotá), Armando Espinosa Baquero (Armenia), Grupo de trabajo del Proyecto RESIS II, Ron Harris (Provo, Utah), Andrew King (Lower Hutt NZ), Walter Montero (Costarica), Christl Palme de Osechas (Merida), Adriana Perez (Merida), Paola Ramirez Carvallo, Wilfredo Rojas (Costarica), Elkin de Jesus Salcedo Hurtado (Cali), Ana Milena Sarabia Gomez (Bogota), Dmitry Storchak (Thatcham, UK), Gerardo Suarez (Mexico DF), Ruben Tatevossian (Moscow), Tania Tatevossian (Moscow), Hernando Tavera (Lima), Marco-Antonio Torres-Vera (Mexico DF), Wang Jian (Beijing).

How can I contribute?

The global project to produce a v1.0 of a global historical earthquake archive and catalogue has now ended, but we are keen to hear from you at any time... 

  • in case you possess or know studies that could enhance the catalogue for specific earthquakes
  • about your experiences in using the catalogue and archive
  • for any other idea or questions

Send an email to hazard@globalquakemodel.org or use the site contact form.