Seismic risk and hazard models provide information on the spatial distribution of expected levels of earthquake shaking due to earthquakes, their frequency and potential impact on the man-made environment and on people's well-being.
Recently, through the joint work of seismologists, geologists and engineers from all over Europe, with the support of members of the EUCENTRE Foundation and funding from the European Union research and innovation program Horizon 2020, all the data sets on which they are based the current models have been updated and harmonized.
In fact, the first completely open and accessible seismic risk model for Europe was developed and the European seismic hazard model was updated. With these two tools, Europe is able to define effective disaster mitigation strategies on a transnational scale, which will support the definition of insurance policies or the updating of building codes at European level (e.g. Eurocode 8) and national.
In particular, the advanced datasets included in the new version of the model have made it possible to define more precisely the estimates on ground shaking, which are now lower in much of Europe. Exceptions are some regions of western Turkey and Greece, Albania, Romania, southern Spain and southern Portugal, where higher estimates of seismic shaking are found. The updated model also confirms that the European countries with the greatest seismic hazard are Turkey, Greece, Albania, Italy and Romania, followed by the other Balkan countries. However, even in regions with low or moderate ground shaking estimates, the possibility of potentially damaging earthquakes still remains.
Finally, for the first time, the seismic hazard maps derived from the updated European 2020 seismic hazard model will serve as an informative annex of the second generation of Eurocode 8, which will in turn constitute an important reference also for national regulations. These maps will then provide authoritative information for decision making - at national, regional and local level - regarding the definition of earthquake design codes and risk mitigation strategies.