EERI Releases Earthquake Spectra Special Issue on GEM’s 2018 Global Hazard and Risk Models

Today, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), released a special issue of Earthquake Spectra titled GEM’s 2018 Global Hazard and Risk Models. 

This special issue documents the supporting research critical to the development of the Global Seismic Hazard and Risk models by the GEM (Global Earthquake Model) Foundation, representing a major step in understanding earthquake risk globally. Seismic hazard and risk models are needed for accurate assessment of risks in order to promote risk reduction and mitigating actions, such as the improvement of building codes and construction practices, sustainable land use, emergency response, and protection of critical infrastructures, as well as risk transfer through insurance.

“The assessment and subsequent mitigation of earthquake risks are among the ultimate goals of both seismology and earthquake engineering,” said John Schneider, GEM Secretary General. “During the last two decades, these goals have never been more important and relevant due to rapid urban development and the rise of megacities in earthquake-prone areas which have considerably increased the seismic risk worldwide.” 

This collection of papers is intended for scientists and researchers in the hazard and risk modeling sector, and risk professionals for application to disaster risk reduction around the globe. The issue contains studies covering probabilistic seismic hazard assessment, exposure modelling, vulnerability assessment, and earthquake loss estimation. The results can be used to understand earthquake risk at the national and regional level and as the basis for developing custom models and risk profiles at higher resolution, e.g., at the city level. Engineers and scientists through risk managers, urban planners, emergency responders and humanitarian agencies can use the models for input to a wide range of disaster risk reduction activities.

In December 2018, the GEM Foundation announced the completion of the first version of its Global Earthquake Model and released the Global Seismic Hazard and Risk Maps following a comprehensive international effort combining datasets, models, tools, and knowledge from hundreds of scientists. The open release of the 2018 GEM Global Hazard and Risk maps signifies a major advancement over efforts prior to GEM’s, which were based on less comprehensive datasets and strategies, and were typically proprietary.

GEM’s Global Seismic Hazard Model comprises a mosaic of 30 probabilistic seismic hazard models. The global seismic hazard map expresses the spatial distribution of peak ground acceleration on rock for a 475-years return period. Using this collection of hazard models as input, GEM computed a Global Seismic Risk Model depicting the average Annual Economic Losses (AEL) caused by ground shaking on the residential, commercial, and industrial building stock. The underlying models and datasets were developed following an open and transparent approach, thus allowing scientists to reproduce the results and customize the various components based on their needs. 

“GEM’s open, transparent and collaborative approach is critical in gaining the trust of stakeholders and promoting local ownership of the results, thus making the information more likely to be used for risk reduction efforts,” said Schneider.

International earthquake modelling experts — Marco Pagani, Vitor Silva, Kishor S. Jaiswal, and Trevor Allen — served as guest editors for this issue. Pagani is the Seismic Hazard Coordinator at GEM and Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Catastrophe Risk Management of the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Silva is the Risk Coordinator at GEM and an Associate Professor at the University Fernando Pessoa at Porto, Portugal. Jaiswal is a research civil engineer at U. S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado, where he leads the development of the Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response system’s earthquake casualty and economic loss estimation models. Allen is the Earthquake Hazard Activity Lead at Geoscience Australia.

This special issue of Earthquake Spectra is made possible with partial support by the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation. Founded in Pavia, Italy in 2009, GEM is a non-profit public-private partnership that drives global collaborative efforts to develop scientific and high-quality resources for transparent assessment of earthquake risk and to facilitate their application for risk management around the globe. Learn more at

About Earthquake Spectra: Earthquake Spectra is the premier journal on earthquake engineering and resilience, serving as the publication of record for the development of earthquake engineering practice, earthquake codes and regulations, earthquake public policy, and earthquake investigation reports.


Development of a global seismic risk model | Authors: Vitor Silva, Desmond Amo-Oduro, Alejandro Calderon, Catarina Costa, Jamal Dabbeek, Venetia Despotaki, Luis Martins, Marco Pagani, Anirudh Rao, Michele Simionato, Daniele Viganò, Catalina Yepes-Estrada, Ana Acevedo, Helen Crowley, Nick Horspool, Kishor Jaiswal, Murray Journeay, Massimiliano Pittore

The 2018 national seismic hazard assessment of Australia: Quantifying hazard changes and model uncertainties | Authors: Trevor Allen, Jonathan Griffin, Mark Leonard, Dan Clark, and Hadi Ghasemi

Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis model for the Philippines | Authors: Henremagne C. Peñarubia, Kendra L. Johnson, Richard H. Styron, Teresito C. Bacolcol, Winchelle Ian G. Sevilla, Jeffrey S. Perez, Jun D.Bonita, Ishmael C. Narag, Renato U. Solidum Jr, Marco M. Pagani and Trevor I. Allen

Probabilistic seismic hazard assessments for Northern Southeast Asia (Indochina): Smooth seismicity approach | Authors: Teraphan Ornthammarath M.EERI, Pennung Warnitchai, Chung-Han Chan, Yu Wang, Xuhua Shi, Phuong Hong Nguyen, Le Minh Nguyen, Suwith Kosuwan, Myo Thant, and Kerry Sieh

Forensic PSHA: Benchmarking Canada’s 5th generation seismic hazard model using the OpenQuake-engine | Authors: Trevor I. Allen, Stephen Halchuk, John Adams, and Graeme A. Weatherill

Development of the 2017 national seismic hazard maps of Indonesia | Authors: Masyhur Irsyama, Phil Cumminsc, M. Asrurifak, Lutfi Faisal, Danny Hilman Natawidjaja, Sri Widiyantorob, Irwan Meilano, Wahyu Triyoso, Ariska Rudiyanto, Sri Hidayati, M. Ridwan, Rahma Hanifa, Arifan Jaya Syahbanaa

Probabilistic seismic hazard assessment for Taiwan: TEM PSHA2020: Authors: Chung-Han Chan, Kuo-Fong Ma, J. Bruce H. Shyu, Ya-Ting Lee, Yu-Ju Wang, Jia-Cian Gao, Yin-Tung Yen, and Ruey-Juin Rau

The GEM Global Active Faults Database | Authors: Richard Styron, Marco Pagani

A probabilistic seismic hazard model for Mainland China | Authors: Yufang Rong M.EERI, Xiwei Xu, Jia Cheng, Guihua Chen, Harold Magistrale, and Zheng-Kang Shen

Challenges and opportunities in New Zealand seismic hazard and risk modeling using OpenQuake | Authors: Elizabeth Abbott, Nick Horspool, Matt Gerstenberger, Rand Huso, Chris Van Houtte, Graeme McVerry, Silvia Canessa

The 2018 version of the Global Earthquake Model: Hazard component | Authors: Marco Pagani, Julio Garcia-Pelaez, Robin Gee, Kendra Johnson, Valerio Poggi, Vitor Silva, Michele Simionato, Richard Styron, Daniele Viganò, Laurentiu Danciu, Damiano Monelli, Graeme Weatherill

Exposure model for European seismic risk assessment | Authors: Helen Crowley, Venetia Despotaki, Daniela Rodrigues, Vitor Silva, Dragos Toma-Danila, Evi Riga, Anna Karatzetzou, Stavroula Fotopoulou, Željko Žugic, Luis Sousa, Sevgi Ozcebe, Paolo Gamba

Re-thinking site amplification in regional seismic risk assessment | Authors: Graeme Weatherill, Sreeram Reddy Kotha, and Fabrice Cotton

Seismic risk assessment for the residential buildings of the major three cities in Colombia: Bogotá, Medellín and Cali | Authors: Ana Beatriz Acevedo, Catalina Yepes-Estrada, Daniela Gonzalez, Vitor Silva, Miguel Mora, Mónica Arcila, and Gustavo Posada

Variable resolution, probabilistic modelling of residential exposure and vulnerability for seismic risk applications | Authors: Massimiliano Pittore, Michael Haas, Vitor Silva

Probabilistic seismic risk assessment of India | Authors: Anirudh Rao, Debashish Dutta, Pratim Kalita, Nick Ackerley, Vitor Silva, Meera Raghunandan, Jayadipta Ghosh, Siddhartha Ghosh, Svetlana Brzev, Kaustubh Dasgupta

View the Earthquake Spectra special issue here