top of page

Magnitude 10 or larger earthquakes can happen on average once every 2000 years – new study says


May 23, 2019

Alvaro Gonzalez presents his study at the EGU press conference. Photo credit: EGU 2019

GEM’s Hazard Coordinator, Marco Pagani recently participated in the EGU General Assembly that took place in Vienna, Austria last April. The event drew more than 16,000 scientists from 113 countries and featured 5,531 oral, 9,432 poster, and 1,287 PICO presentations as well as almost 700 unique scientific sessions together with 87 short courses and 338 side events. GEM participates in this yearly event to keep abreast of the latest development and advancements in European geoscience.


This year, a new study by Alvaro Gonzalez – Postdoctoral Researcher Centre for Mathematical Research, Barcelona, Spain – estimates the magnitudes and frequencies of the largest earthquakes on Earth. Alvaro used GEM-ISC earthquake catalog, sizes of subduction zones and impact rate of asteroids and comets with Earth in his calculations.


The key findings of the study are as follows: earthquakes with magnitude 10 or larger can be expected on average once every 2000 years or more; the maximum possible magnitude of tectonic earthquakes could reach 10.4, but extremely unlikely; and larger earthquakes generated by impacts of asteroids or comets with Earth, are expected once every 10 million years or more on average. (source: press conference


He concluded that his estimates could be improved by reducing uncertainties on physical and geological limits of earthquake ruptures; impact rate calculations from orbital modeling; and observations, experiments and modeling of seismic wave radiation from impacts.


The EGU General Assembly 2019, the largest geosciences meeting in Europe, brings together thousands of geoscientists from all over the world into one meeting covering all disciplines of the Earth, planetary and space sciences. It provides an opportunity for journalists and science communicators to talk to researchers, learn about new developments and find out about the latest discoveries in a variety of areas, such as climate, space and planetary science missions, natural disasters, and plastic pollution.

No images found.




bottom of page