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USGS has joined the TREQ initiative for urban earthquake scenarios


Feb 19, 2021

The USGS has recently joined the GEM TREQ project: Training and Communication for Earthquake Risk Assessment to undertake research that aims to deliver a suite of USGS’s National Earthquake Information Center’s (NEIC) real-time shaking, impact, and aftershock forecast products for the TREQ earthquake scenarios.


In addition, the collaboration also aims to compare USGS PAGER and GEM loss model estimates for earthquake scenarios in the three identified urban centers under the TREQ project: Quito (Ecuador), Cali (Colombia), and Santiago de los Caballeros (Dominican Republic). This exploratory analysis will help in understanding and scoping of future research and development needs for the PAGER team and could serve as the foundation for the next phase of the PAGER research project.


The expected outputs from the research and development project are: (i) ShakeMaps for real time assessment, impact, and aftershock forecast products for the earthquake scenarios considered under the GEM TREQ project for the three urban centers for operational response planning; (ii) comparisons between USGS PAGER and GEM loss estimates for the TREQ scenario earthquakes using OpenQuake.


The activities are also geared at further fostering continued research collaboration between the USGS PAGER team and the GEM Foundation on science and engineering, and will leverage GEM's effort in collecting data for scenario development to explore the development of more detailed PAGER products.


It is expected that there will be synergy built in from the beginning in terms of GEM’s OpenQuake engine and PAGER modeling results since the damage and impact estimates from each scenario will be generated based on the same underlying data and vulnerability/fragility models.


This will also give an opportunity for GEM’s TREQ modelling outputs using OpenQuake engine to be validated by events produced in a ‘real operational’ environment from using the USGS PAGER methodologies.


The availability of NEIC’s real-time products will enable decision makers (e.g., emergency responders from city/county/metropolitan jurisdiction) to aim for operational readiness similar to what is being practiced in the U.S. under FEMA led ‘National Level Exercises (NLEs)’ to improve operational response capacity.

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