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News Briefs: January - March 2024


Mar 27, 2024

Apr 2, 2024

A round-up of GEM's other notable activities over the past three months.

International Forum Towards Equitable Seismic Engineering

The Global Earthquake Model (GEM) participated in the 3rd International Forum Towards Equitable Seismic Engineering on March 21st, 2024, hosted by the Sociedad Mexicana de Ingeniería Sísmica, A.C. (SMIS). The free online event offered valuable insights into advancements in equitable seismic engineering and the importance of women in the field. GEM's Martina Caruso and Catalina Yepes played key roles: Martina delivered a keynote lecture titled "The Role of Life Cycle Structural Engineering (LCSE) towards the Sustainable Renovation of the Built Environment," while Catalina participated as a panelist in the round table discussion "Eliminating Unconscious Stigmas and Biases: The Path to Women's Resilience in Earthquake Engineering." The event was held in Spanish, with simultaneous translation for Martina’s presentation.

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A new study reveals a significant underestimation of earthquake reconstruction costs

A recent study by Maria Camila Hoyos Ramírez and Vitor Silva, sheds light on a critical factor often neglected in earthquake risk assessments: Post-Loss Amplification (PLA). PLA refers to the significant increase in reconstruction costs after a major earthquake, exceeding the pre-disaster repair or replacement value of buildings. The study highlights that factors like material and labor shortages, limited access to affected areas, and the need for improved building standards can significantly inflate reconstruction costs following a large earthquake. The research proposes new models to account for PLA, demonstrating potential cost increases for both minor and major earthquakes. This vital information can lead to more accurate risk assessments, improved disaster preparedness planning, and more effective resource allocation in the aftermath of earthquakes.

Link to the research paper:  

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Modelling Faults in the Italian Apennines to Understand Seismic Risks in Central Italy

The GEM team, led by Marco Pagani and Anna Rood, with Italian Department of Civil Protection collaborator Daniela Di Bucci participated in the 42nd National Conference of the Gruppo Nazionale Geofisica della Terra Solida (GNGTS) held February 13-16, 2024, at the Università degli Studi di Ferrara Polo Scientifico Tecnologico. The conference theme was "Geophysics for the Future of the Planet." During a session focused on new approaches to earthquake and tsunami hazard estimation, GEM Seismic Hazard Scientist Anna Rood presented the team's research on "Fault System Finite-Element Geodynamical Modelling for Seismic Hazard Analysis of the Central Italian Apennines." The event provided a valuable opportunity to share GEM's work with the GNGTS community.  A thank you goes to the GNGTS for organizing the conference and to the Università degli Studi di Ferrara Polo Scientifico Tecnologico for hosting.

For more details about the event, visit: 

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OpenQuake online training (Spanish) - FORCE project

Over 80 participants engaged in Spanish-language online training sessions (February 6, 13, 20 and 27, 2024) to refine their skills in OpenQuake, GEM’s open source seismic hazard and risk assessment tool. The training covered Modules II, III, and IV, focusing on tasks such as preparing input files for earthquake scenarios, conducting probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA), and event-based seismic risk analysis. Attendees gained expertise in visualising results, equipping them to better understand and manage earthquake risks. These sessions aimed to enable participants with practical skills for assessing seismic hazards and enhancing their proficiency in utilising OpenQuake for risk mitigation purposes.

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Recent Research from Imperial College London Challenges Earthquake Hazard Estimates Near Los Angeles

Recent research by Imperial College London challenges previous assumptions about the seismic threat posed by the San Andreas fault near Los Angeles. Led by GEM's Seismic Hazard Scientist, Anna Rood, the study analyzed the resilience of ancient precariously balanced rocks (PBRs) close to the fault. This analysis suggests that past large, infrequent earthquakes were likely less powerful than previously estimated, with ground shaking potentially 65% less severe. These latest findings hold significant implications for seismic hazard assessments and disaster preparedness efforts in the Los Angeles region, as well as in other seismically active areas globally.

Read the press release here:

Link to the research paper:

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